After looking at length at all three enclosures I can say up front that they all offer features that are both innovative and effective. Though none of the boxes were flawless, there were no glaring deficiencies noted in any of the models tested.
Speaking of testing, after delving into the appearances and features, I installed an operational system in all three cases to test the ease of system installation and to again look for any problems that might arise. In the F430 I used a Gigabyte GA-965P-DS4 ATX motherboard, 2GB of memory and a GeCube X1900XT graphics board. In the two other cases I used a Gigabyte GA-965GM-S2, 2GB memory and the onboard graphics (thanks to the folks at Gigabyte for providing our test boards).
F430 Mid Tower
The F430 is a nice enclosure designed for those who have a love for the sports automobile. With an incredibly fine finish and a gloss that is almost mirror-like, the overall appearance is exceptional. Cooling is adequate but an additional fan up front (intake) in the normal configuration would be a nice feature. The engine roaring to life sound from the power button is a nice touch, but could wear on users after a while. Fortunately you can adjust the volume to take care of your mood. As far as cost is concerned, you can find this particular model for around $78US. This is the most expensive enclosure tested in this roundup.
Alpha 360 Mini Tower
The Alpha 360 was the most entertaining enclosure tested in this group. With an unusual oval shape and hydraulic-like panels, this case has a lot of personality. Though smaller in size than many other models, this is a nice addition for those looking for something with a cool appearance and smaller footprint. It is perfect for that child's machine that will be sitting in the back room. Like the F430, this model really would do better with an extra fan up front in its standard configuration. This model comes in with a price tag of $61US and is the middleweight in price.
Mountain Jade Tiny Tower
The Mt. Jade is classified as either a tiny tower or a desktop enclosure, depending on the method you use to mount your system. It is quite small and is designed for those looking into something along the lines of a HTPC system. With no internal fans and a solid mounting carriage for the drives, there will be no noise from this enclosure beyond what your HSF and drives will produce. With careful selection of your components, you can have a nearly silent system. The price tag of this enclosure will also leave a smile on your face. Even with the included power supply, you can dig this case up for around $44US. Given that many HTPC cases are considered specialty items and often have a price tag to match this designation, this inexpensive alternative is a very nice choice.
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