Global Win GAT-001 Case 26th October 2002
We were lucky enough to receive Global Wins latest offering - The GAT-001 Mini Tower Case. This is an all aluminium construction that is very light and should be good at dissipating heat. We opened up the package with mixed expectations and it does indeed look unusual.
It has the standard brushed aluminium finish but there is definitely something otherworldly about it. The LCD display can show the time or the temperature of the internal probe. The circle around the LED actually lights up in a variety of different colours and cycles between them. There is probably some way to stop it at the colour of your choice but we found it rather pleasing to have the colours change. Also on the front are USB ports and pass-through for audio cables.
Here's the side view and already it's looking like a work of art so those who like cutting windows into their cases can get one ready made - oh, and did I mention it comes with a cold cathode tube? Also notice the fan in the center of the window to compensate for the lack of air intake at the front of the case.
You also get some rounded cables (in this Mini Tower case space is at a premium so you really do need them). Of note is the ATX pass-through connector to power the front display which means you connect this wire to your motherboard's PSU connector and connect your PSU to the other end, something that is bound to become more common as we see features like the front display become popular.
Air intake is a bit under-whelming with only a 60mm fan to blow air out but there is still a net pressure increase in the case due to the 80mm fan on the side so there is no need to worry about air getting sucked back inside the holes down the right hand side. The round hole near the bottom is to allow the cables from the front connectors to be attached to their respective sockets on a sound card. I would have preferred the connectors to have extra sockets so it would still have been possible to connect the back of the PC while also being able to use the front connectors - not one or the other.
Here's a look at the inside of the side panel. The finger holds are a good idea to help get the panel off and thumbscrews are very handy for those who frequently tinker with their PCs internals. The cold cathode tub is noise activated with a dial on the end to tweak sensitivity. Just visible is the plastic hood around the transparent fan which directs air toward the back of the case and in the general direction of the CPU (depends on the motherboard layout).
This is a shot of the front panel while the machine is in operation. The board is a pre-production Intel D845GEPV2 with a 2.8GHz Pentium4. To give you some idea of the heat dissipation of this box, two hours of intense use produced a case temperature of 27 degrees (room temperature of 25 degrees). The 32 degrees you see above is the temperature of the Molex Silent Drive Enclosure (review upcoming) encasing the hard drive which itself is astonishingly low. We took the photo during a green phase but the display cycles through many different ones to suit individual tastes.
The tube in action. Not really our cup of tea - it glows eerily like something from a science fiction movie but many people like to watch the inside of their PC while it's in action and will get a kick out of this. High praise has to go to Global Win for their choice of fans as the case was almost completely silent in use and cool to the touch despite the 2.8GHz P4 busy with non-stop Divx conversions at 100% load.
This is undoubtedly a high quality aluminium case. For a small premium Global Win have thrown in a side window and cathode tube (not forgetting the rounded cables). If you were to make these mods yourself it would cost you more and you would be unlikely to get a finish of such high quality. To those who would like a cool custom case to show of to their friends without risk of injury (or worse damaging an aluminum case) they can get what they want ready made.
If you're after an aluminium case and fancy a few of the latest trendy mods then you won't regret buying this case - you could do a lot worse.
Our thanks go to Gary Carter of Rainbow Components for providing us with this review sample.
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