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Last updated: 6/30/99

PLASTIC.  The front panel has an attractive appearance.  Gone are the useless turbo LED and switch and the keylock--good riddance!  The panel is quite securely fastened to the chassis with solid plastic tabs which makes it easy to snap on and off.   The speaker is inserted in a molded expansion card guide assembly which is conveniently already snapped into the front of the metal chassis.  An optional muffin fan can also be mounted in the guide.  The 1" square indentation for the manufacture's label is still where it was on the HX45: bottom center of the panel.  Ii would be better if it were higher on the case so it would not be partially obscured by the keyboard.  The plastic is solid stuff.

DRIVE BAYS.  The case has six drive bays: two exposed and one hidden 3 1/2" bays and three exposed 5 1/4" bays.  The three 3 1/2" bays are in a removable cage which is secured with one screw.  This makes it a snap to install and service, all-at-once, a hard disk, Zip or LS-120 drive, and a floppy drive.  All of the exposed bays come with snap-on dust covers.   Drives are easily installed without rails.

EXPANSION BOARD SLOTS.  The case has seven slots.  It will accommodate motherboards with 3 ISA, 3 PCI, one shared ISA/PCI, and one AGP expansion board connectors, or other combinations thereof.  All of the slots come equipped with removable slot covers (not those annoying knock-outs found in some cases). 

POWER SUPPLY AND COOLING.  The case comes with a 250 Watt ATX power supply with a ball-bearing fan.   There is a power switch on the power supply in addition to the ATX power on switch on the front panel which connects to an ATX motherboard.  The switch on the power supply overrides the one on front panel.  It is useful for making sure power to the motherboard is off when plugging-in expansion boards, etc. without having to pull the power cord.

The power supply has more than enough drive connectors for the number of drives which the case can accommodate:  two 3 1/2" and five 5 1/4".

The power supply exhausts air from the chassis and does not direct it in and towards the back of the motherboard for CPU cooling as preferred in the ATX specification--no big deal; I feel more secure with quality CPU fans and motherboards with temperature monitoring anyway.  The ATX power supply is almost whisper quiet yet, by feeling the back, it is obvious to me it is pumping an ample amount of air through the chassis.  The ventilation of this box is very good from front, bottom to top, rear of the case.  Most computers I build do not need the optional fan.

MOTHERBOARDS.  The HX45A accommodates both ATX , Baby AT, and microATX motherboards.  An optional B1 I/O back panel is needed for microATX motherboards.  If you use a Baby AT motherboard be sure it has an ATX connector.  If it doesn't I would replace the motherboard with an ATX motherboard.  Unlike the HX45, this case has six permanately attached, 1/4" diameter motherboard stand-offs.  They shouldn't be a problem with quality ATX motherboards with adequate mounting donuts, but could cause a problem with cheap motherboards with less than 3/8" donuts.  The arrangement of the standoffs is ok  for all of the motherboards I sell; but could require a gorilla maneuver to remove one or two of them to accommodate old Baby At boards.  There are extra screw-in stand-offs and taped hole to install them.  I recommend that you add a stand-off or two for motherboards that have more than six mounting holes.

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