Mini-ITX has become a very popular form-factor ever since the last year or so, and I must admit that I am a fan as well. See, years ago Mini-ITX equalled slow hardware, but these days you can mount even the fastest Core i7 processor and a high-end graphics card on that 17x17cm based motherboard. So you can create something very small, yet offer big performance. The Hadron AIR is all about creating the smallest chassis and then jam as much gear in there as possible. Admittedly, I feel EVGA has a small success on their hands, though it was introduced (initially) too expensive. See, EVGA wanted to offer the smallest chassis possible and as such had to include a PSU as well, that PSU eats away a third of the budget already and thus drove the price upwards. Luckily we review the unit after it's been available for a while now and hey, we spotted the Hadron Air with a 500W PSU for 140 USD after rebates already. And that's where things get interesting.
I must admit that when you look at a photo of the chassis, you could end up frowning a little about its aesthetics. The chassis looks a bit shiny. Overall the design is based on a nice matte finish, black from the inside out. It's perfect for dark-colored high-end gear like motherboards and graphics cards. Bear in mind though, only Mini-ITX goods will fit. Tastefully done I guess is the better keyword here, as the chassis is not screaming with logos and flickering LEDs. Taste however is a difficult thing to objectively write about, we love it, you might hate it of course. But yeah, the looks overall I think are pretty terrific.
We can only acknowledge that the product is very feature rich for a chassis in this segment of the market. There are removable HDD/SDD trays and decent cable management options inside the PC itself. Then there is the slim optical drive bay and 2 PCI expansion slots. Up-to 2 HDDs or SSDs can be installed. You slide in until you hear and feel a click, and your HDDs are locked and loaded to arm that PC of yours. Good to see are USB 3.0 connectors on the side and obviously the included Gold certified 500 Watt power supply, which is decent enough by any standard.
The EVGA Hadron Air is nice but not perfect. You will get your hardware in there, but it will remain a tight fit with limited options. A GeForce GTX 780/Ti/Titan will fit precisely, however an AMD Radeon R9-290(X) is a hint too long I'm afraid. You will also need to factor in components that can run hot. Also needed, a low profile CPU cooler. These typically offer slightly less performance. Cooling and noise levels are sufficient enough to make it acceptable. And as long as you are not tweaking the living daylights out of the system setup you will be fine. But you will have to make some sacrifices due to the small design. Overall it's all good though. A tip for EVGA, next time let's see all the cables in black. I just hate to see different colors inside an open window chassis. The included PSU is pretty good, but if it ever fails it'll be rather hard to replace due to its slim form factor. So what about pricing, USA versus EU? I already mentioned that you can purchase the product for under 150 USD in the USA with a rebate. With that in mind I just checked the EU prices, and these are very steep I am afraid, 175 EUR incl VAT was the lowest price I could find. And that will be a bridge too far for many. So let me wrap things up, you are of course restricted to the smallest form factor motherboard, but the end result can be a super-duper-hyper-fast PC if you choose your components well. There are several Mini-ITX motherboards based on the Z87 chipset.
Yeah, you can build a PC that is massive in performance whilst being small in size. Combine that with decent enough airflow and the sheer looks then I have to say that EVGA's Hadron is a nice first Mini-ITX chassis release, it offers a massive amount of features for what is the smallest form factor. It is tiny and cute and if you do things right, it'll be grand in performance.
EVGA Hadron Air review We review the cutest and most tiny chassis from EVGA, the EVGA Hadron Air. A small mini ITX form factor chassis that will house the smallest, but also the biggest stuff inside your computer. A high-en...