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2003 Winter Case Review Part 2: The ATX Avalanche

Conclusion: An Extraordinary Number Of High-Scoring Cases Makes Picking The Winners Difficult

Well, there you have it: the longest case review ever completed so far at THG. If you count the six MicroATX cases that we reviewed in Part 1 of our case review plus the 23 here, you can see that we have been quite busy testing cases.

The bottom line is that case manufacturers pay far more attention to level of quality and design that goes into their cases; or perhaps case manufacturers are learning to "cherry pick" their best offerings for submission in our reviews.

While there were a number of cases that could have easily won an Editors' Choice award, we opted for an Editors' Choice in three different categories: high-end/enthusiast; mainstream/enthusiast; budget/system integrator. In each of these categories we awarded one Editors' Choice and one Honorable Mention. Although we mention some other models that deserve special recognition in the individual case reviews, readers should understand that the Editors' Choice cases selected by us were only based on the cases in this review.

The overall Editors' Choice for high-end/enthusiast case is awarded to Cooler Master for the Wave Master TAC-T01-EK . Clearly, Cooler Master deserves serious recognition for this elegant design and attractive feature set developed with the Wave Master. While we were impressed with the original revision of this case, it is not often that a company has the opportunity to receive a second chance at making a splash. Cooler Master is the current crème de la crème of high-end case manufacturers. The Wave Master is an excellent case and although many consumers may complain about the $200 US price tag, we believe it is reasonable considering all that this case has to offer. (It should be noted that we have seen this case available for less than its $200 suggested retail price!)

It is not a surprise that our Honorable Mention in the high-end/enthusiast area is awarded to Thermaltake for its VA-3000A Skull Series case. The VA-3000A does not offer the high-gloss, high-quality paint of the Wave Master, but Thermaltake has put together an excellent package that will be extremely attractive to many gamers.

In the mainstream/enthusiast category, the decision was even tighter. Many cases could have won this Editors' Choice award. After much consideration, we feel that the AOpen A600B represents a great effort and a very nice product with an exceptional number of features that give it the edge to earn the Editors' Choice award. Certainly, the fact that this case can be had for about $100 US retail is a factor that many users will enjoy. We were both surprised and impressed with the quality of the AOpen A6000B.