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 GideonTech Reviews
-- Aluminum Case Round Up
-- Price: ~ $99.99 - $289.99 USD
-- 11.15.2001
-- By: GideonX
-- Page: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7

On the previous page we had the CoolerMaster unit from a manufacturer who started out as a cooling company.  We're going to take a look at the Enermax CS688 Blue Aluminum this time around.  Enermax? They make cases? They sure do now!  Widely known for their Whisper quiet power supplies (we're using their 430 in this round up), they have just entered the case market not too long ago.

I know what you may be thinking, every company and their mother have an aluminum case out on the market.  What sets this case apart from the others?  Easy answer for that one, check out the finish on this unit:

Check the shine on that side panel!  You can see the front intake monster on my Antec in the reflection just a like a mirror.  Ok, maybe not a mirror but its pretty damn reflective.  So how exactly is this case finished?

A lot of companies pretty much used the brushed aluminum look.  Some, like Lian Li, have begun offering anodized versions of their cases.  Anodizing adds a new protective finish along with a different color to the surface of the case.  With this Enermax, they have decided to do something a bit different.  The finish is done just like an automotive grade paint job.  Gives it that incredible shine like a brand new car!  This actually got me wondering, does this mean if I leave this case out in the rain, it should not rust or rot too bad because of the paint job?  Just a thought, I am not about to throw this case outside on the lawn and let nature take over.

Here are some specs on the case:

  • All aluminum construction 
  • Fans included: 1 80mm front mounted fan 1 80mm rear mounted fan 
  • 4 5.25" drive bays 2 external 3.5" bays 1 internal 3.5" bay 
  • Sharp edges bent for safety 
  • Pentium 4 compatible 
  • Horizontal PSU 
  • Thumbscrew Panel Contruction 

Front Access ports: USB (2), Firewire IEEE 1394, Audio port, joystick port

The case pretty much has all you would need.  Extra cooling fans, rounded edges and front access ports for USB and the like.

The front counter is secured with six (6) large screws.  You may need a flat headed screwdriver to get them loose.  Enermax chose not to use thumbscrews here, which is a good thing!  They would look rather silly in these six spots.  The power button and reset are pretty large, so big handed folks like me would have no problems.

With all good things, there must be some bad things I guess.  Here is a shot of the back, you have your basic rear exhaust hole.  You also can see the two (2!) thumbscrews holding the side panel.  If you look closely, you'll notice only one side comes off!  I hope Enermax designed this case to be the case to end all cases because this is quite inconvenient.  It said it had thumbscrew panel construction, I sure was not planning on it being only one side.

Here's the bag of goodies chock full of usefulness.  You have the front port extension cables, some plastic feet and extra spacers to fill up those expansion slots in the back.

Once inside the case, we first come in contact with a horizontal bar screwed into the side of the case.  I've seen this type of design in some Dell cases actually, and I'm pretty sure they are used to stabilize the case while it is being moved.  Kind of like the strut bars in cars, used to stabilize the body structure from twisting when the car is moving.  If you need to move the case around much, this bar may help in lessening the strain the case receives while be pounding on by you moving it around it.  This is just a theory I had, if anyone has a definite answer, I'm all ears!

The 3.5" drive cage is removable by taking off some screws.  The best removable cage I've seen so far was the one of the Lian Li.  They snap in and out very easily for quick drive replacement.

This one is just for fun, just wanted to check if the Enermax PSU was easy to install on an Enermax case. Ok, next case please.

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