CDI Alaska 3 Case Review

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The CDI InWin Alaska 3 "Cool Case"
Practical? Maybe Not...Worth it? You bet!

By, Marco Chiappetta
September 20, 2001

 

It's upgrade time.  Picture yourself browsing all of the best on-line retailers looking for great deals on all of those high-end parts you've been dying for.  Only the best of the best will do  Your new rig will be the pinnacle of performance and functionality.  Your shopping cart is comprised of the most sought after video card, tons of RAM, a huge hard drive, the fastest CPU and the motherboard is an overclocker's dream  The list goes on and on.  But where are you going to house all of this killer hardware?  You didn't forget about the case did you!?!  Surely you're not thinking of building your new system using a plain-Jane, run of the mill enclosure!

 

The funny thing is, that is exactly what happens!  In my spare time, I like to build custom systems for fun and profit!  On countless occasions, I've had discriminating customers who came to me with a list of exactly what parts they want in their system, but when I ask what type of case to use, more often than not their answer is, "whatever works".  I just don't get it.

 

There are a few companies out to change this however.   They want you to think of the case first, and what's going into it second!  One of these companies is Computers Divine Inc.  Unlike some others, CDI doesn't actually market their own brand of "performance" enclosures.  Instead, they've chosen to go with proven designs and modify them to fit the exact needs of their customers.  You want extreme cooling?  You got it...a custom paint job complete with a Plexi-Glass window? No problem!  Last year Dave took a look at the original CDI Alaska "Cool Case" but this time around we've got it's older brother in the lab!  The CDI InWin Alaska 3 in a heavily modified InWin Q500 full tower with power, cooling and good looks in spades.  All of these modifications do come with a price tag however.  The question is, "is it worth the price?"  CDI has been around for quite some time and they should know exactly what they're doing.  Let's take a tour around this awesome case, see what its made of and whether or not it's worthy of your hard earned money... 

 

     

CLICK ON ANY IMAGE FOR AN ENLARGED VIEW

Specifications of the CDI Alaska 3 Case
Good Stuff...
Dimensions:
  • 23 5/8" * 7 7/8" * 17 1/16"

Drive Bays:

  • 5 * 5.25"
  • 1 * 3.5" External
  • 5 * 3.5" Internal

Weight:

  • N.W. 12.60 kg (27.60 lb), G.W. 13.60 kg (30.00 lb)

Mainboard:

  • Baby AT style
  • ATX Form Factor
  • Full Size AT style

Security:

  • Padlock Option

Special features:

  • New two piece chassis design (slide in drawer module), will take either Lpx form factor, AT all-in-one or AT standard motherboard, simply by changing the drawer chassis.
  • Drawer module design for easy motherboard and I/O card mounting, ideal for assembly, upgrade or exchange of component part.
  • Pad lock security available (pad lock not included).
  • Detachable 3.5" drive cage for easy installation, upgrade or exchange of hard disks.
  • Snap on cage for extra fan, no screw required. Can generate better air flow for system.
  • Tight chassis and panel design for compliance with FCC regulation.
  • Available in different color for OEM customers.
  • All plastic components are UL approved.
  • No rough cut edge for safe assembly.
  • Special design dome catcher all around inside of top cover for easy removal and assemble of cover.
  • Configured 11 drive bays (5x5.25", 6x3.5") drive bays for expandability of future upgrade.
  • 1.0 mm sheet metal construction for better stability & durability.
  • Front panel is screwless easy removable for better installation.

Custom Air Brushed InWin Alaska Case from CDI:

  • (4) 120mm Panaflo Whisper fans, 68.9 cfms @ 30dbs
  • (2) 80mm Whisper Panaflo fans, 33 cfms @ 28.9 dbs
  • Cliff's Fanbus
  • PCMods Baybus
  • 1.44 Floppy (Painted to Match)
  • Evercool Hard Drive Cooler
  • Addtronics Luxury Casters w/ brakes
  • Stock Support legs
  • 10" Neon strip light
  • Reinforced Heavy-Duty Plexi-Glass Window
  • Safety Lock Window trim
  • (4) 120mm custom black fan grills
  • (1) 80mm custom black fan grill
  • Brass Thumbscrews
  • Optional Enermax 365W PSU

 

If you take a look at the specifications, you'll see that not only is this a rather large case but that it is designed well, made from strong 1.0MM sheet metal.  It has all of the features you should be looking for, accessibility, expandability, quality and ventilation. 

 

The motherboard tray is removable, making it very easy to mount your board and expansion cards.   The internal case assembly is easily accessible by removing two thumb-screws and removing the side panel  The side panel even has a handle!  There are plenty of drive bays, a copious amount of overall space and there are a plethora of high quality, quiet cooling fans mounted in strategic locations.  Even the power supply included with our unit was a high quality P4 ready Enermax 365 Watt dual fan gem. The Enermax PSU is optional equipment, this case normally ships with a 300W unit.

 

Not only does the CDI InWin Alaska 3 deliver in terms of features, the custom paint job really makes it a "one of a kind" item. We chose a color scheme to match our site design, and we think the good folks at CDI hit a homerun.  This case is absolutely gorgeous...

More to Come...

 

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