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Zebronics Bijli 2 (ZEB-3323 B) PC Chassis Review

  1. Introduction
  2. Packaging, Bare Essentials and Specifications
  3. External Impressions
  4. Internal Impressions Part 1
  5. Internal Impressions Part 2
  6. Installation Impressions
  7. Conclusion
  8. View All

Labelling a case as a “Gaming chassis” has become a norm if you’re following the hardware scene for atleast couple of years. They carried a premium price for a while which was bought by very limited amount of people.

Gaming cases initially were pictured as Glossy paint job, plasticky themed mould- mostly shields, dragons, fancy Christmas-ish lights and protruding meshed panels to matte finish paint job (internally and externally), plain (or without any theme) designs, maximum depth with lot of room to upgrade, good enough fans, option to install water cooling units like Asetek OEM WC units bundled with couple of fans to say the least. That standard was raised

A lot of people bought Zebronics Bijli case back when it used to cost Rs. 1,000/- approx per unit. Usually, around the forums people bought those case if they couldn’t anything like Coolermaster 690. When the Elite series came, there was “some choice” but Bijli’s thunder (for those who do not know, Bijli means “Bolt of lightning” in Hindi) pretty much was killed when NZXT Gamma was around for Rs. 2,000- Rs. 2,500/-.

Zebronics, Bijli, Bijli 2, Gaming case, India

Will Bijli 2 be a worthy successor and be anywhere near its rivals? Take a look!!

Standard cardboard packaging on the outside with specifications mentioned on the back of the packaging.

Styrofoam on the top and on the bottom while the case wrapped in plastic. Nothing out of the ordinary.

After doing a vague search (it is easy to find out the Chinese based OEM for such cases), the case is originally made by a Chinese company called Dongguan Orient. This case is modelled “716” by Dongguan Orient with the right side panel from another case modelled “718(judging by the photographs).

If you compare Zebronics cases with Orient’s product page, you will see a few cases are the same with few cosmetic differences. By now, its clear that Zebronics simply relabelled this product.

4 very thin strips of cable ties, 1 speaker buzzer attachment, 7 brass standoff (+ 1 pre-fitted on the motherboard tray), 2x push pins (probably if you want to install fans) 6x pan head screws and 20x round head M3 screws with an attachable PCI slot cover with a hasp lock attachment for the side panel with 1 particular screw provided with it.

A piece of paper is provided with some instructions on it:

According to the instructions, the tray lets you install an extra 60mm fan. However, Zebronics didn’t mention their definition of “slim” fans.

Advertised Specs Zebronics Bijli 2


Chassis dimensions: (WxDxH)
  • 190x 430x 450mm


Motherboard type:
  • ATX/micro ATX


Thickness:
  • 0.6mm SECC


Expansion Slot
  • With four CD ROM space
  • With four HDD space


Cooling fan:
  • 1x 120mm (rear)
  • 1x 120mm (front)
  • 1x 120mm (side)
Front Panel
  • 2x USB 2.0 (Header)
  • 2X USB 3.0 (Re-routing Cable)
  • 1x Audio/Mic Jack

The front panel is made of plastic with mesh on the front: 3x 5.25″ bays for CD/DVD/Blu-ray and even fan controllers/front panel USB port add-on, 1x floppy bay and 120mm Fan vent on the front.

The rear is something that is nothing new but you will see 7 plastic moulds on the rear panel. There are 2 rubber grommets if you want to attach any water cooling unit, but most likely designed so that you can mount something like Corsair H50(?) or such units if you plan to buy it.

The left hand-side of the side panel is mostly vented with a 120mm fan mount and a rectangular shaped acrylic sheet cutout. I am disappointed to see side vents are left like that, even with the fan positioned to push the air in. The 1/2cm each hexagon shaped grills have no way of preventing the dust from entering the case, rather it seems till this point that the airflow from the fan will aid in making the internals more dusty.

 

The top panels can accommodate 2x 120mm fan and Zebronics have bundled 1x LED fan position to push the air out.

