Riotoro CR1080 Tiny ATX Case Review

[caption id="attachment_184665" align="aligncenter" width="645"]Ritoro CR1080 Riotoro CR1080 ATX Case[/caption] If you haven't heard of Riotoro before, you're not alone.  They are a pretty new company founded by former employees of Corsair and NVIDIA.  They believe that PC enthusiasts were being overcharged in order to have the best hardware.  So they set out to design and provide enthusiast grade products at a lower price point.  Previously, Legit Reviews took a look at their Prism CR1280 case, Ritoro's first case, and the first RGB lit case.  Today, we are taking a look at their newest case, the CR1080, this is only their fourth case they have released.  This is a small case that is designed to support full size ATX motherboards, standard power supplies, and even some of the longest graphics cards. All four of Riotoro's cases are currently available for purchase, the CR1080 can be found for $79.99 with free shipping and includes a 2 year warranty. [caption id="attachment_185130" align="aligncenter" width="645"]Ritoro-CR1080-Case-Sizes Riotoro CR1080 with BitFenix Nova Mid-Tower[/caption] To support a full size ATX motherboard and other required standard components, the case has to be at least the size of the motherboard.  Then toss in the need for cooling and power, both of those increases the required size.  The Riotoro CR1080 measures 9.625 x 14.125 x 15.5in (WxHxD), where a standard ATX motherboard measures 12 x 9.6in (HxD).  Comparing the two sizes, Riotoro has added just over 2in to the height of the case, and about 6in to the depth.  Taking a look around the office, I found that many of the mid-tower cases designed to hold similar hardware is typically around 7 x 17 x 18in (WxHxD) (yes, most cases vary in size a little).  This makes the Riotoro CR1080 the smallest mid-tower case that supports a full size ATX motherboard I have. [caption id="attachment_185131" align="aligncenter" width="588"]Ritoro CR1080 DAT Riotoro CR1080 Direct Air Flow Technology[/caption] The size of the CR1080 isn't the only thing it has going for it, in small spaces cooling is always a concern.  Riotoro has implemented Direct Air Flow Technology (DAT), that directs air flow over the hottest components to help keep them cool.  The space in the front of the case can support up to two 120mm fans (Riotoro includes one blue LED 120mm fan), which blows over the motherboard, and is forced out the back.  The bottom of the motherboard section can support an additional two 120mm fans, and in the back of the case a single 80mm fan can be placed as an exhaust. Features and Specifications:
 Riotoro CR1080 Specifications
Dimensions 9.625 x 14.125 x 15.5in (WxHxD) 245 x 359 x 394mm (WxHxD)
Material Steel and Plastic
Drive Bays 5.25in optical drive bay 2x 3.5/2.5in drive bays 2.5in drive bay
Motherboard Support ATX, micro-ATX, and mini-ATX
PSU Support Standard ATX 175x150x85mm
Graphics Card Support Fits full size reference graphics cards up to 300mm
Max CPU Cooler Height 120mm
Expansion Slots Seven
Cable Management Cutouts and mounting points
Fan/Radiator Mounting Points Front:  Two 120mm mounts (one blue 120mm LED included) or single 120mm radiator Bottom: Two 120mm mounts Storage bay: 80mm mount
Front Panel Dual USB 3.0 Microphone and Headphone Tool free side panel
Warranty 2 Years
[gallery ids="184667,184666"] Like most cases, the Riotoro CR1080 is packaged in a plain heavy duty cardboard box.  The front of the box presents a glimpse of t he case, while the back of the box goes into detail on the specifications.  Opening the box, the case is packed between two large Styrofoam blocks, along with another layer of cardboard protecting the side window. [caption id="attachment_184830" align="aligncenter" width="645"]Ritoro CR1080 Riotoro CR1080 Installation Guide and Accessories[/caption] Like every case manufacturer, Riotoro includes an accessory pack that includes the required screws and motherboard mounts to install your system components.  In addition, extra fan screws are included and six small cable ties.  The installation guide isn't entirely necessary, however with a unique case like the CR1080, it might be helpful to have it handy.  You can always download it from Riotoro and print out the installation guide, which is what Riotoro has done.  This is a pretty cheap and easy method of providing a user manual, which probably rarely gets taken a look at. Next, let's spend a few minutes taking a look at the exterior of the CR1080 before opening it up and seeing how the components get installed.

