Computer cases, we always read big review about state of the art advanced & first rate computer cases, which cost more than a standard everyday computer. I am servicing a wide variety of clients, from the graphic studios, trough the gamers community (more advices than sells, they are doing a lot themselves), I have clients that needs only office browsing & last but not least I have the household & families. They are a varied crowd that needs computer that can do everything as well as possible to last as long as possible in a home environment that is not always computer friendly & that cost a faire but not too high a price.
I am speaking about build computers & not brand names. I will not review low cost computers. They are built with low cost, bulk acquired parts from doubtful provenance. They are of very low quality & are built to last only as long as the warranty & sometimes even less than that.
One of the forgotten parts for homestead computing is the CASE! The case is the skin of the computer, it has to mechanically protect the inner parts, regulate the temperature by managing the airflow but also protect it from dust. It should be nice enough to seat in our house but sturdy enough to stand less than knowledgeable home users, but please, please let it be quiet so we won’t hear it in the silence of our home office/living room corner.
Today I will review a nice & very affordable mid tower case. The Huntkey T91:
This is a case I became to appreciate very much.
It has three 5.25″ bays for CD DVD size stuff which only two of them are externally reachable, 0ne externally reachable 3.5″ bay & 6 internal 3.5″ HDD bays . Only the externally reachable 3.5″ bay need screws, all the other have quick release screw-less plastic brackets. You need to open both sides of the case to access the 5.25″ bays brackets, the HDD sliders access is from the left side only. As you can see on the pictures all the plastic gismos are a very bright & beautiful red.
The HDD bay is cooled by a 12cm fan mounted in a small box in the front of the case, to access this box you will have to open the case front. Opening the front is easy, just lightly pull the entire black plastic front of the case from the bottom up, until it is completely of the metal case. When the front is open you can see that the front of the case is almost completely filtered up. The only open dust access is in the bottom of the front, to deal with this overlook I am placing an 8″ long 1″ wide piece off foam that will easily filter any dust when the case is closed.
To mount the 12cm fan in the front box you have to unscrew it from the front of the box & pull it out. Before mounting the fan you will need to bend the
box in the way shown in picture 5 on both the axis. Since the box metal is a little thin, it to insure that the front grid will bulge out from the fan when in place. If you do not proceed like that, the fan blades may touch the grid. After that you can install the fan in the box & press it gently back in place (be careful not to squeeze the fan cable) then screw the box closed. After having finished with the front fan you can install the DVD & close the front panel.
After the front panel we are now dealing with the rest of the case, first the bottom. At the bottom of the case we can clearly see a long air intake grill, half of it can be used for adding an additional 12cm fan & the other half near the back of the case is for the PSU, as for advanced boxes the PSU is placed on the bottom of the case, that’s promise a dedicated air flow from the bottom panel through the PSU & directly out of the back of the case. In the normal cases the PSU is mounted in the upper part of the case & the air intake is from the inside of the case, so it sucks already hot air, which does not do much for the good function or the longevity of the PSU. One of the more important features of this case is that the underside intake is also protected by an air filter. By now you have read a lot about dust protection in this blog, please read my blog about dust provoked failures to understand how much a dust free environment is important.
On the back of the case are the motherboard back I/O openings & over that there is the exhaust 12cm fan mounting, near the fan you can see two round plugs that can be removed to let water cooling tubes. I am not using water cooling on average boxes but it is a nice possibility & good to have ready. As you can see in the screw kit, the manufacturer also included rubber adapters for the water cooling holes. The kit also includes extra motherboard mountings, a system bipper, PSU screws & all the extra screws needed.
Finally there is the side panel with the air opening over a third of its surface. As you can see on the picture the opening is big enough for adding two extra 12cm fans, we will have to tweak the panel to assure the best air flow possible. First & foremost we do not want to have the side panel open! When open it ruins the whole show. First it does not have an intake dust filter, so we will only use it as an exhaust opening. That’s unless you want to build an additional dust filter. It can be done easily with a slice of foam and a fan grill protector, but I don’t think it’s needed because of the front 5.25” bays filters, and it would not be very esthetic. So first we will glue an A4 piece of thick cellophane to the inside of the panel. Just spray the glue on the panel wait for a few minutes & apply the cellophane carefully. Then we will tape the side of the cellophane to assure long time adherence. That’s it for the run of the mill build, but if you think you need extra air flow you can add one to two exhaust fan to the tweaked side panel by cutting the cellophane between the screws holes & mounting the fan or fans facing out.
One word about the fans I am using. I always search for new & innovative ways to help my clients, in this case I have found this very quiet Fan model, made by Enermax, it’s called T.B.SILENCE . As you can see on the pictures this fan has a very characteristic blade form that inhibit the noise made by air turbulence’s, and it works very well in the real world. I do not normally take very advanced measurement, but from use only, I’d would say that it cuts at least 50% of the fan noise. It’s permits a very quiet well aired case in an home environment.
Real World assessment;
- Fair price.
- Five 12cm fans emplacements.
- Quick release HDD & DVD brackets.
- PSU bottom mounting.
- Dust filters
- Ample space for the bigger screen cards.
- No USB3 built-in on the front panel.
- Need to tweak the case.
- The box metal is a little Flimsy.
- Flimsy DVD brackets, may need to screws the DVDs in some instances.
- No top fans
In short, I love this case. Its cost friendly, advanced, easy to use and dust free. It can house any & all kind of motherboards, for any home use, from simple office applications to advanced gamers on a budget.