Reviewed by fractal
A friend of mine highly recommends the pc power & cooling personal mid-tower cases and uses them for all the systems he builds. He builds 200-300 systems a year for various customers so I figured they can't be total trash. I read the ARS Technica review of the case and decided to give one a go. At 50 dollars for the case and about the same for a standard 250 watt power supply the unit was not cheap.
I ordered it online directly from the manufacturer on friday and it arrived on the following tuesday. My initial impression of the case was very positive. It is considerably shorter and a little narrower than the addtronics family of cases. This may be a consideration to those of you who, like me, suffer from computers taking over every square inch of your work area. I decided to use the case to house the dual 400 MHz Celeron BP6 I use as a personal web server to free up the SuperMicro SC750 case it occupied for my current project, a dual xeon system. The case is the perfect size for something like the web server where the configuration does not change often and needs to be up and reliable 24x7.
My BP6 fit in the case without a hitch. PC Power & cooling use the threaded brass standoffs that I much prefer to the square sheet-metal standoffs that addtronics seems to adore. A couple of twists and I was able to move the standoffs to where they were needed for the BP6. The whole process from the time I shut down the server to the time it rebooted was just under an hour and that included time fussing with lights to take pictures of the process (damned digital cameras won't focus in poor lighting).
A day later and I have found what may be my only serious complaint about the product. The case comes standard with the exhaust fan in the power supply. Period. There is room for an additional 80mm exhaust fan just below the power supply and room for an 80mm fan on the front of the case, but neither comes with the case. After 24 hours of operation at 100% load on both processors running the rc5 client the sensors program reports the temperature at the processors and on the motherboard to be 49C. Taking the side panel off and letting it air drops the temperature to 42C, more akin to what I was used to seeing in the SC750 case with stock fans (one exhaust fan in the power supply and one additional exhaust fan above the power supply).
My opinion of the pc power & cooling personal mid-tower continues to decline after ordering and adding additional fans from PC Power & Cooling. I installed an exhaust fan just below the power supply drawing the hot air off the processors. Processor temperatures were still 45-47 c. Temperatures dropped to a more reasonable 42 c by removing the front bezel. It seems that the only air flow into the case is through the hand-hole in the bottom of the front bezel which becomes restricted when the case is put on a carpeted floor.
The PC Power & Cooling personal mid-tower may be the Lite-on TX600 and therefore available for less money. The only place I found that carried the TX600 wanted the same price as PCP&C.
In summary, the PC Power & Cooling personal mid-tower case is a well made case suitable for applications where a compact sturdy case is needed for low heat systems. Don't bother getting a larger power supply since the case just plain can't get rid of any more heat. The side panel assembly takes some getting used to but is not hard to master. The reset button, as reported in the ARS review, is impossible to push without a tool and the case in its stock configuration lacks adequate cooling for a dual celeron. It may do well for a system integrator who builds copermine systems for installation in office locations. The poor air intake limits this case for any high heat / high power application including dual cpu's, athlons or systems using high power 3d video cards without improving the air intake. Vent holes in the bezel along with a filter commonly found on other cases would go a long way to improving this case, but for the price, I should not have to take a drill to the plastic front in order to get adequate ventilation. At just over 120 dollars delivered (including california state sales tax and extra cooling fan) this case is not cheap.
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Last modified: December 02 2004 14:59:50
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