The first step to modding your case is planning. Once everything has been planned, it comes time to then buy your materials and proceed with the modding. As we should all know by now, one of the most important aspects to ANY system (modded or not) is choosing the right case. The right case all depends on which project you are doing such as over-clocking, water-cooling etc. For projects centered on heat prevention, most people choose aluminum cases because of their ability to dissipate heat. In projects where heat is no longer an issue or for servers, most people choose less expensive cases often composed of steel. Ed, from KoolCases.com, gave us the chance to check out one of their most popular cases called the ?Platinum XP.? Before seeing this case in real life, I had seen quite a few of these in some mod galleries and questioned the construction, but now it?s my turn to take a look at them in person!
Starting off with construction, when I pulled this case from the box, I could not help but notice the vast weight of this case. Immediately I pulled out my scale and weighed the entire case. To my surprise, this case weighed in at about 14.5lbs ? I guess it just seemed heavy after dealing with a couple of Aluminum cases. Don?t get me wrong however ? weight does have advantages such as a stronger construction and of course less scratch resistant. To test my theory on strength, I decided I would put all of my 120lbs (don?t be fooled- it?s all muscle-yeah right :)) on the TOP of these case and hoped it wouldn?t collapse. My theory was correct- this case was able to hold 120lbs of human flesh without breaking down. With aluminum cases, I am afraid to do this test in fear of bending or even denting the panels. The front of this case is composed of entirely plastic. One thing that I found that is very convenient is the built in drive covers which act as cd-rom stealthing. Forget painting those drives folks; throw that ugly beige cd-rom behind one of these and it will already match the case. The chrome button on the front of these face plates allow you to open and close the drives as well and they are almost universal for ANY cd-rom. Just to test, I threw in my Sony burner and it did line up perfectly. Included inside the case was an extra 5.25? bay cover in case you needed to replace one of the ones already installed. Also a standard feature with the ?Platinum XP? was the stealthed floppy. A little more common with the newer cases, this case included a cover up for your floppy drive as well so you can also forget painting your floppy to match. Moving down further on the front bezel I came to the one part of this case that distinguishes it from ANY other case on the market (the thermometer/front control panel). The main control panel on this case has a build in thermal probe along with the reset, turbo and power buttons. Also stock, was the red and blue LEDs rather than those boring green and orange ones that come with most cases?On the lower portion of the right of the front bezel is also a front access panel which includes two USB 1.1/2.0 compatible port and the ever so popular Firewire port. You can forget having to reach around the back of your case to plug in your digital camera- why not access it instantly in the front? This is a VERY convenient feature.
After moving to the rear of the case, I noticed one thing that may be a little overlooked, but it was the ability to use this case with both ATX and AT style mother boards. This case includes the extra hookups for serial etc, right below the well placed 80mm rear exhaust. After inspecting the rear PCI plates, I was a little bit discouraged by the somewhat cheap style PCI plates which were not even screwed down from the inside. The next thing I took a look at was the was that the PSU would need to be mounted. Again- I was disappointed to see that the makers of the ?Platinum XP? did not include a detachable PSU plate which allows easy installation of a PSU from OUTSIDE the case. With this case, I would be forced to pull the entire motherboard out in order to change a power supply to keep from hitting the heat sink and cracking my CPU Core.
The next thing I took a look at was the INSIDE of the case. After pulling off the side steel panel (held by chrome thumbscrews), I almost instantly noticed the front intake fan. The stock cooling that comes with this case is the 80mm intake, but I overlooked this aspect and couldn?t help but notice the mounting holes for an optional 120mm intake. From this point on, my view of this case was different. Not only did this case allow 120mm cooling, but it was positioned so that it would pull cold air from the outside right through the hard-drive rack (which allows the mounting of 6 hard-drives!). If you were to fill this case with a couple of 15,000k rpm Cheetah SCSI drives, this 120mm would definitely be to YOUR advantage! Above the six hard-drive slots is the mounting slot for one floppy drive. If this isn?t enough for you, you also have the option of mounting up to FOUR 5.25? devices! The next thing I looked at was the mounting option of the motherboard. Unlike the cheesy clips that are included with the Lian-Li Aluminum cases, the ?Platinum XP? case offers standard mounting with brass stand-offs and screws so you can rest in peace without worrying that your motherboard is about to fall off. From the inside, the rear panel of this case was fairly standard. The stock I/O Panel allowed easy ATX motherboard installation. Included is a rear 80mm exhaust fan positioned right below the Power supply. Again ? I was disappointed to see that the only way of installing a power supply was to insert it from the inside.
After having a chance to take a look at this case in person, I can see why so many people chose this case. The ?Platinum XP? offers a solid steel construction, amongst other small included features such as the 120mm intake option. If you do not mind a couple of minor engineering mistakes, this case should not pose any problems. This case retails at Koolcases.com for $75.00 + shipping which isn?t incredible expensive when compared to the Nikao cases which are more expensive but a bit cheaper in construction.