Asus Prime AP201: The emmental among computer cases

Conclusion

Cheaper, yet decent cases are not completely gone from the market yet. One such case is the Prime AP201 from Asus’ lower-end. Considering the price well under 100 EUR, you get a case with a above-standard build quality, which is characterized by the “infinite” perforation. Cool air is thus available to components theoretically from all sides. But this also means that it doesn’t damp noise too much. The question is what weighs more in the bigger picture.

Conclusion

The perforations on each side of the case played a big part with the single, factory-fitted fan as well. The graphics card has access to a lot of cool air from the bottom of the case, which it can use to its advantage. That is, unless you place two fans directly underneath it for intake. In this case, it had a negative result and the temperatures deteriorated by three to four degrees. It also had a negative effect on the CPU cooling and degraded it by two to six degrees Celsius. Fitting two 120 mm fans under the ceiling to suck the warm air out of the case has a positive effect, especially for the processor, but also for the voltage regulators of the motherboard or for the graphics card.

Asus took great care in crafting the case. The sheets are solid and fit together perfectly. Removing and fitting the side panels is very quick and easy thanks to the latching system.An almost identical system is also used by Fractal Design for mid and higher-end cases. The inside of the Prime AP201 can probably be used in its entirety. You can fit either two storage units or two 120mm fans on the ground floor. Connectivity-wise, the 80-euro case doesn’t disappoint. There are two USB Type-A connectors and one faster Type-C connector.

Hardware installation is very simple, that is, except for the inner side panel. Fitting it back into the case is all about precision – you need to hit the exact angle at which it can be put back in. Everything else was already very easy and quick thanks to the larger space between the motherboard and the ceiling. The case is undemanding when it comes to cable management, and thanks to the 32mm of space, it can forgive you quite a lot. Also, the large grommets were very helpful when threading cables.

Cooling performance, and the potential to improve it even further with additional fans/liquid cooler on the CPU, is at a high level. Especially for a graphics card. The structure is durable, meticulously crafted and the connectivity doesn’t lag behind either. With this combination and even with only one fan in the package, the AP201 with perforated side panels deserves the “Smart buy!” award.




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Comments (2) Add comment

  1. I am curious why adding two fans blowing air to the GPU worsened its temps. Perhaps it’s because the fans have to spin slower overall to achieve the same noise level? The bottom panel plus the filter do look quite restricted so the bottom fans might be providing fairly low airflow.

    I like them applying the front PSU mount (more commonly seen in SFF cases) to mainstream cases though, it saves lots of space and airflow can still be great. 3 top fans exhausting air + flipping the CPU cooler to take air in from the back will likely lead to the best balance of CPU/GPU thermals when using air coolers.

    1. The reason is probably quite simple. In a single-fan configuration, at equal noise levels, the fan on the exhaust is significantly faster than in a three-fan configuration. Not only the cooling of the graphics card, but the overall cooling (including the CPU, power delivery surroundings and SSD) is weaker probably due to more heat build-up when the fan on the exhaust is slower. This behaviour is quite typical and at equal noise levels, we usually measured a higher efficiency in a negative pressure configuration in this test of different system cooling configurations as well.

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