RIOTORO CR1080 Compact PC Case - by Steven Lynch

RIOTORO might not be a name that many of you are familiar with (yet) so you might be surprised to learn that the company was founded by a great group of people that bring years of experience to the table from their time as employees at Corsair and NVIDIA. RIOTORO features a line of PC cases, power supplies, water cooling kits, gaming mice and keyboards, and fans.


From the company's about us page:

We believe that, to be truly successful in business and in life, we must be honest and open with our customers, our suppliers, our distributors and our employees; in short our stakeholders. We refuse to mislead, steal, deceive, or exaggerate the facts or truth of a matter in any way, so we can build trust among all our stakeholders. In other words, at RIOTORO THERE IS NO BULL!



We are fiercely innovative and passionate in everything we do. At RIOTORO we see the future as a new and exciting adventure. Our vision of innovation started with a simple idea: energize computer hardware development. Our products are forged by the next generation of innovators, ideas, ways of working and innovative options in computer hardware.  Our engineering and design team are constantly looking for different ways to innovate and deliver unparalleled customer focused experience.

Today we are reviewing the  RIOTORO CR1080 compact PC case. What makes this chassis different from other compact cases is the fact that it supports full size ATX motherboards. Yes, you read that right, the CR1080 supports full size ATX motherboards.



PACKAGING:

The  RIOTORO CR1080 arrived in its bare product packaging with minimal signs of wear. The overall package measurements are 18"H x 15.5"L x 11.5"W and is made of double-walled corrugated cardboard with dual staple construction along the seams.


The RIOTORO CR1080 features plain cardboard packaging with an outline of the case, product information, name, company logo and an exploded view of the chassis all printed in black. The case itself is wrapped in a plastic bag and held in place by molded Styrofoam inserts.



TESTING METHODOLOGY:

As many of you know by now, we take a two-pronged approach to our case reviews. The reason for this is simple; a case that would be more than adequate for the average user may not work as well for the enthusiast and vice versa. When it comes to cases, it's obvious that a "one size fits all" approach just isn't going to cut it.  Our case testing consists of two complete hardware configurations, one for the average user and one for the enthusiast. While the average user may use only a single graphics card, hard drive, and large cooler, enthusiasts more often than not push the limits of case design with multiple GPUs, a stack of hard drives, and cooling solutions that vary from mild to wild.


We have test fit industry standard hardware, multiple GPUs, hard drives, self contained water cooling solutions, as well as large DIY dual slot radiators commonly used by water cooling aficionados. We do this because, although manufacturers may say that a case is specifically designed for gamers and enthusiasts, the term is broad enough that it warrants additional testing to validate those claims. Let's talk about the hardware we use for case testing. For case reviews, you aren't looking for the latest, greatest, fastest hardware on the market. With that in mind, we selected some of the biggest, hottest, and loudest hardware found to test with for fitment issues, thermal properties, vibrations, and noise levels.


The thermal characteristics of a case not only depend on the initial layout and design, but also on what kind of hardware you are using and how much of it is being put in the case. A case that has great airflow with a single GPU might not cool so well when loaded up with two or more graphics cards and a handful of hard drives. We monitor temperatures two ways; manually with a custom built unit capable of reading up to eight temperatures simultaneously as well as with CPUID's Hardware Monitor. This ensures that our readings are accurate and reliable. Leads from our temperature probe are physically attached to various points in the system allowing us to double check all of our temp readings. To get the system up to temperature, we run Prime95 and Furmark simultaneously for 60 minutes before we start taking any readings. This allows the system to level off after reaching max temperature.

EXTERIOR:

Being a chassis that can accommodate full size ATX motherboards, the RIOTORO CR1080 is surprisingly small. The RIOTORO CR1080 features a steel construction with plastic front / top panels with black metal accents. The case measures 15.7"H x 9"W x 14.1"L and weighs in at 8.5 pounds. The case is painted with a matte black finish inside and out.


The top of the case is home to two USB 3.0 slots, headphone and microphone jacks, power and reset buttons, and a hard drive activity LED. There is a vented area in the rear portion of the top panel for ventilation. The entire front of the chassis is a solid panel with ventilation holes backed by foam filter material. Also, despite the smaller stature of the CR1080, the RIOTORO still includes an external drive bay for an optical drive or other drive bay accessory such as temperature gauges or fan control hub. Directly behind the front fascia you will find mounting locations for two 120mm fans (though the CR1080 only ships with one 120mm from the factory).


The side panel on the RIOTORO CR1080 features a large flush mounted acrylic window for showcasing your system build. The chassis uses metal thumbscrews hold both side panels in place. The side panel window is slightly tinted which, may or may not be an issue to some. The side panel on the opposite side of the case is bare with the exception of a vented opening to accommodate power supplies.


Around back you will notice that this chassis features an inverted design that, when looking at the chassis from the back, makes it look like your system is upside down compared to a traditional configuration. The standard motherboard I/O area is now on the bottom and the opening for the PSU is off to the side. The seven expansion card slots have moved from the left to the upper portion of the back panel and there is a 80mm exhaust fan opening at the bottom left.


The filtration system is a bit of throwback to the days when manufacturers routinely added foam behind the steel mesh area of the front panel. Removing the front panel for cleaning is as easy as grabbing the bottom lip and pulling the panel away from the steel frame. While the ventilated panel over the PSU has a removable magnetic filter, it would be nice to see RIOTORO just go with removable magnetic filters for the front of the chassis as well.


The "look" of a case is subjective and will vary from person to person but I think most people will agree that the styling of the CR1080 is very appealing. Although plastic is used in the construction of the of this chassis, you can see from the photos that the fit, finish, and panel alignment is spot on.


