Sunbeamtech Acrylic HTPC-style ATX Case Review

Cases & PSU/Cases by BillHill @ 2008-06-16

The Sunbeamtech Acrylic, HTPC-style case is excellent for display and demonstration purposes. In this in-depth review we´ll find out if this case is up to the task of keeping our system cool under stress while looking flashy with some LED lighting.

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The Kit

The kit

This HTPC-style kit consists of 46 acrylic panels and pieces (incl. the motherboard standoffs), 164 screws in many different sizes (some look to be custom items), one aluminum plate for the I/O shield (removable) and card slots bracket, four 80 x 25mm blue LED fans (also transparent down to even the insulation on the leads), one ports and switch panel circuit board with cable assemblies, one parts description sheet with line drawings of the acrylic parts and b/w photos of the screws (each type in a separate, labeled bag) and misc., two double sided sheets of assembly instructions with drawings, one system speaker dongle, one long-bladed Philips screwdriver (not suitable for regular use) and, finally, one pair of white, fabric gloves (you can see them in some of the pix resting on the top of the case)

I won't go in-depth on the assembly process - suffice to say that it generally went smoothly and everything lined up well. I will note the trouble areas and hang-ups as I go along.

It's easy to gather that a prospective owner should enjoy assembling things from many parts, jigsaw puzzles, etc. to attempt this project. The false perspective of the assembly diagrams regarding the base plate can throw one off and the assembly diagram for the front panel is reversed. Be sure to note on which side of the panel that the countersinking for the flat-head, I/O and switch panel screws exists, and you'll be good to go. The fan frames were more flexible than I expected, but I pre-tapped the holes with the fan screws anyway. That makes assembling the fans to the case panels and/or bracket, easier.

  • I fully assembled the case for some photos, but the end-user should assemble the system components into the sub-assemblies as s/he goes, as when s/he gets to the fully assembled point, s/he will have to do some major disassembly to put them in afterwards.
  • I am proud to say that I managed to accomplish full assembly without leaving one visible fingerprint on the panels. A close inspection of the fans would find some though. I decided to use a glove on my left hand only. I used the other glove or a piece of foam sheeting between my right hand and the plastic as needed, but generally left it off. Lefties would probably do the reverse.

    Here is a front view of the fully assembled Sunbeamtech HTPC-style case empty of the system components.

    And here it is from the rear - I was expecting a micro-ATX box and it turned out to be designed for a full ATX motherboard, but a microATX or mini-ITX motherboard can be used. With a microATX or ITX motherboard, the last row of standoffs will be attached to the board, but not the case unless you want to drill and countersink the extra holes into the bottom panel for that yourself.
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    Comment from skitzin @ 2008/06/18
    The chase looks pretty nice, but is it also strong?
    I remember when I had my old sunbeam chase it felt it could break down every second -.-
    Comment from jmke @ 2008/06/19
    the panels are quite thick and won't break easily