There are 2 USB 3.0 ports (marked in blue) and 2 USB 2.0 (marked in black) ports on both sides of the panel with Mic and Speaker front panel jack in the middle. The ports don’t seem to be installed properly on the plastic mould. The top part of the metallic border on the USB 3.0 port towards the left seems to be push towards inside, whereas the USB 2.0 port on the right isn’t really in its usual rectangular shaped.

There is a hexagon shaped power button on the top and the chromed plastic reset button with HDD activity LED ring on it.

The case feet feels like soft plastic. The cut-out section towards the bottom is for you to slip your hand in to get a grip to open the front panel, but it doesn’t seem to let you do so, probably because of some screw/plastic attachment from the inside.

The vent is for the HDD bay area so that the tray will have the access to pull it in. Not really a useful implementation. A good enough front panel fans does the job.

Lets open it and see how it is…

The internals have the same type of paint job as it did on the externals. 5.25″ bays have plastic secure knob on 1 side, plastic PCIE tool-less secure bracket and 4 pairs of 3.5″ hard drive bay rails with 2 of them occupied by a hard drive tray.There are 2 cut-outs on the right hand side (from the left panel view) and 1 towards the bottom for re-routing cables towards. However, its strange not to see a cut out on the top left corner for rerouting 6/8 pin ATX Power cable. Strange that someone who makes case for a living overlooked the basics of a case made with cable management features, atleast in this day of age. Do note that even though the right hand side of 5.25″ bays just need to slide in, there isn’t any pre-drilled screw holes. A lot of people would be comfortable securing certain 5.25″ devices properly, so that could have been provided.

From the front:

The top 2 5.25″ drives has a spring attachment, so that you can press the plastic button to eject the drive through the spring door.

 

You can remove the entire spring-door frame from the front panel, should you wish NOT to use it.

The holes on the front panel cover is about 1mm in diameter each (like most front panel mesh).

You’ll need to remove the front panel and then take out your trusty screw driver to remove the steel plate to access the front panel fan. Having such front panel and then larger hexagon shaped mesh doesn’t really prevent dust from entering in. Instead of having a hexagon mesh, having a nylon dust filter would have been much helpful.

There is a large enough access hole to re-route cables and wires. Except the top panel, there is nothing on the front where there are any LEDs or buttons. The hole is big enough to re-route Power/Reset/Power On/HDD Activity light- or even USB/Audio jacks.

That being said, do note that its very difficult to have 100% foolproof dust proof PC case, unless your surroundings are near dust free. Dust filters however prevent a lot of dust entering the case directly, so by max you can clean it every once in 2 weeks.

The bundled front fan is 120mm, but there are pre-drilled holes to mount a 140mm fan. Out of all the 4 corners for a screw mount, only 2 of them are pre-drilled: the top-left and lower left corner.

 

The top plastic control panel is where you’ll have the power/Reset, USB 2.0/3.0 and audio/Speaker front panel connectors.

The panel comes out fairly easily. Once you remove it you find a lot of space to re-route cables. To be honest, the case has lot of access for cables and header wires to be re-routed. By now, one can say that Dongguan Orient uses same chassis so that they can use different top/front panel designs as they see fit.

USB 3.0 jacks are nothing more than a re-routing cable- not headers. You re-route these cables through the case and one of the rubber grommets and connect it back of the I/O port. What’s really bad is that these do not use headers- and having a re-routing cable is no big deal. A lot of newer boards are coming with atleast 2x USB 3.0 connector on the I/O panel and 2x USB 3.0 via the header, usually where cases with USB 3.0 headers are connected. This is one of many buzz-kill in this site. Zebronics should have made an effort to say that this is nothing more than a re-routing cable- or ask the original manufacturers to provide USB 3.0 header cables.

And this is a thumbscrew:

Plastic head with headless 6-32 threads. Even a Rs. 2,500 worth case from somewhat “average” case makers have thumbscrews- then again, such thumbscrews from such cases do end up being corroded eventually.

