I seem to attract hardware failures like rotten meat attracts flies. Maybe it is because I sometimes run slightly “bleeding edge” gear, or perhaps it is something environmental (* /em looks accusingly at seven cats shedding hair into computer intakes*) Whatever the cause is, I take steps to make sure I have reasonably current backups of my systems. Unfortunately, that rarely seems to save me from frustration…
I’m sitting here in front of my second computer, more commonly known as “Irene’s game computer.” It is going through the process of installing Windows Vista at the moment, for the third time in less than a week due to various hardware and driver issues.
If there is one thing that can make me giddy when I’m working on a computer upgrade project, it is a well-designed case or chassis. Well-designed means:
- the pieces slot together with minimal effort
- I can open the box without special tools or fiddly screws
- the edges and corners are nicely turned with no sharp edges
- the paint/finish is clean, smooth, and elegant
- there is more than adequate room for all the necessary cables
- all marks/writing/labels are clear and easily read during assembly and future disassembly
- the chassis as a whole feels massively solid and robust: no wobbles, no crappy plastic-y bits
- lots of spare parts and cables included
- good cooling/heat management design, with space for additional/optional fans where appropriate
My favorite case manufacturer to date has been Antec. Their cases generally meet or exceed all the items on my list of requirements. My most recent full computer chassis from them was the P180: it’s a fantastic case, and I’m very happy with it.
Choosing a hard drive enclosure early this year seemed like a no brainer since I like Antec cases so much. I bought Antec’s MX-1 “actively cooled” enclosure. It looked like typical Antec: well made, easy to open, all screws easily accessible and nicely sized, with excellent cooling. Unfortunately, after just a bit over six months of use it died…rather completely. And finding a replacement wasn’t a picnic…