There's something immensely satisfying about buying various PC components from the same manufacturer. Perhaps it's the hope that they'll work together in perfect harmony, but whatever the reason, Gigabyte is safe in the knowledge that consumers regularly consider its award-winning graphics cards and motherboards.
In an effort to build on that foundation, the manufacturer is putting a renewed focus on its chassis division in an effort to convince would-be buyers that a Gigabyte box is the best place for all of your components.
One of the first new-generation solutions to roll off the product line and into the UK and US markets is the Sumo Alpha. Priced at £50, it's an inexpensive option and one that's aimed at mid-range gamers looking to build a high-performance rig that doesn't break the bank.
Gigabyte Sumo Alpha Specification
|Materials||0.5mm Steel Frame, Plastic Accents|
|Motherboard Support||ATX / Micro ATX|
|Drive Bays||External||5.25in x 4|
|Internal||3.5in x 4
2.5in x 1
|Cooling Capacity||Front: 1 x 120mm
Top: 2 x 120mm
Rear: 1 x 120mm
Bottom: 1 x 120mm (optional)
|I/O Panel||USB 3.0 x 2
Mic x 1, Audio x 1
|Dimensions (H x W x L)||430mm x 195mm x 460mm|
Externally, Gigabyte's mid-tower frame is modest in size, at 430mm x 195mm x 460mm, and, like so many other new chassis, is styled black throughout. The overall finish is actually quite good, and the large mesh side window is a nice touch, but we really don't care for the Megatron front face. The plastic elements may appeal to younger audiences, but we'd have preferred it if Gigabyte had kept things a little more subtle and sleek.
The Sumo Alpha's angular face is a shame, really, as the rest of the chassis is smart. The mesh insert in the side panel is well-implemented, and the I/O panel, lining the top-front edge, is similarly well-done. It includes two USB 3.0 ports (connected via an onboard header), headset and microphone jacks, a small reset button and a toggle switch for the chassis' blue LED lighting. It's a shame, however, that the backlit power button is positioned further down; if your PC lives under the desk, it can be a chore to reach.
As expected for a mid-tower chassis of this size, ATX and micro-ATX boards are supported, seven expansion slots are available, and the PSU-mounting bay is positioned in the bottom-rear corner. Gigabyte's storage configuration is equally straight forward, with four external 5.25in bays, four internal 3.5in bays and a dedicated mount for a single 2.5in disk.
There doesn't appear to be much in the way of stand-out functionality, but the Sumo Alpha does show potential in the cooling department. Despite the £50 price tag, Gigabyte bundles four fans as standard; a 120mm front intake, dual 120mm top exhausts (each with blue LEDs) and a 120mm rear exhaust. That's a very healthy out-the-box configuration, but if you do want to expand there's room to add an extra 120mm bottom intake - though you may need to choose your PSU carefully to ensure there's no conflict.
The two LED-illuminated fans in the roof of the chassis produce a neat glow that works well with the mesh side panel, yet it's a shame they're not controlled by the light switch on the front I/O panel - that only acts as a toggle for the LEDs built into the chassis' plastic front face. We'd liked to have seen a complete stealth mode, but as it stands, you're given a choice between a bit of blue light or a lot of blue light.
Gigabyte clearly hasn't pushed the boat out with the Sumo Alpha. Following the gamer-chassis rule book to a tee, it offers teenage aesthetics, black paintwork inside and out, a partially see-through side panel and, of course, the pièce de résistance: lots of cooling potential at a low price.