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2003 Winter Case Review Part 2: The ATX Avalanche

Enermax CS-5171LBFS-B, Continued

The cooling setup inside the CS-5171LBFS-B features the option of mounting an 80mm, 92mm or 120mm fan in the front of the case. It almost goes without saying that this fan was not included with the test case that we received from Enermax. Two not included 80mm fans are used to exhaust air from the inside of the case. Additionally a single 80mm fan is located in the windowed side panel of the CS-5171LBFS-B; fortunately, this fan is included. With the 120mm fan installed in the front of the case and the two 120mm fans in the rear of the case, we achieved excellent results in our cooling tests. We were able to feel a great deal of air being moved through this case, which should, in turn, keep the components of your computer cool with this type of cooling setup. We believe the CS-5171LBFS-B is a good choice for overclockers due to the two rear 80mm fans that can push a lot of air outside of this case.

The Enermax included transfer panel that takes up the second 3.5" bay offers a bezel that is painted to match the finish of the case.

Enermax includes a pre-painted 3.5" transfer panel mounted in the second 3.5" bay that supports 2 USB ports, one 1394/Firewire port and a MIC and headphone jack. Should you desire not to use this transfer panel, it is easily removed from the case. The bezel of the transfer panel is painted the same high-gloss black finish to match the case. The 3.5" bay above, however, will present more of a challenge because unlike the 5.25" bays that feature a slide up/slide down door to cover the 5.25" devices hidden behind this door, the bezel on the 3.5" floppy drive or other device installed here will not match the paint finish of the case. While it might be possible to have a bezel painted with a high-gloss, automobile style finish by simply prepping the bezel yourself and taking it to a local body shop to have it painted, this adds hassle and expense to the consumer.

The CS-5171LBFS-B presented a dilemma for us. While we would rate construction quality of the case as above average and the paint finish on the case as excellent, separating these two aspects is impossible given the method we use for reviewing cases at THG. When you compare the CS-5171LBFS-B with some of the other high-gloss finishes that we have seen in this review, the Enermax CS-5171LBFS-B stands out as a bargain. However, in this instance looks are everything and this begs the question of whether a consumer should be buying a case based on just looks alone. In our opinion, the CS-5171LBFS-B is a functional case. It tested reasonably well and did not offer us any problems beyond a bit of a cramped feeling during the installation process. We can honestly recommend the CS-5171LBFS-B as a good budget entry level case. While the CS-5171LBFS-B will definitely turn some heads it might not be the best case of choice for many high-end enthusiasts over the long term. It all boils down to what the consumer is looking for in their next chassis purchase.