Bgears b-Envi MicroATX Case Review

Makaveli - 2008-03-12 20:23:57 in Cases
Category: Cases
Reviewed by: Makaveli   
Reviewed on: May 1, 2008
Bgears
Bgears
Price: $119.99 USD

Introduction:

In the past couple of months, it seems as if everyone has migrated to an HTPC or MicroATX case. Most users have done this to either free up space, make their computer portable, or to be able to combine all of their home entertainment equipment into one. I actually would like to achieve everything that was just listed, and I came really close with an HTPC case that I tested a while back. However, that case was slightly too large for it to be worthy of being in my home entertainment setup. The next case to step up to the plate is from Bgears, and it's called the "b-Envi" MicroATX case.

The Bgears b-Envi MicroATX case has made a huge buzz around the enthusiast world because of some truly amazing features. One key feature that really makes this case stand out from any others is that it has an LED touch panel for the power and reset buttons. But that alone won't win me over, because in my mind, performance outweighs exterior appearance, and hopefully this case will be a great cooling solution. What other features does this case sport that will keep it above the competition? Could this be the first MicroATX case to be allowed into my home entertainment setup? Let's dig in and find out!

 

Closer Look:

The box that the Bgears b-Envi came in looked a little bit beat up from shipping, but nothing was really damaged on the outside, so hopefully everything is alright on the inside. All of the sides of the case showcase features of the case, the specifications and some pictures of the key features and the case itself. I'd say that we're in for a nice surprise, because this case looks loaded with features!

 

 

 

When you open the box, you'll find that the Bgears b-Envi MicroATX case is securely held in place by two big pieces of Styrofoam. Also, the windows and front panel of the case were covered with plastic to prevent any scratches during shipping.


 

Now let's take a closer look at the Bgears b-Envi MicroATX case itself.

Closer Look:

The Case:

Woah! Talk about glossy! Once I took the Bgears b-Envi out of the box, I immediately noticed my fingerprints were all over the case. The case is made mostly of aluminum, has a plastic front bezel, and it also has two plastic windows - one on each side of the case. The b-Envi is sold without the windows as well. Personally, I think this case looks very sleek. I like how light it is because that means I can take it to LAN parties or move it around the house with ease. The bottom of the case has four rubber feet to insure the case will stay in place wherever you may put it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Inside of the case is where you'll find the instruction manual, some screws, USB cables, and a 24-pin power extension that allows the front panel to receive power.

 

 

Now let's continue by opening up the case itself.

Closer Look:

Working Components:

To get to the inside of the case, you'll have to unscrew two screws from the back of the case and pull the top towards the back of the case. On the inside of the case, you'll find that you have room for two internal hard drives, one optical drive and a power supply. Not much, but it definitely covers the basics. I was surprised by how many cables there are to connect to the motherboard in order to use the front panel 58-in-1 card reader.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The b-Envi features a pull-out motherboard tray. This feature comes in handy a lot, especially in a small case like this because it's hard to work around everything once it is installed in the case. The only fan that is inside of this case is a big 120mm fan that sits right next to the power supply. Also, take a look at the LED buttons when you plug in the b-Envi case!

 

 

On the front of the case, you'll find two flaps that you can pull down to reveal the 58-in-1 card reader and the 2.5" removable IDE HDD enclosure.

 

 

Now that we are familiar the working components of the Bgears b-Envi case, let's get everything installed!

Specifications:

Type
MicroATX Desktop
Case Material

Aluminum 1.0 Chassis with ABS plastic front panel

Color
Black
Motherboard Compatibility

MicroATX / Baby AT

Window
Optional
Power Supply

Not Included

External 3.5" Drive Bay.:

Slot replaced by 2.5" Removable IDE HDD Enclosure. (SATA HDD PCB Card Sold Separately.)

External 5.25" Drive Bays:

2

Expansion Slots
4
Input Current
0.3A (max)
80mm Fans        

Not Included

120mm Fans

1 x 120mm Rear Fan (See Model Description)

Side Window  
Optional: 2 clear Acrylics side window Top Cover or Solid no window Top Cover. (See Model Description)
Weight
8 lbs.
Dimensions(DxWxH)

9" x 11.2" x 14.7" (H x W x D)

 

Features:

-All information sourced from Bgears' website: http://www.bgears.com/b-envi.html

Testing:

To test the Bgears b-Envi MicroATX case, I'll be taking multiple temperature readings from different components, as well as from the case itself, to find out if it's a decent cooling solution. What tends to happen a lot of times with smaller cases, is that the heat from the components has no room to spread out, and if you have bad airflow in your case, this can be a very troublesome problem. I'm going to see if this case does have good airflow and if it helps keep the components within it at good temperatures. Also, in order to achieve full load on my system, I ran Prime 95 to stress the CPU, HDTune to stress the hard drive, and 3DMark06 to stress the video card.

 

Testing System:

Comparison Case:

 

 

 

 

 

 

Everything makes perfect sense here. The CPU in the Antec case sits right next to two 80mm fans, so that's why it did slightly better than the Bgears b-Envi case. The hard drive is in a much better place in the Bgears case, cooling wise, than the Antec case, so that's why the temperatures were better for the Bgears case. Each of the cases did a great job cooling wise, so it basically comes down to which case you prefer over the other.

Conclusion:

The Bgears b-Envi MicroATX was extremely fun to test because it kept surprising me with it's features. First of all, how cool is it to have LED touch buttons for your front panel? They are responsive buttons that beep when you touch them so that you know that the touch was registered. Also, the buttons are lockable so that you don't accidentally hit one of the buttons and turn off your computer by mistake. The case only weighs eight pounds before you put the components inside of it, and even after the components are installed, this case is still rather light. I will definitely be bringing this case to LAN parties. Having windows on both sides of the case is unique and I like them a lot, because it allows me to monitor my case and admire how neatly organized the cables are inside of the case. This case has good airflow and heat is able to disperse well, but this case didn't improve my temperatures very much, as expected. At least this case had better temperatures, for the most part, than the Antec Fusion 430 case. There are only two cons that I can think of for this case. One is the fact that you will not be able to fit most after market heatsinks on your CPU. This should be obvious to see given the size of the case, but I always like to mention it because I know that most of us enthusiasts have lots of after market heatsinks laying around. Another con that I found was that this case is fairly loud. It's not annoyingly loud, but it is noticeable, and I think this is due to the fact that the case has vents on almost every panel, allowing the sound to breach through them. If you're looking for a sleek MicroATX case that will impress your friends, provide great airflow, is lightweight, and you don't mind hearing your CPU heatsink's fan, do yourself a favor and pick up the Bgears b-Envi MicroATX case - you won't regret it!

 

Pros:

 

Cons: