The Cheap Case Review
In defense of myself I'll say this - It was only $45...
As an ongoing exploration into the least expensive hardware that is
available, this is another shining example of a budget driven system. Sure a
$300 supermicro case would be nice to have, but for those of us who are
financially constrained, or only need the most basic of computer systems, this
is a case that meets those needs.
- (3) 5.25" drive bays
- (3) 3.5" drive bays - w/h room for
(2) FDD, and min. (1) HDD
- space for (1) 80mm intake
- 250 Watt PSU [check]
- mini-tower form factor
- power on/reset switches
- ATX 2.01 compliant
- knockouts for SCSI/parallel/serial
- (7) slot card
One of the most important aspects of any case, beside
protecting your valuable components, is allowing for adequate cooling. More
often then not, the usefullness of a case for overclockers will rest on this sole point.
While there is space to attach an 80mm fan at the front
of this case, only the smallest speaker-like perforations have been punched in
the metal, and no perforations or vents exist within the front plastic bezel to
aid in cooling. So any fan would essentially just move around the air already in
the case rather then pulling in anthing resembling cool air.
Curiously one of the side panesls has been punched with
a series of vents that vaguely resemble the "CE" logo. While these vents appear
to be well placed, the holes are so small, and the pattern spaced over such a
large area the usefullness is dubious for convection cooling of any inside components.
The powersupply is mounted on its side at the very top
of the case right above where the CPU plugs into the motherboard. For
overclockers with high heatsinks this may equate to a big headache. A small bit
of venting is all that is included to aid in the explusion of hot air from the top of the case.
Quality of case
The metal used to make this case is probably some of the
most flimsy sheet steel I have ever come across. The side panels easily flex
when being removed, and the case frame is likewise. In fact after installing the
HDD I had to bend the whole rack back into shape!!
This is a one piece case, the motherboard tray [check],
HDD rack - everything - stay put. The cover comes off in three parts and is held
in place by screws. Sorry no tooless entry with this guy.
The 250Watt powersupply only has 4 molex connectors
and 2 FDD power connectors so it is a bit limiting, and not overly scalable.
As if in hope that the case will be used for something
other that a celeron of similarly low-powered processor, and comparative
components, knockouts have been provided above the slots for SCSI, parallel, and
serial ports. It would have made more sence to include better venting then these expansion ports IMHO.
Is this a good case? Not really. Is it an inexpensive
case that has usefullness being part of a sub-$700 system, yes. For situations
where a basic computer is being built on a tight budget this type of case
would be a good option. A side benefit of the poor quality of metal is that the
case, and all its components still manages to remain very lightweight. Of
course, that translates into a package that really shouldn't be opened and
worked on continuously. No, best put on the kid gloves, install all the gear and
never get more friendly with it then the power button. And never, never sit
on it! It might flatten out