Consumer interest in aluminum computer cases has skyrocketed to heights never before
seen, but as recent as last year aluminum cases were prohibitively expensive. The reasons why prices have fallen so
steadily revolve around manufacturing volumes, competition between companies, and improvements in design.
If we look back at the first series of aluminum cases to
really hit the market they all involved copious amounts of CNC machining.
The current models are stamped out with sides barely thicker than a Coke can, so
it is not surprising to find aluminum cases retailing for as little as $80USD
these days. As more and more cookie cutter cases
are swamping the computer market, there is still one company that produces
comparatively complex and stylish aluminum computer enclosures; that company is Coolermaster.
Originally, Coolermaster were known for heatsinks, but with
growing competition in that area the company has looked towards other product segment to expand
its profits. The Coolermaster ATC-410 case being reviewed by PCstats today is the foundation of Coolermaster's design philosophy, and from
it we can only expect bigger and better things in the future.
The Coolermaster ATC-410 stands out for a whole host of
reasons, but the most predominant one is that the case can be mounted within a
standard 19" server rack. As a server case, the 4U Coolermaster ATC-410
aluminum case doesn't really have the room to support a true server motherboard,
but it can protect a good ATX-sized work station system with four hard
drives and three CDROMs.
The front of the case lies hidden behind a perforated aluminum grill
that looks amazing. To maintain control over the system the front grill locks firmly in
place with a real tubular lock - one which could just as easily
be protecting your bike.
Looking at the Coolermaster ATC-410 chassis, it might seem easy to argue that
it is indeed one of the coolest cases ever made... and indeed
from the surface it is. All is not as it seems; look past the shiny
silver exterior and there are many little problems with the ATC-410 that add up to
a lot of inconvenience. So much so, that given the $340USD sticker price,
PCstats would recommend you read skip on it entirely.
If you're in the market for one of the coolest looking cases on the planet
that conveniently fits into a 19" rackmount then follow along as we walk around
the case and point out its flaws.
|Front close, front open and rear of the all
aluminum Coolermaster ATC-410 case. There is one 120mm intake fan and
two 80mm exhaust fans.
that there is no way to unlock the front cover and leave it unlocked without modding the lock itself.
In the default configuration the keys have to stay in the lock.
|Inside the Coolermaster ATC-410 aluminum
case. Space is very badly separated into two overly large drive bay regions and a smallish motherboard
|The back panel comes off to reveal the back of the motherboard tray.
Since the drive bays slide out there is no need to pull this cover off.
There is no access to the back of the motherboard for adjusting
complicated heatsink mounts|