SUMMARY: Very nice upscale case for folks who are sick of IBM putty gray lookalikes.
TechStyle Computers was kind enough to send one of their tower cases our way to review. Techstyle’s cases are Enlights that have been modified with wood veneers and repainted for the distinctive look below.
This particular case has wood veneer laminated to the plastic front – they make another case with a solid wood front. The veneer model can be ordered in 14 different woods; if you buy their complete system, looks like they also give you matching drive fronts also.
As you see from this pic, if you use standard CD ROM and floppy drives fronts, it detracts from the look; I would guess a little black spray paint will do the trick, although you have to be careful not to gum up the inside of the drives.
The Case as a Case
OK, the look is cool, how does the case itself stack up? Enlight makes a nice case, although in this instance the amount of customizing you might do with it is limited. Normally the first thing I do with a case is open up the front for a 120mm fan; this entails cutting the metal front (no problem here) and cutting a 120mm hole in the plastic front (big problem here) for air flow. Not going to happen.
However, there is a less-intrusive way to increase air flow and lessen noise: Waste the front fan mount (pics below) and mount a 90mm fan in the rear. The front fan is noisy and ineffective because 1, it mounts directly to the metal case (noisy) and 2, it can’t “breathe” very well because the front bezel has no air flow and flow from the bottom is restricted.
Mounting a 90mm fan in the back will be a tight fit but very doable. I would remove some metal from the back to open it up further, but a straight mount with no mods is possible (may be a little noisier, however). Use rubber grommets or silicone the fan directly onto the metal and noise will be lessened.
The case has plenty of room inside for any motherboard you would use; four 5.25″ and 3 3.25″ slots are available.
What I particularly like is the use of drive rails for the CD ROM and drive cage (pic below). This enables the user to quickly dismount and mount components – no fussing with screws etc. The front panel comes off very easily – grasp the bottom and give it a tug – off it comes.
What I do not like is that you have to take the case front off before you can take off the sides. Now I don’t think this is a “tinkerers” case by any means, but unencumbered swing out doors are so much better for access.
Overall, the TechStyle tower is nice to look at and has a very credible case at its core – it would have been easy for TechStyle to use a cheaper case, and it is to their credit they did not.
TechStyle makes additional wood-crafted products, and their mouse is something else. Wood working is one of my hobbies and it is a real pleasure to have the look and feel of wood under my hand rather than plastic. The only fault I can find here is is does not have a wheel – maybe a future product?
Overall, if you like wood and want a distinctly different look, check out TechStyle’s products. If you’re a hacker and constantly modify and play with your case (as I do), this is not the way to go. But damn, these are really pretty.
Thanks again to TechStyle Computers for sending these products our way – almost hate to send them back.