look at 4 ATX cases... one of the most important parts of your
is the last time you thought about your system chassis? It was
probably when you had to get into it to replace a card or processor.
Perhaps it was when you made the jump to ATX from the AT form factor
when you bought that cool new Pentium 2 Motherboard. Regardless, you
probably didn't give it much consideration beyond how fancy it
looked. The fact is, a good case with power supply is one of the
most important aspects of your system. It is the foundation on which
you build the custom PC of your own unique design.o Slet's take a
look at a few options in the ATX case market and hopefully show you
a new home for your precious high tech. cargo.
important in a case you ask? In our opinion there are 5 key areas of
a good case.
- Layout, Ventilation, Functionality
- Sturdiness, Gauge Metal, Fit and Tolerances, Power
Style - Looks
- User friendliness
about covers it right? So, let's look at our contestants!
picture is not the best quality but it gives a feel for the size of
each of these. They are ATX Mid-Towers. From left to right we have
the following: The Image ATX Mid, In-Wins A500F, Enlight's 7237 ATX
Mid, and Acer's HX45.
First up is the Image.
This is kind of a "no name" case and the price reflects
that! It can be had for a mere $36.95 from Axion
This case has a
good design with ample room for your gear on the inside. I
particularly liked the slide off side panels for very easy access to
components. The front bezel is, in my opinion, is fairly stylish but
the buttons are a little "spongy" when pushed and awkward
in shape. There are 3 - 5.25" bays and 3 - 3.5" bays one
of which is hidden but can house a hard drive.
The case has
good ventilation in the front panels and rear chassis. The power
supply is a sturdy 250 Watts but gives me the feeling of lesser
quality than the other 3 cases. Its casing is made from the same
thin gauge metal that the rest of the case is.
the weakest area for this case. Although the case is well thought
out and easy to use, the manufacturer utilized a thin gauge metal to
manufacture it. As a result the case is very light, which is a plus
I suppose. However, it isn't nearly as solid as the others in our
round up and the panels don't fit together easily as they have a
tendency to flex a bit. However, for the money this case will do the
job and it is easy to work with.
in the line up is the In-Win A500F. In-Win is probably one of the
most well known case manufacturers around and they are known for
There is one
thing for sure about the A500F, this thing is built like a tank! You
are immediately impressed by the weight when you pick this thing up.
The construction is SUPERB with very heavy gauge metal that has a
smooth finish with rounded edges and surfaces. It also a sort of
enamel coating on the metal that really makes it a pleasure to work
with. The front bezel is very stylish and has adequate ventilation
with vent in the rear to assist. It has a 3 - 5.25", 3 -
3.5" (1 hidden) bay set up. To get inside, you need to slide
the three sided housing cover off the back of the chassis.
A very unique
feature of this case is its slide out motherboard tray. Take a look
at the picture on the far right. The back of the case and the card
cage actually slide our with the motherboard panel in a nice slot at
the bottom of the case! This is fantastic for getting at those hard
to reach jumpers or DIMM sockets without having to pull cards or
cables to get at them! It also makes initial assembly a snap when
installing a new motherboard. Just slide the tray out, screw down
your mobo. and slide it back! We loved this feature!
The power supply
was a well made 300 watt unit and the case came with an extra fan in
the front for pulling air into the case. There are always pros and
cons to every product. For this one, it is price. This case was the
most expensive in our group by a small margin at $60.95