Introduction to the RIOTORO Prism CR1280 Full-Tower Chassis
What do you get when you combine a few former Corsair and Nvidia employees? A new company called RIOTORO. RIOTORO is a few-month-old California based company that’s dedicated to building innovative PC components with leading-edge features and performance. Currently they produce PC cases, keyboards, and mice, though one does wonder if that’s where they’ll draw the line – doubtful. Initially their products were available to Latin America, but they’re now broadening their offerings to the US market and are launching the Prism CR1280 Full-Tower chassis with integrated RGB lighting.
The Prism CR1280 is the world’s first RGB-lit chassis, which I bet we can expect to see other manufacturers follow suit. Comprised of mostly steel, some plastic, and some aluminum, the CR1280 also has a full-sized semi-tinted acrylic window to show off your hardware inside. While you don’t have a giant [unnecessary] 16.8 million palette of colors to choose from, the 256 that you do should be more than enough. So what exactly lights up on this case? Going from top to bottom: The I/O panel features a rectangular ring that lights up, two 120mm intake fans, and also a RIOTORO logo on the bottom of the face. Adjusting the lighting is as simple as pressing a dedicated button within the I/O panel, which will also allow you to adjust the rotational speed of the lighting.
Also featuring direct airflow technology (DAT), this case will provide better cooling performance by directing air where it is most needed. Also found in the I/O panel is a fan controller to allow you to decide on the level of performance that you’d like to achieve.
You can find RIOTORO’s Prism CR1280 on Amazon with an MSRP of $139.99 beginning today and features a 2-year warranty.
Prism CR1280 Technical Specifications:
478.1 x 250.72 x 577.50 mm (w/foot)
Steel, Aluminum, and Plastic
4 x 3.5” internal screwless
4 x 2.5” internal screwless
2x 120 or 2x 140 fan mounts in front (2x 120mm included)
3 x 120 or 2x 1400 fan mount on top
1 x 140 mm or 1x120mm rear exhaust (1x 120mm included)
Water Cooling Compatibility
1 x 140 x 25mm or 38mm rad + push/ pull fan in rear
3 x 120 x 25 mm rad + push fan on top (full clearance)
2 x 120 rad or 2x 140 + push/ pull fan in front
Power button, reset button, HDD light, 2x USB 3.0, 2x USB 2.0,
headphone and mic. Slow speed, high speed, and RGB LED switch
Mini ITX, Micro ATX, ATX, eATX
ATX PSU Max Length
Up to 220mm
Max GPU Length
Max CPU Cooler Height
Let’s move on and see what the outside is all about, and follow that up with checking out the interior, and finally build a test system inside, seeing how easy or difficult it is.
Prism CR1280 Packaging, Product Tour, and Impressions
RIOTORO is a very new business and appears to have wanted to keep things simple. The packaging is a gloss black with information on one side only; the rest of the package is just the RIOTORO logo.
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Inside we find the Prism CR1280 protected like we would expect any case to be protected – with formed foam blocks and a plastic bag. When we pull these packing materials off, all of the gloss plastic sections and the full-sized acrylic window are protected with a film to resist scratching.
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Pulling everything off, we see exactly how nice looking this chassis really is.
Let’s start with the front of this case. As you can see, there are zero 3.5-inch bays on this case, which is a trend we’re likely to see more and more with the parting of optical media in favor of USB flash media. At the very top you will see the I/O panel (more on that in a bit), and on the very bottom is the RIOTORO logo. This logo is one of four items that lights up on this case with the 256 color light system.
Pulling off the front is very easy, as you just reach on the underside of the face and pull forward. You catch a glimpse of how the logo lights up on the bottom.
Looking a little closer at the front panel, we see that this is filtered, though not removable. In all honesty, this filter is definitely better than nothing at all, and you can clean it by simply vacuuming it off or blowing it with compressed air.
Setting the front panel aside, we have now exposed the included fans. Unfortunately RIOTORO doesn’t have any specifications for these fans on the CR1280 landing page, so I cannot comment with that. Their website also appears to be under construction and the data is not there for just the fans, either. These fans are attached on the interior of the chassis and can have a 140mm fan installed instead of the stock 120mm.
At the very top where the I/O panel is located, there is a plastic housing here. This housing not only encases the wires, but it is the rectangular ring that lights up around the buttons.
On the bottom are the two LEDs that illuminate the RIOTORO logo. If you look at the bottom of the following picture, the little tab in the center is to pull out one of two filters.
Reattaching the front panel was quite tricky and not easy like it was to remove. I had a hard time getting it to attach in all of its points without another point popping out; even at one point I couldn’t get a couple posts to go back in, despite pounding on them with the side of my hand.
Jumping to the left side exposes the full-sized tinted acrylic window. Most manufacturers simply build the window into the side panel, but with the CR1280, the window is the side panel.
