The overall score is made up of the following rating criteria:
- Construction of case, exterior, side panels and front door
- Edges and corners, risk of injury when opening the case and installing hardware
- Installation of the motherboard, expansion cards and various power supplies
- Wiring for front ports, drives, motherboards
- Expandability and installation of hard drives and 5.25" drives and fan-speed controller
Our Testing Hardware
To make our scores as realistic as possible, we installed various hardware components in each midi tower. The foundation for the PC was an IC7-MAX3 motherboard from Abit. We then mounted an AGP graphics board from MSI and - case permitting - a 4-channel controller from Advansys. While it isn't the most bleeding-edge board, we were more interested in trying to install a PCI long card. The hard drives were chosen from a number of 40 GB models from various manufacturers. Our 5.25" drive was a 16x DVD drive from MSI. We used an ultra-short Superflower Fan Master for our fan-speed controller because we knew that it couldn't be installed on every midi case.
IC7MAX3 from Abit is the foundation for the PC.
Not exactly MSI's flagship model anymore: we were more interested in installing the AGP card.
The 4-channel controller was developed in the 90s as a PCI long card.
We wanted to mount four hard drives in every case.
The Superflower fan-speed controller showed whether the cases could accommodate short 5.25" devices.
The new Targan PSU TG380-U01 has a rat's nest of long cabling.
The Levicom PSU is ½" deeper, and a good example of oversized power supplies for our midi tower round-up.
The new golden Enermax power supply uses a short 40 cm cable that is also very rigid.