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Latest Case Review Posted

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December 17, 2003 4:21:17 PM

Just in case anyone missed it the latest case review is posted here -

http://www.tomshardware.com/howto/20031217/index.html

If any of you happen to have questions about the cases in the review or specific feedback about part 1 or part 2 of this review, I would be happy to answer your questions or comments.

Thanks!
December 17, 2003 5:45:44 PM

Interesting to read that you wont see the Coolermaster Praetorian until February - they've been on sale in the UK for a couple of weeks now.
Not like us to get something before the U.S. :) 
December 17, 2003 7:44:38 PM

According to our contact here at Cooler Master US, they don't intend to have it over here till about Feb.

I think part of this is due to the fact that they have so many of the older model in stock.

I was surprsied as well, since I have seen reviews of the newer version on other sites.
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December 17, 2003 9:12:56 PM

Nice review, I thought the Antec P160 wasn't that well designed, and overly promoted, but the rest of the review was near perfect (even the review on the other Antec case).

I've seen Jeantech style cases in quality store-brand PC's, perhaps that's where they source them.

I've been a fan of SuperPower cases for a long time, but probably haven't mentioned them in about a year. How about you send the user with the highest post count a Christmas gift of the heaviest case? LOL!

<font color=blue>Only a place as big as the internet could be home to a hero as big as Crashman!</font color=blue>
<font color=red>Only a place as big as the internet could be home to an ego as large as Crashman's!</font color=red>
December 17, 2003 9:14:51 PM

Oh, forgot to mention, it's nice to see Inwin comming up with more current designs, their earlier attempts kind of looked cheap, undermining their reputation as a builder of solid chassis.

<font color=blue>Only a place as big as the internet could be home to a hero as big as Crashman!</font color=blue>
<font color=red>Only a place as big as the internet could be home to an ego as large as Crashman's!</font color=red>
December 18, 2003 1:31:43 AM

My question is on how well the bezels work on the Antec P160? You went to great lengths to devote an entire chapter of your review to the problems of gettting matching bezels then you only mentioned the Antec bezels in passing.

Did you test them? Do they work well? Sturdily constructed? Do they work with different brand drives? Does the slit cut into them allow you to see status lights?

After the lengths you went to to complain about bezels you sure did ignore these.

Crashman I'll have to disagree with you. Where I use my PC headphones are a must and the PC is on the floor. Any case with headphone and other external jacks on the <i>bottom</i> immediately goes right off my potential purchase list. You have to bend all the way to the floor to get at them.

Lastly, anyone who cobbles together the words "legendary Antech quality" has obviously <b>not</b> owned a Sonata. I really do like everything else about the case but the door is so utterly poorly designed and implemented that its shameful. It is not just impossible that this design passed quality control it is impossible there was any QC involved at all. Mine literally simply falls off every other time I open it and thats after I got a new one from Antec thinking the first must be faulty.
December 18, 2003 3:53:14 AM

Sorry about that, I thought that I had a sentence in there about the P160 bezels.

Over all they were good, not perfect. I feel the action was a little weak, but they did perform well with the drives that we had in the unit.

As far as Antec goes, I realize that a lot of people don't like them, but they do have a good level of shelf space at the retail level. The bottom line is that Antec is Antec, and I think the review does reflect the fact that there are better choice than the two Antec cases that we review for about the same or less money. Antec will continue to be popular however, and there is nothing we can really do about that.
December 23, 2003 2:51:51 AM

Whatever happened to full tower cases? The next Pentium 4 processor is to require more than 100 watts of power and put out tremendous amounts of heat. How are we supposed to dissipate all that heat in a little cramped down box like all the "towers" in this review. A real tower comes up to the top of my desk and allows for around 6-8 fans. Not to mention has room for my arms and my big head when I need to install something. All these manufacturers focused on LAN parties and moving your PC around several times a day need to wake up. I don't want some new strange configuration for my mobo (i.e. BTX) because of increasing heat requirements. I want more space and better airflow. I like being able to put my hands on one stick of memory or one IDE cable or one expansion card without picking up several of each. If all the little hot components on the board (and the expansion slots) were separated more and had fans in front of each you wouldn't need these super fast, super large, super noisy fans. Another good option would be built-in water or other liquid cooling. If they would make a case with all the tools necessary for complete liquid cooling and it was all preinstalled, I would buy one. Once again though, you need a BIG case to do that (and no I don't mean a fridge as the bottom half of my case). No offense to those folks that like easy to carry cases or want to try and hide their computer away somewhere, but I prefer to have the extra room.
December 23, 2003 5:21:37 AM

If you're using the Sonota as an example of LEGENDARY quality you don't seem to realize that a NEW product cannot be responsible for creating a LEGEND. Legendary implies YEARS, not months.

