2003 Winter Case Review Part 1: MicroATX Case Madness

The Review Process

While receiving submissions for our Fall case review we received the MicroATX cases that are presented in this review. While we did not put out a specific call for MicroATX cases, we received a sufficient number of them to write a review for these cases.

We received MicroATX cases from Antec, Athenatech, Chenbro, SuperFlower/TTGI, and Yeong Yang. Since we did not put out a specific call for MicroATX cases, it can be assumed that not all of our favorites may be included in this review, as many of these companies elected to send these MicroATX cases in addition to the cases that they submitted for the our regular Fall ATX case review. We will have Part 2 of our ATX case review ready shortly.

To review each of the cases, we used our established standardized process : we build the computer case using the same setup for each one of the test cases ; we use the same cables ; and the same power supply. We believe that it is more important to test "real world" functionality of each case using a "real world" standard setup in order to yield more comparable and accurate information as to the performance of each case. Our sample testing configuration was as follows :

Sample Testing Setup For MicroATX Case Testing

CPU AMD Athlon 3000 XP - 400 MHz FSB
CPU Heatsink & Fan Stock AMD AVC Fan & Heat Sink
Motherboard Biostar M7NCG 400 MicroATX
RAM Kingston HyperX KHX4000K2/512
Video ATI Radeon All In Wonder 9800 Pro for MicroATX systems that supported the use of a full-height AGP graphics card. In systems that didn’t support this, the integrated graphics offered by the nForce2 chipset where used.
Hard Drives Hitachi Deskstar 180GXP - 180 GB
Optical Drives LiteOn CDRW/DVD Combo Drive - 48x24x48x16
Floppy Drive Mitsumi
Power Supply All MicroATX cases in this review included a power supply and the included power supply was used to test all cases in this review.
Additional Case Fans Additional case fans were added to fill all of the slots available within the case.

The MicroATX configuration presented a few more issues than our normal case reviews do. All of the MicroATX cases that we received included a power supply. Many of the manufacturers still list the power supply as optional, but the size and configuration of the power supply was different in some cases such that we could not use our default power supply in every case. Thus, we tested each case with the included power supply as sent to us.

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