Chenming ATX-301KE Silver Aluminum Case Review
Many people tend to think cases are all the same. Cases are just places to put your computer in right? Well when they come with their new case they begin to find faults and problems with it, thus they begin to regret their lack of proper choice. I still believe that cases are one of the most overlooked things in “build your own computer” land. With high-performance system’s becoming widely available, cooling has been a major factor. Components like to run cool and not hot. Some cases provide cooling whether some cases have major problems in this area. We will see if the newest Chenming ATX-301KE Silver Aluminum Case looks to change that.
The box is beat up again
The package was contained in a Chenming box with Styrofoam protection on the bottom and top of the case. It was also covered with plastic to prevent scratches. I was very surprised to see that the Chenming ATX-301KE weighed in at only 10 pounds.
The frontal LED's which are for the HDD and Power
The Chenming ATX-301KE Silver Aluminum Case we look at today is constructed out of 0.8mm of polished aluminum. I have been a big fan of aluminum because it dissipates heat away very quickly and effectively. It looks like aluminum has made its way quit quickly in computer cases. Aluminum also has many benefits such as weight, cooling and in some cases as strong as steel. My first impressions were very positive and I was anxious to know more.
Front of the case
The bottom of the case with the rubber feet
USA gave us the opportunity to review the ATX-301KE with their newest
front panel design that consists of a door. I really like the design
of the front panel. The door is very cool and is quite strong.
It also helps the computer noise to be at a minimum sounding out the
optical drives. The only small problem I had with the door was
that it swings freely quite frankly and that bothers me because what
if your relatives accidentally swings it open hard, it might break.
When you take off the 5.25" bays, you will find four purple looking things. These are drive rails. Drive rails are pieces that fit on the side of CD-ROM, DVD, or CD-RW drives. Then you simply push it in the bay. I will go over this more later on.
These are the bay covers. See the tab? Push left to remove them and push right to click them right in
The paint job on the Chenming ATX-301KE was done very nicely and had a smooth feel.
The front panels consist of vents located at the bottom to freely suck cool air into the case, a USB and FireWire connection port, and front door.
Lots of open space for cool air to travel in. You also see the USB/FireWire port.
There is a place for a lock if you place this case in a business environment located below the first screw on the right
The rear of the case houses one 80mm fan and the stamped grill protrudes out in a way that the fan does not vibrate on the aluminum. The stamped grill is also a honeycomb design and does a good job at releasing air. Better than our first case we reviewed. The Chenming case does not have any thumbscrews in the rear, so you will need to bring out your screwdriver.
The tab reads "HARDWARE"
There is a very unique feature that I find really convenient. At the bottom right of the case, you will find a hardware compartment where you can place all your screws inside. This is a good idea so you don’t misplace any screws. I usually do and this idea rocks.
are regular golden colored metal spacers for your motherboard, and screws.
The Chenming ATX-301KE case has no breakaway PCI slot pieces.
They are each separate and non-breakaway. This means you can re-use
them anytime and means that no slot is uncovered.
Your connections of the typical LED's, and your USB/FireWire connectors.
Update: Looks like I forgot to mentions the specs of this case. Here they are.
Let’s go inside!
When you first open your side panel, the inside of the Chenming ATX-301KE has nicely polished aluminum.
The frontal section of the case. You can see the front 80mm fan adaptor present
The inside of the case is very nice and Chenming has been careful and used less space as possible, thus letting the Chenming ATX-301KE to have a good amount of space inside. There is no removable motherboard tray. As you can see, below the 5.25" section you see the hard drive, and disk drive bay. You can actually take this bay out for easier installation of your hard drive and floppy. There is a unique lock in place to help you do so.
To remove the bay:
The lock untouched
The power supply area of the case has two mounting stands which give extra stability to the case overall and maintains it's structure. All the power supplies I have tested to this point have been able to fit but with installation problems described below.
Installation of computer observations
Nothing is better in a case review than actually putting a computer in the case. We will go over the drive rail points and tell you how I felt about the case from my perspective, what are the strengths, what are the drawbacks, and was it difficult to work with this case.
Working with the Chenming overall was good. For the most part, it was easy to put together the whole computer in the case. I did notice one major problem with a design. The design of the power supply rail located above in my opinion really hurts and should be revised somehow. You will need to install the power supply first before you do anything else. While adding in my power supply, it took about 20 minutes trying to figure out a way to get it in. You will need to twist the power supply in an angle and push the cables with it to get it in. However, you are not done. I then struggled to wiggle the power supply in. I mean, it took very long and took lots of force and fiddling with the bracket to get it in. I suggest you take your time and know if the power supply you put in will not have to be replaced.
There's hardly any space to get it in
That's really tight and takes a long time to put in
I learned that the door's middle portion could come off by pressing out the tabs on the back of it. Oh yeah, the door itself can be removed also.
See the six tabs in the middle?
If you have lots of wires, it's really going hurt you badly. The case will be cluttered with wires everywhere. It's a mid tower so you need to route them away. Wire management people. Thankfully, if you have two optical drives, place them the unused drive bays.
The front cooling slot has a honeycomb pattern design but the holes are big so you will have effective air coming in
It's easy to install a front fan. Just push it in and it clicks
To install your drives place the purple rail on the lower portion of the right side of the drive. Slide it in and it clicks. Screw the other side in.
I learned that the hardware tab could come out easily by pressing down on a tab where you can remove it to access the extension slots screws.
The tab is on the left of the extension slots. Push down and remove
The rear of the finished case. No problems to report
The power button and reset button can be pressed with my finger without any problems. I don't need a pen to push the reset button.
The Chenming ATX-301KE case is a good case on a budget with good cooling, style and some nifty features. The downfall are that there is no fan(s) included, major PSU installation headaches, and if you have long wires, that hurts unless you re-route them away. Other than that, the case is a good case to have if you are on a budget and like mid-towers. It actually looks kickass in the dark with some lighting added in. Take a look.
The plastic rivet covers look cool
I think I'll change that LED into blue in the future...
I rate the Chenming ATX-301KE Aluminum case a...
Pros and Cons
Effective area in the case to work with
Let me thank Chenming USA for making this review possible.