Sunbeam Transformer


More than meets the… ah, never mind

Month Reviewed: April 2005
Verdict: 8

No, this case does not transform into anything. It’s a standard ATX case that doesn’t turn into a robotic beetle or a rolling caisson. Still, it’s a heck of a case in its own right, blending aspects of large, burly server enclosures with those of smaller, LAN-oriented cases into a surprisingly cool mixture.

The Transformer is what we’d call a three-quarter size chassis, fabricated from steel and sporting a plastic bezel. It’s bigger than a mid-size, but smaller than a full-size. The only glaring deficiency are the cheap metal slats used to cover the PCI expansion slots, which must be busted out and tossed before you can drop in a card.

The case is entirely tool-less, so the only time you’ll need a screwdriver is while installing the motherboard. There’s no motherboard tray, but the case is large enough that you don’t really need one. The Transformer comes with the finest drive-mounting rails we’ve seen. They snap firmly onto the drives and lock into place without fuss. You can store extra rails in a nifty removable toolbox inside the case’s drive bay—an innovation that speaks to the alpha male in us all. USB and audio jacks are mounted on top of the case—the perfect location.

The case’s cooling capabilities approach overkill: You’ll find no fewer than four fans—one 120mm fan, three 80mm LED fans, and an empty 120mm tool-less fan bay in front of the hard drive cage. With all four fans running, this case is L-O-U-D. The noise level subsided considerably after we unplugged the two fans on the door, but we lost the lighting effects and extra cooling.

Whether you love or hate the Transformer’s luminescence and growling exhaust signature, there’s a surprisingly well-made case underneath that flashy exterior; one that even old fogies like us can appreciate. --Josh Norem

+ Autobots: Generous cooling, solid construction, and totally roomy.

- Decepticons: Very heavy when full; cheap metal used on backplate.

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