Personal Mid-Tower AT/ATX Enclosure

URL: http://www.pcpowerandcooling.com/products/enclosures/economical/mid_tower/index.htm

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Rating: Excellent!

Review:

As Alex pointed out in his review of the YCC-80X mid-tower case, building a computer yourself from scratch is a great experience and it’s the only way to ensure that you get the PC you want. The PC I wanted was to be quieter than those normally found on the shelf, good cooling for over clocking, solid construction and excellent fit and finish. Selecting the correct case was more important to this project than you think, both in the initial assembly, as well as subsequent upgrades and day to day operation. The standard that I now use to measure all other cases against is the Personal Mid-tower AT/ATX Enclosure from PC Power & Cooling. Of all of the desktop/tower cases I have ever used the Personal Mid-tower AT/ATX Enclosure from PC Power & Cooling is the standout in the Mid-Tower class.

Bring a screwdriver!

This case does use the common Philips head screws, so you should have the appropriate screwdriver, or electric screwdriver by now. If not and you are planning to own a computer, take this hint to get not only a screwdriver, but some needle nose pliers and some hemostats.

Take-out Motherboard Tray

Installing a motherboard inside of the case is often difficult, tricky and can be somewhat of a bloody task if the case does not have much room and is not well finished (more on that later). Even though you have enough room to mount the motherboard without removing the tray, it goes much faster if you remove the tray and install outside of the case. Simply remove the screws and take out the tray by moving it to the left and lifting up, then out the entire motherboard tray. Put the tray on your desk and you are ready to install the motherboard. Install the processor, memory and cards, then slide the whole tray back into the case when you’re done. If you have large hands and fingers, then you will appreciate this feature. I like it because I always have problems handling the brass standoffs and insulating washers inside of a case. I do not care if the mobo manufacturer says ordinary screws are ok, I will use insulating washers until I can not longer find them!

Easy access

Need to get into the case? Change out a drive? How about moving data to another hard drive on another system? All easy to accomplish. In addition to both sides of the case being individual and removable, the top was a pleasant surprise.. The top is a separate part and can be taken off separately by the removal of two standard screws. This allows access to the top drive bays without having to remove a side panel. I remove the top and use the power and control cable connections to copy data to my sons hard drive without having to remove a side panel. Simply power down, remove the top, disconnect one IDE device and replace it with another. Much faster than having to remove the side panel. The front panel just snaps in and out which facilitates adding an intake fan at the bottom front of the case.

Good Ventilation

Speaking of fans the case comes with holes predrilled for mounting fans for cool air intake and exhausting warm air which insures a good airflow. I overclocked a PII 300mhz to 450mhz with the CPU temperature never rising about 85 degrees F. The power supply (costs extra see “The Catch”) is ATX 2.01 compliant and vents warm air out the rear.

A safe case

20 Ga. Steel frame and sides with a plastic front bezel makes this a solid unit, but you will have to work hard to cut your hands or fingers on this case, they actually roll the sheet metal over , so there are no sharp edges. The inside of the case is finished, the fit is tight, the cables are actually labeled “IDE”, “Reset”, etc, what a concept!

Easy drive mounting

The case has 3 5.25″ drive bays, all exposed in the front. It also has 3 3.5″ drive bays with two exposed to install e.g. a floppy drive and an internal Zip drive. All drive bays are easily accessible by removing the side panels. To install a drive in one of those available slots, simply insert the drive, secure using the appropriate size screws, and attach the cables for control and power.

A full tower will have two or three extra 5.25″ bays and two or three 3.5 bays”, however this case has sufficient space to install e.g. a floppy drive, an internal Zip drive, a CD burner, a tape drive and 2 hard drives – more than sufficient for most users.

Additional niceties

With the case you’ll also get an abundant supply of brass standoffs and chrome screws to mount drives, secure cards, and install the motherboard. You also get some plastic standoffs as well, just in case. Additionally, they offer options to change the number of available 5.25 or 3.5 drive bays, as well as offer a range of case fans (quiet and ultra quiet)

The Catch

For $65 you would think the power supply would be included, wouldn’t you? Wrong, Silicon breath! This is PC Power & Cooling where their real claim to fame is being the manufacturer of the silent (or as close as you can get) PC power supply. I used their 275 watt ATX Silencer ($89.10 new low cost) for this project and it is so quiet that you have to listen closely to hear if it is on.

For some pictures of the case and more details and specs, check it out here:
http://www.pcpowercooling.com/products/enclosures/economical/mid_tower/index_prsnl_mdtwr.htm

Conclusion

Every time I get ready to build another PC, I compare the local and web based cases to this personal mid-tower. It seems that I always end up wanting a full tower version of the mid-tower after trying another case. The case is available for $65 at http://www.pcpowercooling.com. They simply sell it as Personal Mid-tower AT/ATX Enclosure.

This is my case of choice.

Submitted by: Casca, a.k.a. The Evil OverLord

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