BeanTech, ClearPC, SunBeam, and Logisys: Another Look at the Acrylic Arenaby Purav Sanghani on July 6, 2004 1:00 AM EST
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OverviewIn last year's three-way round-up, we went over a few things of what to look for in acrylic cases. In summary, we outlined a few features to look for and some characteristics to avoid when purchasing an acrylic case:
Assembly - We have seen 3 main types of assemblies in clear cases. The first, which is the most common, is one where the case can be broken into its separate pieces. For example, the outer shell can be separated into 6 panels with the inner parts (i.e. drive bays, add-on slots) also being separable. The second type of assembly is the "molded" assembly in which manufacturers heat a piece of plastic to shape it in the way they want. We stated the word in quotes because we also see molding as pouring liquid acrylic into a special mold to create solid parts for the final product. This is the 3rd method, which we consider to be real molding. Though higher in quality, this third method also comes at a higher price.
Cut - When it comes to acrylic cases, there are two methods in cutting the pieces for them. The first method is the most efficient and flawless of the 2: laser cutting. Since laser cutting happens quickly, there is less of a chance for the acrylic to become too hot and melt. We can usually tell how the acrylic has been cut by looking at the edges. If bubbles and rough edges are noticeable, the acrylic had to have been cut using the same methods used to cut metals like steel and aluminums. The laser method, on the other hand, produces a cleaner, smoother cut.
Cleaning - When it comes to clear materials, like glass or plastics, fingerprints and residue can make a fine looking product look dirty and unattractive. Some cases come with cleaning solutions, but others with only the plastic shrink wrap in which they are packaged. You must take this into consideration when choosing between a regular metal case and a clear acrylic model.