2003 Winter Case Review Part 2: The ATX Avalanche

Athenatech: 7800 Series, Continued

With an astonishing number of seven 5.25" bays and an aggressive bezel design, the 7800 Series breaks new ground in the pedestal server/workstation market space. The 7800 is built like a tank; however, we found the use of the beige-colored plastic accents for the locking mechanism, top-mounted port cover and feet to look very odd and out of place in comparison to the black and silver colored, front-bezel design. While this case is clearly designed for server and workstation applications, due to its seven 5.25" bays that are primarily targeted toward the use of hard drive swap trays, it is difficult to understand Athenatech's choice of these unmatched beige colored pieces on the outside construction of the case. Perhaps changing those to black, instead of beige, would give the case a look and feel different from other cases in this category. And, this 7800 Series case, which is targeted toward the workstation/server market is somewhat out of place compared to the other cases in this review that are more consumer applications targeted.

To further complicate things, one has to only look at the cooling solution provided by the 7800 Series; it features only three fans. A single 120mm fan is in the rear, as well as two 92 or 120 mm fans that are embedded in a removable panel on the side of the 7800. Due to ample ventilation, this cooling setup does work remarkably well, but is limited because there is no front featured intake solution. Athenatech has configured the 7800 Series to be more indicative of what can be found in similar cases of this design.

A look at the inside of the 7800 series.

Upon the installation of our test configuration, we found ample amounts of room as well as considerable generation of noise. Much of this noise is due to the 7800 Series' configuration that utilizes a very open intake frame in the front of the case, as well as a significant number of vent holes on the side panel. While the case is exceptionally sturdy and exhibited neither bend nor twist, this is due to the heavy construction material used for the 7800 Series, which also contributes to the weight of the case.

Our test configuration is not sufficiently large to get a good feel for the performance of this case when fully loaded. It is ironic that Athenatech would choose to submit this model for this type of a review. Still, those who have the need for many drives will find ample room for all of them; however, you will be required to invest in 5.25" drive trays to insert the 3.5" drives into the 7800 Series chassis. This is an additional expense that probably will not bother those for whom this case is targeted.