Riotoro CR1080 Exterior

[caption id="attachment_184665" align="aligncenter" width="645"]Ritoro CR1080 Riotoro CR1080 ATX Case[/caption] The Riotoro CR1080 case is only available in black, and looks quite a bit like a mATX case, rather than a full size ATX case. It measures 9.625 x 14.125 x 15.5in (WxHxD), while many standard mid-tower cases are taller, and deeper, but not as wide.   While most modern cases have the motherboard on the left side of the case, Riotoro has opted for the less common method of placing the motherboard on the right side of the case, this used to be the style for BTX systems.  Let's take a look around the case before opening it up. [caption id="attachment_184713" align="aligncenter" width="645"]Ritoro CR1080 Riotoro CR1080 Front Panel[/caption] Nothing too exciting about the front panel, it is fully vented  and has the Riotoro brand at the bottom.  A single 5.25" bay is available here, and is installed vertically rather than the common horizontal installation. [gallery ids="184715,184714"] The top panel isn't designed to specifically hold any fans, however Riotoro has vented the back half of the case which will be split between the two internal sections.  At the front of the top panel is the normal front I/O cluster, which contains all the usual suspects, power button, microphone/headphone jacks, hard disk activity LED, two SuperSpeed USB 3.0 ports and a reset button. [caption id="attachment_184719" align="aligncenter" width="645"]Ritoro CR1080 Riotoro CR1080 Window Side Panel[/caption] Many cases have side panel windows, the main side panel on the Riotoro CR1080 is entirely clear, allowing for a full unobstructed view of the motherboard and its components.  The clear window is slightly raised a little, which other than providing a little extra design flair, it could potentially provide a little extra room to install a CPU cooler.  At the top of the front bezel, Riotoro has placed their logo.  Unfortunately, the review sample had a slight manufacturing imperfection in the lower left corner of the case.  Nothing major at all, it doesn't detract from the case or operation of the case, and I'm sure the imperfection was a mistake, not a common occurrence. [caption id="attachment_184716" align="aligncenter" width="645"]Ritoro CR1080 Riotoro CR1080 Back Panel[/caption] The back panel doesn't provide any real surprises, however we can start to see how Riotoro was able to make such a small case with standard components.  Using the dual chamber design, the right side (from this viewpoint) holds the drives and power supply.  The power supply has been rotated to rest vertically, specifically with the fan facing the removable side panel.  The left side (again from this viewpoint) we find seven expansion slots, an 80mm fan location, two external water tube holes and the standard mother I/O key port. [caption id="attachment_184717" align="aligncenter" width="645"]Ritoro CR1080 Riotoro CR1080 Left / PSU Side Panel[/caption] We just mentioned that the power supply rests vertically, designed for the fan to face the side panel.  This is the reason a good portion of the side panel has been ventilated.  As airflow is pretty restrictive in side the CR1080, getting fresh air to vital components is necessary. [caption id="attachment_184718" align="aligncenter" width="645"]Ritoro CR1080 Riotoro CR1080 Bottom[/caption] The bottom of the case is pretty standard as we would expect.  Four case feet raise the case just over 1/2", and have rubber feet to keep the case from sliding around.  On the motherboard side of the case the bottom is ventilated, which allows for up to 2 120mm fans to be installed here.  The front panel, we find there is a hand hold location on the bottom, which is used to pull the front panel from the rest of the case.  

