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Review of TeamXtender.comís XCM Xbox Replacement Cases
>> Review of TeamXtender.comís XCM Xbox Replacement Cases
Ďblue, red, white, and crystalí
Availble at: www.modwhiz.com, www.xbox-wired.com, www.modchipworld.com, www.xecuter.com.au
Iíve had a lot of time now to work with and play with the XCM series of Xbox Replacement Cases. First out of the block were the Crystal and the Blue Translucent cases, which were designed to mimic or duplicate the stock MS Crystal and Blue Translucent LEís cases. User demand and interest, prompted Xtender to rush and keep up with demand, and release a Translucent Red and a solid Ivory White Shell to the existing product line.
Xtender, has been servicing the scene now for a number of years with a large variety of products, aimed to fit certain niche needs. The XCM case is no exception. Case modding, is a rapidly growing segment of the scene, and can definitely be considered an art form the way some of the modders have customized their cases.
XCM Xbox Case.. what you get for your moneyÖ
The Complete Xtender XCM Xbox Replacement Case Shell
-Top with XCM Jewel (easily removable)
-Bottom with all necessary risers and rear port holes
-Front panel, Button Panel, and Button Panel cover
-Button Panel Halo LED Diffuser (ring around the eject button)
-DVD Drive Bezel
-Foam feet (to replace the rubber ones many people damage while removing them from their stock shell.
Note: Blue and Red Shells come with Blue or Red Eject LED light diffusers, the crystal and white come with a clear/frosted light diffuser. Buttons, match the case color in all cases.
The following, is a review Iíve been working on off and on for weeks now. In some respects, this has been the most demanding and intensive review Iíve done to date. For the most part, this review will cover my testing and ongoing work using the various XCM cases, with focus on the Blue and Red Cases.
With the Case in hand, first inspection, shows that the case, is well made and sturdy and rigid. Not so much so as to be tough to work with, or too brittle like other competing cases on the market. Iím not a plastics expert, but itís clear that the plastic is of a decent quality. Anyone using this shell, wonít be worried about it easily cracking from normal wear and tear.. or from being screwed together like the other shells on the market that crack with the slightest of over torque of the screw driver. You can torque and flex this case and you wonít cry cause of cracks like you would with some of the other aftermarket cases you can buy today.
People underestimate how important this is, the ability to work with, and flex the xbox case. People who enter their xbox a lot, to swap parts, to test chips, to add new and frequent mod additions, need a case that can stand up to the punishment and abuse. Other aftermarket ones today cannot. One out there, is made from CD Jewel case plastic, and cracks far too easily from normal use. The other, isnít even a complete shell, and is missing the bottom tray.
As you view the empty shell, first and foremost your attention is driven toward the included XCM Crystal Jewel attached to the top. Itís easily removed if it isnít to your liking, I was able to do so with a butter knife with little force and no damage to the shell. By the way, this shell is durable enough that it wonít mar or scratch easily. That doesnít mean drag it behind a car though people. :)
The front of the shell, includes what you expect from an xbox replacement shell, including the same port numbers, and logos as the original stock shell. Compact Disc, and Dolby Digital are where you expect them to be. What you wonít see on this shell is the Xbox embossed logo on the dvd bezel. Good, as Iím sure that one logo alone would bring down some heat on this manufacturer.
What you do see is a tasteful XCM chromed embossed logo. Those not liking the XCM Bezel, can wait for a rumored unbranded bezel to be made later, or leave their stock black bezel with XBOX marking on the dvd drive. All expect the white in my opinion look sharp with a black DVD bezel. Your opinion might vary though.
The bottom of the motherboard, appears to have the full compliment of standoff and screw mounts youíd expect. For the particular boards I had used for this review.. they matched up fine, and I didnít need to remove any to allow for a good fit. (with stock xbox shells.. I have found there is more than one type of bottom. When Iíve migrated some boards from one shell to another, I had to do some minor altering, and remove or grind down a standoff or two. I didnít need that kind of surgery on the XCM bottom to accommodate the boards I used. Potentially, other people might depending on their motherboard version. Doing so would not be hard, and you only need to shave a little bit to accommodate.
A nice add-in.. was the inclusion of foam feet. These, replace the rubber ones that come on your stock shell. Nice, since many people either butcher the stock rubber feet, or eventually lose them.
So, thatís the XCM Case, parted, and discussed. Now comes the fun part, the assembly. I grabbed a stock xbox from my personal collection, and went to town. Disassembly of the original took a few minutes max, and with the parts laid out, began the process of migrating parts to the new shell.
Shielding, (ouch.. as usually.. at least one cut..) fit as well as can be expected. It wasnít difficult to install, but I canít say it was as clean a fit as with a stock shell. However, all it took was a bit of elbow grease and some flex/force. No altering of the case or shielding was needed. Then came the Motherboard and Power Supply units. Took a few minutes, and fitted an Xecuter(info) X3 Chip supplied by XS Sponsor BMMODS.com. As with the shielding, fit was fine. No issues. Next was the Xbox Controller ports. Again, painless install.