Here’s a quick look at the side panel. At the very top of the panel there is a metal trim piece to make the case look sleek.
Here’s a shot with the side panel completely removed. You will clearly see that this case is comprised of two chambers, but the PSU will mount strictly in the bottom chamber. Note that the bottom metal piece that says “RIOTORO” is not removable at all. I’m not really sure what the reason was to disallow access to the bottom chamber from this side, but it is not the end of the world, fortunately.
Inside here we can see several wire pass-thru points, so you will have no shortage of points to make your interior look nice and clean. The cutout on the motherboard tray is nice and large, leaving you with plenty of access to the rear of your motherboard for cooler installs or swaps. You will notice that the hard drive cage is missing here, and that’s because it’s located in the bottom chamber. The included exhaust fan measures 120mm, but like the front fans, RIOTORO has no specifications on this fan.
When we got this case, there were three thumb screws and an expansion slot filler flying loose inside the case.
I discovered that there were three screws missing on the expansion slots, one of which was for my loose filler. I did realize later on that there was an additional screw missing from a side panel, so I had to rob one from the expansion slots, which is why one is missing in the following picture. Thankfully after opening the accessories package was that last screw and more filler plates. Why there was one screw in there gets me wondering, but I decided not to pursue that thought. Anyway, the expansion slots have knockouts in all but the top two slots, which can be later closed off with the fillers if needed. There are eight slots in total.
On the bottom of the top chamber was a spot for a 120mm fan to be installed on the underside (based on the indentation for the screws). I can’t say this spot would be ideal for a 120mm liquid cooler, as it will rest just above the PSU and there is next to no room there to begin with, so don't try it!
Moving onto the rear, it is about as basic as you can get. The exhaust fan can be expanded to a 140mm fan and is also vertically adjustable. In this dual-chamber case the PSU will only mount in the bottom chamber, so some users may have to ensure they have an 8-pin 12-volt motherboard power cable extension handy if their PSU’s wires are shorter.
The right hand side of the case is very plain, so there is not much to see here.
Pulling off the side panel exposes a bunch of goodies, however.
Starting with the most noticeable item are the circuit boards, one hidden behind a RIOTORO logo. The one hidden behind the logo is simply removed and put back into place via the magnets adhered to it. The top board is for the LED light system, while the one on the bottom is a fan controller. The fan controller actually has room for two more fans thanks to the pre-installed splitter on the bottom right connection.
Room for four 2.5-inch drives on the rear is a nice touch. The brackets can be a little tricky to remove, but they’re removed by pressing the tab on the left side down and sliding to the right.
Here’s a shot of the bracket itself – no tools required.
On the bottom left is where your 3.5-inch hard drives will live. On the bottom chamber, I would have liked to see some active cooling in place for the hard drives. RIOTORO did design this case with air flow in mind, trying to keep all of the hard working components as cool as possible with direct airflow (AKA: No obstructions), but neglected to give your drives any cooling. Fortunately there are several vents to help dissipate heat, so it’s not just going to get trapped in the bottom. I know some drives, like my HGST NAS series drives, which are known to run a little warmer than others, wouldn’t be happy inside this case.
The 3.5-inch HDD bracket is also tool-free, so installing or removing these drives will be made easy. This is the 3.5-inch bracket:
Wire management wise, you have 1/2 to 7/8 inches of space in the route your cables. I’m happy to see more manufacturers go towards giving you more and more room for wire management. This case definitely could have used a little more, but I was able to squeeze my wires behind the cover with little effort.
On the top there is an acrylic shroud which I believe is in place to assist with silencing the case when no fans are in use, but still allows for any extra heat that the fans didn’t push to the rear to escape.
To remove the shroud, you simply press down on the rear, you’ll hear a click, and it’ll pop up, allowing for quick and easy removal. With the shroud removed, it’s now easier to see that you can install up to three 120mm fans or a as large as a 360mm radiator. There is also a mesh filter up here that is removable and is held in by little magnet strips.
So that I/O panel that has been mentioned a few times is angled towards the face, helping you more easily access the buttons or connectors. You can also see the translucent outline, which you will later see lit up by the case’s RGB light system. Working our way left to right you find an illuminated power button, RGB button, a fast and slow speed for the fan controller, HDD activity, headphone in, mic out, 2x USB 2.0, 2x USB 3.0, and a large reset button.
Finally on the bottom of the CR1280 are two nicely machined aluminum feed with rubber pads installed plus two removable air filters – one accessible from the rear, one the front.
Included with this case are only six expansion slot filler plates, screws to install your components, and a piece of paper with a QR code for installation instructions.
This wraps up the product tour, so let’s take a look and see how easy it is to install hardware inside the Prism CR1280.
