The Problem with Crappy Cases


I hope there’s a special circle of Hell reserved for designers who produce crappy PC cases. Their punishment would be to build computers using state-of-the-art components inside their poorly designed cases.

A few months ago, I built a CrossFire test bed using Cooler Master’s CM Stacker 830 Evolution (otherwise known as the RC-830). This is a big case, with nine exposed 5.25-inch drive bases and four hidden 3.5-inch bays. Nvidia certified it for SLI, so you know a lot of people are buying this case to build dual-videocard rigs.

I was using a PC Power & Cooling’s Turbo-Cool 850 power supply in my SLI rig, so I wanted to install the same model in this CrossFire box. But when I went to slide the PSU inside the chassis, I discovered that it wouldn’t fit because of the 12cm fan bay on top of the case. Removing the plastic air duct was no problem, but then I had to take a set of pliers and bend the flanges out of the way in order to get the power supply to fit. It’s a good thing the case is made of aluminum! Fortunately, my surgery didn’t affect the case’s outward appearance.

More recently, I encountered a similar problem with Thermaltake’s curvaceous Soprano. This time, I couldn’t install the Turbo-Cool 850 without first removing the top-mounted USB/Firewire/eSATA module. And since the trap door that covers these ports is mounted to the module, and not the case, this left a gaping hole in the top of an otherwise beautiful case.

I really like the RC-830—it’s very attractive and easy to work in. The Soprano is good case, too; but it’s all too apparent that no one at either company gave much of a thought to installing beefy power supplies into these products.

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