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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

The company Skyhawk, originally formed back in '88 in Taiwan, is a complete solution for PC peripherals.  As of late, they have been pushing their aluminum cases hard to the case modification market.  One of their most affordable models, the ALP4388 that we will review here, is aimed at the novice/intermediate user who may not exactly be sure if aluminum is for them.

The model ALP4388 comes with a plastic front bezel.  This shouldn't matter all that much in regards to system temperature performance.  If anyone has ever used the Apex or Foxconn value cases, this unit from Skyhawk should look very familar.  The design is similar, but this case is all aluminum except for that front bezel.

Here are some specs on the case itself:

  • Aluminum construction (faceplate is plastic) 
  • Dimensions: 7.9(w) x 16.2(h) x 17.7(d) inches 
  • 4 external 5.25" drive bays 2 external 3.5" drive bays
  • 1 internal 3.5" drive bay 
  • 3 fans: 1 80mm internal fan 1 80mm front mounted fan 1 80mm CPU Blower fan (exhausts to outside of case) 
  • Front Access to: USB (2), Joystick, Firewire, audio jacks, and audio control.
  • Adjustable card holder keeps cards secure 
  • Supported Motherboards: P4, ATX, MICRO-ATX

Here are the front access ports for some of the most used on your system.  This one even comes with firewire.  Only gripe about the front ports is that they are a bit too low towards the bottom of the case.  Maybe if it was higher or were on the side it would be easier to get to.

Here is a back shot of the case, you can see the thumbscrew design.  Also notice, no slide out motherboard tray.  If that is something you want and need, then stay away from this one.  Each of the side panels come with this handle to pull the panel off.  Since the sides of the case do not have any shaped areas to pull the sides off, these handles come in handy.  Something I noticed with the panels and construction of the case is that it is extremely thin and light.  May be a good thing for carrying around to LAN parties, but definitely not something for the rough folks out there who bang their boxes around.

Skyhawk comes with a lot of extra screws and that wonderful bag of extension cables for the front ports.  Also pictured here is the front case fan I took out, just thought you would want to see the silver plastic cage it came with.

One of the features of this case is the vertical expansion slot holders.  These clips press down on your component cards to give them that extra support when you're moving your case around.  Definitely something useful for that next LAN party, but then again, I've never unseated a well screwed down AGP/PCI/ISA card so I'm not sure how convenient this would be in some cases.  By the way, if you put a window kit in this case please for the love of god take this bar out.  You'll look like a fool.

On the rear of the case, there is this exhaust blower that covers right over the CPU area.  On most cases you have the fan just screwed onto the back panel, this is positioned parallel to the sides of the case.  Reminds me of those slot blowers that only lasted a week.  Except this one actually has an 80mm fan inside.

To add even more airflow and noise into the case, there's another blower located on the vertical bar.  This one is behind the exhaust blower seen above.

This is the spot for the front intake fan, last of the three (3) fans in this case.  If you plan on modifying the case to make a bigger intake fan, that probably won't work too well.  The front USB ports and speaker will block you well in this conquest for more CFMs.  

This shot looks at the top panel where the PSU is located.  A lot of case manufacturers have lately been putting a large panel covering the top of the case.  Most of the time you should not be able to see the panel in your side panel plexi window.

This case has a thumbscrew type of construction going.  I was happy to see that the top panel of the case can be remove by two thumbscrews.  So I took those off and was trying to pry the top off.  No go, so I wondered what else was holding it down.  I look inside the case and right above the vertical bar, are two small screws.  I remove those and off the top panel came.  Now what is the deal with those two screws!  If you use thumbscrews to hold together panels on a case, then finish it off!  Don't include non-thumb screws to hold it down.  Totally defeats the purpose.  This only affects people who wish to put a top blowhole on the case.  Having access to the top cover is an added plus, which is not happening in this case.

The top panel does have one good point that I noticed after removing it.  The area right above where the PSU is supposed to be placed have two strips of foam tape there.  I hope this case is built strong enough to withstand small vibrations from the PSU.  From the initial touch of the case, it does feel a bit flimsy.

This last picture sort of confused me.  They put nine (9) holes above the 5.25" internal drive bays.  Is this an exhaust hole?  Where would it exhaust to if the top panel is still on?  Not sure why that was done, if anyone knows shoot me a message.

< Enermax CS688 Blue Aluminum

Final Thoughts and Conclusion >

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