On the top, as said before there’s a 120mm fan attached positioned to blow the air out. The fan is powered only via molex connectors, which is disappointing that 4 pin fan connectors are not provided. The bottom has vents for the PSU with 120mm fan and for an extra case fan with an option to install an 80mm fan. There are 2 support for the power supply and foam around the psu area from the inside, mostly to prevent vibration. If they really did want to prevent vibration from the power supply, the standoff support could have had  rubber on top as well.

However since the bottom fans and the power supply fans usually pull the air in, there are no air filters to prevent dust from being sucked in. You can see 6 support groove on the bottom which suggests you can attach a long air filter material on the bottom and remove it for cleaning and yet its not provided?

Till here its obvious that all the hexagon shaped vents gives a clear way for dust to be collected. This is a very bad design oversight.

 

The paint-job is pretty good and it feels solid, but 7 pieces of plastic attached next to the PCIE slots gives me a funny feeling and doubt of how their tool-less design works. By now you would have observed this small metal piece around the side section of the case that helps to put in the slide panel in- however it didn’t feel the same. Usually those metal pieces are little bit “springy” but this is just flat out- but it seems they’re installed to prevent the c. There’s no problem sliding the panels in though.

There are plastic secure attachment for the 5.25 inch drives. You don’t require to do anything on the side as it slides in tightly. The PCIE secure attachment is plastic and the only thing that is holding it on the case are 2 sets of screws. The plastic is weak and doesn’t really give me any confidence that these will last for long.

Remember this part?

 

To install a PCIE-add on, you’ll to snap the pcie slide on the case and then pull off the plastic handle from the rear panel. then you install your card in and push the plastic panel back in.

 

The fate of your PCIE cards and hard drives are in the hands of flimsy plastic that gives a good impression that they can break very easily. A thumbscrew (not the plastic make-belief type like the one above) would have been much better than this.

Before talking about the tool-less design, there is a small space between the motherboard tray and the 5.25″ bay, where you can slide the headers through the rear of the HDD cage.The space is small and thin, which is good enough to hold the wires together. However, the hole isn’t big enough to slide in the USB 3.0 re-routing cable.

This is how it looks:

This piece of plastic attachment with a hold-down plastic bracket on the case. The plastic mould is too small and too weak- and honestly I would be skeptical in mounting 10″ inch cards with dual slot/Triple slot- Like Asus 6950 CUII.

Yeah sure!!! There is a 7 cut-out on the motherboard tray to support the weight from the other side, but that plastic contraption needs to be stripped and thrown away. You’re much better off grabbing a set of thumbscrews/screw drivers. They didn’t provide thumbscrews, but that where . Another oversight.

You will need to snap off the PCI cover before using it. Here’s a let down. These are nicely painted but once you snap them off you cant put them back unlike the extra ugly pcie bracket provided. Its much better than using that gray coloured PCIE bracket, wouldn’t you agree? This piece metal is good enough to be used. But this non-reusable and hence I throw this and install the inferior make gray bracket incase I don’t need to use the PCIE slot. Why not make these reusable?

…and there’s more to come…

You can slide in 5 hard drives in but the plastic rails are so weak that they can be broken off by the weight of the drive eventually. What’s even more worse is that there are no spare rails provided.

Couple of bays are filled with a hard drive tray that makes a good impression that its made using a sheet of tin.

You’ll need to detach the rail from the tray and slide the hard drive in, then secure the slides back in. I am very concerned if this tray would eventually corrode. It shouldn’t be a surprise for lot of system builders that almost all lower cost case have that issue of eventual rust/corrosion from such type of material.

So Dongguan designed the case in a way that air from the bottom sucks in by the fan on the tray and then blow through the side vents. There’s barely any space to install 60mm x 60mm x 15mm and have any space between the drive. cage. This is redundant. The front fans always does the job to push in air through the hard drive, all you need is a good enough fans for the front. Also, you cannot install the drives with the connectors facing the other way around, so you’ll need to do all the cable work from the front. The space from the SATA connectors to the edge where the right side panel slides in is about 1.2inch.

The tray reminds me of Super Lanboy made by Antec- except they didn’t have those silly vents but it did have rubber standoffs on each tray. But why would you need trays if the rails and the HDD cage is good enough to support it nicely?

