2003 Winter Case Review Part 2: The ATX Avalanche

AOpen A600 Series: A600B, Continued

The cooling of the A600B is handled by single 120mm tri-colored lighted fan that is located in the rear of the case. While the A600B does support an additional 80mm fan for intake, which can be mounted behind the front bezel, AOpen didn't choose to include it with our test sample. Nonetheless, we populated it for our testing. AOpen calls the front fan optional, but we suggest that they just make it standard, rather than trying to cut corners by not including it.

With both the 120mm and 80mm fans installed, the cooling performance was exceptional. The large 120mm moves a great deal of heat out of the case, yet only generates a low level of noise. In fact, the fan on our CPU was more audible than the case fans used for testing. The A600B is well sealed and was very quiet by comparison to other cases in our review. This was a surprise to us, considering the number of vent holes located in the front bezel, as well as the side panels of the case. On the back of the case is located a fan bus style switch that allows the user to select from three fan speeds to help control noise.

Here, we get a look at the flip-up door that hides the front-mounted ports. As you can clearly see in this picture, AOpen needs to give the USB ports a little more clearance from the door. Also, you can see the nice reflections from the excellent high gloss paint finish on the A600B.

The A600B includes a flip-up door on the front bezel to hide the USB/1394/Firewire/MIC/headphone ports. The construction of the door is very good and works well, but when the door is open, it is a tight fit to access the top USB port. While the variety of devices that we tried to plug in fit with no problem, we would have preferred more clearance between the ports and the door; but this is nothing more than minor 'nit picking.' However, we feel it is something that AOpen should consider in future revisions of this case.

The only thing about the A600B that we didn't really like was its large feet on the bottom of the case. These feet looked a bit out of place considering the sleek look of the rest of the case. The good news about these feet, however, is that they are large enough to prevent the case from tipping over in all but the most extreme situations.

The A600B was quite a surprise and not at all what we expected from AOpen. This case is a high quality design that provides the user with an attractive housing for their computer system. While the styling is not aggressive enough to attract many gamers at first glance, those seeking a quality solution that is toned down a bit from more aggressively styled cases should consider the A600B. With the vast choices in cases that are available it is sometimes difficult to attract attention, but AOpen has hit the mark with the A600B if consumers take the time to consider it.