2003 Winter Case Review Part 2: The ATX Avalanche

Enermax CS-5171LBFS-B, Continued

As case manufacturers begin to dabble with producing cases that include high-gloss automobile style finishes, we are bound to see a new trend emerging. Enermax is leading an effort with the CS-5171LBFS-B, which includes the concept of building "combination" cases, where the focus is more on the quality of the paint than on the rest of the case. What Enermax has done is to use aluminum only for the front bezel of the CS-5171LBFS-B and has chosen steel for the remainder of the case. This accomplishes two things: it allows Enermax to make automobile style paint finishes available to the average consumer at a price they are willing to pay; and keeps the margins in line by substituting metal for aluminum to assist with this cost control.

While we have seen combination style cases that utilize this methodology previously, overall we have not been very impressed with the results. This time, however, Enermax has definitely spent a great deal of time attempting to get this concept right. We believe that the CS-5171LBFS-B has good merit; however, again, the consumer must choose between an excellent paint finish and an average internal construction quality. We have seen other cases from companies such as Cooler Master, for example, that certainly have replicated the high gloss finishes with excellent effect. The consumer's dilemma is clear here. The reality remains that a one-off custom case painted by a professional painter still remains out of the price range of most consumers. After all, who wants to buy a $200 case and then pay more to have a professional automobile paint applied to this case?

Obviously, there has to be a balance and a trade-off someplace; and this is where Enermax hopes to capture the imagination of consumers with a lower priced alternative.

A look inside the CS-5171LBFS-B.

The CS-5171LBFS-B features internal steel construction using a variety of rolled and folded edges to good effect. The inside of the case is of slightly above average quality. We did find a few sharp or slightly blunted edges, but for the most part the internal structure of the case was clean and exhibited an acceptable level of quality workmanship. We have to be somewhat critical of this combination construction methodology; but it is certain that this construction is still better than the majority of other solutions in the $70 to $90 US price range. By our calculations, we estimate that Enermax is charging approximately $40 alone for the painting of the CS-5171LBFS-B. This is a reasonable fee when compared with custom painted options. Still, you have to wonder about the benefit of a $70 case with a higher quality paint job.

Summary
  1. Introduction
  2. Bezel, Bezel... Match My Case!
  3. Bezel, Bezel... Match My Case!, Continued
  4. The Review Process
  5. Antec: Performance One Series P160
  6. Antec: Performance One Series P160, Continued
  7. Antec: Performance One Series P160, Continued
  8. Antec Solution Series: SLK3700-BQE
  9. Antec Solution Series: SLK3700-BQE, Continued
  10. Antec Solution Series: SLK3700-BQE, Continued
  11. AOpen A600 Series: A600B
  12. AOpen A600 Series: A600B, Continued
  13. AOpen A600 Series: A600B, Continued
  14. Aspire: X-Alien
  15. Aspire: X-Alien, Continued
  16. Aspire: X-Alien, Continued
  17. Aspire: X-Dreamer II
  18. Aspire: X-Dreamer II, Continued
  19. Aspire: X-Dreamer II, Continued
  20. Athenatech: 400 Series
  21. Athenatech: 400 Series, Continued
  22. Athenatech: 400 Series, Continued
  23. Athenatech: 7800 Series
  24. Athenatech: 7800 Series, Continued
  25. Athenatech: 7800 Series, Continued
  26. BeanTech: BT85
  27. BeanTech: BT85, Continued
  28. BeanTech: BT85, Continued
  29. BeanTech Igloo Series: IGLOO 12
  30. BeanTech Igloo Series: IGLOO 12, Continued
  31. BeanTech Igloo Series: IGLOO 12, Continued
  32. Casetek LAN PARTY Dreamer: CK1021
  33. Casetek LAN PARTY Dreamer: CK1021, Continued
  34. Casetek LAN PARTY Dreamer: CK1021, Continued
  35. Casetek LAN PARTY Dreamer: CK1021, Continued
  36. Cooler Master: ATC-201B-BXT
  37. Cooler Master: ATC-201B-BXT, Continued
  38. Cooler Master: ATC-201B-BXT, Continued
  39. Cooler Master: ATC-201B-BXT, Continued
  40. Cooler Master Wave Master: TAC-T01-EK
  41. Cooler Master Wave Master: TAC-T01-EK, Continued
  42. Cooler Master Wave Master: TAC-T01-EK, Continued
  43. Cooler Master Wave Master: TAC-T01-EK, Continued
  44. Enermax CS-5171LBFS-B
  45. Enermax CS-5171LBFS-B, Continued
  46. Enermax CS-5171LBFS-B, Continued
  47. Fong Kai FK-333ATX
  48. Fong Kai FK-333ATX, Continued
  49. Fong Kai FK-333ATX, Continued
  50. Inwin IW-S564G-ATX
  51. Inwin IW-S564G-ATX, Continued
  52. Inwin IW-S564G-ATX, Continued
  53. Inwin X Series IW-X710
  54. Inwin X Series IW-X710, Continued
  55. Inwin X Series IW-X710, Continued
  56. Jeantech Butterfly Series 2011
  57. Jeantech Butterfly Series 2011, Continued
  58. Jeantech Butterfly Series 2011, Continued
  59. Jeantech Butterfly Series JN424SB
  60. Jeantech Butterfly Series JN424SB, Continued
  61. Jeantech Butterfly Series JN424SB, Continued
  62. Lian Li PC-6077
  63. Lian Li PC-6077, Continued
  64. Lian Li PC-6077, Continued
  65. SilverStone Technology Lascala Series / SST-LC01
  66. SilverStone Technology Lascala Series / SST-LC01, Continued
  67. SilverStone Technology Lascala Series / SST-LC01, Continued
  68. SilverStone Technology Lascala Series / SST-LC01, Continued
  69. Superpower Superb Series KC2301B
  70. Superpower Superb Series KC2301B, Continued
  71. Superpower Superb Series KC2301B, Continued
  72. Thermaltake Xaser III Lanfire Series: VM2000AD
  73. Thermaltake Xaser III Lanfire Series: VM2000AD, Continued
  74. Thermaltake Xaser III Lanfire Series: VM2000AD, Continued
  75. Thermaltake Xaser III VM3000A: Skull Series
  76. Thermaltake Xaser III VM3000A: Skull Series, Continued
  77. Thermaltake Xaser III VM3000A: Skull Series, Continued
  78. Conclusion: An Extraordinary Number Of High-Scoring Cases Makes Picking The Winners Difficult
  79. Conclusion, Continued
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