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My computer has a new case
Tuesday, August 19, 2003 05:08 PM

There's something neat about the fact that you can plunk down $100 (or $250, or $500 if you're a real high roller) and completely change the look of your computer. Too bad you can't do that with a car.

Yesterday I replaced my Lian-Li PC60 with a (just discontinued) Cooler Master ATC-710-GX2 in dark grey. The PC60 is sort of a classic. It was the case that, along with the Cooler Master ATC-200, started the aluminum case trend that dominates enthusiast cases today (a whole, what, three years later). Until the PC60 and ATC-200 hit the scene, the aftermarket offered only standard issue beige or cheap and cheerful plastics. Now all the ├╝ber-geeks go to LAN parties toting sleek aluminum cases, unfortunately usually ruined with big plexi-covered portholes brimming with neon light. Yeesh... kids these days. I wonder what kinds of sick mods they'd inflict on a Porsche. They'd probably line the rims with blue LEDs and etch a Quake 3 logo into the rear window.

The ATC-710 is quite a nice case, especially considering it's only around a hundred bucks (if you can find one). Even though only the faceplate is aluminum (the rest is ordinary steel), it looks as slick from the outside as any of its pricier all-aluminum brothers. The (all-aluminum) PC60 was over $200 when I bought it, though I think it's now down to $120 or so, which qualifies it as a bargain as well. One nice thing about the ATC-710 is the door over the drive bays; it's hard enough finding a case that looks good, let alone finding drives that match.

My other weird computer fetish is noise control. It really bugs me if my computers are louder than a whisper, mainly because I invested a lot in my stereo system and they share a room. The ATC-710 is noticeably louder than the old PC60, in spite of having a quieter case fan; the new case seems to resonate sympathetically with vibrations from both the hard drive and the power supply, which the Lian-Li did not. Hopefully I'll be able to solve that with some isolation pads from Directron.