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Review: Coolerguys WindTunnel 2

by David Ross on 13 April 2001, 00:00

Quick Link: HEXUS.net/qafo

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Coolerguys WindTunnel 2

A case is a case yeah? Wrong... A case can be many things it can be a work of art, or it can be a pile of cr*p. We have looked at a lot of the top end cases here at Hexus from the Coolermasters to the modded Global Wins right over to the Lian Li's they all vary, but which is good, which is bad ? Well it is mostly down to personal taste.

A lot of companies on the net are offering modded cases, this can both be a good and a bad thing, a lot of people are starting in their sheds and just cutting a few blow holes in their cases, this isn’t the sort of product we want to see on the market, we want to see PROFESSIONAL jobs, where someone has taken the time to do it properly.

The case we are going to look at next is the Coolerguys Wind Tunnel II Gamer. This unit is aimed at performance seeking overclockers. We have seen a lot of people putting millions of fans in their cases to make it "perform" but this can be a big problem, with fans such as the deltas you could be seeking a hearing aid very quickly and probably some plasters for the cuts from the speeds of the fans. The main thing to remember it isn’t how many fans it is where you position them.

This case from Coolerguys is developed in this way they have taken a somewhat normal case and made molds and changed to it, when it arrived I had to pay a £35 UPS bill which annoyed me but by opening the box and having a look this anger dissipated and I was pleased with the unit before me. This is different from a normal modded case it even includes features which I haven’t seen on the market before, for example the onboard "control" panel, which includes USB, and Sound connectors (very useful for LANs to save you hunting at the back of your case to find the connectors.)

• BONUS: Built in USB, Sound, Mouse and Joy Stick Ports in front of the case.
• Two High Speed 92x92x32mm, 55.1 CFM Sanyo Denki fans at 2900 rpms. These are for the intake.
• Three High Speed 60x60x10mm, 21.19 CFM Delta fans at 4800 rpms. These are for the exhaust.
• All fans are high pressure to prevent against back air pressure. Air is forced into the case and not back out the fans.
• +173 CFM of total Air movement!
• 300 WATT Power Supply Standard.
• Four 5 1/4 bays.
• Three 3 1/2 bays.
• 92mm removable intake filters.
• Laser cut 92mm and 60mm Fan Blow Holes.
• Fans and grills pre-installed and ready to go.
• Completely rounded edges for safety.
• Includes thumb screws for easy panel removal.
• Finger ring for easy side panel removal.
• Added Fan shims so fans are sealed up against the panels.
• ATX style case.
• 100% CoolerGuys Customer Satisfaction Guarantee

This case has a lot to live up to but what did we think of it ? Well this case had 5 fans in total, these are positioned around the case to help to gain the maximum airflow without stupidity! There are 2 92mm fans which are located on the side panel, these aren’t just normal fans they are Sanyo Denki fans, the TOP of the range fans, these blow a lot of air but aren't as loud as other fans on the market. Upon these fans there are filters and then a holding clip right at the top that holds the entire unit together. There are several ways in which you could wire this unit up, you could attach it to your motherboard, but I wouldn’t recommend this, also to a DigiDoc5 Unit. Or even use the adapters which they include to enable you to connect it to the main power supply.



They have 2 60mm fans which are located at the top of the case, this is for getting the heat out, as hot air rises these units sit there an help to get the temperature out, but one issue I have is why such small fans ? Meaning this is a case not a processor or something, I think this is a pointer which lets the case down, but it could simply be replaced with some thicker fans if needs be.

The final fan is located on the back of the case as an exhaust fan, this is also a low profile fan this gets the left over air out of the case, and it does an effective job at doing this.

This case is light and it is designed for Gamers to use, for example at LANs, but you could keep your system on all of the time and allow the fans to run due to the construction and location of them. Some of you will be surprised to hear no fans at the front of the case but there isn’t any grills on intake here and there is plenty of airflow on the sides. ;)

The blow holes are impressive kind of like the best I have seen they are better than any saw cut hole, this unit is definitely going to be a good quality seller, they cut the holes with a laser this means that it is a perfect cut without any ridges or issues.



But I hear you shout enough of the fans, well I agree, all the fans have grills but that is dull stuff compared to the main feature, the Audio panel. This is located on the front of the case, and it allows you to have easy access to essential things like USB and Audio ;) Which means at a LAN you don’t needed to stretch around the back ;).



Well for CD ROM bays there are 4 5.25" bays and 2 3.5" bays, you also get a nice large Coolerguys.com badge, but I think the Hexus.net ones look nicer ;) There are 3 main LEDS, Power, HDD, and Turbo - Which could be used for LAN traffic with a little modding. On the back of the case to help you remove the side panels are little "finger" holes, you slide your finger in and it lets you simply pull the side away ;) It is a simple and useful add-on.

(Please Excuse the dark imagery)
 

That’s enough chat about the outside, what about inside, well the case is made of steel, with an anti corrosion coating which gives it the bright silver look, but this metal is thinner than other cases such as the AOpen HX08, this is what makes it lighter, and if your not going to throw your system down the stairs then it is fine ;) The inside built quality of the case is very good it is curved to stop you from cutting yourself.

I hear you asking how the actual unit is rigged up well this is simple, it uses a large 50 pin connector on the back (yes I was sad enough to count them!), this then goes to a plug which feeds off to all the other units, like USB, and Audio.

Well to test it I put a Hexus.net Test rig in to the system, built it up, yes it was a few little pain acing issues, starting with removing the drive bays, I have a small problem with this on most of the cases I use (bar the Lian Li and the Coolermaster.) I have had to nearly rip my hand off removing them; this is an issue which has to be raised, could these be removed at the factory or what?

Anyway I built the system up and started running it, simple easy, didn’t have any other problems, everything mounted easy, even thought it did look a little messy when I used the rear control module. (To feed the front audio.) It kept the system at 1 degree above normal temperature, but the annoying thing was that my Bay Bus from my Coolermaster didn’t fit it! (*sulks*)

Conclusion

Well this is a case, well it is kind of like "the" case to have in my eyes, it isn’t cheap but you could go for a Lian Li or a Coolermaster but this case kind of has the edge it has the features which people want, there are other changes I would like to see, for example on the back they could have made this a "cut out" instead of slapping the fans there. BUT! the side fans well I have to say this is the best piece of work I have seen in a long time, it blows away cases on the UK Market for quality and workmanship.

You can mod your own, or buy one pre modded, if you want to buy one get one of these they are superior cases and have a fine edge to them. Just be careful that your mates don’t get them too or you will all show up to the LANs with the same cases!

This case is a nice job and I wouldn’t be ashamed to have my system in it, it looks smart and performs well!

The price, well uhm, it is 200Bucks, but when you think of it, 5 branded fans, a 300W PSU, grills filters, the chassis, and then some workmanship it all adds up! It is a good case at a reasonable price. You could buy and then mod a case likes this but I seriously doubt that you could do it to the quality that Coolerguys have!

Pros-
Ideal for LANs, light
Useful front ports
Branded Fans!
Lots of Airflow
Easy to work with, not likely to cut yourself!
Thumb Lockised.

Cons-
Included Speakers are poor.
Slight tone on it if watching a DVD or something.
Has a price tag, but also quality ;)
The rear fan has poor airflow.