AOpen S150 ITX Case

Steven Susman
Aron Schatz
December 30, 2007
AOpen S150 ITX Case
When you need a computer for a tiny space, your choices of cases need to be picky. Buying the right case is the key for airflow and system longevity. The AOpen S150 steps in to fill the ITX void. It does this well.

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AOpen was founded in 1996 and is a major manufacturer of motherboard and cases as well as one of the top suppliers of mobile on desktop solutions. They are a subsidiary of Acer and have a large base of end users with their products. Today, we will look at the ITX form factor case from AOpen, the S150.

Why ITX?

You may think to yourself that ITX boards are usually catered to the quiet PC crowd and with that comes the less performance and features you come to expect from most ATX motherboards. Times have changed since VIA first unveiled the ITX in 2001. VIA paired their first motherboards with C3 CPUs (they bought Cyrix) which were underpowered and horrible slow. They later updated the models with better C3 CPUs and things got better, but it isn't an AMD or Intel speed chip. Now you can get ITX form factor boards with CPUs that offer the speed you need for performance computing. It isn't everything an ATX motherboard can offer, but it is small and perfect for tight spaces.



Basically you get the case, screws, a manual, and the rubber feet.

The Case:


The case is longer than it is wide. It is a nice design choice as opposed to a square design as many ITX cases have. It is a black finish with chrome looking trim in the front for the face and buttons. The case features excellent ventilation due to the grilling on both sides. You can see that fresh air will have no difficulty reaching the parts of the computer and then venting out.


The top of the case is held on by thumbscrews for easy access in a hurry. That doesn't mean you can get to the board fast, but it is nice to be able to open the case without a screwdriver. The thumbscrews are a nice touch.

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The back of the case is very minimal. It will be able to house a single PCI(e) expansion card that's half height. This is interesting because it is a limitation that many cases overcome by adding a riser card for full height cards. Keeping the tradition of ITX boards, you shouldn't need to add anything to be able to use it fully. The power supply venting fan is also shown and it is probably going to be the single fan in the case that moves the air around. The power supply also uses a regular PC power cable. This is excellent since you don't need to worry about losing (or breaking) an extra AC to DC adapter that comes with many small cases. These minor design choices make this case great.

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The front of the case is extra shiny and really will fit in with a home theater or other media type application. The chrome-like trim gives nice accents all around. There is a single button for power-on with a lighted ring of light and a LED for ATA activity. The front of the case allows for a single laptop size optical drive and has hidden ports for a card reader as well as audio, USB, and Firewire.


When you open the case, the first thing that you should notice is that the power supply completely covers access to the motherboard and it must be unscrewed to gain access. The case is small, so this is an understandable situation. Most small cases do something very similar.


From the side, you can see how much space (or lack of) there is for the motherboard. This isn't a problem since the ITX motherboards as so small. Perfect for small PC applications.


The power supply is made by AOpen and is a small 150W. It is more than enough for what this case can house. It comes with a P4 4-pin power connector, but I had to add a Serial-ATA power adapter to it since this one only features 4-pin molex connectors. It is the standard 20-pin ATX connector for the motherboard as well.

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The drive rack comes out of the case and holds a single laptop sized optical drive and a single 3.5" hard drive. The hard drive mounting also includes rubber bumpers to keep the vibration of the hard drive to a minimum.
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The case is very expansive when everything is removed. You have all the room to work with. Be careful, there are some sharp edges. When working with small cases, you need to be extra careful when pushing or pulling stuff. One wrong move and you could be bleeding all over the place.


Here is an ITX motherboard being mounted in the case. I'll have a review of this one during the week. The D201GLY2 is an ITX board from Intel and features a Celeron CPU. These ITX boards have come a very long way since their introduction. Also notice that the board is passively cooled.

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The drive cage is now full and ready to be inserted back into the case. You can see that there is nothing below the drive cage. This is due to the drive putting out heat and having many heat sources (motherboard and HDD) in the same place is bad. You also get better airflow with this setup. You can see the audio, USB, and Firewire headers that are connected to the motherboard in here as well.


With the power supply back in the case, it is ready to be closed up. This case is really fantastic to work with. It is well laid out and has a very nice finish. You can take this apart and put it back together extremely quick.



For a great price of $85, you can pick up this case. Pair it with a number of ITX motherboards for a great barebones system ready for building. The case is excellent and very well made. AOpen does a great job for mobile type applications on the desktop. The ITX is very close to mobile without using mobile parts. If you want to build a great ITX system, look no further than the S150 to house the components. Thank you for reading and be sure to »check out our forums.
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