Ahanix dboX Case Review

Admin - 2007-03-28 22:50:26 in Cases
Category: Cases
Reviewed by: Admin   
Reviewed on: November 8, 2002
Ahanix
ExoticPC
Price: $98.95 USD

Introduction
My first attempt at a case mod case was a 120mm hole I cut for a front intake and a Digital Doc 5 to display my temps. It wasn’t much, and it wasn’t pretty, in fact it still isn’t. I wasn’t concerned really with the way the case looked, I just wanted more intake than the standard 80mm fan game me, and a way to get temperatures without running a program inside of the operating system. I achieved my goals, but later on I started to wish the case was a bit prettier.

Ok, so what does this have to do with the dboX? Absolutely everything, well, let’s take a look.

 


Specifications

  7.75 [w] x 17.25 [h] x 18 [d] in
4 x 5.25 External Drive Bays
1 x 3.5 External Drive Bays
7 x 3.5 Internal Drive Bays
7 x Rear Expansion Slots
1 x 120mm + 1 x 80mm Fan Included
1 x 120mm + 1 x 80mm Fan Capacity
1 x 120mm Front
1 x 80mm Rear

Features

  Supports Flex, Micro, Full ATX Motherboards
Intel P4 and AMD XP/MP Compatible
Tool-Less Side Panels with Thumb Screws
EMI Protective Shielding
Lighted Digital Thermometer on Front Panel
Three Temperature Sensors
Automatic System Shutdown by Thermal Sensor
High Intensity LED Lights
Integrated Ten Speed Cooling System
2 x USB Ports (Standard)
1 x IrDA Port (Optional)

Snap on faceplate
Stealth CD/DVD Drive Covers

All my hard work and extra money for a 120mm intake and thermal readout, and here we now have a case that accomplishes the exact same thing with stylish look that would make someone proud.

A Closer Look
By the time it arrived at my house, the box looked like it had one heck of a ride. Actually it did, it was mistakenly shipped to LinuXProX, and he had to turn around and ship it to me.

The case I received is black with gold buttons; however it is also available in Silver, Blue, Red, and Yellow. I was surprised when I got the case out of the box to find the plastic hinge on one of the drive covers had been broken off. The case was packed with foam and air wrap to protect it, so I’ll take the blame for the broken face plate. I probably broke it removing it from the box. I did look for replacement covers, and couldn’t find anything at Ahanix’s web page, nor at any of the resellers.




Included with the case are the two fans, speaker, user manual, motherboard mounting and various other screws. The manual is actually three pieces of paper written in English and what I assume is Chinese, and describes how to use the thermal display and how to mount the thermal sensors.



Taking a look at the back of the case, you can see the thumb screws which allow for a tool-less entry. The PSU mounts at the top, and the exhaust fan mounts below that.



Looking at the front of the case, everything is laid out very nice. The blue LED at the top of the case puts out a nice glow, and the red numbers on the thermal readout is easy to read in the light or dark. The two green LEDs above the temperature represent the fan speed. The yellow LEDs below the temperature readout identifies which thermal channel you have selected. Next to the yellow LEDs is an orange LED (not shown in picture) that displays HDD activity.





The door below the thermal readout hides the USB and IrDA ports. My computers aren't exactly situated in a way I can easily get behind them. Having front USB ports allows me to hook up my digital camera when needed without having to reach behind my computers and fumble around looking for a port. When the ports aren't in use, the door slides back to cover them up, leaving a nice clean look.




The front bezel is attached by six, round, plastic tabs, and removes easily.



If you look at the fan grill you can see the case has the ability to use either an 80mm or a 120mm fan. Who wants to use an 80mm fan when we can use a 120mm, right? :P On the bezel you can see the mesh filter, and if you look through the filter you can see the green controller board used for the thermal sensor, thermal read out, and fan control. It sounds nice to have all the extras, but in the situation of this case it actually causes a problem. With the controller board mounting directly in front of the intake fan, very little air gets brought into the case. I tested this again with my Sunon 120mm fan (108 CFM) to make sure it wasn't just the generic case fan, and noticed no improvements what-so-ever. This case will be fine as long as you don't plan to overclock, but as soon as you up the FSB you'll run into trouble.




Moving into the case, you can see a mess of wires. What's a case without a mess of wires though, right? No, the system speaker doesn't mount to the side of the door, it comes unmounted and you'll have to mount it yourself.



The power supply mounts at the very top of the case and present a problem for people who's power supply has a top intake fan, as there is only a 10mm space between the PSU and the case.


The dboX has 7x 3.5" drive bays which gives you plenty of room to mount a hard drive or two, and 5 of the bays are right in front of the intake fan; which is a nice idea to keep the hard drives cool, unfortunately you receive little benefit with the low intake of this case design. Another thing to note is the case does not have any removable drive bays or a removable motherboard try, which means you'll be working in a cramped environment any time you do any work in your case.



Here is a closer look at the wires. You have a single Molex that powers the controller board as well as the two fans, the usual connectors to the motherboard, and the USB cables to connect the front USB ports to the motherboard. The two white connectors next to the 4-pin Molex are 2-pin connectors for the fans. With most fans using a 3 or 4-pin connector, in order to use a different fan with the controller you'll have either buy an adapter or bring out the knife and the electrical tape. No biggie to most, but an endeavor some people won't want to attempt.



Here you can see the controller card and all of the LEDs that weren't show in the images earlier. Hrmm... I should replace the LEDs to go with the blue one at the top of the case. ;)



I mentioned that the case came with two fans, an 80mm and a 120mm. Here they are. :)



Conclusion
"Never judge a book by it's cover."

This saying holds true for the dboX. Like the AudiaXP and the PlatinumXP, the Ahanix dboX is a nice case with many design flaws. First is the controler board blocking the intake fan. No removeable drive bays or slide out motherboard tray makes working inside the case a bit cramped, also there are a few sharp edges that'll catch you if you are not careful. Having the thumb screws for tool less entry is very nice, however the PCI slots and drive slots came with regular phillips screws meaning even though you dedn't need a screw drive to get in the case, to move anything you'll still have to have one. I loved the thermal display, and as far as looks it blew away the Digital Doc 5.

 

Pros:

  Thermal Controller is Easy to Use/Read
Tool-less Case Entry
Front USB and IrDA Ports
Bright Blue LED
Stealth CD/DVD Covers
120mm and 80mm Fans Included

Cons:

  No Slide Out Motherboard Tray
No Removable Drive Bay
No Thumbscrews for PCI or Drives
Little Intake From Front Fan
Speaker Not Mounted – Must Be Mounted by the User
Drive Covers Break Easily
Fan Controller Uses 2-pin Connectors


I'd like to thank ExoticPC.com for providing us this case to review!