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2003 Winter Case Review Part 2: The ATX Avalanche

Cooler Master: ATC-201B-BXT, Continued

The interior of this case features a slide-out motherboard tray, which makes installation a snap. The quality of the inside of the case is excellent. The case features very little twist, but some bend, which is common to most aluminum cases. The construction appears to be hard tooled for the most part using a variety of bolts and rivets to attach the case together. The straight up and down firm bay design allows for the case to have a very solid feel, while the weight is good for an aluminum case of this level of quality. We like the nice amount of room behind the 3-½" drive cage that allows the user to hide their cable mess in this area so it isn't visible through the windowed side panel.

The internal cooling is handled by four 80mm fans. The two front 80mm intake fans are in a stacked configuration behind a mesh grill that allows for the lighted fans in our sample case to give off a nice glow that can be seen from the outside of the case. The 80mm fan in the rear, along with the 80mm fan in the top, provides ample exhaust for the ATC-201B-BXT. We really like this 80mm stacked fan configuration in the front of the case because the location of the hard drives in front of these fans allows for good airflow over the drives on its way to be exhausted at the rear of the case. During our testing we found the cooling performance of the ATC-201B-BXT to be quite good.

While the ATC-201B-BXT includes only two front-mounted USB 2.0 ports, the next version of the case is said to add support for 1394/Firewire/MIC/headphone ports in addition to the USB ports. This is good news, as right now this is one of the areas that is holding this case back from keeping up with the times. Also, you can see the excellent grill that is ripe for lighted fans behind it. Our test case included two lighted fans behind the grill and the look was very pleasing.