Fong Kai FK-603 ATX Mid-Towerby Mike Andrawes on January 23, 2000 3:07 AM EST
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Fong Kai's FK-603 offers a full ATX solution that stands just over 17 inches tall, one of the shorter mid-tower ATX cases we've tested, but a depth of over 19 inches makes it one of the deeper ones in its class. Those dimensions are wrapped in a plastic skin with multiple shades of gray and offers a new and unique look to the market. That plastic also helps mute the sound of internal components, keeping the FK-603 extremely quiet. Measured to be 57dB, that puts this Fong Kai in the range of Palo Alto PA-600, one of the quieter cases we've tested.
That look can be changed slightly through the use of two different bezel modules, consisting of just the gray part of the front panel. They're interchangeable simply by snapping one off and popping the other one on. One allows the direct exposure of both external 3.5" drive bays, while the other masks one of those bays in favor of what Fong Kai calls a "peek-a-boo floppy." This floppy design is essentially a molded floppy drive slot that lends a smoother look to the front panel. It should be compatible with most 3.5" floppy drives on the market today. Potential problems may arise with older drives and it is, of course, useless for something like a Zip drive, tape backup, or most other non-floppy devices. The rest of the front bezel simply comes off with a tug, but removing it often shouldn't be necessary. Interestingly, the FK-603 offers a plastic rear bezel that cleans up the look of the back of the case just a bit.
Power, reset, and sleep buttons are located at the lower right of the front bezel. Power and sleep are easy enough to press, and offer good tactile feedback. On the other hand, the reset switch requires something small, such as a pencil, to press it in. If you don't like the idea of such a small reset button, and don't plan on using the sleep button, simply hook the sleep switch up to your motherboard reset pins and use it as a reset button. The front panel also features power, HDD activity, and "turbo" LED's. Since most motherboards don't offer a "turbo" mode anymore, this LED can be used for a second hard drive activity light, sleep light, or overheat light, depending what features your motherboard offers.
An infrared window is the final touch Fong Kai has provided on the bezel. This is a rare, but potentially very useful feature. As the PC becomes a more and more integral part of the home, it's only a matter of time before more wireless devices will interface with the PC, possibly via IR. You'll still need to add the actual IR transceiver module that interfaces with the motherboard, but with the FK-603, there's a convenient place to place that module.
To open the FK-603, first remove the rear bezel, which snaps into the side panels and the rear of the actual case frame. Next, simply pull back on the side panel using the indentations in each side panel that serve as handles. Unfortunately, there's no way to lock the case to prevent unauthorized entry, but the rear bezel can optionally be secured by screws.