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Addtronics 7896A Full Tower

There is only one way to begin a review of the Addtronics 7896. Everyone who has it has to go get the music from the movie 2001 and put in Richard Strauss' "Also Sprach Zarathustra". Let the kettle drum and cornets lull you into the right mood. That is how I felt when I saw the poor UPS guy lugging the box this case comes in up to my front door. I knew that this thing was big just by looking at the pictures at their site but I had not idea it would be this big. My other case reviews have centered on mid towers as most people use those cases primarily. Mid tower reviews appear to be the most interesting to the majority of our readers. Then there are a few out there who actually need more than the four full bays of the Landmark KS-299 case I reviewed earlier. Once you leave a large midtower behind there is no turning back from the realm of the full tower. Here I bring you what I think is the best available full tower currently on the market.

Features:

  • 26.4" H x 17.3" D x 8.3" W
  • Will fit boards from baby AT to Xeon
  • Front panel security lock
  • Front panel filter
  • Accommodates 10 fans
  • 6 external full bays
  • 1 internal full bay
  • 1 external half bay
  • 2 internal half bays
  • Fan bracket for extra CPU cooling

Installation and Testing:

This case is truly massive. All of the external bays sit above the level of the motherboard and it even has the capability to be equipped with dual 300-watt power supplies. Once I got over my sheer amazement of its dimensions I began by using the supplied keys to open the front of the case. Both side covers on this case open without having to remove the top cover. They open suicide door style as they are hinged in the back of the case. Once inside you are treated to an incredibly open space. You would have to come up with one incredibly sized motherboard to have trouble with this case. Addtronics even anticipated that problem and included a tray that can by removed to ease in the installation of large motherboards. I had no problems mounting ATX motherboards in this case without having to remove the tray.

The info at the Addtronics site lists this unit as having accommodations for two 80-mm fans in the lower front intake area. Imagine my surprise to find an Evercool 120-mm unit residing there when I opened the case. You can mount one 80-mm fan above this 120-mm fan to create quite an impressive intake blast. Addtronics included one 80-mm fan mounted on the optional fan bracket. This allows the fan to be mounted directly over the CPU to aid in cooling that all-important heatsink. You'll have to remove the fan bracket temporarily while you mount your motherboard. On either side of the frame that holds the drives are 2 80-mm fan accommodations each. A big bonus to those 4 fans is that they suck air in directly from outside the case and don't recirculate hot air from within the case. Add to that an 80-mm fan location above the power supply (in a single power supply configuration) as well as a 60-mm fan located below the power supply adjacent to the CPU. You will be very hard pressed to find a case with more fan accommodations from a manufacturer without buying one that has been modified from a retailer.

I ordered the unit that is equipped without a power supply. I used a 300-watt power supply I had available and began my testing. Upon inspecting under the top cover, which is held in place with 4 screws, I found the mounts for the floppy drive and a harddrive. The motherboard screwed in with no problems. I had no problems mounting my components in the external bays in this case even though it uses drive rails to hold them in place. Anyone who has read my previous case reviews knows my aversion to drive rails. Once these drive rails are screwed onto the component it is slid into its bay and held in place with a screw on either side of the component in the front of the case. These screws are hidden when the front cover is reinstalled. Most drive rails rely on a pinching force to hold them in place but I found this method to be very secure. Also included with this unit were the deluxe casters. Due to the weight of this unit after I had installed all my equipment I highly recommend you purchase the optional casters to move the case around. I took the photos for this review prior to having the casters installed. They will add approx. 3" of height to your case from the dimensions I have above. One of the photos shows a comparison of the 7896 to the Palo Alto ATCX mid-tower.

An added bonus of such a large case is that I experienced a 1' C drop in motherboard and CPU temp and a 4' C drop in case temperature over the Palo Alto ATCX mid-tower case that I was using previously. That was accomplished with the use of the Evercool 120-mm intake fan that was supplied with the case, the included CPU cooling fan mounted on the fan bracket, my own slot fan, and an 80-mm fan provided by 3dfxcool. I mounted the 3dfxcool fan as the exhaust unit above the power supply. This fan pumps out an impressive 40 cfm of cooling power and is incredibly quiet. A slot fan is not really mandatory, but I do recommend at least one 80-mm fan to be mounted above the power supply to expel the hot air that collects at the top of any case.

Pros:

  • Holds an amazing 10 components and 10 fans
  • Truly massive
  • Best drive rails I've ever seen
  • Locking front cover with a filter
  • Definitely won't fit on your desktop easily

Cons:

  • Pricey for some
  • Definitely won't fit on your desktop easily

Conclusions:

With no power supply the 7896 retails for $138 directly from Addtronics. Add in a 300-watt power supply and the price increases to $198. For most people that's getting expensive for a case with a 300-watt power supply. Those of you who appreciate the size and cooling that a case like this offers won't flinch at those prices. The luxury casters are $15 and I highly recommend them to anyone who will use a case this large. Even more interesting are the dual 300-watt power supply and 400-watt single power supply units. At $298 for the 400-watt case and $450 for the dual 300-watt unit you are entering the stratosphere of computer case pricing. The 3dfxcool 80-mm case fan retails for $8.00. It moves more air than any 80-mm case fan I've come across and I recommend it for any case that requires this fan size.

A case like this is not for the average user who only works his computer moderately. Those with an extreme penchant for overclocking certainly will see the benefits of an enormous case and several fans. I recommend average users who are looking for a case look through our mid tower reviews for ideas. Those of you who need a case like this need look no further than the Addtronics site, or their vendors, to find the ultimate full tower case available.

References: Addtronics, 3dfxcool, Evercool

Victor Oshiro
Victor@Targetpc.com
02/25/00




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