Riotoro CR1080 Interior

[caption id="attachment_184722" align="aligncenter" width="645"]Ritoro CR1080 Riotoro CR1080 Interior of Motherboard Side[/caption] As we remove the side window panel, we can take a closer look at the internal compartments.  For the motherboard side, we can see several cable management holes in key locations across the top, bottom and at the front.  Looking closely at the front two holes, one appears that it'll be covered if we install an ATX motherboard, which isn't entirely unusual.  There is one key item missing here that many of us have become accustomed to having, that is a hole in the motherboard tray to install a CPU cooler after the motherboard has been installed. [caption id="attachment_184817" align="aligncenter" width="645"]Ritoro CR1080 Riotoro CR1080 Interior MB IO[/caption] The back of the case doesn't surprise us as it shows everything we saw when we looked at it previously.  The seven expansion slot covers are held in place with thumbscrews, which comes in handy for tool-less installation of expansion cards. [caption id="attachment_184818" align="aligncenter" width="645"]Ritoro CR1080 Riotoro CR1080 MB Interior Bottom Panel[/caption] Nothing exciting on the bottom panel either, it is ventilated to allow up to two 120mm fans to be installed here.  There is no filter on these vents so if they are to be intakes expect more dust than normal.  Make them exhaust fans and you shouldn't have any issues. [caption id="attachment_184819" align="aligncenter" width="645"]Ritoro CR1080 Riotoro CR1080 Interior Front Intake[/caption] Now we can start to see something interesting.  The front panel includes space for two 120mm fans, or a liquid cooler.  The Riotoro FB120 Blue LED fan is included, is rated for 1,500RPM at 26.5dBA, and pushes 47cfm; this is not a PWM fan.  Overall, the specifications on this fan doesn't impress me, I have many fans that push more air while being quieter (at least according to specifications).  Riotoro states that a 120mm radiator will fit here, but I suspect a 240mm radiator would fit as well, but it could be tight due to the cable box at the top. [caption id="attachment_184721" align="aligncenter" width="645"]Ritoro CR1080 Riotoro CR1080 Interior PSU Side[/caption] Removing the solid side panel reveals the layout for the power supply and storage devices.  As we previously mentioned, the power supply sits with the fan facing out, rather than the fan facing down.  There are two trays for 3.5" drives, and two hidden locations for a 2.5" drive and one for the optical drive. [caption id="attachment_184820" align="aligncenter" width="645"]Ritoro CR1080 Riotoro CR1080 PSU Side Swing out Drive Mount[/caption] The 3.5" drive tray is held in place with a thumbscrew and swing out to reveal a 2.5" SSD tray.  The 2.5" drive can be secured with screws through the bottom of the tray or along the top edge of the drive.  Beneath the tray, there is a little room for some cables to be hidden. [caption id="attachment_184821" align="aligncenter" width="645"]Ritoro CR1080 Riotoro CR1080 PSU Side Front Panel[/caption] Taking a look at the front of the case, we can get a view of the 5.25" drive bay, and the 3.5" tray slot.  The 3.5" tray slot slides in and locks into place with common squeeze clips.  At the bottom of the front panel (the right side of the front panel here), is a place for an 80mm fan to be placed, this wouldn't be a bad place to put a small intake fan to provide some cooling for the hard drives. [caption id="attachment_184829" align="aligncenter" width="645"]Ritoro CR1080 Riotoro CR1080 3.5" Drive Tray[/caption] The 3.5" hard drive tray is a common design, which works rather well.  The hard drive is placed on the bottom of the tray and gets secured with four nubs that pop into the side screw holes on the drive.  If you want to use this tray for a 2.5" drive you can do that as well, there are holes in the bottom of the tray to accommodate 2.5" drives. [caption id="attachment_184831" align="aligncenter" width="645"]Ritoro CR1080 Riotoro CR1080 Front Panel Removed[/caption] The front panel is removed by pulling from the bottom, the review sample I found the front panel to be a little more difficult to remove than originally expected, it is held on tightly.  The front panel being fully vented has a foam mesh filter between the outside panel and an interior honeycomb panel.  The 5.25" optical bay cover is held in place with two clip.  Taking a look at the front of the case itself, we find there are places to install up to three fans, two 120mm fans on the motherboard side, and an 80mm fan.

