Vroom. Vroom vroom. The unholy sound of this case will haunt you in your nightmares.
We don’t just want to give a 1 verdict to the person responsible for the power-on mechanism in this Ferrari-themed case. We want to strap him to a jet engine. Harsh words, but you too will be driven to undertake such bold action once you hear the ear-splitting rev of a car engine after you hit the F430’s power button. You can disable this “feature” by pulling the plug on the front panel, but hearing this noise even once is too much.
Fortunately, that's by far the worst thing about it. Hit the jump to discover a few things we did like.
We never thought we’d see a sub-$100 case with tinted windows, but lo and behold, Sigma’s Unicorn has lived up to its name and shown us the impossible by “blinging up” the exterior of an otherwise stale case. Like spinning rims on a minivan, however, not all of Sigma’s design decisions are well thought out.
To see what hobbles this unicorn, hit the jump. And believe.
Goodbye, next-generation systems: Thermaltake’s M9 chassis is a step up from the bottom rung of simplicity, but it’s nowhere near a top-of-the-line design.
The case is structured as if Thermaltake took a plain-Jane chassis, improved a few features—like making the PCI and 5.25-inch bay holders screwless—stuck in a front-panel blue LED fan to appease gaming audiences, and called it a day. That might not sound so bad, but in actuality, the screwless PCI holders become this case’s Achilles’ heel. And the arrow?
At first glance, Zalman’s GS1000 chassis looks like it’s a going to be a tool-free computer builder’s dream. And in many ways, it is. Zalman peacocks the hot-swap bays for your hard drives by placing them right on the front of the case, eschewing the more traditional combination of side-facing drives with a front-facing cooling fan. And many of the case’s screws are spring loaded. It prevents the accidental (and often frequent) loss of any of the case’s helpful thumbscrews.
And yet, the case still makes rig building a wee bit difficult. Click "Read More" to find out why!
Like Bill’s Hanzo sword, Luke’s lightsaber, and Gordon Freeman’s crowbar, Thermaltake’s newest chassis appears unconvincingly plain—until you take it out for a spin. The SwordM dices through our typical chassis frustrations like a chain saw through a burrito. This is truly a next-generation case.
Sweet mercy, at first glance Koolance’s PC4-1025BK case seems like a perfect power-user box. Unfortunately, this water-cooling-enriched case is simply too small to contain certain enthusiast hardware and too complicated for the average user.
There are apparently two versions of the English language going around the technological world: One is the version manufacturers use when they say things like, “The NZXT Alpha also enables the user to fit large expansion cards like the Nvidia 8800 GTX.” The other version is the kind we use, where the word “fit” doesn’t suggest a large bucket of grease, a hammer, and profanity that would make a longshoreman blush.
In our last big case roundup (April 2007), Gigabyte’s Aurora 570 earned top marks for its excellent design and convenience as a chassis. But Gigabyte certainly hasn’t rested on its laurels since then—the company’s designers have gone back to the drawing board and given us a case that rivals the coolness of its predecessor. Gigabyte calls it the Mercury Pro; we would have named it the Monstrosity Pro if we were in charge. That’s because this case isn’t just a run-of-the-mill chassis. It’s a fully functional (armed and operational?) water-cooling/case hybrid. Take a moment if you need to collect yourself.
For a change of pace, we’ll start with our biggest critique
first—literally, the biggest. Thermaltake’s Xaser VI chassis (the
air-cooling-specific VG4000 model) is the Godzilla of cases. It’s heavy
enough to make carrying it an awkward, hernia-inducing experience, and
that’s before you slap a system inside. Heaven forbid you make full use
of the case’s eight (?!) hard drive bays and seven (?!?!) 5.25-inch
expansion slots. Add water cooling and you might want to invest in some
wheels and a dolly for transporting the beast.
In yet another example of a design that likely looked way better on
paper than in practice, we find ourselves struggling to come to terms
with the Cooler Master 690’s more unique features. We can’t fault the
company for trying; in some ways, we applaud Cooler Master’s attempts
at distinguishing the 690 from the rest of its cadre in the crowded