Components Supertest

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For cases what you should be looking for is

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//Case Spread one – 4 x 200w, 2 x 150, 1 box of 150//



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Yeong Yang 0221XB ATX Black Cube

//Price/store//

135.71 PCNextDay

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On first sight, you might think this to be a small form factor PC, resplendent with a cramped interior and some hard-to-replace proprietary bits. But, “you see Dougal dese cows are small, but dose cows are far away.” This is, in fact, a server case like the Chieftech Green Dragon and, for that reason, is massive, looming over the other cases in the test like an ape-inspiring monolith. It has a farcical fifteen drive bays, and has so much elbow room it could double nicely as a kennel. Of course, this size means that shorter cables don’t reach properly across its expanse, once you’ve negotiated past the bezel and irritating non-thumbscrews to get inside. It also has no fans, power supply or forward ports of any sort (though you could insert a control unit in one of the innumerable spare drive bays.) On top of that, it’s very expensive compared to a normal case, is weightier than most and the choice of colour resembles the Ford Model T – but in design terms, in ease of movement and in drive choice it’s way out in front.

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More drives than an upwardly mobile manor house.

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Expensive, low on options, difficult to get into.

//summary//

A great case for system admins and claustrophobics.

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72%

//Detail//

Dimensions: 340mm W x 440mm D x 352mm H

Motherboard sizes: mATX, ATX, Extended ATX & SSI

Drive Bays: 6*5.25″ + 2*3.5″ + 7*3.5″ Hidden

Cooling: 1 * PSU fan + 2*8cm & 1*9cm Optional front fan + 2*8cm Optional rear fan Expansion Slots: 7

Power Supply: None supplied

Front access USB: Not available

EEB 3.0 compliant

Weight:

13.4Kg

//Title//

ThermalTake Xaser III 2000+

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£122.20 Chillblast.com

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For such workaday components, PC cases have a tendency to divide people more than you’d expect. The Xaser series are the case equivalent of marmite, eliciting either cooing awe, or physical repulsion. A case in point (pun intended) is the Xaser’s front bezel. This is made from silvered plastic, whilst the main door is made from a light alloy, and the case sides are made from light anodized aluminium. Some regard this as the height of cheek, mixing plastic and metal on the front, others see it as economical, light, and damnably handsome; we just regard it as lifespan disaster, as the metal door is going to deform the plastic over time.

The front also boasts a built in fan controller, with temperature sensors, and a curious port-grouper on the top of the case, with USB, FireWire and headphones included, handy if your case is on the floor. The controller regulates four of the seven bundled fans in the case, as well as monitoring the temperature of the CPU.

Also available is the Thermaltake Lanfire; basically a smaller version of the Xaser, trying to eat into the Lanboy market, this is a 3/4 height Xaser with less ports. Both of these cases suffer from overdesign, but are certainly robust, well-featured and packed with cooling.

//upper//

Fan-tastic, robust and surprisingly light

//downer//

Over-designed,

//summary//

The hot-rod of cases is really not bad value

//score//

84%

Details

8.00 Kg

100% Aluminium

4 x 5.25″ Bays

2 x 3.5″ Bays External

6 x 3.5″ Bays Internal

Thumbscrews

USB 2.0 and Firewire on the Front

7 Included Case Fans With RPM Adjustment

Dimensions: 20.9″ x 8.1″ x 20.5″

Weight:

//Title//

Super Lanboy

//Price/store//

TBA www.antec-inc.com

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Antec’s UK reputation has been built, to an extent, on the success of its Lanboy case, a pre-shuttle box that proved so light and cheap, and so tackily gorgeous with it’s blue-illuminated power-supply that it tempted a thousand imitators. This Super-Lanboy is Antec’s attempt at a sequel, and one must say, it has certainly achieved what it’s attempted. The front 120mm fan is concealed behind a clear blue plastic mesh, which glows when the power is turned on; the addition of a back 120mm fan

The front door is a worry, loosely attached as it is, and isn’t going to survive the bruising rigours of LAN parties for very long

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//downer//

Front door, overall design a little Kinder Surprise.

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//Case Spread one – 4 x 200w, 2 x 150, 1 box of 150//



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Prometeia Mach2

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Chillblast.com

//150//

It’s rare in the PC industry to find a case that is designed for use with only one particular component, let alone three of them. The Prometeia series of cases are simply modded versions of other cases. Available are a Lian-Li and this, the generic Mach 2 case. It appears to be a solid steel case, with a simple hole cut in the bottom to allow the Prometeia’s heat pipe through. We’d much rather go for the Lian Li base unit, and buy the faschia upgrades to make this into a nice aluminium case.

That said, the selection of drive bays is passable, with three 3.5 and four 5.25. The single 80mm fan seems as redundant as a Cornish tin miner in view of the enormous heat pipe reaching up through the hole in the unit’s base, even if it is well-mounted. One curious feature (by curious we mean enormously irritating) is that to get the size off the front bezel must be removed. All in all, a dull case which should be good for modding.

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//150//

Asetek Vapochill Extreme Edition

When the Hollies sang “he ain’t heavy, he’s my brother”, they certainly weren’t talking about the Vapochill case. Mainly because it’s a computer case and not a 70s crooner, but also because it’s really cumbersome.