Riotoro CR1080 Build

[caption id="attachment_184987" align="aligncenter" width="645"]Ritoro CR1080 Riotoro CR1080 Build MB Side without GPU[/caption] The only thing left to install is the GPU, before we get that done, let's take a look at what we found when building the system.  Let's take a quick note of the cable management, the tighter the space inside the case the harder it is to route cables without proper planning.  After doing some quick thinking I decided where I wanted to route cables and only had to make one change to the original plan, in relation to the large 24-pin power connection.  Also, typically I install the CPU cooler after the motherboard has been installed as I have become accustomed to holes in the motherboard tray designed to facilitate installing the cooler at any time, the Riotoro CR1080 does not have a hole in the motherboard tray, so make sure any CPU cooler support bracket is in place prior to securing the motherboard. [caption id="attachment_184988" align="aligncenter" width="645"]Ritoro CR1080 Riotoro CR1080 MB Side Top[/caption] Not many places at the top of the case to secure cables, and the USB 3.0 connector is rather long and thick.  It was easier to bundle it at the top of the case rather than trying to route it behind the motherboard tray.  The other front panel connections are so close to where they begin there is a large amount of extra cables, these cables are small and easily routed through the hole at the top of the motherboard tray so they can be hidden on the other side of the case.  While the top isn't specifically designed to support a fan, it would be possible to install a 60mm fan, or an 80mm fan; it would be a tight fit. [caption id="attachment_184989" align="aligncenter" width="645"]Ritoro CR1080 Riotoro CR1080 MB Side Front of Case[/caption] The front of the case came with the pre-installed 120mm intake fan and this is the only location to install an AIO liquid cooler.  Riotoro specifically says a 120mm fan and a 120mm radiator will fit here.  I would think a 240mm radiator would fit here though, unfortunately I didn't have one immediately available to verify. [caption id="attachment_184990" align="aligncenter" width="645"]Ritoro CR1080 Riotoro CR1080 MB Side Bottom of Case[/caption] Rather than using the hole in the motherboard tray to route the large 24-pin ATX power cable, I ended up using the hole at the bottom of the case.  With the AIO liquid cooler installed, not much space was left in the hole underneath the cooler.  The 8-pin auxiliary power connector for this motherboard was routed trough the hole at the bottom of the case, making it easily hidden.  On the bottom panel, Riotoro says it'll support up to two 120mm fans, which is technically true, you'll want to install them early to try avoiding fighting with other cables when installing them. [caption id="attachment_184997" align="aligncenter" width="645"]Ritoro CR1080 Riotoro CR1080 Power Supply Side[/caption] With the two 3.5" hard drives, one 2.5" SSD, 5.25" optical drive and the power supply installed, we can see the amount of room left for cable management.  Beneath the power supply is the hole that is used to route the motherboard's 4 or 8 pin auxiliary power cable.  The other power cables can be routed through the bottom holes or the little bit of room left from the other holes after the AIO liquid cooler was installed.  Cable management can be accomplished, it just takes a little forethought. [caption id="attachment_184998" align="aligncenter" width="645"]Ritoro CR1080 Riotoro CR1080 Hidden 2.5" SSD[/caption] Installing the 2.5" SSD behind the 3.5" hard drive is easy, connecting the cables though can be a little daunting.  With limited space, you'll have to be sure to think out the cables and which connectors make the most sense.  If I was to change the SSD to have the label side towards the tray, I could use another right angle SATA cable and make thing a little easier, along with making it easier to attach the power cable. [caption id="attachment_184999" align="aligncenter" width="645"]Ritoro CR1080 Riotoro CR1080 Drive Cabling[/caption] Routing cables for the 5.25" optical drive, 2.5" SSD and 3.5" hard drive can be done by routing the cables between the power supply and the optical drive bay.  It is a little tight to get them all to fit, but if you have a good power supply with flat cables you shouldn't have too many issues.  The other option is to route the cables on top of the 3.5"/2.5" tray. [caption id="attachment_185000" align="aligncenter" width="645"]Ritoro CR1080 Riotoro CR1080 5.25" Drive Install[/caption] Installing the 5.25" optical drive is done rather easily.  Simply side the drive in from the front of the case (after removing the front panel) and secure it to the case with four screws on the bottom of the drive.  For those that might want to have an additional hard drive, you could always skip the optical drive and put another hard drive here.  Unfortunately, the pre-drilled holes in this area do not correspond with the holes on the bottom of a hard drive, so you'll have to drill an additional hole, in order to have the drive secured by two holes (or get yourself a 3.5" hard drive adapter to fit the 5.25" bay). [caption id="attachment_185132" align="aligncenter" width="645"]Ritoro CR1080 Riotoro CR1080 MB Side Window View of Complete Build[/caption] With the system powered up, I found that the top I/O cluster has a red LED ring around it; while this makes a nice effect, it doesn't look right with a blue LED fan.  Looking through the side panel window, you can see everything that is on the motherboard side as the entire side panel is clear.  The section of the side panel that is raised is helpful for those power cables on the GPU, while it wasn't necessary, it was nice not to have to bend those wires a lot to get it to fit.  Thankfully the NVIDIA EVGA GTX275 I installed is a standard height GPU, there are some now that are slightly taller than the expansion slots, and then if you wanted to run them in SLI or CrossFireX you might run into height issues; keeping in mind Riotoro says the maximum height for the CPU cooler is 120mm, so I would take that as the maximum height for the GPU (and any SLI bridges you might want to use).  

