Fair warning: I noticed that there is very little information about this chassis aside from the Riotoro website and a few specs on Amazon. For that reason this review is quite more detailed and thorough than I would normally do. I will try my best to make everything clear and easy to read! Every section will be labeled clearly so feel free to skip ahead to the sections that are most important to you!
A Bit of Riotoro Information:
I don’t yet know a whole lot about the company Riotoro quite yet as their information is scarce on the interwebs. I know that they are a company based somewhere in Latin America (Costa Rica I suspect) and according to an article on Toms Hardware – it was founded by ex-Corsair and ex-Nvidia employees. So far they have released 3 different cases, including the chassis that is being featured here. From the looks of their website case fans, CPU coolers, keyboards, and mice are also available or currently in production. These guys are a young company and it’s interesting that they are based in Latin America, but considering their background, I think it’ll be safe to expect some good stuff from these guys!
According to the website, the CR280 is a mini ITX chassis that targets enthusiast builders. The case boasts many features that can definitely make people agree. A fully custom water-cooled system may feel right at home inside this chassis. Some of the features that this case boasts are:
-Support for 2x 120mm fans or 240mm radiator on front panel
-Support for 2x 120mm fans or 240mm radiator on top panel
-Supports 1x 120mm fan or 120mm radiator on rear panel
-Rubber washers included for fan mounts
-Includes 2x 120mm Riotoro fans (front,rear)
-Support for up to 2x 2.5in drives and 1x 3.5in drive
-2.5in drive bays are semi tool-less
-3.5in drive bay is fully tool-less
-Support for full length GPU’s up to approximately 11.5in (292mm)
-Supports CPU coolers up to approximately 6.5in(165mm) tall
-Supports standard ATX power supplies (including longer units)
-Supports cable management with space behind motherboard tray
-Includes 4x dust filters (2x front, bottom psu, top panel)
-Features fully black front panel cables
-Dimensions: 12.5in[h] x 12in [d] x 8in [w]
-Front panel: Power & reset button, 2x USB 3.0 ports, audio and mic jack
-Semi-flat matte black fully metal finish (including front panel)
-Red accents including logo, front panel siding and red under glow power led light
-Windowed side panel
The Riotoro CR280 currently retails for $74.95 on Amazon (it is elegible for Prime 2-day shipping in the US!) You can view the case on the Riotoro website, and Amazon through the links below. Make sure to check them out after reading this review!
Opening up the packaging and inspecting the Latin American bred chassis honestly left me quite impressed, for the most part. The box and packaging were pretty standard and of good quality. What impressed me the most was the case itself. The case has a lot of presence, if that makes sense, as the matte black color, red highlights, and bulky form are quite bold in my opinion. When I say bulky, I mean it in a positive way- the case is small enough to satisfy most small form factor enthusiasts, yet it is ample-looking enough to let you know that it is capable of fitting serious hardware. As a quick size reference, this case is a similar height and depth to the EVGA Hadron Air, but is 2in wider. Both exterior paneling quality, and interior frame and layout quality are satisfying and encouraging. As I inspected the case, I found myself thinking “they thought of everything” once or twice.
Not everything about my first encounter with the case was encouraging. Right away I noticed that the case was missing a PCI expansion slot cover. Of course it is not a huge deal as they both get removed for the GPU anyway, and I’m sure it is just an issue that came with my unit, but it just seems slightly irresponsible that they would ship a case with a missing component. A second issue that I did not appreciate was that the case did not come with an owner’s manual, instead there is a single flyer with a QR code that is supposed to lead you to an online manual on their website. After some searching, I have yet to find the the online manual. Again this is not a huge deal because the case was pretty easy to figure out for the most part, and this case seems to be targeted towards users with plenty of experience anyway, but it feels a little incomplete to ship with a lazy alternative to an owners manual. However, both of these problems seem to be characteristics of a young company anyway, so assuming they clean up their act a little bit, I am willing to let these things slide!
The package included a little white box with a few case accessories, pictured below. Admittedly I was a bit confused about them because there were a lot of thumb screws of various lengths and even thread sizes so it left me wondering what they are all for. As I’ll explain in further detail below, the SSD’s are held in place by thumbs screws, but even after using the 8 thumbscrews necessary there was still quite a few left over. One of the little baggies was carrying a bunch of fan screws, as well as a few rubber washers to install between the fans and the case. These will help reduce vibration and dampen sound; a nice touch for sure! In the picture below there is a piece of metal that looks like a pci extension slot cover. This piece of metal is not big enough to fit as a cover so this too left me confused as to why it was included. A few zip ties were also in the box.
The exterior quality looks great in my opinion. Although I am not the biggest fan of a black and red theme I feel as this case was tastefully done in that regard. Both side panels felt strong and sturdy as well. The “T” logos on the panels are a nice touch. The face plate actually impressed me quite a bit. First off, it is made of a metal plate with ventilation holes so it is definitely a refreshing alternative to the more common plastic front panels. I feel that their “Riotoro” logo was just a tiny bit too big for my taste. The front panel has a satisfying and convenient push-latch system to connect/disconnect it from the frame. The power and reset buttons, usb ports, and audio jacks sit at the bottom of the face plate, in my opinion they are well placed. As shown below, there is a red led under glow light that adds a nice touch but may not be desirable to some.
