Tagan A+ Curbic Review

RHKCommander959 - 2008-11-17 22:35:40 in Cases
Category: Cases
Reviewed by: RHKCommander959   
Reviewed on: November 24, 2008
Price: $50-60

Introduction:

Some cases are quiet, sleek office boxes. Some are windowed and lit up like Vegas. It all depends on user preference but few offer a compromise between glamour and functionality. Likewise some companies tend to focus solely on cooling, and others only the quality of the case itself. Cases come in a vast variety, they are very diverse as are the users themselves: so it is difficult sometimes to find the perfect case that is also ready to keep your hardware running smoothly.

Tagan is a company that was founded in 2001, with headquarters in Germany, that is known best for their large line of power supplies ranging between 330 to 1300 watts. They also make hard drive enclosures and computer cases – one of which I shall be reviewing today: the Tagan A+ (“APlus-Case”) Curbic – a mid ATX case with dual 180mm fans. I will be putting this new case through some tests to see how well it stacks up against the competition.

Closer Look:

The Curbic case came shipped in a plain white box with black and white images on the front and back, and text explaining some of the features located on the sides. The front and back are the same, as are the sides. The top reads Curbic, and the bottom is blank. The box itself shows little or no damage, just dirt - so from the outside it looks to be well padded. The box art is rather disappointing in comparison to some cases; hopefully the case is done better than the box!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Unveiling the case shows that it is enclosed in a protective bag to keep the paint form being scratched, and help against moisture damage. Thick foam spacers help insure that the case is kept padded and away from the box walls – which helps keep the case from getting dents.

 

 

The included hardware comes in a plastic baggy – 9x mounting standoffs and screws, four case feet, zip tie and tie mount (for wire management), a black screw, and piece of metal to be installed to allow the side panel to be lockable, generic I/O panel, O-magnet, eight screws for any expansion or bay drives you may want to have permanently attached, and an extra rubber band and twist tie (you could also use these for wire management). Unfortunately there is no manual to aid novices and alike on what to do with all of these items, and even a simple insert would be better than nothing.

 

Lets pop this open!

Closer Look:

All of the included hardware minus the I/O plate is mounted to the inside chassis by the twist tie, it sounded a little scary jarring about as though something were broken– but all was fine. Looking at the front of the Curbic case, the most prominent features are the all-mesh styling, A+ logo, and large fan. Opening the screen reveals four see-through bays, and the USB and audio in/out ports. The screen feels sturdier than it looks, although I would wager it is still quite fragile. It stays shut by two magnets that stick it to the faceplate. The back reveals the seven expansion slots, RoHS compliance, and an extra place for a fan. Also in one of the expansion slots is a bracket with a knob to adjust the speed of one of the fans. Those see-through bay covers also have foam to help filter the dust out, while letting air pass.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The first side panel has a long vent located near the internal 3.5” bays, and matches the perforated mesh design near the front fan well. The other side houses the other large fan, with a glimpse of the speed controller to the right.

 

 

The top of the case is plain and smooth, no dents like some cheaper cases may have. The bottom is rigid, which helps strengthen the metal. The holes are where the feet are to be installed - simply by pushing them in. The front panel can be removed also by grabbing the handle at the bottom and pulling away.

 

 

Both of the case fans also have a button hidden at the bottom right-hand corner, which is used to turn the five blue LED lights on or off for each fan. The fans stay on whether the lights are on or not, which allows people to buy this case even if they don’t like lights, or need to turn them off for some reason. Also located on the front panel are two small vents to help keep air flowing through the front fan, and the power/reset buttons.

 

Closer Look:

Once inside, the first things I noticed were the tool-less drive bays, hardware, and a few small scratches on the motherboard tray. The tool-less mechanisms are simple enough – twist and it comes out, twist and it locks back in - cheap but effective. There are two for each bay, and there are three different sizes: small (floppy, only one set), medium (hard drives / etc in the rest of the 3.5” bays), and large for the 5.25” drive bays. There are two locations for the large bays, but they are spaced far apart – so users may need to use the included screws to hold their drives in place instead, in the event that the drive doesn’t fit perfectly.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The audio cable is double-headed to be compatible with motherboards that support either high definition audio or AC’97, also included is an unmarked USB connection. The switches and LED’s are all well labeled. The case also comes with a speaker that works well with the motherboard – chirping out any error codes or other important tasks.

