Another Not So Surprising New Trend In Cases
As mentioned in our most recent case review Spring Case Madness: 24 Of The Best , many of the major players in the case manufacturing industry are seeking innovative ways to enhance their offerings and to separate their products from the rest of the pack. The latest trend that we have begun to see is the development of new, lower priced cases that are modeled after some of the most expensive cases available on the market today.
These new offerings for the most part feature steel, rather than aluminum, as the primary construction material. By opting to use steel, the cost of the case can be reduced by almost half, according to the suggested prices we have been provided with. While aluminum is still the most desirable for quality, heat dissipation, look, and lighter weight, steel is strong, holds up well, and is a good choice in situations where price is an important consideration. However, although some of these new "look alike" cases resemble their higher priced relatives, the quality of construction is sometimes lower. The adage, "You get what you pay for" is something buyers need to weigh versus the cost of a better quality aluminum case.
Be prepared for a few trade-offs, in most instances, if you select one of these models. In order to keep prices low, several manufacturers have made design sacrifices. Still, these cases have to be evaluated on their feature set, not just their price and the fact that they are a "Mini Me" version of some higher end cases. We found some that some of the items cut to meet the price point are things such as a second 3.5" drive bay, a full featured, front port design, and the reset switch. While these features might not be missed by some buyers, their omission might drive others bonkers.
These cases seek to fill the gap between high-end and low-end offerings. These models could well become the templates for the mid-range cases of the future. We also expect that they will become very popular with system integrators and resellers because of their nicer appearance while still featuring a more affordable price point.