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This review is from: APEX PC-389-C Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case
Pros: - Low price
- Minimal front panel ports are good for older motherboards
- One of the few cases still available with two 3.5" drive bays accessible via the front panel
Cons: - Flimsy metal bends if you put a little pressure on it
- Really odd assortment of screws included
Other Thoughts: I quite like this case. It's a decent value, although if you read the other reviews, it apparently used to be cheaper (wish I'd needed it back then). Just be careful when you're installing your hardware and it should work out fine. I bought it for an "older" build specifically because of the simplicity of the front panel ports and the fact that the front panel has two accessible 3.5" drive bays (I'm only using one of them right now, but it's a floppy-oriented machine so there's no telling when I might decide to use the second one as well). It fits the components I have really well, except that my motherboard has a single USB header and no audio header (yes, it's too old for an on-board sound card), so I had to do the best I could with what I had and re-wire the AC'97 connector for my AWE64. What would be even better is if it had the serial/parallel cutouts so you could use the IDC port cables that typically came with the oldest ATX-style motherboards without taking up an expansion card slot, but unfortunately it does not.
The front panel honestly doesn't look *nearly* as cheap as it does in the photos. I wouldn't hesitate to use this case in an office environment if I had the need. It looks better than the Dell machines currently in use where I work. The back panel, however is completely different from the picture. The power supply mounts in the same place, but the I/O shield area is smaller, and it does not have provisions for screws as shown in the photo. The I/O shield shown in the photo is also not included with the case, but since those will seldom match up with your motherboard anyway, that's not really a loss. It looks like the modifications to the rear panel design were made so that it could accommodate a larger fan, but I can't say for sure whether that was the intention.
My only real complaint about this case (I don't really even care about the flimsy metal) is the odd assortment of screws included. It's as if whomever was given the task of bagging the screws doesn't know how to count and just said, "Eh, I'll throw in a handful of this kind, and a handful of this kind, and a handful of standoffs, and just two of this other kind that don't match any of the others so they'll really wonder what the hell to do with them." I mean, there were enough screws in there that I could install everything, but I definitely had to mix and match between the different screw head designs.
Pros: -Viewing angle is awesome
-Colors are vibrant
-Black levels are pretty good
Cons: -Can't turn off image processing
-No reasonable setting for text on 'sharpness' filter
-Game Mode makes anything with hard edges look weird and distorted
Other Thoughts: I bought this at Best Buy and intended to leave a review on their site for it, but it's mysteriously gone from their site as of today, so I'm leaving my review here. I returned it to the store less than an hour after I got it home. My major problem with it is that there was no way to make text pleasant to read on it. Most computer monitors I've used disable the 'sharpness' adjustment when you feed them a digital signal (I was using an HDMI cable) because you typically want a 1:1 representation of what the computer is sending it. Not this one. This one treats your computer video signal like it's a television video signal (albeit without the overscan) and forces it through an image processing routine that's honestly of no use to anyone who uses their computer to read any amount of text. If you play with both the sharpness and contrast a lot, you can get it looking *okay*, but the way the sharpness filter is designed on this, it's like it's intentionally softening the image and then applying a sharpness 'enhancement' to the softened version of the image. The result is that your text is either slightly too blurry or looks 'artificially' sharp (i.e. distorted or with a 'glow' behind it that's brighter than the rest of the background). The worst part is that the blurriness and artificial sharpness overlap onto each other, so the best 'compromise' setting has a bit of both effects. I don't know about some people, but for me this makes this display unusable as a computer monitor. It might be good hooked to a cable box or something, but that's not why I bought it so I took it back. I replaced it with a $99 AOC monitor that I'm much happier with in spite of the fact that the screen is much smaller and the viewing angle isn't nearly as good. Oh, and when I was looking at it, I assumed Game Mode was a way to disable image processing, but it isn't. Instead, it seems to set Brightness, Contrast, and Sharpness to their MAXIMUM values, which just makes everything look awful.READ FULL REVIEW
This review is from: Rosewill FBM-02 - Dual-Fan Micro ATX Mini Tower Computer Case
Pros: First of all, I like the design. The front isn't really as 'metallic' as it appears in the photo, but it's a good-looking case. it also fits all my components well while staying sufficiently compact.
Cons: It's got really lightweight, thin metal and can cut you if you're not careful. I've sliced my finger trying to get a stubborn PCI card out of the case. Also, the front USB ports are awful. The only things that work in them are flash drives. Anything with a cable will need to be plugged into the motherboard directly. If I can find some better cables to put inside the case, I might try that.
Other Thoughts: It's not a bad case, but I still think it could be better for the price, especially regarding the quality of the front USB ports and the cabling that goes to them.READ FULL REVIEW