Date: September 4th, 2006
Article by: Mike Carter (Hardware Reviewer)
Edited by: Nathan Glentworth (Owner / Head Editor)
Product was submitted by: Spire
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PRODUCT PICTORAL AND WALKTHROUGH
Taking a glance over the outside of the case, you'll notice a few things immediately. The front of the case is clear of any decoration, aside from a small Spire logo on the door. The front and of the case are covered with a 6mm thick slab of aluminum. That's right……..that's not a thin sheet of aluminum folded over the edges. The metal really is that thick! The Pininfarina is available in six different colors (silver, black, sky blue, yellow, red, and white), and the sides on all models are black.
Moving around to the backside, the metal treatment continues. Unlike most cases, which leave the back bare, Spire and Pininfarina chose to dress up the “business end”. Also noticeable is the fact that there are no exposed screws, giving even the back of the case a polished, sleek look. Mounting a power supply, however, requires that you pull the backside cover off the case, which is relatively painless. Durable, steel spring clips hold the back cover in place, but release with a firm tug. Given the thickness of the metal covering, there is no worry of breaking the cover.
On the top of the case, a lift-up lid conceals the USB, FireWire, and audio ports. The lid also holds the power and reset buttons, and the LED's for power and HDD activity. More cases are following this top-mounted format, and Spire's is one of the more elegant. Unless you know the lid is there, you'd overlook it.
Opening the case door, you'll find the three 5.25” bays, and two 3.5” bays. Not a whole lot of expansion room there. If you have two optical drives and a two-bay fan controller, you'll need to send one to the spare parts bin. Techncally, there is a fourth 5.25” bay, but this bay holds the circuit board and wiring for the power buttons and LEDs, and is not accessible externally. The recessed bays provide ample room for bay-mounted fan controllers or Audigy breakout boxes, with space left over. The door itself pivots on a steel pin on the bottom and a plastic pin on top, and is easily removable for travel.. Simply open partway, and lift up.
One note here on the aluminum casing: watch out for those corners! They're cut at a pure 90 degree angle, and sharp as heck. Spire really should have rounded off the corners at the bottom front and back of the case. If you forget, and pick the case up wrong, you could take a pretty good chunk out of whichever appendage happens to come into contact.
Now, we get to one of the more interesting features of the Pininfarina. Sharp-eyed readers would have noticed the decidedly car-like latches on the sides. To open the sides of the case, simply lift up the handle, and the side flips downwards, wing-style. If you choose to remove the door completely, that is possible by opening the door to about 30 degrees and lifting straight up. On this door, you'll see the massive, 120mm fan duct for your CPU. Also visible, and immediately noticeable, is the “Enforce Bar”. This is more than just a structural reinforcement bar. We'll touch on that in a little bit.
Spire also went almost overboard on one area many case makers ignore…….the instructions. Not only did they include a short, but easily readable assembly sheet, directions for hardware installation are also printed on stickers located in key points inside the case. High class, indeed, and a very, very welcome addition. This particular sticker shows you how to remove and reinstall the Enforce Bar.