Introducing the Rosewill Line-M

Vendors are always very quick to send us their biggest, best, and brightest. Rosewill's own top-selling Blackhawk Ultra has been with us for a little while, but while we rework our testbed for high end cases, we thought it might be worth looking at one of the workhorses in Rosewill's stable. Looking at enthusiast kit is fun, but it's interesting to see what's floating around in the budget sector, too, as many of us are often on the hook to build and maintain desktops for family and friends. With that in mind, we requested the micro-ATX Rosewill Line M.

While the Line M is worth checking out in its own right as a compact, $55 case with USB 3.0 connectivity, it also highlights a disparity in the current industry: Micro-ATX motherboards are still incredibly common, but case designs are stratifying within two extremes. Full ATX and larger cases are going stronger than ever, but the smaller case designs have largely been usurped by Mini-ITX. There's still a place in the world for a good Micro-ATX client, though, and we think the Line-M might just help deliver it.

It's only fitting that just as I'd tweaked the case testbed to handle Micro-ATX and ATX cases with a single bed, Micro-ATX cases started to vanish from the market. That's a shame, because I'm not really convinced there isn't a place for Micro-ATX in the current market. It's true that for many builds even Mini-ITX will be adequate, but that form factor precludes multi-GPU or ever adding any expansion cards (I have a personal, persisting need for FireWire.) I'm a prime candidate for Micro-ATX, but there just aren't very many compelling cases out there in the form factor.

That's part of why I wanted to check out the Line-M. This is pretty clearly a workhorse enclosure, but as a long time proponent of some of Cooler Master's Elite chassis I have a continuing interest in good budget enclosures. The Line-M was kind of quietly tucked away in Rosewill's suite at CES 2013, but I felt like its older style ATX design might still have plenty to recommend it. As it turns out, I was right.

Rosewill Line-M Specifications
Motherboard Form Factor Mini-ITX, Micro-ATX
Drive Bays External 2x 5.25", 1x 3.5"
Internal 1x 2.5", 2x 3.5"
Cooling Front 1x 120mm blue LED intake fan
Rear 1x 120mm exhaust fan
Top -
Side 2x 120mm/92mm fan mount
Bottom -
Expansion Slots 5
I/O Port 2x USB 3.0, 2x USB 2.0, 1x Headphone, 1x Mic
Power Supply Size ATX
Clearances HSF 160mm
PSU 160mm
GPU 300mm
Dimensions 7.29" x 14.37" x 15.74"
185mm x 365mm x 400mm
Weight 8.82 lbs / 4 kg
Special Features USB 3.0 via internal header
Price $55

You can see from the spec table that the Rosewill Line-M is pretty spare. This is most definitely, most definitely a budget enclosure. Construction is fairly thin SECC steel with a plastic fascia and the whole thing is as barebones as it gets. But realistically, basic users aren't going to need more than what Rosewill has on offer here, and they at least made an allowance for an SSD mount.

In and Around the Rosewill Line-M
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  • Zap - Wednesday, February 27, 2013 - link

    I believe the Line-M case was birthed in the same factory in China that pooped out the Cooler Master Elite 341. The design language is the same and it even uses the same drive bay subchassis with the same toolless clips. Reply
  • xrror - Wednesday, February 27, 2013 - link

    If the blue illumination out of the front fan is such a problem, why not just swap the front and back fans?

    If these are going to be crammed in an office cubical, you likely won't see the back anyway.
    Reply
  • konroh77 - Friday, March 01, 2013 - link

    This case is $39.99 with a coupon code at newegg right now... Reply
  • Grok42 - Sunday, March 03, 2013 - link

    ** "...and a single 3.5" bay for the inevitable card reader. "

    Really, inevitable? I've never seen a single person with a card reader in their machine that wasn't there because it came with the pre-built machine. I've taken to asking people if they have ever used it and I haven't had anyone answer yes in at least 50 inquiries. According to NewEggs stats, USB card readers are way more popular and what we use at work in what I would call "industrial usage". The USB ones are also cheaper.

    Finally, what I hear you saying in all the quotes below is that this case, as well as a lot of other cases, would be much better without the 5.25" bays. Yet only two cases in the world give us this option.

    ** "Currently the biggest albatross hanging around the neck of case design is the 5.25" bay..."

    ** "...but you'll have to tilt the board into the case if you're using a full-sized Micro-ATX board, as the drive cage overhangs the tray..."

    ** "...optical drive and the storage drives, as they're most liable to get buried under cables."

    ** "..but I must stress that you really are limited to 160mm of PSU depth unless you eschew using the 5.25" bays entirely."

    ** "Bottom-front intake to top-rear exhaust is inefficient design..."
    Reply
  • MosBen - Sunday, March 03, 2013 - link

    Just fyi, but wherefore means "why". The usage in the title seems to be using it as "where", as in "where are the micro-ATX cases at?" "Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou Romeo?" is Juliet lamenting that the guy she likes is a member of a rival family. Why is he a Montegue, the hated rival of her father's family, rather than someone that she could hook up with easily. Reply
  • nickfouskas1992 - Saturday, June 01, 2013 - link

    whats the max size of the cpu cooler when installed i7 core extreme onto an mirco atx motherboard Reply
  • rayden54 - Sunday, March 02, 2014 - link

    It's not even "black is cool" or "blue is best" or whatever. Black and blue are both relatively neutral colors. If they make a case lime green or fire engine red, there's a lot of people who won't buy it JUST because they don't like the color. Reply

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