Conclusion: New Choices For Buyers To Consider
In doing this summer case review, we can see that manufacturers are really listening to what the buyers want. Only one case that we reviewed (Acryclear II from Aerocool) did not offer front mounted ports of some type. This is a significant improvement over cases of the past.
For the most part, companies are paying far more attention to the quality that goes into the cases’ construction. As we pointed out in the introduction of this review, the focus is primarily on trying to deliver value and at the same time deliver cases that are modeled after many of successful, high-end cases. As we have seen here, this has produced mixed results. Chenbro and Kingwin, for example, have been able to deliver cost-effective solutions that look very much like much more expensive cases. On the other hand, several of the cases we reviewed didn’t fare very well in their attempts to blend value and elegance into a cost-effective solution. We expect to see improvements in this area due to ongoing development of these features.
We found some innovations in design in these cases : Aerocool’s first two- colored split panel, all acrylic case ; Antec’s innovative and very cool "piano black" finish ; Aspire’s retro, "everything but the kitchen sink" approach ; Athenatech’s well executed design of the front panel on the A100SC ; Chieftech’s new, interchangeable, colored trim plate options ; Raidmax’s lighted door ; and Yeong Yang’s introduction of a louvered ventilation adjustment built into the front bezel. It will be interesting in the coming months to see how many of these innovations make it into future production cases. While these innovations might not be earth shattering, they do indicate that each company desires to carve out its own niche in an already crowded market.
It was not difficult to select our Editors’ Choice award winners for this case review. Although we received many good submissions this time, we reviewed two cases that particularly stood out from the rest.
Our first Editors’ Choice goes to Chenbro, for the Xpider. The fusion of design and function for a reasonable price make this our case of choice for the value segment. While the case does have some slight tradeoffs due to its price point and an aggressive looking front bezel that you will either love or hate, the Xpider does so many things right it deserves this Editors’ Choice award. With its 92 mm fan installed in the front of the case and 120 mm fan installed in the rear, the Xpider case is able to move a lot of air through your system, which makes it an ideal cooling setup. We were impressed with the quality of the Xpider’s construction, as well. While Chenbro could tweak a few things to make it slightly better, they aren’t anything that most users could not live with, considering the affordable price. Chenbro has done an excellent job delivering a fresh and innovative value that will please buyers, since they will probably have money left to buy those other important case upgrades.