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Second, the PA-120 only allows for a generic mobile-CD-ROM drive to sit in its bay. This is unfortunate because these drives are hard to find, and are expensive. A better choice would have been to use a slim-CD-ROM drive that are becoming more plentiful, and are less expensive. This would also be good for the OEMs. I spent some time looking for a drive that would work, but I could not find one in stock at a reasonable price.

By not having a CD-ROM drive installed, it might just help keep the inside of the unit cooler anyway. There is not much for ventilation inside of this cramped case, and I wonder how much of a problem heat would be if you were to have a high-speed P!!! inside of there. Things have been fine with a Celeron 366 however, as it runs for days on end with no problems.

The fit and finish of the case leaves more to be desired. The plastic casing just does not seem to fit quite right around the metal framework, as there is a gap towards the front and it just barely slides on. Otherwise, the innards are of good quality, solid construction.

This case is no fun to take apart and put back together. It involves a screwdriver and a couple of minutes to slide off the plastic casing and open the metal frame. There is a hook for a lock on the back, but I hardly think it is necessary. However, this thing would be easy to just carry away, and maybe hide under a long coat on your way out the door.

The power supply is only a 90W! It does meet the specification for Flex ATX, but I wonder how it would hold up with a fast P!!! sucking juice. One thing that I noticed was that the power supply is loud considering how small it is. I expected something near dead quiet. Also, I had to get a power-supply extension cable just so it could reach the plug on the motherboard. Apparently this case was designed for a different board layout than the Gigabyte that I used.

Overall, the design is cool looking, and its small size is appealing. However, this case just isn't very practical for most setups, whether you are an OEM or an extreme hobbyist like myself. I think that Palo Alto should consider revising its design to allow for the slim-CD-ROM design, better cooling, a more powerful and quiet power supply, and finally try to squeeze in at least one expansion slot. Just by doing those few things, this case would definitely become a lot more appealing.

Eric Murphy
October 8, 2000






















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