Sunbeam's Acrylic Case
You want to show of your latest display adapter or the hard drive window you just made? With a regular case that would mean cutting more openings and adding plexi for a window. To make your life easier Sunbeam has introduced their acrylic cases. No need to cut anything because everything inside the case will be visible, even the things that you may not like other to see. :)
|Dimensions:||18.7" x 17.5" x 8.7" (475 x 445 x 221 mm)|
|Drive Bays:||5.25" x 4, 3.5" x 7 (5 hidden)|
|Covers:||Covers to open on both sides. (4 screws on each side)|
|Main Board Size:||ATX; Flex-ATX style|
|Fan hole diameter:||80mm (1 in back, 1 in front , 1 in top and 2 on side panel)|
|Colors:||clear, light blue and light red|
|All hardware required for construction is included|
|Power supply not included|
The case is shipped in a compact package. It is not prebuild so it doesn't take up that much space and is easier to handle.
First impression is, Wow! A lot of screws! But don't be scared, not all of them are needed for a basic installation. Sunbeam provides all the screws and components you need to start using all the drive bays etc. No need to go to the store to buy more.
From here you can see the catalog listing all the different screws and items. Finding a correct screw to a right place can be quite hard sometimes and this list makes it a bit easier. It would be nice if Sunbeam could print a number to the plastic bags and them refer to that number on the instructions to make the building even easier.
In this image you can see the gloves that are provided with the kit. Without these your new case would be full of greasy finger marks so I suggest you use them. Each of the acrylic panels are covered with a protective foam. I didn't find any scratches on them so the foam works nicely and the manufacturing process is high in quality.
These corner block are the basic building blocks of this case. You place one of these on every corner of the case. Brass screws are then used to fix the panels on to the blocks. Brass makes the screws look really cool and classy, something different from the ordinary.
PCI back plates are fitted between the back side of the case and the motherboard. On the right image you can see the small red arrow indicating the gap between the board and the back wall. Because of this the plates are only fixed in place only with the screw on top. Not a big issue but there may be some need to fine tune the positions of the mounting holes of the motherboard in a future models.
Because all of the drives are mounted to a drive bays that are 5.25" wide you need to use spacer screws on 3.5" devices. This can actually be a good thing because it improves the airflow around the devices keeping them cooler and isolates the drives from rest of the case lowering the noise. With acrylic case there isn't that much trouble with panel vibration noise as with the steel and alloy cases but this kind of little design choices makes thing even better.
In this case the back plate is metallic. There are some acrylic cases with acrylic back plates but they are pretty fragile compared to this method. But this brings a new problem. Screws ment to fix the back panel to the case are bit too long and two of them are located on top of the PCI back plates. This makes the removing and installation of the add-on cards bit difficult but replacing the screws with shorter ones makes this problem go away.
Bay cover and the switches
Power and Reset switches and leds for Power and HDD. Blue leds, great. :)
Installed and without a flash
I took this picture without a flash so you could see the true color of the case. Blue color can be seen on the bay covers and a top panel of the case. Rest of the panels are clear. Too bad that I didn't have any split loom to hide the wires. Maybe this is something that I warned you about at the beginning of this review. Wire mess is something that you may not want to show to others.
As you can see the case has a lot of room for additional devices. With five blowholes the case can be really cool and it doesn't has problem with high temperatures as with the many other acrylic cases.
A clean look on the back side of the case. This is also a good place to mention about one problem in the design of this case. As mentioned on the specifications the side panels are attached with four screws. To install a new HDD or a DVD-drive you have to remove this side panel. As you can see the motherboard is installed to this same panel. To be able to remove this panel you need to remove all the add-on cards so the panel can removed from the case with the motherboard. Only them you can access the screws on the drives. This is not a problem for people that don't change their drive configuration that often but maybe this issue could use some rethinking and redesigning.
Visible here is the metallic back plate that makes the installation of PCI and AGP devices easier because you don't have to worry about breaking some plastic supports etc.
On the desk
The case looks really great on a normal light too.
Without Lazer Led
With Lazer Led
With low ambient light and some lighted fans the case comes to life. I didn't want to get blinded by the case so I used only some carefully selected components but you can add as many Cold Cathodes or lighted fans as you like. With the Sound Activated Module from Sunbeam and four Cold Cathodes you could make this case really light up the party. :)
Once more a great addition to a growing line of modding products from Sunbeam. Now you can combine all those separate modding items to this one case that lets you to show them in a best way possible. There were couple of little flaws in the basic design but they are nothing compared to the result what you get when you finish building up the case. Some people may think that delivering the case in a kit form is a bad thing but because modding is supposed to be a DIY venture to some extend putting the case together with your own hands can be a great fun. This case is not for everybody but a gamer that visits the LAN events or a modder showing of his latest creations this case offers a lot more visibility and you are sure to be noticed on the event. :)
Pros and Cons
+ Great looks