Final Thoughts and Conclusions

When building systems in small cases you have to think out the installation a little more than a standard case.  When space is at a premium, you need to carefully verify everything fits and is installed properly to allow for maximum cooling.  While the Riotoro CR1080 is no different, I did find that installing all of the components was easy, and routing cables wasn't as difficult as I expected.  There are certainly a few gotcha's that you need to be aware of both when installing the system and doing cable management, but they are all easily overcome with some careful planning. [caption id="attachment_185132" align="aligncenter" width="645"]Ritoro CR1080 Riotoro CR1080 MB Side Window View of Complete Build[/caption] Cable management is pretty easy, Riotoro has left plenty of room in the right spots to route cables, however in several I found it more difficult to properly route the cables, such as the big motherboard 24-pin cable, I had to route it through the bottom hole, rather than the one right near the connector.  To get the SATA cables to go to the other side, I found it easiest to route them through the hole near the bottom 120mm fan (or the 120mm radiator). Another concern with small systems is cooling, with one 120mm intake fan, plus the 120mm fan on the DeepCool Captain 120 radiator, I was questioning the cooling capabilities.  Riotoro has implemented Direct Air Flow Technology (DAT) to push air directly over the hottest components, and allow it to escape out the back and top without any additional fans.  How well does this work?  I decided to fire up the test system which consisted of an EVGA Z170X FTW motherboard, with an i7-6700K CPU overclocked to 4.5GHz.  Idle temperatures were 28C, while the maximum temperature under a heavy load the CPU maxed out at 72C; a 44C diffference. [caption id="attachment_184997" align="aligncenter" width="645"]Ritoro CR1080 Riotoro CR1080 Power Supply Side[/caption] As the case stands today, I have a few suggestions to improve the Riotoro CR1080.  First, put a large  hole in the motherboard tray for installing CPU coolers after the motherboard has been installed; while it would be behind the power supply, that is much easier to remove than the motherboard.  Next,put a filter on the bottom 120mm fan locations to help keep dust down as they will probably be used as intakes.  A simple magnetic filter would work great here.  While I understand these could increase the cost of the case, what it provides the user would be worth a small increase in price. The Riotoro CR1080 is currently available for purchase online for $79.99 plus free shipping.  At this price, there is a wide range of ATX based cases to choose from, the lead selling point in the CR1080 is that it is one of the smallest cases available that fits a full size ATX motherboard, and the largest graphics cards.  With the one exception in the finish process, if the CR1080 is any indicator of what Riotoro plans to do, they will definitely be a company to keep you eyes on. LR Recommended Award Legit Bottom Line:  If you want to have a full sized system in the smallest box possible, the Riotoro CR1080 is a great option!  The CR1080 is Riotoro's second case, and shows they are one to keep your eyes on as they plan to bring out more enthusiast grade products at a lower than "enthusiast" premium price.