Posted: August 11, 2003
Author: Jason Kohrs
Source: ISI Technologies
ISI Technologies may not be a household name in the tech community, but taking a quick look around their site reveals a selection of reasonably priced, well known brands, which should help get them noticed. ISI Technologies offers an extensive assortment of computer cases, accessories, and modding supplies that all seem to agree with their motto of “keeping an eye on the latest trends in the computer industry”. One of the featured products on their website is the Chenming AL-301KE midtower case, available in a rainbow of colors to suit any taste, and provided to BigBruin.Com in blue for this review.
Features and Specifications (from the ISI Technologies website):
4Light weight Aluminum chassis
4Sliding, external drive assembly
4Tool-free internal drive bay for convenient assembly
4Ability to install up to 2 cooling fans
4Large side window
4Case Type: ATX Mid Tower
4Case Color: Blue
4Case Dimensions: 8.2"W x 17."H x 16"D
4Drive Bays: Front Accessible - 4 x 5.25", 2 x 3.5", (2 x 3.5" hidden)
4Main Board Size: ATX Up to 12" x 9.6" OR Micro ATX
4Power Supply: ATX, PS/2 OR SFX
4Expansion Slots: 7
4Cooling System: Up to 2 optional 80mm Fan
The case arrives packaged as pictured on the left. The clear side panel is covered with plastic film, the entire case is placed in a plastic bag, and a foam frame protects everything inside the cardboard box. Like most cases, many of the accessories and hardware are shipped loose inside the case.
While removing the case from the box, the first thing that struck me was the extremely low weight. I have had an aluminum midtower case before (AMS gTower), and it was lighter than a comparable steel case, but the AL-301KE is an absolute featherweight! The low weight makes it ideal for those attending LAN parties, but you will have to be careful not to bang it around too much during your travels… The low weight appears to be achieved, at least in part, by using very thin aluminum sheets for the skin on this case. I can picture the attractive appearance of the case being easily dented or bent by impacts that might not phase a steel case.
The three images above show the front of the case in various stages of assembly. The image on the left shows the case as it arrives, without the door installed to cover the exposed drive bays. The image in the center and on the right show the door installed, and how it really completes the sharp look of the case. Installing the door is simple… it basically has a pin at the top and the bottom that act as a hinge when placed in holes on the front of the case, with the top one having a bit of flex to it so you can squeeze it in. Although the body of the case is constructed of aluminum, the front panel (and door) are made of plastic that is painted to match.
The side panel’s window is quite large, and features two cut-outs for 80 mm fans, complete with screw holes. The window is mounted to the side panel via plastic rivets, which seems to be the standard on pre-modified window cases these days. (The above left image shows the protective plastic film still in place). An odd feature to this case is that the opposite side panel is not removable! It is riveted into place allowing access from the one side only, and making wire management a bit more tricky.
The drive cages are pictured in the three images above. On the left you have a detail of the fixed 5.25” drive bays, and the image in the center and on the right show the removable 3.5” drive cage. By pressing a lever located at the top of the 3.5” cage, the whole assembly can be removed, simplifying the installation of hard drives. It then slides back in and latches securely into place. Also visible in the image on the right is a purple tool-less mount for a 80 mm intake fan.
Please read on to page 2 for more of the Chenming AL-301KE... Next
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