Spring Case Madness: 24 Of The Best

Chieftec AL-01DB, Continued

The AL-01DB features a lot more plastic than most Chieftec cases that are more metal oriented. Around the lab at first we got a lot of comments that it looked more like something that you would see from a Compaq, HP, or Gateway low cost bundled home unit than something that most enthusiasts would be interested in buying. However, it does present an interesting option for readers who are dealers looking to build a low cost PC that looks like a Compaq/HP/Gateway type machine.

The construction of the case itself is good, but not quite as good as the higher end Chieftec products due to the fact that the plastic on this case offers a lot more flex and give than the all metal cases from Chieftec. This case does have some flex and a little bit of twist as well. Nothing too major, but again this is due to the plastic design on the outside of the case. We should tell you that the plastic parts of the case do seem to be of high quality and don't really feel cheap to the touch.

When looking at the bay configuration and look of the inside of the case, it is important to note that expansion options are somewhat limited due to the fact that the unit does not include additional 3-½ external bays and only offers three usable 5-¼ bays. The inside of the case is somewhat cramped and clearly will offer a challenge if loaded all the way up.

The case features a drop down panel, which is removed by lifting on the handle. The panel then can be removed very easily. Again, this is a feature that is targeted more toward the home user, but if building a case for someone other than yourself, this presents a very nice easy access option. The case features a two-fan design, according to Chieftec, but it would be possible to mount an additional fan in the top of the case to gain additional cooling as well. The venting of the case is good and it is able to move quite a bit of air, but clearly it is not targeted toward the over clocker who needs extreme cooling.

A look at the front mounted USB ports on the AL-01DB.

The case features two front mounted USB ports, which are located next to the power switch in the middle of the case. AL-01DB offers no front mounted support for audio or 1394 Firewire ports.

To be fair in reviewing this case, it is kind of out of place when compared to many of the high-end cases in this review. If you are looking for a simple case that provides easy access to the system and at a low cost, then this is worth taking a look at. If you are going to build a massive number of the same machines in an office/enterprise environment, then this case is worth considering. The bottom line is that it is attractive and it does have some good features, but the expandability is limited and unless you have the right application for this case, then you should be able to find something better in the same price range.