Should I Buy the Aklla A4 Pro?
Yes, it is cheaper than LOQUE Ghost S1 while looking the same and, more importantly, does not skimp in chassis construction and materials used.
The A4 Pro is basically the significantly more expensive Aklla A4v2 (a Chinese clone) of LOQUE Ghost S1 with a configurable motherboard base that supports various sized GPUs and CPU coolers.
This review should answer if the A4 Pro is worth the significant price hike over the regular one.
Aklla A4 Pro Dimensions
Both the regular Aklla A4 and the Pro version are about the same size in the usual configuration (naked cases without a top-cap). The A4 Pro is 340mm long, 210mm thick, and 160mm high. The A4v2 is just 5mm narrower and 5mm wider. The configurable zones for the GPU and CPU coolers vary just slightly. On the A4 Pro, we have a 51mm / 73mm or a 59mm / 65mm setup.
The A4v2 is available in 50mm / 75mm and 58mm / 67mm configurations. This means that anyone considering buying the A4 Pro should pay particular attention to the GPU and CPU cooler pairings. In my PC, I’m using the EVGA RTX 3080 XC3, which measures less than 50mm. The thinner GPU is really good for me because it gives me the most choices for CPU coolers.
With a height of 70mm, pairing with an L12S should be no challenge. However, if you have a thicker GPU, such as the Asus TUF 3080 with its nearly 58mm diameter, you must use the other frame layout which officially only supports CPU coolers up to 65mm tall.
The L12S does not fit in this configuration; your best option will be the Alpenfohn Black Ridge cooler, which measures just 47mm in height, or 62mm with an additional slim top-fan, though motherboard and RAM compatibility could be a problem. Watercooling, on the other hand, is a different thing entirely, as the problems would be less about the CPU blocks and more about other components such as the radiator.
Hard disks are also well supported. You can do fit up to three 2.5″ hard disks or SSDs by default. With the included brackets, you can mount two below the PSU and one directly to the frame, between the front panel and the PSU.
A4 Pro Improvements in Quality and Build Experience Over A4v2
The change of color is probably the first thing most people observe in terms of difference with the original. The A4 Pro is available in two color options: Oxidised White and Deep Space Grey. Initially, I thought the “Oxidised” was referring to the process used to add the color to the bare metal, but after comparing the case to the original A4v2, I’m pretty sure the color of this case is simply a deeper black.
If you were expecting a completely white case, this is something to keep in mind.The next thing most people will note is the major variation in panel thickness. The panels on the A4 Pro are thick and sturdy; although the A4v2 is not flimsy, it lacks the solid-metal feel of the A4 Pro.
The case is also noticeably heavier, but that heft also lends it a greater sense of stability. Although the increased thickness accounts for the marginal difference in average width and height of the case, it also marginally changes the support for CPU coolers, lowering the maximum from 75mm or 66mm to 73mm or 65mm. The 1 or 2mm may not seem like much, but it has a significant impact on CPU cooler selection.
The A4 Pro has a much cleaner material finish.I assume the color on the A4v2 comes from an electrostatic spray, while the A4 Pro has, I believe, an anodised finish. These modern thick panels also have a really cool feel to them. Previously, when the PC was operating on the A4v2, the side panels would become slightly warm. The side panels of the A4 Pro continue to be cool, and these thick metal panels can also aid in overall heat dissipation in the case.
On the A4v2, I was able to cover most of the cables behind the PSU, but I was unable to do so on this one, so the cables are currently hanging under the PSU. This means that fitting in the same 120mm AIO setup for this case as I did for the A4v2 would be far more difficult. Another significant difference between this case and its predecessor is the consistency of the CNC cuts, which extends not only to the panels but also to the chamfers on each of these ventilation holes.
The way the side panels connect to the main body has also improved. Previously, 6 of these knobs were used to secure the panels. Although it worked well, it did mean that the panels weren’t necessarily fixed in place, and there was always the risk of moving it slightly out of alignment, particularly if some of these knobs loosened. The panels on the A4 Pro fit perfectly into these grooves, and the top panel can be screwed down to secure it in place.
The Taobao listing lists four different colors, but only red and yellow were included in my review unit. But I still like the yellow. It looks great with the A4 Pro and goes well with my Switch Lite case.
The A4 Pro also has a USB Type-C front panel port, which the A4v2 does not. On the Taobao website, upgrading to a Gen2 cable costs just 69 yuan, or around 10 USD, which is very fair. Unfortunately, my review unit did not include the cable, but even if it did, my Gigabyte B550I motherboard does not help it.
I wouldn’t have been able to use it anyway because it didn’t support the newer USB Type-C headers. The use of these T6 allen screws was something I had mixed feelings about. It’s also very handy because the adapter box contains the allen keys you’ll need to use for these new screws, and allen screws usually have a far lower risk of wearing out than cross-head screws, which are a pain to remove when they do. However, I was somewhat disappointed that they were not magnetic, as not making them stick to my screwdriver increased the chance of a screw dropping through a network of power supply cables.
A4 Pro Performance
First, let’s look at the watercooling top-cap.
If you’re using a hot 105W TDP processor like the 5900X or 5950X, I highly recommend having the top-cap and a 240mm AIO. A better cooler allows a significant difference in the efficiency of these CPUs, allowing them to reach the levels of performance that they were built for.
However, if you’re using anything like the 5600X, which has a much lower TDP of 65W, I’d probably just stick with the lower profile standard edition case and air-cooling. The L12S is no slouch and will work admirably with the 5600X.
A4 Pro Pricing
Second, choosing between the A4v2 and A4 Pro is a far more challenging task. At the current price, the A4v2 is an absolute steal.
The regular version, which includes a riser cable and delivery, costs about 173 SGD, or 130 USD. The A4 Pro, on the other hand, costs about 310 SGD, or $234 USD, when fitted with the riser cable and USB Gen2 cable. In contrast, a Cooler Master NR200P can be purchased at a local store for about 150 SGD, or a Louqe Ghost S1 can be shipped in from China or Amazon for a total of roughly 470 SGD. If you’ve already decided on the Ghost S1, then I strongly advise you to look at the AKLLA A4 Pro first. The A4 Pro’s biggest draw is the premium feel it exudes on par with the case it blatantly copied.
At the end of the day, it’s all about the little changes and minor details that add up to the overall standard of the case, and all of those minor details account for the price difference. It’s a much more refined product with higher construction quality.