Completed Build, Performance, and Conclusion
The GENOME produced one of the nicest looking builds I've seen, and while the vertical GPU mount might be optional it really helps provide a custom appearance. The GENOME was also among the easiest cases I've worked in, and it helped that quite a bit of the work was already completed right out of the box.
A tidy build is easy with this enclosure, and securing the cable clutter is more important with than usual due to the large vented area off to the side of the motherboard tray, which does not hide messy cables. I routed everything toward the right side as you can see, to keep the extra cables from showing from the front.
I have to point out that the results to follow are for reference only, as the standardized test system uses a dedicated 120 mm liquid CPU cooler (Corsair H75), and the GENOME is bringing a much more capable triple-width liquid solution to the table. I expected this to translate into big gains with the CPU temps recorded using the standard test platform.
Well, under normal CPU loads the GENOME system produced lower temperatures than any of the enclosures tested with the stock test components. Under stress, however, it was bested by a few of the others, leading me to wonder how much of an impact the lack of intake fans (and positive pressure) was having on a system that grew quite warm under sustained stress load. The CPU itself was still kept cool, but system components were certainly heating up without good airflow. This did not bode well for the GPU results…
The GPU was suffocated inside the GENOME without the benefit of intake fans, so I will warn anyone considering a build with this case: buy some intake fans! Based on these results I think they should have been included, as there is just no substitute for airflow with a GPU (unless a liquid-cooled GPU is also to be used, such as the Radeon R9 Fury X).
Next we'll look at noise output:
I could have placed the GENOME at the top of the chart for the lowest idle and CPU load noise I have ever encountered, or at the bottom for some of the loudest GPU fan noise I've heard. I chose the latter, as my R9 290X was forced to hit over 80% fan speed (peaking at 85% during test runs) to keep the GPU cool. Once again, I feel that better airflow from a pair of quiet case fans could have changed this result.
The decision about selecting the GENOME is going to come down to a couple of things: first, as always, do you like the style of the enclosure? Second, are you willing to buy a case where the CPU cooler has already been selected and installed for you? If you answer yes to both, this is an outstanding option. In fact, it's a rather outstanding option anyway, as the cooling performance from the integrated solution is superb (and would be better with the addition of intake fans). If you are pricing out a complete system, and are interested in a high-performance liquid cooler, the total cost of the GENOME system starts to look much different.
Any normal case priced at $249.99 would be tough to recommend considering the competition, but the GENOME is different: it really is unlike anything I have previously reviewed. It has a lot in common with a barebones system, rather than merely an empty enclosure. This means a loss of control and flexibility, but it also translates into an easier build experience; and if the performance and cost make sense, I have no problem with a pre-configured solution like this. The GENOME provided a dead-simple build that looks great and performed admirably, and my only real complaint is a lack of front intake fans, as these will be essential to keep a powerful GPU cool (and GPU load noise down).
Note: I had a very minor secondary complaint, related to LED lighting on the front of the system, but this has already been addressed with the 2nd generation of the GENOME (called GENOME II). The double-helix on the front of our sample case is flanked by a pair of white light strips, and these didn't give off much light. The newer version of the GENOME has apparently addressed this with brighter lighting, so the GENOME II would be the case to buy!
- Powerful CPU cooler pre-installed
- Extremely low noise output from integrated cooler
- Attractive build with vertical GPU option
- Easy build process
- Poor internal airflow from lack of intake fans (very high GPU temps as a result)
All told, my complaint about the GENOME would be averted with a couple of case fans, and overall I really liked the product. It's a unique, interesting idea with a lot of potential, and it goes together very well. I really liked the look of the build when it was finished, and the included CPU cooler provided whisper-quiet performance and excellent temperatures.