Evercase ECE1341 Slim BTX Case

Author
Aron Schatz
Posted
June 30, 2005
Views
48988
Evercase ECE1341 Slim BTX Case
BTX is the latest and greatest standard to happen to computers since the introduction to ATX 10 years ago. While BTX may be the latest, not everything that is BTX is the greatest. The Evercase Slim BTX case is on the bench for review and it doesn't shine.
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Page 1
Intro:

Intel has been pursuing the demise of ATX for some time now. In order for BTX to overcome ATX, there must be options and choices available for the customer to choose from with regard to motherboards and cases since those are the two components affected the most out of the change in the standard. Evercase steps up with one of the first BTX cases. Intel choose to include their case with the bundle at their recent ICC. Was it the right choice to get people enticed about BTX? No, and I'll explain why.

The Exterior:

Case Shot 1 Case 2


The case would fit perfectly as a EPC (Entertainment PC) or a HTPC (Home Theater PC) as the case is meant to sit on its side like a desktop case would. Overall, the case has a nice design of black and silver. The sides of the case are of a thin piece of metal (Aluminum, I believe) and bend very easily under pressure. There is a nice feel to the case as the exterior has an anodized look and feel to it. The top of the case has a single thumb screw in the back and there is a button to release the top of the case to get to the insides of it.

The Back:

Back


The back of the unit has the areas for expansion cards and I/O as well as the power supply, which is included with the case. The power supply is a CFX standard with all the trimmings for the new BTX standard (BTX Power, SATA Power, etc...). It is rated at a scant 275 Watts. 275W is pretty low for a PSU nowadays, but should be enough for the power requirements of the intended system. Notice that there are two orientations for expansion. The left expansion cards require half-height type cards (of PCIE which don't exist at the moment) and the middle expansion slots require a riser card. The riser was NOT included with the case. This is unacceptable to me since I had to delay the building of my system until the riser was sent. If you are going to use a video card with your system, make sure you get the riser card.

Riser


The Front:

Front
Front USB Front Drives


The front of the unit is silver with a brushed metallic feel. This is a hidden feature type front. There are USB ports on the right side and drives on the left. Evercase also sells an enhanced front port expansion that includes sound and firewire as well as USB. Something like that should be included outright as well. I purchased this addition along with the riser.

Extra Stuff:

Parts


You get the gambit of screws and the two stands to situate the unit lengthwise instead of the desktop approach. There are also plenty of expansion blanks incase you remove both by accident (oops!). The power cable is included as well. Missing from the box: the manual! Actually, Steve informed me that the manual is stickered onto the inside of the top of the case, which I confirmed.

The Interior:

Inside 2
Inside 1 Thermal Module Port


This type of case is the MicroBTX standard. It is a bit cramped when dealing with a motherboard that fills nearly the entire case like the D915GMH that I'm using. You'll notice a big port on the front of the case and remember that the front of the case has vents to suck air in. This is for the BTX thermal module that comes with the CPU. Incase you need a reminder on things like the thermal module, check out the primer on BTX. Facing the front of the case, the drive cage is on the left.

Drive Cage


The case is made out of a heavier piece of metal than the outside of the case. To install the drives in the case, you only need to screw in one side, the other side is held into place by the cage itself.
Page 2
Installation:

There is a bracket stretching over the top of the case that needs to be removed to install the motherboard. You should also remove the power supply and the drive cage as well. Removing the power supply is very difficult, there is a screw I missed for 30 minutes trying to pry the thing off. Even after I removed the screw, the power supply was stuck in there nice and tight. Before that, I installed the motherboard without removing the PSU, but missed a screw hole and the thermal module was a pain to get in. When I removed the PSU I sliced my hand on a sharp piece of metal. This case gets points off for that.

Motherboard In


After that mishap was completed, it was time to get the thermal module in place. The case has a lip on the top that prevents the module from going in to the port smoothly. It took about an hour of fiddling with it to securely get the module in place. Ease of use is thrown out the window with this case. Someone also commented to me, as I was building the case, that the video card may be too big to fit with the thermal module. I didn't even realize that. After installing everything in case, though, the video card does fit (a BFG 6600GT), but it is snug against the thermal module. Anything larger cannot fit in this case, period.

Cable management... what cable management? The case is very cramped as I stated before. It is tough jamming all the different types of cables out of the way not to impede airflow. I thought BTX was supposed to solve all of those issues. I had more wire that I couldn't stuff under the drives or out of way than I knew what to do with. Make sure to hook everything thing up that needs to be plugged into the motherboard first before installing any add on cards or the drive cage/PSU. If you don't, expect to be removing and installing again.

Completed


Once the system is completed, it is a matter of sitting back and installing the OS and other software. As you can see, the video card is touching the thermal module and everything is cramped. I enjoy a smaller system as much as the next user, but make the case a bit bigger to accommodate cable layout and such. The MiniITX cases I have seen do a far better job of space utilization. I'm sure other BTX case design will be improved upon.

Conclusion:

While the thought of owning cutting edge technology may appeal to some of you, I recommend staying away from this case and opting for a bigger, better one. If you absolutely need to get BTX, look for a different case. If you don't, stay with ATX for the time being, it is cheaper and more mature at the moment. BTX will be great in the future, but to me, it isn't ready just yet.

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