2003 Winter Case Review Part 1: MicroATX Case Madness

Chenbro - Hornet, Continued

Chenbro opted for a very low noise solution by offering just one single 60mm fan in the rear of the case, and did not include additional cooling location options in the front or the top of the case. While the Hornet can be turned on its side to be used in a desktop configuration, Chenbro obviously intended this model to be used in a standard tower configuration for most uses.

As the Hornet has a single fan configuration, the case design features a variety of mesh style venting in both the front and sides of the case. This mesh is most prevalent in the Hornet's yellow "eye area", as can be seen from the photos. Besides adding authenticity to the hornet insect heat and eye features, the mesh venting also works to passively vent heat out of the case; but airflow through the Hornet is not optimized due to the case design's single fan configuration limit. Regardless, the Hornet is still able to dissipate a considerable amount of heat using this creative venting configuration, and it adds a "coolness" factor to the look of the case design.

The inside of the Hornet is highlighted by the removable drive cage which is easily released to allow convenient access to the rest of the system.

The screwless design that Chenbro has implemented in the Hornet borrows from many of the features Chenbro used with its very innovative and successful design for the Xpider/Gaming Bomb. From the rear latch lock that allows the removal of the Hornet's side case panel to the internal drive bays that are released by unhooking brightly colored green latches, this case can be assembled using a minimal number of tools. The 5.25" and 3.5" bays that are located in the middle of the case unlatch to swing out of the way and can be completely removed, allowing for a quick and easy installation of the motherboard and other accessories.

We found this design arrangement to be quite good. However, the upper 3.5" hard drive bay did not meet as much with our approval. Although Chenbro has added rubber grommets to absorb shock and vibration, this absorption clearly is hampered by the fact that the hard drive in the upper bay is only secured on two sides. While we did not notice any problems with this arrangement, some may find securing the hard drive on only two sides to be a drawback to the Hornet's interior configuration. Another puzzling thing is that Chenbro elected not to utilize the rubber grommet configuration on the second 3.5" drive bay that is below the 5.25" bay. Although the Hornet uses a unique integrated mounting system for one side of the hard drive that is secured by screws on the other side, this did not meet with our expectations after seeing the other bay utilizing the rubber grommeted system to help reduce the shock and vibration.

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