Looks aren’t everything
The Vento 3600’s lusty red paint and bulging scoops are sexy enough to instill fantasies of taking it home and making mini-ATXs with it. Peel away that luscious exterior, however, and you’ll discover a clunky, no-frills, steel enclosure. It’s like scoring a date with a model who could only pose for Dog Fancy.
The exterior fairings that look so glossy and mouth-watering in pictures are, in reality, totally hooptie and serve no real purpose. The review unit we received (which arrived in a retail box) sported two different shades of red paint, as though the front of the unit cured differently than the rest of it. The flip-up door covering the internal 5.25-inch drive bays—Asus calls it the Magic Mask—is good only for laughs. When activated, it flips up and slams against a set of flimsy plastic restraints—and then refuses to close again.
Twist the handle on the side to open the Vento, and you’re greeted by a generic, steel cage, which is what you’d expect to see inside a $40 case; the Vento, however, sells for $150. The cramped interior supports both ATX and micro-ATX motherboards, and the 5.25-inch bays and the PCI slots both offer a tool-less fastening mechanism; regular screws are required when installing a hard drive into one of the three internal 3.25-inch bays. There’s an 80mm intake fan inside the left-hand air scoop that inexplicably points to the right-side air scoop: It’s not only ineffective at drawing fresh air into the case, but it’s too far away from the drive cage to cool anything.
To its credit, the Vento includes a useful 12cm exhaust fan, an air duct over the CPU area, and front-mounted USB ports. And apart from the unintentional two-tone paint job, it does look kinda cool. For about five minutes. But the capper is that you’ll find the same interior features on cases that cost less than a third of what Asus expects for the Vento. --Josh Norem
+ Mentos: Shiny, and looks cool.
- Ventos: Steel construction, lacks features and cooling, and feels cheap (the front door broke on the first try).