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Chenming 602 ATX Case Chenming 602 ATX Case: We take a look at a case that has plenty of mod potential, as well as expansion options.
Date: May 5, 2004
Manufacturer:
Provided By:
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As I stated earlier, gaining access to the internals of the case is rather easy. I removed the two thumbscrews holding the windowed Side Cover and pulled the lever to swing the panel out. Once inside you notice the removable motherboard tray and the internal 3.5" drive rack.

Also inside are the front panel connectors, an extra MDX power splice, and a box of screws/mounts for the hardware you will be installing. Installing the power supply is as easy as it's going to get. Chenming gives you plenty of space to work up here and the gaps are designed for easy cable management. There is plenty of room above the power supply; this is nice if yours is of the variety that has a top mounted intake fan. There is also plenty of room in front of the power supply so that if your intake is there, it is not starving for air due to a 5.25" drive in the top drive bay.

The motherboard tray is accessed by removing two Thumb Screws and sliding it slightly rearward. I noticed the motherboard tray slides easily once the screws are removed; this is something that other motherboard trays I have encountered have an issue with. It then lifts out of the case for ease of mounting the motherboard (this is not of the slide out variety). Chenming did a nice job in the design of the removable motherboard tray in that it does not interfere with the rear fans or 3.5" drive rack when removing / installing.

The motherboard tray does not come with any motherboard mounts pre-installed. Installing those is not a tool-free design, then again, neither is installing the motherboard itself. Once the motherboard is mounted on the removable tray installation into the case is event free.

The Front I/O cables are well identified and easily installed. The R/L Audio cable is a simple pass through; Chenming even offers you an extra rear slot, pre-formed, for this function. The USB 2.0 and IEEE-1394 cables are actually pre-formed blocks instead of those nasty separated pins we have been seeing as late. This made it very easy to install onto the motherboards headers for each (a task I did not attempt on my previous case).

The internal 3.5" drive bays are easily removed by squeezing the retaining clips and pulling them out. You then mount your drive onto the removable bay (face in, it is labeled for you) and insert it into the rack until you hear an audible click.

The front fans are positioned in a way that allows them to blow cooler outside air directly over the internal bays. This should alleviate the need for separate hard drive coolers. Installing the floppy into the removable 3.5" front access tray is also effortless. The fact that you are not bending in ways you never meant to just to insert a screw on the opposite side, is alleviated by this. The only note here is that you will need a screwdriver to remove the faceplate.

The 5.25" drives are installed by removing the 5.25" faceplate and turning it over, the rails are snapped into the back of the faceplate. You mount the rails onto the 5.25" drive, and slide it into place until you hear that similar audible snap. There is a thin aluminum plate behind the faceplates that you must wiggle back and forth to snap out, why they put those in there I am not sure. One other note on the 5.25" drive bays, the bottom bay is all but unusable, the drive actually butts up against the top of a standard ATX motherboard.

Cabling the components in the Chenming case was rather easy as well; there are some difficult spots here and there, if you are a perfectionist in cable design, but nothing that is cumbersome. There are a lot of places to nip and tuck your cables to give you that cleanlook. Closing up the case after install I ran into one issue, the SATA connector coming off of my drive that was mounted in the internal 3.5" rack, snapped when I closed the windowed side panel. I investigated whether I could install the drive so that it did not put the connector in peril to no avail. Luckily I had 2 extra cables and was able to get the cover closed without snapping another cable (or be still my heart, the connector on the drive itself). Standard IDE cables do not have this same issue, as the cable lies flat coming off of the drive. Something you should take care with when designing your layout.

Cooling Performance

Foxconn 875A02 Motherboard, Intel Pentium 4 2.4c (800MHz FSB), 1GB (2x512 in Dual DDR Mode) OCZ PC3700, ATI Radeon 9600xt 128mb, Hitachi Deskstar (IBM Deskstar renamed) 80GB, 8MB buffer, 7200 RPM, SATA Drive, Quantum 80GB ATA-100 7200RPM

The comparison case will be the X-Superalien ATX Computer Case. The structure and fan layout of both cases are identical, though the X-Superalien has a side fan and a top exhaust. The Chenming has neither. Temperatures are in °C. Temperatures were taken on 100% Load on CPU/Graphics (F@H background with UT2003 demo running in 1280 resolution, max detail).

 
Sys Bd
CPU
9600XT
Ram
X-Superalien
30
43
37
37
Chenming 602
31
47
41
41

The Chenming holds up well considering it has no side intake and top exhaust fan. These simple additions would help the video as well as the ram temperatures. The nice thing with the Chenming, is you can determine size and positioning of the side intake to cool what you feel needs the most fresh air. The disadvantage, you get to cut into the aluminum to remove air from the hottest space in the case, the top.

Final Words

Overall the Chenming case is a well thought out design, good-looking and extremely light. I would have liked to see a fan on the windowed side cover, and one on top of the case would have been especially nice also. The internal 3.5” drive bays should have a little more clearance from the Windowed Side Cover to accommodate SATA drives. The interior space is vast and allows for customization easily. Watch Viperlair in the near future as I attempt to modify this case with a water cooling solution, I believe the Chenming 602 will be a nice fit for that.

Pros: Interior space is ample for working conditions, Motherboard Tray is easily removed/installed, Easy access to internals, Pre-Formed connectors for IEEE-1394 and USB 2.0, Plenty of Drive Bays.

Cons: Windowed Side Cover hits SATA Connector, Bottom Drive Bay hits Motherboard when using a long CD-ROM, Front Fans are not included, No Side Cover Fan, No Top Fan.

Bottom Line: If your looking for a case that is going to fit all of your hardware nicely, has the basics covered and gives you ample room for your own modifications, than the Chenming 602 case could fit the bill. The quality build, non-flamboyant design and ample space make the Chenming 602 a nice addition to anyones floor beneath their desk.

If you have Questions or Comments then feel free to discuss it in our Forums. You can buy this case and other items at .

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