<font color=blue>Only a place as big as the internet could be home to a hero as big as Crashman!</font color=blue>
<font color=red>Only a place as big as the internet could be home to an ego as large as Crashman's!</font color=red>
December 23, 2003 5:22:34 AM

Sorry, that was meant for the entire forum, not you :smile:

<font color=blue>Only a place as big as the internet could be home to a hero as big as Crashman!</font color=blue>
<font color=red>Only a place as big as the internet could be home to an ego as large as Crashman's!</font color=red>
December 27, 2003 1:31:06 AM

I read the reviews (ATX Avalanche and MicroATX case Madness) about the ATX and MicroATX case designs. I built my own ATX case about 2 years ago and have started designing a MicroATX case. My ATX case is 13.25"H x 5.2"W X 16.5"D about the same size as some of the micro ATX cases I read in the reviews. It has a ATX motherboard that uses all 12 standoffs, Two internal hard drives, One floppy drive bay, two 5 1/4" drive bays and a 300 watt power supply. The MicroATX case i'm designing will be smaller and have the same number of drives minus one 5 1/4" bay. I plan to have this one finished and tested by summer. I would like to know how to get both reveiwed on tomshardware?
December 27, 2003 8:57:13 AM

Hey dstell ...

I have been thinking of buying a new case lately and after reading your review and looking around on the web, I've decided that I will probably go for the Coolermaster Wavemaster. What concerns me though is this whole issue with BTX. Wavemaster is not a cheap case and tha last thing I want is to become obsolete in a few months! I plan my next major update in probably 2005. Do you think that until then, BTX will 100% replace ATX or will ATX mobos still be available? I've read what you said in your review about BTX but I'd like to hear your personal opinion on this. To buy or not to buy? :) 

Also, one other thing. I am basically between Wavemaster and P160. Although I am leaning towards the Wavemaster, I'd like you to help me on a couple of things. Which case is more quiet and which has better airflow? (assuming that I will install the optional 120mm fan on the P160) Does Wavemaster has a side panel window? (I didn't manage to find one in online stores) I know that P160 has dust filters while I am not sure if this is the case with Wavemaster. Is it possible that the Wavemaster has any problems with dust? And finally, what concerns me the most. The way I have my computer case placed at my office, it will be impossible for me to use the top USB ports of the Wavemaster. I guess a newer revision of the Wavemaster with USB ports on the front coming out very soon is just my own personal fantasy? :p  Or is there any other way to tackle this problem? Right now I have a very old case with no front accesible ports, so I'd really like my new case to have this feature.

Thanks for all your help.
December 28, 2003 10:04:04 PM

At least for the near future (3 to 6 months) if you on the Intel platform, you should have no problem finding ATX motherboards. Look for Intel to start the move toward BTX at the end of Q1 2004. The bigger question is, will motherboard makers still offer ATX motherboards for the latest Intel platforms or will Intel force them to offer new motherboards only in a BTX form factor? At least at the moment, we don't know the answer to this question.

As for AMD owners, AMD has made no indication that they will be moving toward a BTX form factor. So, AMD owners at least for the time being will continue to be on the ATX platform.

Some case manufacturers have indicated to me that while they might be offering some BTX model cases for some of their most sucessful models, don't expect them to move to BTX quickly unless it gains a lot of traction quickly, which I beleive is unlikely since at first the BTX cases as well as the motherboards will be more expensive than their ATX counter parts.

As for which case I like better. Personally, I am a big fan of the Wave Master, while it uses an 80mm configuration for cooling, depending on the fans selected it can be some what louder than a 120mm single front/rear configuration. If I were to pick between the two, I would most likely opt for the Wave Master, but I must admit as I said in the article, that the front fan intake on the Wave Master is a bit more obstructed than the P160. Depending on your application, either case can be an excellent choice.

Personally however, I like the Coolermaster ATC-201-B-BXT much more than the Wave Master, due to the no front door configuration and the 2 3.5" drive bays, along with the excellent open front grill which in the stacked 80mm fan configration is able to push a lot of air toward the rear of the case.

As I have said before, I think that it is difficult to say that one case is better than the rest. Depending on the user and the applictions, you will have to be the ultimate judge on which suites you best. For example, I tend to personally shy away from case with doors because I used my optical drives too much burning discs and changing CDs for example.

I love the Wave Master, it is a great design and I highly reccomend the case, but it might not be the best selection for every application, but the black high gloss paint finish on the one that we had in the lab was exceptional and made for a great looking case.

The P160 on the other hand does a lot of things very well. The 120mm front and rear fans will appeal to many who want a lower noise solution with excellent air flow. The P160 has a lot of features that are very atrractive, but I for one am not a big fan of the mirror finish on the front bezel which would land this case in my "not my first choice" pile for my personal use.

Unless you are a die hard Intel fan and committed to the next generation motherboard and processor from Intel, then I see no reason why your selection of an ATX case would be a bad choice, unless you are sure you are moving to BTX in the future.

One additional thought, several case makers that have cases that feature removable motherboard trays have indicated that it might be possible to offer a replacement tray that would support the BTX form factor. We are not sure how viable an option this is yet, but it is a possible option that we might hear more about down the road.
December 28, 2003 10:34:09 PM

I think if I need to move to BTX I'll just modify my old case :smile:

<font color=blue>Only a place as big as the internet could be home to a hero as big as Crashman!</font color=blue>
<font color=red>Only a place as big as the internet could be home to an ego as large as Crashman's!</font color=red>
!