2003 Winter Case Review Part 1: MicroATX Case Madness

Chenbro - Hornet, Continued

Due to the unique ventilation of this case using this grill technique, we encountered more noise in its performance than we expected. While we can attribute this to the fan that was included by AMD for our Athlon 3000XP CPU, buyers who select this case might want to seek a quieter CPU fan, as sound seems to fairly easily escape from the Hornet.

The front bezel of the Hornet features two flip up doors; the top flip up door reveals the 3.5" drive bay, while the bottom flip down door features the four USB ports and the headphone and microphone jacks. Mysteriously, Chenbro opted not to include a 1394/Firewire port in the Hornet. The action of both doors is smooth and did not yield any problems. Although both doors are made of plastic, they do feel substantial and operate smoothly and can be removed should the user so desire. On the left hand side, the door flips toward the center of the case to reveal the 5.25" drive bay, where most likely the CD/DVD-ROM drive would be located. The action on this door is also very smooth. Chenbro offers a Power and Reset switch, as well as a hard drive access light and a power indicator.

The Hornet with all of the doors open. This is a nice feature to help keep dust out of the case.

Overall, the Hornet is both an aggressive and stylishly designed case that features a screwless design for the easy installation of both hardware and peripherals. While there were a few glitches with the Hornet case design that we didn't like, overall the Hornet is a well designed case that offers a significant variety of features for most MicroATX applications. While the case is somewhat heavy due to its steel construction, it is obvious that this steel material adds to the strength and overall quality that the Hornet provides. The Hornet was not our favorite case in this MicroATX case roundup, but it certainly was worthy of consideration; however, we were still not overly excited over the single rear fan cooling solution that was offered by the Hornet. Still, with the Hornet, Chenbro offers a new and forward thinking design that is well worth a look, particularly if you like its black and yellow styling and unique appearance.

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