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Date: March 10, 2003
Article by: Burt Carver (Hardware Reviewer & Newsposter)
Product was donated by: ClearPC.ca
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CONSTRUCTIVE CRITICISM


This case is truly beautiful when it is set up. If you have a hankering for a 'display' computer, there is nothing like an acrylic case with some well placed lights to truly showcase your machine. The construction of this case also is a true testament to the care and attention that ClearPC puts into every product. Would I buy this case for myself? I would for the Home Theater PC or any computer that will be on display. It doesn't have the gaudiness of some of the modded cases, and it has a certain elegance with the clean lines and uncluttered view. If you are going to use this case, do us all a favour and take some time when laying out your wires. Nothing says clutter like a rats nets of wires.


One of the beefs with this case, and you may have seen it throughout the review, is that it is not an easy, forgiving case to put together. I am used to slapping together a computer in five minutes or less, and not being too concerned about whether my CD-Rom whacks my HD cage a bit on the way through. The finicky stand-offs, the angle of the MB installation (if you try to jam this thing in you will scratch your new case. Guaranteed) and other details all mean that people used to building systems have to take extra time and care. This lends to a "Hi-maintenance" feel when dealing with the case, and I think that isn't necessarily a fair representation. Keep in mind that when reviewing a case I look at overall construction, ease of use, and ease of construction. It is not a 'long-term' review, and most of the time spent with the case is throwing components into it. This what most people who build machines look for in a case. Rarely do you find someone commenting on how well a case fits with their living room décor. This case is a visual beast. It looks good. In fact, it looks great. Once you get past installing the components, it will be a fine centerpiece for any office. Do keep the windex handy however. I would not use this case in any circumstance where you are regularly going to be accessing the components. If you are fond of component swapping and you want this case, you better get fond of scratches because they are inevitable. With careful placement (please do not put this thing beside your feet!) and regular cleaning this case will look spectacular. One of the joys is that it is small enough to fit on top of your desk if you so choose. Hmmm… a desktop acrylic machine… Might be a pain to brace the monitor weight but THAT would be cool.


There are several simple solutions to the problem, but when dealing with 'Joe Consumer' it may not be a good idea to leave those solutions in his or her hands.

 

FOLLOW-UP


I contacted ClearPC regarding my various concerns, and they offered the following for clarification. They acknowledged that the current stand offs are an issue, but the solutions suggested by myself may not work in all situations. When you are installing a true 'micro-ATX' board (which I didn't) the fit is so tight with the HD cages that the board has to be installed at a 30 degree angle and set on the stand-offs. There has to be play for the stand-offs otherwise the board will not install.


As for the issue surrounding the gaping hole in the back, ClearPC has installed blanks from another case and that solves the potential airflow issues. Air still can vent through the small gap where the thumbscrews are installed to retain the expansion cards. This would be a negligible amount and very similar to a metal case that has small holes everywhere. The above solution is workable, if you have:

  • Four expansion cards (or four blanks lying around) to fill the space.
  • A motherboard that has four slots in the appropriate locations. (MB in the review only has one slot 9 )


If you are like me and have gone through the volume of cases I have, I'm sure you can scrounge up enough blanks. If this is your first case, you aren't likely to have sketched out a diagram for the airflow around your multiple hard drives and total CFM in /out, so this probably will never be a factor.


 


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