The same rail is used to attached to the drive directly so you will be tempted to throw away the trays. There’s barely an mm space between the tray and the drive and the plastic support does tend to break, especially when you attach the rail on the tray:

You can see the damage on the plastic rail very easily. The entire rail too flimsy that even a food-grade disposal plastic used for spoons and forks can do a much job than this.

It doesn’t end there.
Unlike the PCIE slots, the hard drive cage does not have pre-drilled holes to install the Hard drive. Even if it did, the hard drive cage’s opening will need to face towards the power supply so that you can secure the drive from the other side as well.

To make it worse:

After installing only the HDD rail on the drive (without the tray), shavings of plastic does get shaved off easily. This is something that happened after keeping Western Digital 1TB DeskStar drive for about 12 hours. One can be very skeptical if the rail can hold the drive for a very long time.

Moral of the story? Contrary to hocus-pocus crazy myth spread around by some marketing team of a rival back in the days when tool-less design was a premium feature, you are better off using screws and maybe rubber/plastic ring than using useless plastic tool-less contraption.

Sure! The system builder will have to bend over to secure it properly, but using the standard 6-32 UTS screws is far better and more reliable than using such inferior support. Tool-less design- If you can’t afford to do it right, do not do it AT ALL!!!

The plastic tip of the rails go back of the case, probably touches the left side panel. Doesn’t look at if there’s enough space on the rear of the motherboard tray by the looks of it.

I’ve tried to install the drive from the other side unfortunately there’s this groove on the plastic rail that doesn’t let you slide it all the way through. If this was possible, all the SATA power cables and the SATA cable could have been re-routed behind, this way those cables can be hidden as well.

I’ve stripped the case as much as possible atleast to get a good idea of the frame, because that’s the only good thing about this case upto this point: the build quality frame of the case itself!

The frame is made of solid steel with a matte-finish jet black paint job.


Usable space measurement
At times when manufacturers put up dimensions, most of them talk about the size of the entire case, but not about the space internally. Its only been sometime since manufacturers brags about their mid-size case having 11 inches-or-more space between the PCI slots and the HDD cage to hold larger graphic cards, but there are other spaces that are important.

The space between the motherboard tray and the side panel is well under 7 inch.

The space from the bottom panel of the case (internal) till the top panel, touching the fan is about 16 inch.

The space from the PCIE slot till the bay area is upto 11 inches.

Yikes!!! The usable area between the rear motherboard tray and right side panel is barely 1cm. What kind of cable can you re-route through the rear motherboard tray other than flat IDE cable and SATA cable? Cables like 24 pin ATX connectors made from proper and good enough power supplies and 6/8 pin ATX cable or 6/8 pin PCIE power cable will never go through this, unless you want to squeeze the right panel really REALLY hard (in my case, its a futile attempt). Its a shame that a case with such a good build quality (only of the frame, nothing else) and such oversight. Don’t bother re-routing even a good enough 450-550w power units unless you want to dent the other side panel and maybe damage the cable along the way.You don’t get any 450-550W units modular cases with flat cables for a reasonable price tag between Rs. 3,000- Rs. 5,000. There goes lot of cable management opportunities out the window! Design oversight strikes again!!!

The configuration I’ve are as follows:

Processor AMD 965BE
Motherboard Asus 990FX Sabertooth
Cooler Thermaltake Big Typhoon
Memory Kit Kingston 8GB HyperX Blu
Graphic Card Asus 6950 EAH CUII/POV 8800GTS (Dead Card)
Power Supply Corsair TX750
Primary Drive Western Digital 300GB Velociraptor
Secondary Storage Drives 1x Western Digital 320GB Blue2x Western Digital 1TB Green hard drives

However, there are certain things you need to know: I cannot install Asus 6950 CUII drive because it was too long for the case.

Securing the screws on top was a bit difficult. Dongguan could have provided a hole on the case area where you slide the case’s panel where you can insert the screw driver through it. That’s not all.

