Manufacturer: Chieftec Industrial Co. Ltd.
Chieftec Industrial Co. Ltd. was founded in 1990 and is engaged in development and production of computer cases that come to market under Chieftec’s own brand as well as under OEM contracts with third parties. Today the company has two production facilities in China; the company’s headquarters is located in Taiwan. In 1995, Arena Electronic Co. Ltd., the European office of Chieftec, was established in Dьsseldorf, Germany. The company is represented by 40 distributors in 28 countries throughout the world.
System cases from this manufacturer enjoy a reputation of high-quality and reliable products, which quite naturally come at a rather high price. There is a market niche where Chieftec is practically competitor-less, though: the market of system cases for workstations. Such cases will be discussed in this review.
This system case is visually appealing – it won’t spoil the interior of your workplace or living room. The manufacturer’s website swears there are three color schemes available: black with a white insertion on the front panel, blue with a black insertion, and black with a silver insertion.
On the front panel, under the plastic door with a fine metal grid and an air filter, there are four 5.25” bays and two 3.5” bays. The power and reset buttons as well as the power and HDD indicators are found there, too. The brackets for the external bays have a non-standard shape – each has two grooves for your fingers for an easy extraction, and there are vent holes in the grooves. The front door is equipped with a lock.
At the bottom of the front panel, under a lid, there are two audio connectors, two USB and one FireWire port. They are all attached to the mainboard’s appropriate onboard connectors.
The left panel of the case is fastened with thumbscrews as well as with a plastic latch and a lock. The right panel is fastened with three screws at its back.
We have a very curious solution inside: hard disk drives (up to six items) are installed perpendicularly to the case rather than lengthwise. The drives are fastened with the help of plastic rails as you will see shortly. I don’t see any problems with this engineering solution with respect to Serial ATA drives, but when it comes to IDE HDDs, you may find it difficult to lay their interface and power cables properly – so that they didn’t thwart the airflows inside the case.
Now, each of the plastic rails has two metal poles with dents that fit into the threaded holes in the sides of the hard disk drive like a hammered-in screw. Thanks to those dents, the rails have a firm grasp on the device, but unfortunately they do so at the expense of the threading in the holes.
Before mounting external 5.25” and 3.5” devices into the case, you must remove the plastic as well as the metal bracket that you find under the plastic one. The metal brackets hold very firmly and yield to a screwdriver only, although they have holes that look like holes for your fingers. If this is really so, you must be real strong to tear them off – at least, the author of this review couldn’t perform this feat.