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 Assembled Unit

The Assembled Unit:

As mentioned on the previous page, installation of your components should happen as the kit assembly goes along to save unnecessary steps. Any changes (at least within the drive bays) will be made only reluctantly after the initial work is done - so do your planning well! (this is another reason that this kind of kit is generally unsuitable for daily use - especially for us tweak-freaks).

Populating your motherboard with memory, CPU, CPU cooler and as much except for the add-on cards as possible should also be done prior to dropping the motherboard into this case as the standoffs are unusually tall allowing for deep bending of the PCB (printed circuit board) under pressure (a few extra standoffs wouldn't have hurt for providing extra support, but one can improvise...).

The final product is starkly angular with none of the features that the plasticity of acrylic would allow, e.g. curves, bends, odd shapes, etc. So obviously, whatever is inside the case must be the focus of attention rather than the case itself. The weight of the final assembly (less the internal fan and fan bar) is approx. 11 lb. 4 oz. (5 kg).

Above is the case with the system components installed.

Right side - note the standard ATX power supply with room for a longer one and the center heat pipe of the CPU cooler which just touches the lid when it is in place.

Left side - note the hard drive mounted as far as possible to the rear.

Here I should note a few of the things I look for along the way but didn't see. One, the feet for the case are just acrylic disks - no protection from transmitting vibrations to (or marring the surface of) whatever it rests on. There are translucent silicone feet out there that you could obtain and use instead of or in addition to the disks. These are available in the States as well as Europe.

This is a view of the bottom of the case before the components were installed. You can see the hard, acrylic feet; the front panel cable assemblies and the drive cages from the bottom.

No rubber isolators to help limit transmission of vibes or noise from the hard or optical drives to the chassis exist, but since we won't have to put up with those sounds on a regular basis... At least 92 x 25mm fans could have been included for the front fans and the owner should mod them in if using more than two hard drives per bay. No filters are present for the front fans either - remember the "dust magnet" phrase I used before? Once it gets in, it will be "fun" to get out... Let me repeat: "acrylic cases are for display purposes only." Filters are available separately and suggested for regular use.
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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