We see so many computer chassis pass by our test lab that it's not often we get impressed anymore, but once in a while one arrives that still manages to raise one jaded eyebrow. The Xigmatek Talon is such a chassis, as its forward-slanting design gives it a unique look and character. While we can always appreciate an original design, we're of course most interested in how well it cools and how much noise it makes, along with the features, build quality, finish and easy of use.
When Xigmatek announced the Talon, we had our concerns about the 2.5-degree slant of the design. It might look imposing, but it does affect how you install components since they won't exactly be positioned horizontally. The assumption has always been that this isn't so healthy for hard disks that rotate incredibly fast, and perhaps even the tray of the optical drive. Netgear put a not-so-vertical hard disk inside its Centria router, so Xigmatek isn't the first with this design choice. We tried to settle the question once and for all by asking a hard disk manufacturer, but they neither confirmed nor denied that it could be a problem.
In any case, Xigmatek is convinced it won't jeopardize components, and during testing we saw no proof that the angle impacted the functioning of the hard disk or optical drive. We also have to assume that the Taiwanese designers applied caution when creating the chassis. Furthermore, Xigmatek claims the slant dramatically improves airflow. Now that claim we can put to the test.
We compared the Xigmatek Talon to 11 other chassis that are similar in price and approach, and a couple that are bit different. In the chart below you can see the volume of each chassis. It's based on the external dimensions, so it doesn't represent the available interior space. The Talon is one of the larger cases, but that's due to the special design. In reality it's smaller than you'd expect based on the exterior measurements.