Hardware Installation Inside The Prism CR1280
When it comes to full-tower cases, I typically expect little to no struggle installing hardware inside. As of writing this and photographing it, I did not have a 2.5-inch SSD handy, so I will just use a 2.5-inch laptop HDD instead, so you can get an idea of what your drives will look like. The 8800 GTX that I’m using in this build is a golden oldie, but the card length is similar to cards that are out on the market today, measuring approximately 10-9/16-inches (~268 mm) long.
Starting with the motherboard, I didn’t have to do any prep work as RIOTORO installed the standoffs from the factory. Slipping the board in place was easy as expected.
I then placed my hard drives where I wanted them. This was made extremely simple thanks to the completely tool-free design of both sizes of drive brackets.
Next I mounted my video card and CPU cooler and had some issues mounting the cooler. I found the cutout on the motherboard tray is either not large enough or is positioned incorrectly for my motherboard. I had to remove some screws to squeeze the backplate into place. If you look at the pictures below, you can see that it’s hidden behind the motherboard tray a bit – this is a problem. I did remove the top shroud as I did install a water cooler and found the install to be relatively easy after I got the backplate situation figured out, but not without a hitch.
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So the radiator ends up hitting the little button that holds the top acrylic shroud in place. I actually had to push the radiator into the button in order to get my screws in place above. It looks like this button can possibly be removed, but not that easily. I apologize but I could not get a photo of this as it was in a very tight space.
Finally I installed my PSU in the bottom chamber and routed my wires to their respective places. You’ve got 1/2 to 7/8 inches of space in the rear, so for the most part you should not have to worry about picking and choosing which wires to route in the rear.
The PSU that I am using is not modular and has a bunch of extra baggage, so I found it a little rough getting all of my wires tucked away. After the wires were in place, I felt bad for my hard drive as it felt trapped inside a small compartment with no airflow.
Overall the build was fairly easy, as expected, but as mentioned it didn't come without troubles or concerns. When I fired up the case, the built-in fans were not whisper quiet on the low setting, and they got a fair amount louder at the fast setting. I apologize but I do not have a sound meter and could not measure this.
The LED system is pretty neat, especially through the side panel. The LED color auto rotates with no option to change that, unfortunately – not that I could find a way to stop, anyway. Here are a couple shots of the different LED colors.
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The top I/O panel’s LED ring is a nice touch, too.
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Let’s wrap this review up with some final thoughts.
RIOTORO Prism CR1280 Full-Tower Chassis – Final Thoughts and Conclusion
RIOTORO is a brand new company, looking to penetrate a pretty saturated market of PC components. Comprised of few former Corsair and Nvidia employees, RIOTORO will likely succeed in the genre that they’re in currently and likely if they decide to expand their horizon.
The Prism CR1280 is the world’s first RGB-lit chassis and brings you a new level of factory-built coolness. Sure you can add your own RGB LEDs to your existing chassis, but RIOTORO did that for you with this product.
I’m kind of indifferent with this case, but slightly leaning towards the “I like it” side. I really like several of the features, such as the RGB lighting, massive frameless side window, dual chamber design (though flawed), simple hardware install, and decent wire management, but at the same time I disliked a few things, too.
For one, I was not happy to see any active cooling over the HDD cage, and no option to fix that; the bottom chamber seemed a little awkward overall compared to other dual-chamber cases that I’ve worked with in the past; it seemed to lack space. The front panel was also a tad tricky to get to pop back in place, but perhaps with time things will “loosen up” and it’ll be easier to put back on. No included PSU cable extenders is a big negative here, as this is a dual-chamber full-tower design and the PSU is just a hair farther away from the motherboard than a mid-tower or traditional full-tower design is. At this price point I would have liked to see something included instead of scavenging for one.
The biggest issue that I discovered was the cutout on the motherboard tray is incorrectly sized or placed for my motherboard. I could not install my water cooler’s backplate without having to disassemble my build somewhat. I have to say, this made me frown. Also with the cooler, the button that holds the top shroud in place actually got in the way of my radiator, causing me to put a little force against the button in order to install the screws into the radiator.
Unfortunately if you choose to install your own LED strips inside, you won’t be able to sync up the color changing with the built-in hardware automatically. This isn’t really a negative, but something that is worthy of pointing out – the controller cannot handle the end user’s LEDs. I could not find a way to stop the color rotation of the LED system, which is not going to appeal to those who want a static color.
Available today for $139.99 MSRP on Amazon, you can get your very own Prism CR1280, which also has a 2-year warranty.
Overall I have to say this is a pretty good start for RIOTORO, and I feel that with time they’ll perfect their products. This is only one of their first cases and I think they did a fine job, but it does still need some improvements.
Legit Bottom Line: The Prism CR1280 is the world’s first RGB-lit chassis brought to you by a brand new company. RIOTORO seems to know what they’re doing and with time will bring out even cooler products.