Pros: LCD readout panel, temperature sensors for CPU, GPU and chipset
Cons: Dust filters clog and need to be removed, some slight modification may be neccessary
I bought this case over a year ago and have been patiently waiting for Epinions to list it in the data base. This is one of the neatest cases I have used so far but it is not without its short comings.
ATRIX CSCI-A9001-C4 Case
The case is black and really cool looking with four blue LEDs lighting the face of the computer (two from the top shining downward and two from the mid section shining upward). These LEDs illuminate the 5 1/4" drive bays when the drive bay door is open and when it is closed they illuminate the ATRIX logo on the front of the door. The ATRIX logo is clear plastic and is placed behind an aluminum mesh screen; the effect is really cool.
It also has a front LCD panel that shows the date, time (24-hour military display), up-time, fan speeds for two fans, and has temperature readouts for the CPU, HDD and GPU (processor, one hard drive and graphics chip). This LCD also displays hard drive and CD-ROM activity with a rotating disc graphic instead of the common blinking LEDs. The temperature readouts can be displayed in Celsius or Fahrenheit to user preference.
Each of these temperature gauges are connected to their respective component by a sensor on the end of a wire. The wires are long enough but keeping them attached to their component is a bit tricky. I installed the CPU and GPU sensors by removing the heatsink for each chip and placing the sensor on the chip and reinstalling the heatsink. It was a pain but it works really well. The hard drive temperature sensor was easy, it just slid in between the top metal plate on the drive and the main drive brick. The sensors are almost perfectly flat so they are easy to work with.
All temperature sensors will trigger an audible alarm (a loud beeping) if they rise above their set temperatures. The temperature indicator for that component will also flash to let you know which one is overheating. The alarm can be set for any temperature limit you like up to 80 degrees C. I have my CPU set to alarm at 50C, my GPU at 60C and my hard drive at 60C.
The case does not come with a power supply. I installed an AOpen AO700-ALN 700W Power Supply which can handle as much hardware as you can physically fit into this case. The power supply was very easy to install as the case has ample room to work inside and a wide open area for the power supply.
Inside the case
The case is an ATX/EATX form factor which means it can be used with modern computer motherboards and components including SLI/Crossfire technology. It has four external 5 1/4" drive bays for CD or panel devices and two external 3 1/2" drive bays for floppy, ZIP, card reader drives or panel devices.
There are four internal 3 1/2" drive bays for hard drives but there is not much room between the drives so heat could be an issue. I solved this problem by installing two 80mm case fans in the front bezel; however, the case is not designed with fan mounts in the front bezel so I had to customize the case somewhat. There is just enough room for two 80mm fans to be installed side by side in the front bezel and I installed them to pull air into the case from the front thus cooling the hard drive stack and it works rather well. My primary hard drive never goes above 39 degrees C (102 degrees F).
The side panel of the case is made of the same aluminum mesh that the front bezel and drive bay door are made of and it has a 120mm fan with blue LEDs installed to help cool the graphics card(s), chipset and CPU.
The top of the case is a removable panel as well that slides to the rear of the case to remove and is also made of the same aluminum mesh. Inside the top panel there is a fan mount for a single 80mm case fan. I mounted a fan here to blow air out of the case through the top since heat rises and this works fairly effectively.
Both the side and top panels have a lining filter to help keep dust out of the case. Unfortunately these filters get rather nasty after a few months and must either be replaced or removed. I removed mine and just blow out the dust every few months or so. When I removed the filters they were absolutely disgusting with dust and since they were so full of dust they caused the temperature of everything inside the case to sky rocket. I was seeing CPU temperatures over 50 degrees C and my graphics would occasionally hit 70 C. Once removed, my temperatures dropped back to normal.
Below the front LCD there are also two front USB ports, a FireWire 1394 port, headphones jack and a mic jack for easy access. There is also a small metallic button on the inside of the drive bay door that is a switch to turn off the blue LEDs on the face panel. If you close the drive bay door you can push lightly on the door and it will cause the switch to turn off the LEDs (or you can just push the button and leave the door open).
Being a standard ATX/EATX mid-tower case allows up to 7 peripheral cards with room for two graphics cards. There is a 90mm case fan on the rear blowing air out of the case near the CPU. The case comes with all the screws and stand-off screws you need with many extras. It is not a tooless case but very easy to work on none-the-less.
The bottom of the case has four rotating feet that can be turned out for stability or in for room. I have them turned in to save space on my desk but I have not had any stability issues from that decision. The case wont fall over unless you really try to knock it over. The feet also raise the case about an inch off the desktop which helps with cooling as well.
The case is a mid-tower but it is shorter than some mid-towers I have seen making it fit easily on my desktop.
* Width: 7.5
* Depth: 18.3
* Height: 19.3
* Weight: Approx. 7-8 lbs. (without the power supply or any other internal components)
I have another mid-tower case that is three inches higher and almost four inches deeper than this ATRIX case. It wont fit on the desktop because I have a CD rack across the top of my desk and the taller case wont fit there like the ATRIX does.
This is a pretty decent case with some slight modifications. Out of the box it could have some cooling issues but nothing that cant be fixed with a couple fans and some determination. The dust filters could be a potential PC killer if you let them get clogged, I would recommend removing them and just keep the internal area blown out with canned air from time to time.
Thanks for reading,