Installation and testing
I didn't have a WTX board
to mount this unit. But I don't consider that to be a problem since I think
the vast majority of these cases will have ATX boards mounted in them. I used
an Abit BX6r2 motherboard because it is a large, and somewhat wide, motherboard.
I had two available 92mm fans to add to the standard 92mm intake fan so I
went ahead and tossed them in. I mounted a normal array of peripherals.
Upon inserting the additional
fans I noticed the only way to mount the innermost 92mm fan is to unscrew
its mounting bracket, place the fan in it, and then restore the unit with
the mounting screws. All other fans are easily accessible and pop into their
brackets quite easily. This case features the same drive rails that I liked
so much in the 7896A. What sets these apart is that they are made of thick
metal that is screwed onto the drive and simply screwed into the case from
the front of the case. Most other cases feature flimsy metal drive rails or
worse, plastic rails that are screwed in from the sides. Mounting screws in
the front not only speed installation, but they end a lot of the hassle of
moving a drive from one bay to another.
The Abit board went in
without a hitch. The case features a standard plate for ATX motherboards with
knockouts for boards that have onboard sound. While it is an adjustment to
see your board sitting in a case upside down the four exhaust fans definitely
show why this layout is desirable. Placing all the expansion slots higher
in the case leaves a substantial amount of room for mounting those exhaust
fans. Dual processor boards will definitely benefit from the cooling layout
of this case. I was wishing for a large dual CPU board like the Tyan Tiger,
or even an Abit BP6 to place in here. With so much room inside I wanted to
see just how large a board would have to be put in there to make it look cramped.
Addtronics provided their
300W power supply. I think that anyone who is considering this case should
opt for this power supply. The ATX power connector is extra long, and when
fully stretched, can sit about 4 inches outside the case! Depending on the
layout of your particular board a normal power supply may not have a long
enough ATX power connector. This power supply also offers extra long wiring
with seven Molex connectors and two floppy power connectors. All those connectors
definitely come in handy when you begin filling in all those fan brackets.
I mentioned before that I recommend the optional luxury casters for this unit.
The reason is very simple: this case empty weighed more than one of my mid-towers
with all the components inside. Due to the amount of metal and sheer size
it doesn't take long to get up to 50 or 60 lbs. with a lot of components inside.
While the 7896A will only sit alongside my desk the W8500 just clears under
it. That's with the luxury casters mounted. That in my mind is another consideration
for anyone who doesn't want a large tower taking up valuable floor space.
You'll need a deep desk since this unit will have difficulty not protruding
out due to its added depth from the rear plastic cover and its already deep
- Impressive cooling
- Can accommodate
any board you throw in it
- Lots of power
connectors with the 300W power supply
- May be too deep
to fit under some desks
Obviously, a case like
this isn't going to go cheap. Addtronics will send it out the door for $309
USD with the 300w power supply. You can get it for as low as $259 without
the power supply. The luxury casters are $15.
7896A still holds a special place in my heart, but it has been superceded
by the W8500. Losing one internal and one external 5.25" bay is an easy tradeoff
for the superior cooling and interior volume of the W8500. I never ran short
of room with the 7896A or had problems reaching my components, but with the
W8500 I have so much more room it is nearly beyond description how much easier
it is to work inside this case. One of the things that I liked the most about
the W8500 was the placement for a lock on the rear of the case. Combined with
the cylinder lock on the front of the case this produced a very impressive
security arrangement. Not only is it difficult for people to get in your case,
but they can't mess with your cable connections on the rear of the case. That'll
keep the guys in the office from trying to steal your new 18" flat panel
or trade out video cards.
The W8500 features the
best construction I've ever seen in a case. It is purpose built for those
who want a serious case and don't want any frills. The styling isn't bad,
but it wasn't designed to compete with an attractive case like the Hansan
Systems Explorer III. The W8500 features the best out of the box cooling
potential possible. If you care more about design and quality than fashion,
I highly recommend you consider the WTX W8500 case.
Due to its construction,
massive cooling potential, security, and the ease of working inside of this
case, I am awarding the Addtronics
W8500 WTX case the TargetPC Editor's Choice award. Anyone who is considering
an ATX full-tower should stop and consider this case strongly.