Alpha 360 Mini Tower - Exterior
The next enclosure we will look at is the Alpha 360. Though it has an outward appearance of a ATX enclosure, this model is in fact a smaller mATX case. It also has some interesting features that we will delve into in a bit. The outer coating is a flat silver coloring, but like the F430 there are a couple of other color choices. Though they all have a matte finish, you can choose between the silver, graphite or blue.
The front bezel, like many cases on the market today, is made of plastic. Unlike many other similar products, however, this one does not have a hinged door that opens from either side. If you hit that little dotted area that is located at the bottom of the top panel this is what happens...
Hmmm, this could be entertaining. The panel slides open on a hydraulic-like pair of arms and seats itself on top of the enclosure. While it doesn't require a lot of extra space over the case, you will want to make sure that you don't have this case sitting in a hole that barely accommodates the size or you will run into problems. Once the panel is in its up position you will see we have room for a pair of optical drives and a pair of 3.5" devices.
The bottom portion of the front bezel houses some more functional components, namely the power button and the externally accessible I/O ports. The Alpha 360 gives you the standard headphone and microphone jacks, a single IEEE1394 Firewire port and a pair of USB ports.
Moving to the side shows a smooth appearance with some venting holes over the area of the processor and peripheral slots. You can also see the top panel that has a ribbed material covering the entire surface of the enclosure. While I cannot truly recommend this, the flat contour would work as a small table top, but the risks are entirely up to you.
Next we move around to the back... at least I think it is the back. Well, there is a button along the top edge of this panel so lets see what it does.
There we go! This is more like it. As you can see, the Alpha 360 goes out of its way to be different but still retain its functionality. Once we have ready access to the working area of the back panel we can see that it is set up just like it should be. For those who have noticed that there are no retention screws for the side panel, fear not. The button under the PSU toward the right side of the panel is the release lever. Push it in and the side panel easily comes off.
Oh, a closer look at the removable back panel covering shows that there are small portions that can be taken out to access the peripherals, the power cord or whatever. Since the entire cover plate is perforated, airflow will not be an issue for either the rear fan or the fan on your power supply.
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