Design & Layout
Xotic PC built our review system in Cosair's Arctic White version of the Carbide Air 540 Cube case. The Blu-ray burner is also white, and though it's not an exact color match, it blends in well enough not to be a distraction.
It's a solid case option for a system like this, as it affords plenty of room to build inside, has lots of ventilation, and offers copious cooling options, both for air and liquid (more on that below). It's also a relatively affordable option ($140 street) in the limited cube case market, at least compared to alternatives like the Mercury S8 by CaseLabs ($360). The market for cube cases is even smaller if you're looking for options that can house a full sized ATX motherboard.
Xotic PC added a few bits of flair to the Executioner's external aesthetic, including the URL for its homepage and some accented decorations. These are stickers that you can peel off, which is both good and bad -- on the positive side, you can remove the branding or artwork if you think it's too gaudy, but on the other hand, using stickers feels a little cheap on a $6,500 configuration. To be fair, Xotic PC does offer alternative exterior finishing options, including graphic and textured wraps, laser sketching, and custom paint jobs.
Below the vertically mounted optical drive bays (of which there are two) sits a reset button, LED indicator for drive activity, power button, microphone jack, headphone jack, and two color-coded (blue) USB 3.0 ports. Over to the left is a large plastic grill that runs the length from top to button. Up to three 120mm or two 140mm fans can be installed as intakes behind the grill, though our configuration came with a 360mm radiator cooled by three fans as part of Xotic PC's Stage 6 Frostbite liquid cooling setup. The bottom fan rattled when we first the system up, though this was easily fixed by removing the grill and pulling on the center of the fan -- things have a tendency to jar themselves loose during shipping.
The grill that runs the length of the front panel extends on top and goes the distance to the back, though they're separate pieces of plastic. Underneath it is a second radiator, this one 240mm in size with two 120mm fans. It's a dual-radiator setup because Xotic PC is using liquid cooling on the Intel Core i7-5960X processor and both EVGA GeForce GTX 980 Superclocked graphics cards -- that's a lot of heat generating components to keep cool. If not going the liquid cooling route, the top of the case can fit two 120mm or 140mm fans.
Over on the other side is a large window giving you a view into the belly of the Executioner. Almost the whole side panel is windowed, save for a small border, the top of which is again branded with Xotic PC's website. It's a bit much to have the URL plastered so prominently in two separate locations -- our advice to Xotic PC is to ditch some of the self branding and add "Executioner" in its place.
Looking beyond the cooling, the rear of the case is home a bunch of connectivity ports courtesy of the Asus X99-Deluxe motherboard and dual graphics cards. Most notably is the presence of ten USB 3.0 ports for a total of 12 (two more are on the front). To the point, you're not going to run out of places to plug in your USB devices.