Microcool Banchetto 101 Reviewjlqrb - April 13, 2010
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The Banchetto 101 was designed with PC professionals and the modding community in mind and for these two groups, this case can be a huge improvement over a more conventional chassis. The unlimited access to each specific compartment within the case really helped with most of the initial install. This made it easier to set up than most products I have used, but it is really in future upgrades where the Banchetto separates itself. Once all components are installed the modular design of the motherboard tray and installation bays remove restrictions that are present in the more closed design, making it easy to get to any one component in the case. This makes the 101 ideal for a reviewer such as myself. My system is constantly changing and there are times when I have to switch between multiple pieces of hardware in the course of a single day. In a regular case this can be a long process, especially when it comes to the motherboard and CPU. So, the fact that the whole top panel can be removed from the case to allow for instant access of the processor, graphics card, memory and motherboard for quick and easy substitutions, is a feature that is beyond beneficial. In fact, this design has cut down my install time to about half of what it used to be. Enthusiasts will also find features such as the ability to install multiple types of radiators directly to the back of the case very appealing. This will make water-cooling not just easy to set up, but allow for the Banchetto 101 to be virtually free of limitations when it comes to cooling solutions. If you don't use water to cool though, you can instead place up to three 120mm case fans on this area in place of a radiator to decrease the operating temperatures of the parts housed in the lower portion of the case. There is also an included fan bracket that will allow for use of two additional fans to sit on the top panel to cool the CPU area. Just a warning though - you will need to supply your own fans and screws, as there are none included, which was a bit surprising for a case with such a high premium.
As you can see, the Banchetto 101 really has the PC professionals and enthusiasts needs covered, but there are many features that will appeal to the average user as well. Some of these are the ability to hide cables out of the way giving the case a clean look, access to the CPU back-plate area and room for up to four hard drives. There is however, one aspect of the case that will appeal to any type of user and this is just how nice it looks. With the use of clear acrylic, brushed aluminum and sturdy construction, the 101 is sleek, stylish and one case you really have to see with your own eyes to truly appreciate.
There is a lot to like about the Banchetto 101, but it does have a few drawbacks as well. The first issue I ran into dealt with the pre-drilled holes in the acrylic. Some of these holes I found to be easy to stripped and difficult to properly use. When I was screwing in the rear expansion stands, I actually stripped one of the screw holes to the point where it was no longer usable and I did this without applying any real force to it. Luckily, the rest of the stand-offs did secure into place, but it was very hard to fully screw them into the acrylic, resulting in each stand being at a different level. This issue wasn't that they were hard to turn, but rather after they got to a specific depth into the acrylic they would just not progress any further, but could still be turned. All of this was caused by the screw holes being drilled directly into the acrylic, as opposed to using a metal insert or standoffs to secure the screws into place. Unfortunately this was the first issue I ran into. The next concern was that the acrylic was easily scratched from the modular bays, even as they are designed to be moved in and out of the case. This scratching happened at all areas where the bays were removed and even though the scratches created during the review were not large, the clear acrylic could start to look unpleasant in a rather short period of time if a new scratch is made after each time a bay is moved. But really, if this is used for hard-core benchmarking, you will see wear and tear anyhow. Along with these few things there were also some smaller issue I ran into, such as some of the thumb screws on the modular bays being hard to access making them difficult to unscrew. Not all types of screws needed are included and the included dual 80mm fan bracket is weak and broke from a simple drop to the floor. All these issues took away from the appeal of the Banchetto 101 as a day to day case, but in my opinion it is a good product for anyone looking for a tech station to benchmark or review on.
- Very stylish
- Easy and fast installation due to the modular design
- Support for multiple water cooling setups
- Cable management
- All components are easily accessible (especially the motherboard)
- Pre-drilled holes in acrylic can be stripped
- Modular bays scratch the acrylic
- Some thumb screws on modular bays are hard to access
- No included fans or fan screws
- The included dual 80mm fan brackets sides are weak