A problem I noticed was that should you wish to add another hard disk, you couldn’t- the 8800 GTXs are quite long and go into the space of the two free 3.5in bays, so they’d be nowhere to put them. An external SATA port would have been a way round it as you’d then get the same performance as an internal drive, but as it is, you’re limited to the FireWire port at the back – which is only 1394a – not the faster b version.
In terms of construction the interior of the case is done as well as it could be – very neat and tidily. All the major cables are kept in place with cable ties and everything is sensibly routed. The only problem is that it’s all a bit, well ordinary. The hard disks are just kept in place with regular screws, though there’s some toolless entry action for the optical drive and the card reader slot.
When you open the side of the case there’s a group of wires which trails from the LEDs round the front fan. This is in order to get power to the coloured LED lights on the side. This is a perfect example of how this sort of system differs from an Alienware. On the similarly specified system I reviewed last December there are four contacts on the side of the case, so all the LEDs work when you put the case side on, without any wires trailing – much cooler.
Another issue is that the side of the case is difficult to get back on. The large side fan touches the CPU heatsinks and it’s a real faff to deal with. Also it doesn’t feel particularly brilliant. The build quality isn’t bad, but it’s not rock solid either – there’s quite a bit of flex in the drop down USB ports at the front for example.
It’s a bit different from the large, solid case you’ll get with say, an Alienware. Alienware features custom cases that you can only get from that company and it has put time and effort into designing them. Commodore is using an essentially standard case with customisation limited to some embossed logo and aside from this relies entirely on the external C-Kin to give it individual appeal.
I’m not sure that’s enough.
The problem is that this system just doesn’t make you feel special when you’re using it, and if you’re spending over two and half grand I think that’s a problem. If you’re spending less it may not be such an issue, but at this price level, I’m not sure that people will want a Commodore. It depends ultimately on the appeal of the C-Kin, because aside from that there’s little to recommend this case.