In the gunmetal corner, weighing in at a monstrous 20Kg, this behemoth comes with a built-in Vapochill extreme edition refridgeration unit, which operates on a slightly different principle from the normal VapoChill.

Considering that Asetek make the Apollonian VapoChill Case Cooler (a whole case designed to cool another case), it’s curious that this case is so, well, ugly. Don’t think we mean it looks cheap; The windows, the extra slow fans all make it look expensive, and well thought through; it’s just that the bulbous indentations concealing the forward heatsink

3 5.25

7 3.5

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//Title//

AOpen H600B

//Price/store//

£xx.xx PCNextDay.co.uk

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The closest analogy . Looking at the casing, it’s very dull. The front isn’t badly designed by any means, but it takes a little too much from

Part of the family of the H600 series, this Black Super Middle Tower has high expansion capacity – 7 slots and 9 drive bays. Smart slide-in back bracket with no screws needed plus bend-in edges to ensure safe assembly and installation.

The compact design saves space, has front USB and audio access and comes equipped with a 350W ATX 12V high efficiency PSU. It’s P4 ready and complies with Fcc Class b, DoC, and CE.

Specification:

Housing Material – Metal

Housing Type – Super Middle-Tower

Main Board Size – ATX/microATX/Full AT/flexATX, 12″ (305mm) x 9.6″ (244mm) ATX M.B.

Disk Drive Bays – 5.25″ x 3.5″ x 2/1 (external/internal), 3.5″ HDD cage x 2 (option)

Dimensions – 18.1″ (D) x 7.87″ (W) x 18.0″ (H) / 460mm (D)x200mm(W)x457mm(H)

Two USB2.0 ports, a stereo audio out and a microphone input are located on the front bezel

Ventilation – 8cm Optional DC fan x 5 (1 installed, 4 option)

FCC, CE and Novell – Ready

Net Weight – 20.0lbs / 9.1kg

Gross Weight – 21.5lbs / 9.8kg



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AOpen H500C

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Comoponent Pro QF50A

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//200/150//

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Coolermaster

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//200/150//

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Lian Li

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//200/150//

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//Title//

Antec P160

//Price/store//

111.63 www.overclock.co.uk

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Described in its marketing splurge as “made from recycled fighter jets (not really)”, this case is Antec’s flagship fixed gaming platform. It claims to be made of the same stuff as those fighter jets though (Anodized Aluminum) and it is cloud-light, almost insubstantially so; compare it to the 20Kg Vapochill box. Of course, for a main system portability isn’t really a problem, and once you add in a power-supply and other components the weight will practically double. That said the case is whisper-quiet, with a 120mm fan and boasts 10 drive bays. A swiveling control panel. And a low-speed 120mm fan. Stylish, durable 1.2mm anodized aluminum

The material itself is nice enough, but there are some perverse design decisions in the design of this

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Swiveling front control panel

– Swivels up to 45 degrees.

– Connectors: 2 x USB 2.0, 1 x IEEE 1394 (FireWire, i.Link) and 2 x audio jacks.

– LED temperature display with two built-in sensors

Removable motherboard tray.

Accomodates any ATX12V power supply

10 drive bays

– Color-coordinated CD-ROM & floppy drive covers

a. 4 external 5.25″

b. 2 external 3.5″

c. 4 internal 3.5″

– Rubber mounting grommets in hard drive trays

Cooling capacity:

a: 1 x 120mm low speed fan

b: 1 x 120mm fan mount

Built-in washable air filter

Removable Side Panel

Fits motherboards up to Standard ATX

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Prometeia Mach 2

£569.88

The Prometeia Mach 2 is the best compressor around, maintaining an overclocked CPU at a ridiculously low -45 (degrees celsius.)

Installation is very easy, making the licker the price; A price like that doesn’t just chill your computer, but your bones too. The associated case (see page xxx) is bland and plain, ideal for extreme modding due to its complete lack of character. If you want to buy the more expensive Lian Li or .

//gold award//

//For the

//Cooling//

//Lights//

For a good modded case, you need some good illumination. Lights come ina variety of colours, shapes and sizes but they tend to share one thing; their location. Most lights are located inside your case, meaning you’ll need a case that’s clear, windowed. Clear cases are available, like the Perspex selection from .Be warned though; most gamers don’t go for these as they’ve experienced problems with heat transfer, and the total lack of EM shielding on a pure plastic case. Only if you’re going to keep this away from the rest. They also have a tendency to look very similar

If you’re a gamer or a music aficionado, why not try out sound-activated lights? These respond – take a moment to look for reviews of them though – if the lights are overly sensitive, they’ll stay on all the time; if insensitive they’ll not turn on at all. Look for adjustable sensitivity and good brightness.

Thermaltake do a range of flashing lights that moves in waves, making it easy to create

flame effects.

//Best of Breed//

Sound activated lights: Boogie Bug Mini Disco: Chillblast.com 23.49

Cold Cathode Tubes: Sunbeam Bubble light PCNextDay 5.35

Case stats

(Prometeia) 3 HDD bays, 4×5.25

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