Chieftec Winner Series: WX-01BD5th October 2002
Just in from Chieftec is this attractive looking Midi Tower case from their Winner series. Available in a number of fashionable colors I could tell by the weight of the package that it's features were going to be more than cosmetic.
The fascia is made of a sturdy plastic with a lockable door to preserve the ergonomics of the front unlike the Cooler Master ATC-710 which we reviewed recently which had an all steel construction. Incidentally the case just mentioned is a very close copy of the Chieftec and both use Chieftec rails to mount 5.25" devices. Construction quality is on a par with the Cooler Master and we see a reasonable thickness of steel being used as well as the sturdy handle locking mechanism on the main door which is becoming more common. There is plenty of air intake but missing is an air filter which can perform wonders for keeping dust off precious components inside. Unlike the Cooler Master we do have an LED for drive activity which will be a relief to those of us who need it to check whether the PC has crashed or is merely paging heavily. Let's take a look at the back.
Immediately we see that a power supply is included and that it's a hefty 360W model which is reasonably quiet in operation. My main gripe against power supplies being included with all but the most basic cases is that people's requirements are so diverse that it's better to save some money on the case by allowing people to fit their own power supply based on their own criteria (ultra-quiet, lots of power etc.). This is not such a big issue here as we managed to run a dual Athlon MP2000 rig with a 4-drive RAID array without any problems with the included PSU. The two exhaust ports are fine with big holes for good air flow and I applaud the use of the "thumb screws" making it a breeze to get the side panel off.
Looking inside the case we can see that it is of a good sturdy construction with 4 purple fan holders that snap in place to hold 80mm case fans without vibration and the easily detachable drive cages which are held in place with a large metal lever. There is ample space to accommodate the largest ATX boards (those of you with Tyan Dual boards will have no problems) and there is enough clearance behind the drive cages so that DIMMs on big boards can fit comfortably. Building systems using this case is a joy rather than a chore and one thing that stands out is accuracy of construction - everything slides into place without being forced and locks into position securely without slack. 2 fans in and 2 out give a balanced airflow which is more than enough for any dual CPU system and good thermal conductivity keeps the case temperature about 2 degrees above room temperature.
5.25" Devices are not directly screwed into the case but rather the case comes with 8 sliding rails so that you can attach one to each side of your DVD drive etc. and then slide it into the bay until it locks. There are no flaps to cover these though and the result is not as neat and tidy as some other cases. To remove a device press the metal levers on either side and just slide out - it takes about 2 seconds. Having a sturdy, well fitting door also reduces noise from CD or DVD but remember to open it before ejecting (particularly if you have locked the door). Having the power button within a lockable enclosure means someone cannot accidentally turn off the machine.
This is a neat looking case and despite some of the above shortcomings we have to give it considerable praise because of the one area in which it truly excels - price. You can buy this case (including its 360W PSU) for less than the price of the Enermax 431W PSU we use for our reviews! It's internal construction is the same high quality as the Cooler Master ATC-710 (identical in fact) and if you're not bothered by the plastic fascia and other minor cosmetic cost cuttings this is a high quality case at a bargain price - Chieftec quality and a pleasing look at the price point of a standard OEM case. It also comes in some very nice colors and matching accessories are available from Chieftec.
We would like to thank Eddy Shih of Chieftec
Germany for providing us with a review sample WX-01BD.
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