2003 Winter Case Review Part 2: The ATX Avalanche

BeanTech: BT85, Continued

Even before putting on the white gloves, we were greeted with a sticker on the case that serves as a security seal, advising full inspection of the case prior to breaking the seal and opening the case. In case you don't know how to inspect the case, the enclosed manual covers the process in four quick steps. This is no surprise, given how easy it is to crack or damage these acrylic cases. And, of course, Beantech wants to prevent customers from employing less than honest warranty claims and attempting to return cases that they have in fact damaged.

Since we have discussed the pros and cons of acrylic cases in previous reviews, we are going to skip that discussion this time around; but in case you missed it, you can revisit our reviews of the Acryclear II and our review of the Crystal Clear AC-2004 to provide an idea of points of discussions that we have had about acrylic cases.

A side view of the BT85.

As for the construction of the BT85, as with nearly all of the other acrylic cases, it uses a series of acrylic sheets that are held together with a series of screws, bolts and adhesives. BeanTech encloses a pair of white gloves that you should use during the assembly of the case. The white gloves help prevent fingerprints and skin oils from marking the acrylic, which can appear as cloudy smudges once the case is fully assembled. Since you can see the inside of this case from every angle, there is no place to hide anything, and the cabling has to be clean and well managed or you will wind up with a see-through, odd looking mess on the inside.

These acrylic cases are designed for demonstration use only, but the enthusiasts have latched onto them and this has made them popular. What is unique is that BeanTech tries to help the intermediate user feel comfortable with investment in an acrylic case by providing a four-page color set of assembly instructions and tips with a lot of pictures to help first timers build a PC in an acrylic case with acceptable results. This is the first time that we have seen a manual such as this with an acrylic case. While it isn't perfect, it is much better from what we have seen with other acrylic cases.

The construction quality of the BT85 is good. With rounded edges and nice curb appeal, it is better than many of the other acrylic cases that we have seen. The case is heavy, but sturdy. The BT85 is solid and offers no twist or bend, but some of the panels have little slight flex to them. We would say that the durability is about the best that you are going to get in an acrylic case, but if you drop it or scratch it, you are going to damage it.