Good Looks, Terrible Workmanship - 4 Barebone Cases Compared


None of the four mini-PC enclosures tested here was able to really win us over. None of the models here showed even the slightest hint of innovation. The fliptop opening mechanism found on the TACens THECA and the Aplus Blockbuster II BM, for example, is a very handy solution – but it’s hardly a new idea. Gigabyte already used this exact solution two years ago in its CB91 to very good effect.

While saying that the €70 you would spend on any one of these cases is completely wasted, there are definitely better ways to invest it. Barebone PCs such as those made by Gigabyte and Shuttle are one option, which already come equipped with a motherboard, PSU and a CPU fan. While it is true that these barebones cost more than €70, you would end up saving money in the long run. Sadly, things have quieted down in the barebone arena, and nothing much is heard from Shuttle & co, creating a certain niche for mini-PC cases such as those reviewed here. Still, we found none of the candidates really compelling.

Here are two of the many negative details Tom’s Hardware encountered while testing these cases:

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  • weeboll
    reading that makes me pleased i went for an Antec NSX 1300. more compact, good cooling, better looks, very solidly built - its down side is the nonstandard psu and lack of front facing 3.5" bay for a card reader but i'd reccommend it over any of the reviewed cases!
  • nafurahi
    I will be building a micro-atx based box soon Lian-Li v300 for the same price as these looks like much better value