So you want to create a DIY PC using all of today’s white-phosphorous-hot components and the requisite hefty power supply—and you want it to be small? Impossible? Maybe not.
PC Design Lab apparently had that scenario in mind when it designed the Qmicra SFF. Although this case takes its styling cues from the Amish big-barn era, when you remove the two support bars, unscrew the feet, and pop off the lid, you have amazingly easy access to the internals—more so than with other SFFs.
We installed a microATX motherboard, a PC Power and Cooling 510 PSU, and even a GeForce 7950 GX2, with no problems. Amazing. The case is a bit unfinished, with a few too many sharp edges, but it’s perfect for modders. You can strip the shell all the way down if you want. You can also mount four hard drives, although we think the drive-retention mechanism is under-engineered. We can’t imagine hanging four big drives from a piece of aluminum that wobbles back and forth.
PC Design Lab has obviously put some thought into airflow. The case has mounts for four 8cm fans—two in the front and two in the back—a setup that should create a BTX-like air channel throughout the case. That’s well and good, but for the Qmicra’s $380 price tag we’d expect the fans to be included. The rig is also missing front USB ports. In the end, we think the case is just a bit rough and flimsy for the kind of cash PC Design Lab is asking.
Month Reviewed: September 2006
+ FIAT 850: It's easy to add almost any parts to the Qmicra's roomy interior.
- BUGEYE SPRITE: It's expensive, rough, and lacks basic amenities, such as front USB and FireWire ports.