Then, I migrated the DVD and Hard Drive trays/drives to the new shell. Fit was fine, but I noticed that the DVD drive/Bezel sits noticeably high.. leaving a gap in the front. I continued the install. The Front panel was easy enough to work with, the Power/Eject PCB fit well enough, and look great behind the colored translucent plastic (of the blue case Iím focusing on)
So, with all the key components installed, including cables, fan etc, it was time to put the top on this unit and screw it together. No hassles here, as I tightened, some might say over-tightened the 6 peg screws. No cracks.. no issues.. no problem. I could do that with the other shell on the market.
With the unit fully assembled, nothing left to do but plug it in, and turn it on. I was shocked. The DVD drive, once opened, would not close properly. (check the video at the end of this review) The Tray, apparently. sat so high, that it makes contact with the top shell. While quite annoying, this was an easy fix. Solution, Dremel the screw down pegs of the case slightly, and the drive tray will sit as it should, perfectly centered in itís ďholeĒ.
The annoyances didnít stop there, as when I powered the unit on, the Blue LED light diffuser, didnít really allow any light to illuminate that halo ring around the Eject button. In fact, directly looking at the LED positions, itís almost impossible to see the LEDS on at all. For some, that isnít an issue, but I like seeing that circle light up. More importantly, many programs and apps take control and can use/address that LED ring around the Eject button and use that as a status indicator. Again, while annoying, this too, was easily fixed. (The review video at the bottom of this written review, shows a comparison of the stock XCM diffuser in action with the stock MS xbox frosted diffuser in action)
Anyone migrating a stock xbox to an XCM case, with have the stock frosted light diffuser. Simply swap out the blue (or red if you got a red case) diffuser and replace with a stock xbox shell diffuser. Youíll be glad you did.
Collection of XCM cases: Red, Crystal, White, and of course Blue
-Itís a complete case
-Includes foam replacement feet
-Quality plastics used
-Rigid, yet flexible
-Wonít crack easily under normal usage/modding.
-Colored Light Diffusers (Red and Blue) do not convey light well (easily fixed)
-DVD Drive/Bezel for some people will appear to be poorly aligned. (easily fixable)
The XCM case, is complete, and gives you what you need, and can be worked with without worry. Itís definitely a tough case, and worth your time and money to buy it, work with it, and make it your own with your own customizations. Despite minor annoyance, given how bad the competing products on the market stack up, the XCM case is a superior product, and itís minor issues pose no real problem to anyone with an IQ above a child, and easy access to sand paper or a dremel type tool.
On most sites, reviews would end here. :)
However, I doubt anyone in their right mind would leave the XCM case as nothing more than a pure and simple xbox shell replacement without doing some mods to customize the box and to make it their own. One reason I was so into these cases coming to market is I had no intention of paying the crazy Ebay costs of procuring LE cases for some custom project ideas I had wanted to try for the first time myself.
People want to know other things about these XCM cases. How well do they work with EL wire? LED rings? Jewels? and X3 Control panels? I had the same questions. The following, is my total (and first ever) customization of a translucent case.
I had some PC EL Blue wire handy, and simply laced it around the top of the shell, and viewed it through the shell. I loved it. Granted, to demo it, I took no effort to make it look good or anything. But the effect was clear.
Iíve always wanted to add my own Jewels to a case, and this was a good opportunity. Mad-Modder.com sent some sample/custom Jewels, and would could be better than an official HSDEMONZ/Xbox-Scene Jewel for my first ever customization. Popped off the XCM Jewel with a butter knife, grabbed a hole saw, and cut my first hole.
Spent a few minutes, cleaning the hole with my dremel. Love the results, and the Jewel looked awesome. Even without EL wire or LED rings, the Jewel was worth the effort. Itís a great way to customize the case.
With the Hole cut, Jewel inserted, I then grabbed some X3 Control Panels, courtesy of XS Sponsor MODWHIZ.com. With the Blue X3 Control Panel in place, it was clear, that I had to light that Jewel. Since I was focusing on a blue theme, I grabbed that demo EL wire, wrapped it a few times around the Jewel, hot glued into place. Blue XCM case, Custom Jewel, Lit with EL wire, and a matching blue X3 Panel this case rocked. All that was missing was a Blue Power and Eject LED/PCB mod. I could have done that mod myself, but instead swiped a P/E PCB that was already premodded with blue leds.
So.. what more can I say about the XCM case? It matches up well color wise (blue and crystal Xcm Cases) with the matching X3 Control Panels. Fit is good as well. The Cases looks awesome when lit with any number of options from EL wire to LED rings etc. The plastic, which we knew before was tough and sturdy, also cuts well and cleanly.
Final Verdict: Buy the XCM case. Buy one of each color. Then come to the Forums here on XS and post your customizations in the Case Mod forum. Youíll enjoy the fun you have working with these shells.
Further Discussion, with more photos, at Higher Rez: XS Forums
and don't forget...
REVIEW VIDEO: 11 Minutes with the XCM and includes ideas on what to do with your old stock Xbox Shell.
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