The window panel is made of acrylic. It is not tinted and it does a decent job at displaying the inner components of the case. Some may feel like it could have been bigger but I think it does a great job at displaying what’s important. Somehow my window panel got quite a few scratches by the time I was done with this review, and I am not sure exactly how it happened as I tried to be careful with it! It seems to be a pretty sensitive window so I advise you to treat it with extra care. Please excuse the reflection in the picture below. I was having a hard time showing the inside with the panel on while trying to avoid the reflection, this was the best I could do.
A very nice feature that tells me that these guys know what they’re doing, and are definitely aiming at the enthusiast with this chassis, is the inclusion of four dust filters. One of these filters is situated on the exterior of the case, beneath the power supply, and is seemingly removable. The second filter is fitted on the ceiling of the case, and is most likely present to prevent dust from entering the case after the PC is shut down and the dust settles. The first picture below shows the bottom of the case including the psu filter, the second pictures shows a close up of the top filter.
For the most part, the interior design did not disappoint. It is an ATX-style basic layout, I mention this because many ITX chassis tend to have unique layouts/form factors. The case can fit standard atx power supplies, and I am pretty sure it fits longer units like the Corsair ax and rm series just fine. The motherboards sits at the top left (when looking at the case with the windowed panel off) like most other cases. There is a cutout for the CPU cooler, however I found the hole kind of on the small side and so I question whether it will even be of much use. As pictured below, the case also includes 1 120mm fan pre-installed on the rear panel.
There is support for up to 2 120mm fans or 240mm radiatiors on the front and top end of the chassis, and the case comes with one included at the front. As mentioned before, the case includes 4 dust filters. The front of the chassis plays host to 2 of these filters. These are easily removable by sliding them out towards the left.
There were about two unique storage designs that I found very amusing. The first is that there is support for 2 2.5in drives at the top right near the front of the case. These are held in place horizontally by thumbscrews, the use of thumbscrews is why I call it a semi tool-less procedure, as it is very simple and easy to thumbscrew them into place. The second cool design that I noticed was the support for 1 3.5in drive in the space behind the power supply/motherboard. The 3.5 in drive is held in place with a pretty interesting tool-less bracket. There are before/after pictures below that aim to show you how simple the bracket systems are.
As shown below, there is ample space for cable management behind the motherboard tray. Even with bulky power supply cables, and the 3.5in drive firmly in it’s place, the side panel slid back on nice and easy! Below you can also see the 8 thumbscrews that hold the SSD’s in place, the cable management slots between the SSD’s and the motherboard, and the slots at the very top that are most likely there to route fan cables and the EPS power supply cable. There are also about 5 tie down points behind the motherboard that are extremely useful for cable management, however, I wish they would have included at least 2 more in the area behind where the SSD’s sit, but it is not a huge deal.
I only have two complaints about the cable management layout. First, the slots between the ssd’s and motherboard are useful, but felt cramped once I got all the necessary cables through. However. I suspect many users will only be using 1 ssd, and 1 3.5in drive as this storage setup has become pretty common, so without the second ssd, the second slot should be a lot more open and functional. The second complaint is for the huge open slot to the left of the 3.5in drive: on one hand it is useful because I was able to easily push the power supply cables through it, but on the other hand it makes it really hard to hide the cables in that area, and can leave an eyesore of cables. I feel as though Riotoro could have found a more efficient design for this area!
-Compact yet spacious enough for serious hardware
-Supports up to 3 hard drives,including a 3.5in; easy semi tool-less and tool-less setup
-Support for up to 2 240mm radiators, making this chassis a great choice for water cooling
-Includes 2 good quality fans
-Includes rubber washers for reduced vibration/noise dampening
-Support for most GPU’s up to 11.5in
-Windowed side panel to show off powerful hardware
-Includes 4 dust filters throughout the case
-Plenty of cable management space behind the motherboard tray
-Great black and red aesthetic
-Fully black front panel cables
-Support for longer power supplies
-Big open hole below SSD’s can make hiding cables difficult
-Cable slots next to motherboard can get cramped
-Does not currently come with owner’s manual
-Window is sensitive to scratches; not the greatest quality
-My unit was missing a PCI extension slot cover
I am definitely not an expert when it comes to case design, but it is not hard to tell a poor design from a functional one. I believe this case fits perfectly well in the latter. Aside from a few negative things, I was thoroughly impressed with the case and its capabilities. The storage support designs and capabilities were amusing and useful. The support for up to 2 240mm radiators can make for a great water cooled system. The details like the included fans, filters, and even vibration/sound dampening rubber washers are satisfying, and the strong, well built frame and bold exterior aesthetic wrap things up pretty darn well!
At around $75 usd I believe this case directly competes with cases like the Phanteks Enthoo Evolv itx, and even the EVGA Hadron Air if you take into account the higher price because of the included power supply. That being said this case has some tough competition, but I believe it holds its ground well and I recommend this case to anyone looking for a case around this price point, and looking for something different or new! I don’t think that you’ll be disappointed!
On a scale from loathe it to love it, I rate this case a: LOVE IT
Did you find this review useful and informative? Hated it? I would love your (constructive) feedback! Let me know your thoughts on my Instagram page @mitxlove!
Thanks for reading!