We’ve been contemplating this review for months, and now it’s finally time – the Quadstellar is complete! This mammoth PC case is an absolute oddity, with a unique four compartment design that splits graphics, storage, motherboard and power supply. It also comes with some interesting extras, such as fancy app-controlled front vents, magnetically attached glass panels and (of course) RGB case lighting. Here’s our full review.
The key feature of the Quadstellar is that it is compromised of four connected quadrants. If you tip the case 45 degrees to make the motherboard tray level, you have the graphics card bay up top, the motherboard and storage areas in the middle level and the power supply below. The areas are all interconnected, so you can run cables and so on without needing to go through a small airlock in the centre as you did with the earlier Tristellar design.
The front of the case includes an RGB-backlit square power button in the centre with a heptagonal plastic facade over each of the four spokes. These facades are programmed to open once the case’s internal temperature rises, allowing air to enter the case from the front and be drawn in from the front fans. You can also manually control these flaps using the included app, which is compatible with 2.4GHz Wi-Fi networks only – 5GHz networks are not supported.
Each sector of the case is generously proportioned, with room for E-ATX motherboards up to 305 x 330mm, 14 expansion slots (between motherboard and graphics card area), ATX power supplies up to 300m and thirteen drive ways (eight 3.5-inch and five 2.5-inch).
The only significant restrictions come in cooling – you’re limited to a 110mm tall CPU cooler, a 120, 240 or 360mm front liquid cooler and a 120 or 240mm bottom liquid cooler which can be 28mm thick at most. One 120mm fan is installed in the rear and four up front; there is room for two more 120mm front fans, one 120mm and two 80mm rear fans and two 120mm side fans.
With everything installed, the Quadstellar has a unique look that sets its aside from its peers: a four-spoke design, wrought on a large scale and encrusted with RGB lighting and automatic front vents. Awesome.
Getting a rig up and running in the Quadstellar is an interesting process, for a few reasons. First of all, you’ll need quite a bit of space to work on this case, as you’ll want to remove the metal and glass shrouds that cover each of the four quadrants. You’ll also likely need to remove the graphics card bay from the top of the case in order to install your motherboard. With the original box taking up space as well, we had to devote fully half of our working area to this single PC case.
We were also surprised to see that despite its size, this case only supports 120mm fans and radiators rather than the more common 140mm variety. That meant the 280mm NZXT Kraken X61 we planned to use had to be swapped out for Gamer Storm’s own Castle 240mm cooler.
Second, unlike every other case we’ve ever worked with, the Quadstellar’s motherboard tray is orientated at a 45-degree angle, so you’ll need to be careful while installing the motherboard initially and moving other components into position. We ended up tipping the case onto one of its four spokes in order to get a more level (but still not perfectly flat) playing field, then supporting it from beneath with spare cardboard boxes to make sure that it didn’t fall over while we were installing our components.
From here, things get a bit simpler. The motherboard can be installed cleanly, with plenty of space around it to work. The I/O shield is recessed more than you would expect and didn’t fit inside cleanly, but after a few minutes we managed to push it into place.
The cables you’ll need to plug in have been nicely routed behind the motherboard with velcro, so you can easily loosen these to get everything into the correct position. The power supply bay is absolutely massive, so there’s plenty of room to leave cables here, which is great if you’re working with a non-modular power supply. We had to replace our PSU after we noticed excessive coil whine from our graphics card, and in both instances installing the PSU proved to be a breeze.
There’s also a pair of rails to install any liquid cooling, one on the side and one at the front. We opted for the side mounting, with our AIO unit slotting into place next to the motherboard to reach the pump atop our processor.
With the motherboard, CPU cooler and power supply in place, you can then add in your drives. We only filled one of the eight 3.5-inch bays and the M.2 slot on our motherboard, so we barely scratched the surface of what this case is capable of.
It’s important to remember to wire up the fans and front lighting; this is accomplished with a single SATA-type power connector routed behind the motherboard tray by default. With this in place, you should be able to switch on the system and marvel at the appearing and disappearing front apertures. Even with the front flaps closed, the case is hardly air-tight – there are gaps between the glass windows and the metal shrouds, so air can still be pulled in and exhausted regardless.
These flaps and the lights are controlled by a mobile app, which unfortunately isn’t compatible with 5GHz networks. That meant we had to set up a 2.4GHz network just to get the app working, make our settings changes and then shut down the network again. Thankfully, the case does remember the changes you make to its settings between shutdowns, so you potentially only need to do this once. However, a way to do this via the PC itself (a la NZXT’s CAM) would be a nice addition for the future.
Overall, the installation process was lengthy but straightforward, with the different quadrants of the case making it easier to install each major component with plenty of space around it. The preinstalled fans and clean cable routing meant we didn’t have to worry about this at all; sometimes it’s necessary to reroute or remove several components to get things working, and this wasn’t the case here. The CPU cooling was the only major annoyance, thanks to the case’s incompatibility with 140mm radiators, but with a 120mm radiator in hand the job was completed rapidly.
Noise and temperature
The Quadstellar is a relatively quiet case for its size. With the fan speed set to a calm 500 RPM, we took readings of just 28dB from a metre away. With the fans at a higher speed, around 50% of their maximum, fan speeds reached closer to 33dB. We didn’t find a big difference between the front flaps being opened or closed when it came to noise.
In terms of temperatures, we found some of the best temperatures we’ve ever recorded, at just 32°C at idle and 62°C under load with our Core i5 6600K and GTX 1080 system. The distributed design does seem to do what it said on the tin, allowing each major component to radiate its heat away rather than warming up its neighbours. Awesome!
The Quadstellar is a totally unique case, offering a bold design on a grand scale. Building in this case is an easy prospect too, once you’re aware of its cooler limitations. With good noise and excellent thermal results, the Quadstellar also proves to be a strong performer as well. It’s still far from practical though, as you need a ton of space to build and even home this PC, it’s too heavy to carry more than short distances unaided and it costs four hundred quid. Still, if you have a thick wallet, a lot of desk space and big dreams for your next PC build, the Quadstellar might just be the case for you.