|-- Aluminum Case Round Up
-- Price: ~ $99.99 - $289.99 USD
-- By: GideonX
-- Page: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
When most overclockers hear the name CoolerMaster, you think about their heatsink line of products. They produce some of the best OEM type of coolers available on the market. With an intensive line of performance parts for a PC's CPU, they did a big turn around and started producing larger items, namely aluminum cases.
We're going to take a look at their ATC201 model case. Having read the raves in regards to this case, GT just had to take a look at it for ourselves and see what the hoopla is all about. Coming in at almost $300, this case had better provide us with enough extras.
Here are basic specs:
- All aluminum construction
- Supported Motherboards: P4, ATX, MICRO-ATX
- Dimensions: 497 mm x 196 mm x 452 mm
- Blow Hole and 80mm Fan included
- 80mm rear fan
- Dual 80mm Front Mounted fans
- 4 5.25 inch Drive Bays
- 6 3.5 inch Drive Bays (2 exposed, 4 hidden)
The first impression on the case, besides the smooth finish, is the addition of two (2) USB ports in the front. This seems to be a major need by many users, good to see it being implemented in the design. There is a covering that flips over the ports, hiding it when not in use. The design flows well, the cover blends in very nicely.
As most cases have tiny holes or inlets to let air through, the ATC201 has a metal mesh that lines the bottom of the front bezel. Easier to clean than a foam mesh, this makes lazy users happier (including me).
Another first is a blowhole! Instead of hacking one away yourself, this case comes with one up top equipped with an 80mm fan. No other case I know comes with an OEM blowhole, definitely a plus here folks.
The case is pretty much all put together with thumbscrews. Even the slide out motherboard tray seen here is held together the silver screws.
The front of the case, where the four (4) hidden 3.5" bays are situated, is where the two (2) 80mm fans are. CoolerMaster was nice enough to include fan grills on all the fans. How many of you have almost chopped the tip of your fingers off while working inside a case? I pay the least attention to the fans on the front bezel actually, which is probably not a good thing. Having these grills make it a bit better in the finger ripping department.
The ATC201 comes with a decent sized bag of screws and nipples. You'll notice in this picture, the speaker is on the bottom of the case. That's not supposed to be there, it fell off during shipment : ( I stuck it back on the front bezel and push the pins down a bit more that were holding it. Doesn't seem to be too secure, but you should only bother with this if you are rough with your PC and like to bring it places.
Another gripe I had was the sticky adhesive goop that was left over by the scotch tape that they used to secure the bag! If this case would run about $300 a pop, I would definitely not expect Scotch tape residue left over on the nice aluminum finish. Twistie tie it to a drive cage or something!
The four (4) hidden drive cage is positioned pretty well for cables to reach it. To secure your hard drive, you'll have to use the back two (2) screw holes. The fans block the drive from going any further in. Most motherboards should be able to clear this just fine with the drives installed there. The case is VERY roomy.
The PSU bracket is a bit tricky to get in to. The top cover comes off by removing two screws, which is very convenient. To get our Enermax in there, we had to throw all the cables and wires inside the case first, then slide the PSU inside backside first. It barely cleared top because of the extra ledge that sticks out on the side of the Enermax. We eventually got it in there, not too much of a problem really.