INTERIOR:

This is where the design of the RIOTORO CR1080 really shines. The case features a dual chamber compartmentalized design that separates the motherboard, processor and graphics card from the power supply and hard drives.



Looking at the chassis from the front (in default configuration) , the right hand side of the case is where the motherboard, CPU, AIO coolers, and GPUs are installed. There are seven expansion slots that allow for tri-SLI and CrossFire installations. There are a total of six cable pass-through holes with rolled metal edges in the motherboard tray for cable management. Oddly enough, there is no hole in the motherboard mounting plate behind the CPU socket area to make heatsink changes without removing the motherboard. 

There is a total of two 3.5" drive bays with slide out trays that can also accommodate 2.5" drives. As mentioned already, the CR1080 has a vertical 5.25" ODD drive bay as well as a hidden 2.5"" SSD mounting location behind the 3.5" hard drive mounting location above the PSU area.

When it comes to fan mounting locations, you have two 120mm spots in the front of the chassis, two 120mm spots in the base of the case and a single 80mm fan mounting location in the rear of the CR1080. There is a mounting location for a power supply in the rear portion of the case that supports PSUs up to 175mm in length.




FAN & AIR COOLING:

As part of the review process, we break down the cooling section of this evaluation into several parts so that we may adequately cover each section separately. First we look at stock fan cooling, then all-in-one water cooling solutions, and finally DIY enthusiast water cooling, as well as the ins and outs of each along with any issues we encountered along the way.

Our "smoke test" is used to demonstrate the amount of air a case is capable of drawing in and from how far away. If the design of a case restricts its ability to draw in the cooler outside air, thermal performance can suffer as a result. Consider this a flow test of sorts.


Although the RIOTORO CR1080 only ships with a single 120mm fan, this chassis was still able to pull air from a distance of over 21" from the case. Impressive considering there is a foam filter behind the front fascia.


The RIOTORO website lists the maximum cooler height as 120mm. Those of you that prefer air cooling your CPU will need to carefully choose a CPU cooler that is less than 120mm tall.


All-In-One Water Cooling

120mm / 140mm A-I-O Coolers



For those of you planning on using an all-in-one, self contained water cooling unit such as the Antec KـHLER H2O 620, Corsair Hydro H80 or the Antec KـHLER H2O 920, the open 120mm mounting location in the front of the chassis works fine with all these coolers.


240mm A-I-O Coolers



If you are planning on internally mounting a dual fan all-in-one cooler like the Corsair Hydro H100, H110 or the Thermaltake Water 2.0 Extreme in the RIOTORO CR1080, you are limited to the front of the chassis.

Enthusiast Water Cooling

Those of you that prefer to build your own water cooling system, the RIOTORO CR1080 can accommodate standard size 240mm dual fan radiators like the Swiftech MCR220 XP and the Black Ice Xtreme II in the same locations as the all-in-one coolers listed above.



There are four cable pass-through holes with rolled metal edges in the motherboard tray and two cable pass-through holes with rolled steel edges. The fact that this is a dual chambered chassis, there was plenty of room in the rear compartment for cables.


Temperature Testing


Standard Hardware Configuration


With an ambient room temperature of 24°C / 75°F, our standard hardware configuration test system generated the following temperatures:
The performance of the RIOTORO CR1080 in standard hardware configuration was suprisingly good considering there is only a single 120mm intake fan for cooling. Moving on to the enthusiast testing, it will be interesting to see if this chassis can keep up when fully loaded with hardware.

Enthusiast Hardware Configuration

Running our tests in enthusiast trim, with the ambient room temperature once again at 24°C / 75°F, our test system generated the following temperatures:
We were shocked at how well the CR1080, with its single 120mm intake fan, was able to deal with the heat generated by our enthusiast set up. Sure, these temperatures would definitely be better with a second 120mm intake fan but, overall we we rather impressed with the chassis' performance.


Sound Levels:

We took sound level readings from three feet from the case with two off-the-shelf dB meters from two different angles. The RIOTORO CR1080, with its single 120mm fan, was louder than expected at 35dB. The video clip below will give you a better idea of the sound levels and sound profile produced by this chassis.

Mod-ability

The question of whether or not a case is a good candidate for modding is highly subjective and varies on a case by case basis. As modders ourselves, more often than not, a plain case that offers a "blank slate" to express our creativity is preferable to a case with large pre-cut side windows, pre-installed 200mm LED fans and so on. It has been our experience that, aside from some very specific projects, most modders prefer not to spend extra money on features they are simply going to cut off and remove anyway.  The RIOTORO CR1080, like other purpose built cases, is not a case you would choose for a mod project aside from a few cosmetic mods like maybe a repaint.


Conclusion

Surviving Hypothermia's testing process isn't a chore to be taken lightly. Every case that comes through our labs is thoroughly examined, pushed to the limit, and tested in ways that we feel gives you an accurate assessment of the product's ability to perform in the manner you would use it at home.

While the RIOTORO CR1080 had a few drawbacks like only one 120mm fan, the filtration system being a bit of a throwback, and no hole in the motherboard tray for easy cooler installation, I have to say that we were very pleased with this chassis.


The fact is that, when it comes to compact cases that support full sized ATX motherboards, this is easily one of the best choices out there. Imagine the power house LAN rig you could build in the RIOTORO CR1080. We easily fit a 1000W power supply, aftermarket water cooling, two large spinning disks and a three-way SLI set-up in this chassis and still had room to spare. It is for that reason we have awarded this chassis our Editor's Choice Gold "Must Have Hardware" award.


The RIOTORO CR1080 compact PC case is available from Amazon for $79.99 with free Prime shipping.