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PC Buyers Guide - October 2002

By: TweakTown Staff | Guides | Posted: Oct 12, 2002 4:00 am

At the moment, the market for computer cases is flooded with all sorts of things that range from total rubbish to brilliant designs and prices. Obviously, different people will want different cases for different things, but regardless of this, I think there are a few cases that are worthy of mention. The first of these is a lot cheaper than the others in its category and fulfills its job perfectly. This case is the Aopen H600A. Aopen describes the case as a "Super Mid-Tower" which would indicate that it is larger than your run of the mill mid-tower, but not as large as the full towers. The case has four external 5.25" bays (no internal ones), two external 3.5" bays and one internal 3.5" bay, a front USB port (for 2 USB devices), 1 fan with another four optional, some cool looking stands and a 300/350/400 Watt P4 ready power supply. The power supply in this case is actually decent quality, unlike most of the PSU's that come with cheaper cases. The 300W model should suffice for most AMD Athlon XP PC's, but 350W might be a better bet for new P4 systems, which are a little tougher on power supplies.


The most impressive part of this case is the price tag. They are around AU$170 with a 300W power supply and I have seen them for AU$110 without a power supply (that translates to around US$80/$50). If you don't want to shell out AU$350+ for a case, I would certainly recommend it.


The high level case market is flooded with aluminum cases with different features and gimmicks to try and get your hard earned dollars. Three cases that stand out in this market segment are the Antec "Performance Plus" 1080 case, and the Thermaltake Xaser 5000 Plus and 6000 Plus cases.


The Antec case is a full tower case that comes with a high quality Antec TruePower 430W PSU, and comes in either beige or black. The case features 10 drive bays - 4 5.25" internal, 2 3.5" external and 4 3.5" internal, along with 5 case fans, of which 3 are standard, a swing out side panel that can be locked, a front air filter to protect the intake fans which can quite often get clogged with dust, and finally the case comes with 2 front USB ports and 1 front IE1394 port (Firewire). Price-wise the case is very good, coming in at about AU$240 with PSU and about AU$180 without. Take a look at the Antec case here


The two Thermaltake cases are based on the same design, but have two major differences. One, they are different colors, and two, they are made out of different materials. Other than that, they are the same case. The Xaser 5000 Plus is the cheaper of the two, and is made from steel, unlike the more expensive Xaser 6000 Plus, which is made from aluminum. Feature wise, both have 10 drive bays, which are comprised of 4 5.25" internal bays, 2 3.5" external bays and 4 3.5", 5 fans - 2 rear exhaust, 1 side and 2 front intake, a lockable side panel, and most impressively for the price, a Thermaltake HardCano unit, which brings two USB ports to the front, along with a IEE1934 port (Firewire), a fan speed adjuster, and a small LCD screen to report temperatures. For the price, especially for the Xaser 5000 Plus price, you get a lot of features for your money. Remember though that you will need to purchase a PSU with this case, as they don't come with them. Visit Thermaltake and the Xaser 5000/6000 Plus cases right here!


Like the case market, there are a lot of PSU's for sale, and some of these redefine the word "crap" (or even worse words). A lot of the PSU's that come with the cheap cases won't work at their rated output, and sometimes won't even work at an output that is quite a long way below their rated output. However, there are certainly a number of quality PSU's on the market which are vying for your money. The pick of these PSU's would have to be the Antec TruePower range - these PSU's are used in the Performance Plus 1080 case above. The Antec TruePower range of PSU's come in 330, 380, 430, 480 and 550W, so there should be a PSU for everyone's needs, including the crazy overclockers. Features-wise, if that matters to people in relation to PSU's, the Antec comes with dual fans, a switch on the back of the PSU to kill the power, seven 4-pin Molex connectors, two floppy drive Molex connectors, a ATX 12v connector for P4 systems, two 3-pin Molex connectors, and obviously, the ATX power connector. These PSU's are definitely more expensive than a lot of the competition, but the money you outlay for one of these PSU's is certainly worth it. Visit Antec and their range of PSU's right here!


If you're into blue lights, check out Antec's 480W TrueBlue PSU. It has a blue neon light inside it for a nice glow and I believe its internals are exactly the same as the TruePower range.


Now for the picture gallery:






Starting from the top, we have the Antec TrueBlue 480W PSU, with its funky blue lights - kinda cool if you ask me. Moving down, we have the Antec Performance Plus 1080 case. Next we have the two Xaser cases, and finally, we have the Aopen H600A.


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