Chieftec BL-01B Case Reviewgotdamojo06 - August 17, 2009
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The expansion slots on the Chieftec BL-01B case are very similar to the others on most cases, as you are given the covers to block any air from escaping though a hole that is not designed to release the internal air. The expansion slot covers are designed so that they can be held in with a screw, meaning that when you want to install a video card, a sound card, or any other expansion card, you are going to need to use a screw and a screwdriver to ensure the card is not going to go anywhere. To the right of the expansion slots, you are going to see the motherboard's back IO panel. There is going to be a cover that comes with your motherboard that you can install if you wish to make your case look more uniform throughout. Above the rear IO panel, you are going to see a section with holes to allow for the escape of some warm internal air. If you wanted to, you should be able to install a small fan to help remove the air quicker. On the exact opposite side of the case from the expansion slots, you are going to see two black clips protruding from the case, and these clips are going to help you when it comes to managing the wires flowing throughout your case. Chieftec has already bundled the front IO panel cables inside of these clips to make sure they stay out of your way.
The hard drive rack enclosed in the Chieftec BL-01B is a very interesting looking one. Not only does it offer a tool-less installation, it also acts as a noise dampening device. To install your hard drive in the cage, you are going to have to screw four screws with a plastic covering on the ends of them to each of the corners of your hard drive of choice; these screws of course are included with the case. Once you have done this, you are then going to have to slide the hard drive into position and latch down the clear lever. With this done, you are not using any tools to actually fasten the hard drive to the hard drive cage. The only time you need to lift a screw driver is to install the four screw mounts to the hard drive itself. By having the hard drive not fully touching the cage, you are going to be able to lessen the amount of vibration that the cage comes into contact with, which for some people is going to be one of the goals of building their PC, while others do not mind the noise as much.
The way that Chieftec has set up the BL-01B case, there is only enough room for them to install one 120mm fan inside of the case. The fan is located at the top left hand corner of the case looking at it from the back. The reason Chieftec has installed the fan here is due to the fact that warm air does rise up in a case and the fan will be able to blow the air right out of the case before it can build up too much and cause any extra stress on your major components that are very sensitive to heat. There is not much information that I have been able to find about this fan other than the fact that it is a 120mm fan that draws its power though a 4 pin Molex adapter with a male and female end on it. The fan is reported to operate at 800 RPM, which is a slower spinning fan, however the fan should be operating very quietly.
The front of the case is where you are going to find what most users are going to need to access the most, making the case very easy to use. There is a large power button that looks similar to the power button that is located on the front of the Xbox 360 console. Sitting right above the power button you are going to find your HDD activity LED. Next to the power button on the right hand side is where you are going to find the pre-installed faceplate for any 5.25" optical drive that is installed in the system. It does say DVD ROM on the plate, however it does not limit you to only a DVD ROM drive - you will be able to install a Bluray drive, HD-DVD drive, or CD ROM drive if you wish into the system. Below the optical drive bay, you are going to find (left to right) a reset button, microphone port, headphone port (either HD audio or AC '97) and two USB 2.0 ports. All of the connections that come out the back side of these ports/buttons are exactly the same as you would find on any other case.
One of the biggest selling points of the BL-01B case is the fact that they have installed an LCD Monitor Mounting System that is able to support up to a 24" monitor. The system is set up like any other wall mount system would be setup, but there is a nice feature of the BL-01B's integrated system - you can adjust not only the height that your monitor sits at, but you are also going to be able to adjust the viewing angle, along with a 90° angle of swivel.
The installation of the monitor mount is very simple and took me only a few minutes. The longest part that took me was figuring out exactly how to uninstall the base of the monitor; it was hidden by a piece of plastic that popped off, then I was able to unscrew the four screws holding it on. Towards the center of your monitor, you are going to find four screw holes forming a quadrilateral shape. These are the holes you are going to line the backing plate of the mounting system up to. Once you have them lined up, you are going to want to screw them in with the supplied screws - please refer to the installation manual for the proper choice of the screws. Once you have that piece installed on the back of your monitor, all you need to do is fit the backing plate in the grooves on the track on the front of the case and you should be good to go! For more detailed installation directions, refer back to the installation section of your user manual.
What can I say about my experience of putting everything inside of the Cheiftec BL-01B case, other than "WOW!" I was very surprised to see that everything fit in there nice and neatly. I thought that there was going to be some issues with getting the power supply in, however it ended up fitting in just perfectly. The only problem that I did have with it was the sockets that I originally had the modular cables plugged into were blocked by the optical drive bay. However once both the optical drive and the power supply were installed, it was easy to install those cables. The wire management inside of this case was not the best that I have seen - the only reason that I say that is because there were not many places to hide the wires. It was easy to route the wires so that they would be out of the way and so that they wouldn't hinder any airflow coming off of the processor's cooler. The one fan that is inside of the case does have a few cables blocking it with how I installed the video card, but they shouldn't block it too much. I was quite surprised at what the case looked like when everything was installed inside; it is cramped inside, but not as bad as I imagined it would be.
Now that we know what the case looks like, everything is installed, it is time to take a look at the specifications of the case and then stress some components to see how cool they can run inside.