Sleek Designs, Little Innovation: 4 Barebone Cases Compared

A Look Inside The TACens THECA And The Aplus Blockbuster II BM

Same interior, different frontage - these cases are twins.

It is obvious at a glance that the Aplus and TACens cases share the same interior layout. More specifically, they use an identical chassis that seems to be made by the same supplier and only differ in the design of their facing. We have noticed the same peculiarity with a few tower cases as well. Apparently, the steel or aluminum builds are sourced from the same supplier, then the front panel is created in-house (or possibly bought from another company), and finally, the two parts are merged on the assembly line. While this allows the companies to offer their highly individual models, in the end they are basically selling identical models.

The case without the lid

These latches have to be released in order to open the case.

Here, the similarities are not a drawback. Such twins are easy to test, review and rate. Truth be told, that saves us a lot of time. Both of these cases are flip-top models, allowing the upper part of the case to be flipped open to the side. Once assembled, the top part contains the drives and the power supply. The lower part houses the motherboard along with the CPU, the graphics card and the memory. With the case opened like this, you are also able to reach the cables much more easily, as you can reach any jumper or connector from all sides. The only disadvantage to this two-level design is that it limits the headroom for large CPU coolers. The same goes for graphics cards with elaborate and thus large heatpipe solutions. However, long graphics cards such as the GeForce 8800 GT are not a problem.

An open HTPC - Parts one and two

After releasing the latches, the upper part of the case can be flipped to the side.

The top part can also be folded over with hardware installed. Just make sure the case doesn't fall over, though.

Siggy Moersch