2003 Winter Case Review Part 2: The ATX Avalanche

BeanTech Igloo Series: IGLOO 12, Continued

The construction of the IGLOO 12 is good, beyond the issues with the door. The case exhibits very little twist and only some bend. The internal design of the case is good and uses a variety of rolled edges and a smooth finish for the interior of the case. The case is sturdy due to the stacked design of the drive bays. Additional space exists on the back of the 3-½" drive bays to route those cables to get them out of the way. The hard drive bays are rubber grommeted to reduce shock and vibration, which should be attractive to many, especially those who will move the machine around a lot.

The cooling setup of the IGLOO 12 consists of two stacked 80mm fans that are located in the front of the case behind a removable/washable filter. (These fans can be replaced with lighted fans that are visible through the front grill for a nice effect to dress up your case if you desire.) A single 80mm fan in the rear of the case handles the exhaust chores for the IGLOO 12. As we explained above, with the door of the case in the closed position, air intake is obstructed which reduces the overall cooling performance of the IGLOO 12. After opening the door and re-running the test, we noticed an impressive improvement in the cooling performance potential, which would raise the score to 9, but who wants to run the case with the door open? Still, the IGLOO 12 managed to stay within acceptable limits during our testing with the door closed.

A look at the side-mounted ports on the IGLOO 12.

The IGLOO 12 offers two USB 2.0 ports and a single 1394/Firewire port that are side mounted on the case. The acrylic area around these ports is beveled out in such a way that cables and devices that we plugged into the IGLOO 12's side-mounted ports had no problem. When we saw the acrylic surrounding the ports, we feared that buyers would have difficulty in attaching devices to the IGLOO 12; this isn't the case because of good design on BeanTech's part. Still the missing MIC and headphone jacks are a cause for concern. We would like to see BeanTech add them back into this case, if possible.

For the most part, this is a fine effort and a the IGLOO 12 is a high quality case with many good design features. The problems with the door, however, are very troubling and are something that BeanTech needs to address. We were very pleased with the aggressive red colored acrylic on this case, which is an eye catcher for sure. The IGLOO 12 is hampered by a door design problem, which we are sure will drive most users "batty;" and this hurt its overall score. In the meantime, if you like the internal design of this case we suggest that you consider IGLOO 4 or the KT-424 series from Kingwin, as they offer the same internal design as the IGLOO 12, but do away with the problematic door, and the door is the only real problem holding us back from recommending this case.