The pre-drilled hole to install the brass standoff is 3mm in diameter, however there is a hole that is 2mm larger than other hole. There is no brass standoff with 5mm thread in diameter.

I and many system builders always prefer to secure every ATX mount screw because the weight of the cooler, graphic card and other add-on cards are on the motherboard and when the case is kept upright, the system is supported by the motherboard tray. The more properly you secure the system, the better and more reliable, especially if you are spending so much. There is also 1 more hole on the case that looks more for mATX form factor. Very disappointing and strange to see such an oversight. Its a standard ATX mount hole. How can it be overlooked??

Since there isn’t a hole to reroute the 6/8 pin 12v connector, you’ll need to use the existing hole provided next to the motherboard and drag the cable all the way to the corner. However the 12v ATX/EPS plug on the motherboard is way too close to the fan, so close that you the connector cannot be inserted properly. The case manufacturer should have provided a little more space on the top.

Installing the system in this case is turning to be more annoying.

The PCIE tool-less connector is filled with cons as it not able to secure 8800GTS properly even when locked. Since there isn’t any way to reroute the USB 3.0 cable, you need to re-route the cable across the system through the Water Cooling hole grommet and connect it to the USB 3.0 port in the rear I/O panel.

Now the only cables left to re-route are PCIE power cable, USB 2.0 header cables, HD Audio and 24pin ATX connector and as no surprise, you cannot shut the right side panel without damaging the case and potentially damaging the power cable.

After 30 minutes nerve-cracking installation experience, this is the type of cable management I’ve ended up with:

Looks like the case is designed keeping generic/s power supplies in mind. No1 who builds a system with a generic power supply will spend so much money on such case. No gamer will buy such case with doesn’t even let you re-route power supplies cases properly. Ironically this case is catalogued under “Gaming Series” in Zebronics Website.


No temperature checks? This is poorly designed with lot of oversight that cannot be ignored irrespective of the cost of the chassis, so it didn’t make sense to go ahead with the review. Its obvious by now that this case requires to be redesigned.

Not recommended.

India (MRP) U.K. U.S.
Rs. 4,200/-

5 comments

  1. but i am finding it hard to believe that a big and reputed magazine called chip gave an award to zebronics for this case in january and you marked it down so bad. why would i give importance to your review more than an established one?

  2. Check the review dates. I published this when? November 2011 They? They did it in Jan 2012. I posted all the facts and pictures so that people can read and decide for themselves. I dont know how chip reviewed it, but i am not really surprised considering i gave a not recommended tag.

    its your money, your wish. You want to give importance to Chip reviews over the facts that are posted, its all good. But if you have those nitpicks- I told you so!

    You think giving 3.5-4k for this case over cases like Coolermaster 431, NZXT Gamma, BitFenix Merc Alpha despite seeing the photographs yourself then it shouldn’t stop you from buying. the reason why you’re saying this is because you are finding it difficult to believe that a so-called review magazine that (probably looks that way to me) to be the only reliable source that you follow- until you’ve read this review and compared it to what chip must have written in a small column (as expected from a magazine)- and you’re having second thoughts if that review is honest or not.

    I will not say who is honest and who is not. What I’ll say is that I’ve put up the relevant pictures and the written content- you decide! I never say its a must buy product unless its really a must buy product- and last time I did that was I think for 880GMA UD2H and 890GPA-UD3H motherboard from Gigabyte- the first board that I reviewed. Almost all the time, I simple say recommend to shortlist at max.

    Now, please do send a mail to Chip and ask them the similar question.

  3. no…ur rite…that’s lot of money for a case… i shouldn’t waste it…actually i only read the conclusion only but after reading the entire review i understood. very shocked that chip is doing like this. good thing that mag subscription is going to end….

  4. no…ur rite…that’s lot of money for a case… i shouldn’t waste
    it…actually i only read the conclusion only but after reading the
    entire review i understood. very shocked that chip is doing like this.
    good thing that mag subscription is going to end….

  5. no…ur right… i actually read only the conclusion and questioned you but now i read the review. so sry for doubting you shame on chip on making a fool out of their readers now i’ll never subscribe their mag…

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