Good Looks, Terrible Workmanship - 4 Barebone Cases Compared

Aplus Blockbuster II BM – Impressions

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Looking at it from the outside, the Aplus Blockbuster II BM appears very compact and massive at the same time. However, the case only weighs 6.4 kg. The two 5.25” drive bays that are accessible from the front are covered by plastic fold-down doors. These swing down on two hinges when the disc tray of the optical drive that can be mounted here slides out. A restoring spring, which looks like it could be used in a ballpoint pen, automatically closes the door.

Behind the third plastic door we find a 3.5” drive bay that can either house an antiquated floppy drive or a more modern card reader. Finally, we find one more plastic flap a little to the left that hides the front connectors for USB, Firewire and audio. The large power button is lit blue when the unit is on. The case’s dimensions are a little unconventional. The Blockbuster is not only very high but also quite long, which certainly limits the places you could set it up. After all, do you really want to have such a clunky case sitting in your living room?

Still, its format has its advantages, too, especially since it lets you use a broader choice of components. Aside from the motherboard, which has to conform to the micro-ATX form factor, you’re mostly free to use standard components. Just make sure you don’t choose an especially high cooler. Better to pick one that is a little flatter but wider, such as the Zalman CNP8700 LED or the Coolermaster model we use here. Unlike the XXL monster coolers, these models are well-suited to the case’s form factor.

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The case’s lid is fixed in place using five screws. Apparently, the manufacturer forgot about the existence of thumb screws, which would make life much easier for the buyer. Opening the case reveals a very well laid-out interior. All edges are smoothed to prevent injuries and cuts. Using the two latches inside, you can release the top part of the case and flip it over sideways on a hinge, , making hardware installation much easier.

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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