DinoPC Velociraptor 3450 Package review
Limited upgrade potential tames this particular raptor before it shows its claws
Review Date: 2 Jul 2012
Price when reviewed: £749
Reviewed By: Tom Morgan
DinoPC has built the Velociraptor 3450 within a rather attractive Xigmatek Asgard Pro case. It's one of few budget cases with a USB3 port on its front I/O panel, so it means you don’t have to struggle round the back of the case to connect super-fast storage. Its Ivy Bridge Core i5-3450 and an SSD boot disk mean it's as nippy as a raptor, too.
Like a lot of midi tower cases, the Velociraptor 3450 has one external 3.5in drive bay and three 5.25in bays. Only one 5.25in bay is fitted with an optical drive, so there's room for further expansion. The front panel is almost entirely made of wire mesh to increase airflow through the case, with the I/O ports located on the roof. As well as the single USB3 port, you also get two regular USBs and the standard pair of 3.5mm audio I/O ports.
On the back panel, there are a further two USB3 ports and four standard USBs, as well as two PS/2 ports for legacy peripherals and Gigabit Ethernet. Audio is restricted to three 3.5mm audio jacks, with no digital connection. There are also VGA, DVI and HDMI video connections, in case you want to use the onboard graphics.
Removing the side panel is as simple as unwinding the two thumbscrews. Once inside, the microATX Asus P8B75-M LE motherboard barely takes up half of the motherboard tray, leaving ample room for cable management. Three pre-drilled holes make taming unruly wires even easier, and DinoPC has done a good job hiding the 400W PSU’s cables.
Expansion options aren't quite as impressive as the similarly priced competition because of the smaller motherboard. You still get three spare SATA ports plus one PCI slot and a second PCI-Express x16 port, but the dual-slot graphics card obstructs the second PCI slot. Both memory slots are filled with RAM, 8GB in total, so you must remove them to upgrade. This limited upgrade path is disappointing, as the case has room for a further six 3.5in hard disks.
Cooling is covered by a single 120mm front intake fan and 120mm rear exhaust fan, helping the stock Intel CPU cooler dissipate excess heat. Because the i5-3450 isn't overclocked, this is more than sufficient, but if you add a second graphics card or lots of hard disks, you may want to install one or two extra fans. There's a spare 120mm mount in the floor, two in the case roof and a further two on the side panel.
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