2003 Winter Case Review Part 2: The ATX Avalanche

Conclusion, Continued

As for the Honorable Mention awards in the mainstream/enthusiast category, we could not decide; thus, we declare a tie between the Cooler Master ATC-201B-BXT and the Thermaltake Lanfire VA-2000A. It is a toss up as to which one of these cases will better suit your needs. We preferred the Cooler Master ATC-201B-BXT due to its practicality and elegant, high-gloss finish. Even when moved into the Praetorian product family by Cooler Master later next year, this case will continue to be a favorite with enthusiasts and gamers alike. This case design has been recognized by us previously as an Editor's Choice under the ATCS-Tek label; thus, we didn't feel that beyond the new paint and case color that it offered enough new to warrant another Editors' Choice award at this time. Once this case incorporates all of the new revisions as promised by Cooler Master (when the case moves to the Praetorian product family) we will revisit this case once again for Editors' Choice consideration.

As for the Thermaltake Lanfire, Thermaltake does an excellent job of packing a number of features into an attractive package at a reasonable price. The biggest question in choosing between these two cases is how aggressive you want the styling of your computer case to be. This may make it easier to choose between these Honorable Mention candidates.

Our Editors' Choice in the budget/system integrator category is awarded to the Enermax CS-5171LBFS-B . This case offers a variety of features that make it a worthy choice for the budget-minded consumer. We have seen some excellent advertised deals for this particular case, which obviously led us to select this case as our Budget Editors' Choice champion. A close Honorable Mention second goes to the Aspire X-Alien. The X-Alien offers a variety of features plus a 420 Watt power supply for $129 MSRP, and probably much less if you are willing to do some shopping around for it. Although the X-Alien offers an interior design that we have seen in other cases, the bottom line is the X-Alien does a lot at a very reasonable price point. It is a good looking case, reasonably priced and definitely worthy of your consideration.

The avalanche of cases we reviewed this time was staggering. The hours that went into testing, evaluation and writing about these products are many. The time, of course, was well spent. We were impressed with the improvement in product quality of the cases that we received; previously we had never received so many high quality cases from such a wide variety of manufacturers. We also saw excellent offerings from manufacturers that are new to Tom's Hardware Guide readers, and several of these manufacturers offered some new concepts and innovations not seen before.

In every case review we learn more about what to expect from case manufacturers. It is clear that the case manufacturing industry is learning a lot from our reviews, as well as the buying preferences of many THG readers. We look forward to seeing what will be in store for our next case review.