Beantech BT84 Emerald Dream Acrylic Case ReviewBosco - June 7, 2003
The case comes with:
There's actually plenty of room to work in the case, the system I put in it had a full sized motherboard, CD, floppy, and the AHANIX Iceberg1 Water Cooling System, I never felt cramped or pinched for space at any time during the set up of the rig.
The system wires are nicely bundled and wrapped in a semi-transparent plastic coil wrap. The wires to the front ports are metallic cables, very sharp looking. The case sides remove via 4 corner screws, which I thought was going to be a pain but in reality, only takes a few seconds longer than removing (for example) 2 rear screws and sliding off a side panel. All external drive bay covers also are screwed in, 1 screw in each side, making for easy reconfiguration of the case if you need to move drives around.
Underneath, a very nice touch - pre-mounted rubber feet. Much better than a) having to mount them yourself, b) only having 2 feet and 2 'bumps' like some cases I have seen and c) hard plastic feet. These tend to grip whatever surface they are on and the case won't move around at the slightest nudge.
Here's a (not too fuzzy) detail shot of the front, focussing on the buttons & case lights. The area around the buttons is nicely bevelled, giving a little extra clearance in case of fat fingers. The red buttons looked good to me, red being the spectrum opposite of green they contrasted nicely with the acrylic - it's a matter of personal taste more than anything. The HD and power LED's are the standard green and orange and would be easy to replace should you desire. The front ports for USB & Firewire are at the very bottom of the case, right where they belong. At first I thought maybe they could have included some sort of door for them - but with a clear case, what would be the point?
The only real problem I had during assembly was with the rear of the case. The I/O panel consists of small openings that are partially pre-cut and need to be pushed out. The PCI card openings were no problem but naturally, I forgot to push out the smaller openings for the onboard LAN and sound wiring. You can see them just to the left of the "Ti4200 8X" lettering on the video card box I used for background contrast. This meant removing the motherboard in order to push the small pieces of plastic out. I also had a problem with the card screw-down for the video card. Beantech pre-install brass threadings but they tend to spin under any amount of torque and I never was able to properly secure the video card screw. Lastly, I would have liked to have seen more than 6 pre-installed motherboard standoffs. None of these are critical issues in my book just annoyances.
My last gripe, another fairly mild one. Everything fit nicely, the drives, power supply, everything that was supposed to have holes precision spaced did EXCEPT the hard drive. As you can see (squint and imagine?), there's only one screw installed on each side of the hard drive, and it tends to tilt slightly with pressure from the IDE cable. Again, certainly not critical, the hard drive is still reasonably well secured but it would have been nice to have the proper spacing to put 2 screws per side. You can't move the hard drive any further toward the front of the case UNLESS you want to remove a drive bay cover, as the sides of the bay covers intrude into the case where they screw in.
Other than the few minor items mentioned above, I really liked this case and wish I could have kept it. I had never seen an acrylic case in person until this one, now I can see why there is a decent market for them. It looks great. This particular model overall was roomy and easy to work with. I was a little concerned about cracking something overtightening things but was careful and used gentle torque and never had any problems. It's substantially lighter than a steel case too, and with the way it's packaged, I wouldn't be scared to repackage it and travel with it, for example to a LAN party. Recommended.