 

 

The expansion slots are designed to be tool-free as well, using a lever system that locks down on any installed components. Also seen here is a picture of the locking mechanism installed – the screw sits low enough to not interfere with the side panel, and the panel is notched to allow the loop to slide right through.

 

 

The fans are rated at the same speed, sound, and airflow. The only difference is that the side panel uses round LEDs and the front uses square. Both fans are 180mm, and run between 500 to 1500 rpm with the variable fan speed controls. They are specified at 12v by 0.24a.

 

 

Both fans are powered by four-pin Molex connections, and are controlled and powered through the three-pin fan headers that go to the on/off switches and variable knobs – they do not hook up to the motherboard!

 

Specifications:

 

Brand
Tagan
Model
Curbic
Style
ATX Mid Tower
Dimensions
480mm(L) x 195mm(W) x 413mm(H) (18.90"x7.67"x16.25")
Motherboard Compatibility
ATX/MicroATX
Power Supply Compatibility Standard ATX
Material Chassis: 0.5mm SECC; Front Panel: 100% ABS Plastic + meshed grill
Net Weight 14.55lb ~ 6.6kg
Gross Weight 16.98lb ~ 7.7kg
External 5.25" Bays 4
Internal 5.25" Bays
5
External 3.5" Bays
2
Internal 3.5" Bays
7
Expansion slots
7
Cooling system
2x180mm Variable Fans ( 300rpm @ 18db - 700rpm @ 41.9db) w/ LED On/Off button.
Front Panel
USB, Audio In/Out

 

Features:

Testing:

The Tagan Curbic will be run under a volley of tests to determine how well it can handle heat. Idle temperatures were taken 30 minutes after booting into Windows, load temperatures were then taken after 30 minutes of stress testing the hard disk, GPU, and CPU. The temperatures were based upon the hard drive, chipset, GPU, and CPU temperatures. The case cooling is with the stock fans only. The comparison cases are the Hiper Osiris, Raidmax Smilodon, and open-air setup.

 

Comparison Cases:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Overall the setup kept temperatures pretty low. In comparison to the others, it performed on par to the other higher performance cases. The chipset has a small heat sink that requires a fairly direct source of air, thus the large fans didn't keep it too cool, but still in a very safe range.

Conclusion:

This case looks great on the outside, and performs pretty well inside. Depending on pricing, this case could be quite competitive. The lack of a window allows for some level of distraction from the inside quality – some scratches and over-spray mainly. The fans look great and the switches are a nice touch for people who don’t like flashy computers. This feels like a case that many people can like using. The only major downfall is a lack of a manual of any sort. It is nice to have a removable motherboard tray, but most cases don’t have such features. The tray does have divots that allow heat from the back of the motherboard to escape, but also greatly increases the sturdiness of the tray so that when installing components the motherboard does not flex. The front audio and USB are easy to reach, as are the variable fan toggles. The case width plus the side fan will also limit the amount of heat sinks that may be installed – a Tuniq Tower will not fit. Stock fans will fit no problem however, as will moderately sized heat sinks. For being steel it isn’t very heavy – but doesn’t compromise strength either. The cooling is really good for a case of this level; the fans are quiet and push plenty of air.

The shipping box doesn’t leave a huge impression, but the picture of the case on the front helps at least a little bit. The level of protection provided is adequate to keep the case from being damaged. Working on the Curbic was easy even without a manual, although the case can be a bit cramped to work in with a full ATX motherboard. I suggest installing the drives first, and motherboard lastly. Overall the Tagan A+ Curbic was a good case to work with, and should appeal to most users.

 

Pros:

 

Cons: