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A-TOP AT589 TRANSLUCENT COMPUTER CASE
Last updated: 07/29/03

BENT METAL.  The case has fairly solid "feel," but seems to have a little more give than some cases I have reviewed.  The thickness is not included in the manufacturer's specs, but I think it's 1 mm (one of these days I am going to purchase a micrometer).  I have certainly seen flimsier cases, many of them.

Most of the edges a person would likely grab are curled-over to reduce the possibility of cuts and to strengthen the case.  Notable exceptions are the edges around the hole where the motherboard unit slides out the back of the case and the back of the motherboard unit itself.

The left side panel is conveniently secured with knurled hand screws at the rear and the right side is secured with phillip's-head screws.  There is a plastic ring half way up on the rear edge of each side panel where it is out-of-sight when looking square-on at the front of the case.   The panels are each further attached to the case with two clips along the front and three hooks each at the top and bottom.  The sides can be awkward to remove and install.  One removes a side panel by unscrewing the two screws, pulling back on the ring, and fidgeting (best word I can think of) the panel outward.  There is no slide along the bottom and the screws attaching the plastic to the sheet metal go through bosses which protrude towards the inside of the case, and, unless positioned just right, interfere with the case when removing and attaching the sides.

CARD CAGE.  The entire motherboard unit slides out of the rear of the case like a file cabinet drawer laid on its side.  This makes it easy to set-up and burn-in this major part of the computer on a production line.  When the case is unpacked, this unit is secured to the rest of the case with two metal latches on the left side (looking from the front to be consistent), similar to those used to fasten a screen to a screen door, and spring-loaded latch on the right side.  I really don't like the screen door latches. They look somewhat cheap at first glance and they are redundant because there also places for four screws to attach the unit to the rest of case (one is inside the case).  These screws should be used anyway to improve the grounding, shielding, and rigidity of the case.

STAND-OFFS.  The motherboard is attached to the motherboard unit with something I haven't seen before.  Instead of brass or plated standoffs, which screw into a case, seven metal standoffs are supplied which look from a side view like omega-shaped clips.  These clips snap into rectangular holes in the bottom of the motherboard unit.  I can't say I am particularly fond of this method for attaching a motherboard to a case, which A-Top justifies as 'easier to install and maintain.'  Yes, they are easy to install.  No, they are not easier to remove--they bend and have to be unbent to use again.  Until someone convinces me that they make as good a ground contact with the chassis and the motherboard, I'll say I would really prefer old-fashioned screw-in standoffs.

EXPANSION BOARD SLOTS.  The case has seven slots.  All of the slots come equipped with (those) annoying knock-outs. Two expansion slot covers are supplied.

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