Log Build notes/review on the Viprtech Open Air ITX case


Cable-Tie Ninja
Original poster
Jun 18, 2019
First, images of the "final" build. [1] [2] and [3]

Note on ViprTech: I didn't know anything about this company and when I saw the case I presumed it was one more of those case companies that moved some inventory from Taobao over to Amazon. They're actually a prebuilt PC maker and and there have been a lot of mixed+bad reviews/videos about buying from them on Amazon and other places. This review is about the specific case I got, and I encourage others to do more research than I did when deciding where to send their money. I welcome more manufacturers in this space and hope they succeed and overcome the problems that others have had.

Thanks to California energy prices (I paid almost $400 for under 900 kWh - thanks PG&E) I decided to build a lower-energy open air case to be a daily driver and light gaming system that won't cause my AC to run so hard. This post is about the case, but I'll answer questions about the hardware. All links are to photos.

The photo links you see in this will show it at several different stages/configurations so they will not be consistent with each other.

I really wanted a Motif Monument, but don't trust preorder times since nothing ships on time these days. I wanted this system done fast, so I found the ViprTech Sidewindr on Amazon for US $109 and wanted to give it a shot.

tl;dr: It does the job for me, required some mods, and has lots of room for improvement.

It was shipped in a very simple brown box with good quality foam keeping it in place in the corners. Included was a small instruction leaflet and a cable clip and some ties.

The metal is solid and the paint is great. However, unlike the Motif, there is NO back panel at all. On visual inspection, there were no flaws in the cuts, bends, or paint. The person in charge of this unit this paid attention to the design and cared about the appearance of the product.

This lacks the back panel cover that the Motif Monument has, so the whole build should be planned and tested before starting to assemble. I actually designed and 3D printed a plastic cable guide and used it extensively to help tame the back of the PC.

It's made for full ATX power supplies, so SFX power supplies (in this case, the Lian Li SP 750) will need to dangle on an adapter and may have power supplies that are too short. Extensions helped, and ended up looking good once tied back. If using an SFX PSU and an SFX to ATX bracket, know that the bracket will only be attached with two screws so may be wobbly.

There is room for a 140mm fan in the "basement" blowing fresh air on to the GPU, which is a welcome option. I have one running very slowly (800 rpm, silent) and giving it a little color. IF you wish to use a fan in this case, mount it FIRST before any other hardware, as it would be difficult to line up a screwdriver with interference from the motherboard/gpu on top or the power supply on the bottom.

Once loaded with some hardware, it bends and wobbles a bit but not so much that I was worried about breaking my hardware - with ONE exception: the PCIe connection:

Besides the difficulty of cable management, there is one minor design flaw and one major. The minor one is that the IO cover is a TINY bit too small to allow a standard cover to "snap in." I thought it was just an issue for my specific IO cover, but found two more in storage and all had the same problem. After cleaning up the blood (those things are SHARP) I just did the best I could by bending a little and sandwiching it in against the motherboard. If you have a motherboard with a built-in IO plate that's made to fill that hole, it may not mount at all. I had that problem with a different case and an Asus board a couple generations ago. That one could be solved with a Dremel, but this thick steel wouldn't be so easy to grind out.

The MAJOR design flaw is with the PCIE bracket, and there are two problems with it. The first and most obvious is that the cut-out for it will totally block one of the DisplayPort ports (and other ports, if your card has them that high up) and nothing can be done about that.

The second and most egregious flaw in the PCIe slot is that it was bent a bit too far away from the case and the card would not fully seat in the board and stay screwed in. I tried bending the PCIe bracket on the card a little and that got it to boot for a while, but I did not trust that a little bump would crash my system with a hard ejected GPU. My solution was to move the fan to power supply area (impossible if I used a full ATX PSU) then mount the GPU in the bottom two slots and use a PCIe riser to loop under the GPU, and finally 3D print a couple spacers to keep it from sagging in the back. This worked, but it's FAR from a good solution.

Full album through various stages of the build/rebuilds.

Materials: A+ (Great steel and paint)
Design Concept: B (It's nice to offer an open air case that gives the option for a gpu fan and full-sized ATX PSU. Really needs a dedicated cable channel)
Execution: C (fix the PCIe slot!)

The hardware for system was mostly my previous kubernetes/virtualization home server, which I replaced with several very low power Celeron J4125 tiny PCs so I could easily overwhelm them to make it easy to fail services so I could write self-recovery software. Very little of it was purchased "new" for this system, which is why the hardware configuration doesn't make a lot of sense but does the job.

  • Intel i9 10900 10c/20t (NON-K, 65W and throttled down for low power usage)
  • Asrock H570M-ITX/ac (not a fan, but this wasn't meant to be a daily driver PC when I built it.)
  • 32GB Corsair Vengeance LPX 3600
  • 2T Sabrent Rocket 4.0
  • EVGA GeForce RTX 3060 Ti XC GAMING, 08G-P5-3663-KL

Idles at 33C cpu/gpu, peaks at 65 CPU / 68 GPU before the top fan turns on, and even that only maxes at 800RPM. With the fan on, it doesn't get over 68C. While writing this, it's only using 58W power from the wall. In moderate gaming (Jedi: Fallen Order, for example) it never goes over 350W from the wall. It does what I built it to do: Use WAY LESS energy in daily driving and mild gaming when I don't need to run heavy RTX titles like Cyberpunk, Watch Dogs Legion, etc.


Cable-Tie Ninja
Original poster
Jun 18, 2019
I forgot to mention: Because the bottom is sized for a full ATX PSU and is steel, it's pretty good for magnetically attaching a small LCD.