We first came in contact with our first aluminum case way back in February of this year from Lian Li. Since then, numerous companies have come out with some very remarkable looking aluminum cases for us overclockers. What many of these manufacturers have been boasting is that an aluminum case, aside from the fact is looks awesome, is that it cools about three (3) times as well normal steel cases.
This hypothesis seemed pretty good to base a round up on aluminum cases. So Carl over at PCMods.com sent over some units for us to check out. In the next few pages, you'll encounter units from Lian Li, Coolermaster, Skyhawk, Enermax and Chili.
The units themselves will be tested for ease of use, special features and overall temperatures within the case.
To even things out a bit, an Enermax 430 Whisper PSU is used. A 92mm fan on the bottom of the PSU and an 80mm fan exhausting air makes this PSU one of the best to use for any case. Follow the link for more information on the PSU. The cases from PCMods.com DO NOT come with power supplies.
Our test rig will make its appearance as usual which consist of an IWill KK266, AMD 1.4Ghz Thunderbird and Crucial PC133 CL2 SDram. You read correctly, we will be using a EYHJA stepping 1.4 ghz Thunderbird to do some heat testing. We'll try some overclocked speeds, even though this chip doesn't hit to high, it does do 1.5 stable. The ThermalRight SK6 is slapped on top of the CPU for maximum cooling.
The following pages we will sometimes use the term anodized. Its the process of electrically depositing an oxide film from aqueous solution onto the surface of a metal, in this case aluminum. This in turn can provide corrosion resistance, electrical insulation, thermal control, abrasion resistance, sealing, improving paint adhesion, and decorative finishing. What most people like is the last part of that, the decorative finishing. The cases that we have taken a look at, only the Lian Li provides an anodized version of their case, the rest do not at this point.
Our trusty CompuNurse thermal probe will be used to gather CPU temperatures as well as our cheapo Radio Shack temperature probe. A final temperature chart will be given at the end of the review, don't think we forgot about it.
Please be advised that the following pages are very graphic intensive with shots of the cases. Be patient and you'll get a good idea of what is in store when getting one of these cases.