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Review: Chieftec BX

by James Morris on 29 February 2004, 00:00

Tags: Chieftec

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External - Front Panel

The Chieftec BX has to be one of the largest midi towers I have ever seen. About three years ago, before I caught the Cooler Master bug, I used to have a Vasco full tower ATX case. Full towers generally have 6 x 5¼ inch drive bays.

The BX has 4 x 5¼ inch drive bays but it is only slightly smaller than the height of a full tower. This means the case has immense space, yet it isn’t taken up by unnecessary 5¼ inch drive bays. I would imagine that most users these days only use 2 x 5¼ inch drive bays for CD drives and possibly another for a fan controller. The case only has 2 x 3½ bays which are available for use by a floppy drive or similar. I’ll discuss the 3½ inch bays in more detail further in the review as these are held in place in quick release racks. To the right of the 3½ inch drive bays are the buttons and LED indicators. Years ago PC activity LEDs usually used to be green and orange. You can bet your money if you look at an old PC case the power and HD activity LEDs will be green and orange, possibly red. These are the most common colour and cheapest form of LED. Nowadays we have started to see blue LEDs appear on computers. If the case doesn’t have blue LEDs then computer enthusiasts will usually modify them. No need to modify this case as the Chieftec has blue and orange LEDs for the power and HD activity. A lot of people always ask me what size LEDs Chieftec cases use. Well they are 3mm LEDs for anyone that is interested. Near the LEDs are the power and reset buttons. I have absolutely no problem with the power button but I loathe reset buttons that need a pen to be able to press it. I understand that it’s made like that to prevent accidentally pressing the button, but this case has a door which covers the buttons and LEDs. Surely that’s good enough to protect this precious reset button from accidentally being pressed?

The door is hinged on the left hand side which annoys me at times. If you can imagine this case with the optional window panel installed, then you would probably position the case to the right hand side of your desk, so you can view inside your PC. At times the door just seems to get in the way. It’s a shame it’s not possible to switch the way the door opens. Personally I would have preferred the door to be hinged on the right hand side like the Cooler Master Wave Master. The door is lockable and comes supplied with 4 keys. The keys are also for the lockable side panel. Being able to lock the front door of a case is a great feature. It locks away the use of the power and reset buttons. It also restricts you from using the 5¼ and 3½ inch drive bays. This would be useful in a place such as a school to prevent pupils from using the floppy drive and CD drives, minimising the risk of virus infections.

The model I received is the Chieftec BX01 SL-SL-BL. I’ll attempt to explain what this stands for. As you can see from the pictures the model I received is silver with a blue grill. You can chose from 3 different types of grill design.

BX 01
BX 02
BX 03
*Note: not all available colours are displayed in the above pictures

The grill version on the case I received is a 01 model which is shown in the model number. Chieftec BX01.

The second part of the model number is the colour scheme…. SL-SL-BL

SL stands for silver, and this is the colour of the chassis, i.e. side panels and top. The second SL in the model number is the colour of the front plastic bezel. I feel this looks a lot nicer if it matches the chassis colour. The final block, BL, is the grill colour. BL stands for blue. As I mentioned before there are 3 types of grill design. These can be purchased as accessories for you to customise the looks of your case. They are priced around £11.75 for the dressing panels from retailers such as http://www.Scan.co.uk

Removing the grills is very easily done as they are held on by 4 plastic clips on each section. It’s possible to change the grills in around 2 minutes, giving a totally new unique look to your PC.

Below the bottom grill is a hidden flap which folds up to reveal the front ports. These are seen on nearly every case these days and can be extremely useful. Behind the flap are ports for 2 x USB 2.0, microphone jack, headphone jack and an IEEE 1394 firewire port. These ports are plugged into the motherboard in the relevant location. The cables are colour co-ordinated. The black cable is for the USB 2.0 ports, the blue cable is used for the IEEE 1394 firewire port and the yellow cable is for the phone jacks - microphone and headphone sockets.