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2003 Winter Case Review Part 2: The ATX Avalanche

AOpen A600 Series: A600B, Continued

The A600B is an interesting product from AOpen. It marks AOpen's entry into the aluminum case market place with an aggressive offering at a very competitive baseline price.

One thing that needs to be noted about the A600B is that AOpen customizes the case to fit the needs of the customer when they order. This means that some features may not be ordered by all customers; so if you purchase this case, make sure that you check to see if optional items such as the USB/1394/MIC/headphone ports, side panel window, front-mounted 80mm fan and lighting are included. Our test sample included everything except the lighting package that AOpen offers. The cost of this case will go up or down, depending on the configuration of the case.

A look at the inside of the A600B. It is a little cramped, but the case is solid and well built.

The hard tooled construction of the case itself was impressive. Using a solid vertical thick drive cage design, AOpen is able to create a very sturdy case vertically with this design. At the same time, the A600B features horizontal struts that are riveted to the drive cage to increase the strength of the case. While the A600B did have a little bend, it had very little twist to the case itself due to its excellent construction.

The edges inside the A600B use a variety of methods to keep them smooth. The majority of the edges are either rolled or folded, which gives the interior a smooth finish. While we were able to find a few rough spots here and there, we didn't find anything that should seriously wound the owner. Due to how far back the drive cage sits, we did find the case a little cramped, but nothing serious. Room exists behind the 3-½" drive bays to hide those ugly cables, should you desire to do so.

The black high gloss automotive style paint finish on the A600B is exceptional. We still think that the finish on the Cooler Master Wave Master was slightly better, due to the fact that the A600B seemed to have more ripple in the finish than did the Cooler Master. Still, the finish on the case is very good and as a nice bonus, AOpen even throws in a cloth to polish and help keep the case clean. Keeping the case free of finger prints will be a problem, as the gloss finish does pick them up quite easily - and your friends will not be able to keep their hands off the A600B.