SunbeamTech Transformer

Written by Patrick Ng    Wednesday, 05 January 2005 11:00
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We recently reviewed the Samurai case, providing consumers with quality at a decent price. SunbeamTech also produces the Transformer case, which bears a strong resemblance to the Samurai. Today, we'll see if the Transformer lives up to the precedent set by the Samurai.

 


 

 

SunbeamTech Transformer Case

The case originally came in a plain cardboard box. I was surprised to see a box without much design. Even the Samurai was shipped in a flashy box. I went ahead and cut the box open, which revealed another box. This box was a pretty blue color, complete with specifications and all the other good stuff. I proceeded to open the blue box. The protection that SunbeamTech included for the case was superb. The Styrofoam on top was very thick. I also noticed the side plates of Styrofoam were very thick. The case was wrapped in plastic.

I thought the Samurai was big, but this case is enormous! The front panel is included separately and not attached. After seeing how well the front panel was wrapped, I had doubts there were going to be any damages. The mask of the front panel had a nice design and did remind me of the Transformers show.

Opening the top half of the front door reveals five 5.25" bays and two 3.5" bays. The power button was a decent size and the classic activity and power LEDs were back. All the way to the left, the reset button is a normal size. Behind the front panel there is a bay for a 120mm fan. SunbeamTech did not provide a fan there, but did so for every other spot on the case. The only negative aspect of this case thus far is that the front panel is completely plastic.

 

 


 

SunbeamTech Transformer Case Continued

There was a tiny piece on the front panel that broke. It was not major, but it was still broken. The piece that broke was a clip on the mask of the front panel. The mask still locks on pretty tight, though.

On the top of the case, SunbeamTech provided one more 80mm fan with a fan grill. The paint job was pretty smooth and clean. The USB and audio plugs are on the bottom right hand corner. The USB plugs are completely 2.0 compliant for your high speed needs. The bottom of the case already had the feet attached. All you have to do is twist it out. Like many parts of the case, the feet are plastic.

Moving to the side panels, one side is completely plain. The other side had a plastic window and a design. SunbeamTech has provided two 80mm fans with flashy fan grills. The side panel was fastened by two thumbscrews and a quick release button. Not too far from the button was a key hole for the lock. The lock did not work when I tested it. I was still able to open the side panel with ease. Perhaps this is another piece that was broken.

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SunbeamTech Transformer Case Continued

The 80mm fans that were provided by SunbeamTech are rated to be 1680-2700rpm. They already have a splitter so that you don't have to spare a Molex connector on your power supply. I suggest replacing those fans with more powerful ones if you want more airflow inside. Be careful with the side panel with the window design because it did not have any protection on it, making it prone to scratches. The 120mm fan on the inside was made by Evercool. The front panel connectors along with the top panel connectors were all there, neatly strapped down for better wire management.

The interior of the case was very spacious. While taking a quick look at how many things were provided by SunbeamTech, you can't miss the many extra drive bays that the case provides. They are facing you, right underneath the two 3.5" bays. The package that was shipped with the case contained many more accessories than the Samurai. A total of three fans were provided, three 80mm, one 120mm, as well as an abundance of screws. A cold cathode ray tube was found taped to the case, so that it wouldn't crash into pieces.  A toolbox was screwed into the case, containing the screws, instruction manual, inventory list and quick release handles for your drives. The cathode ray tube kit had everything needed to power it up. Included was a two slotted inverter, PCI slot switch, the cathode tube, some Velcro tape, and a Molex power connector.

 

 


 

Installation

Installation was a tad longer with the Transformer. Longer installation time doesn't mean anything, as long as it is smooth and easygoing. The first thing the case requires you to do is put motherboard screws in. I find it a pain every time to match up the holes from the motherboard to the motherboard tray, but the Transformer has already pre-labeled the holes for you. This saved me some time and effort. The Transformer also features a few quick release functions. The first is the PCI expansion slots. It opens and locks in place and locks the PCI cards to the case. It was hard to shift around at first, but became weak after a while.

The second quick release mechanism is the tool-free drive slots. These, unlike the PCI slot quick release, were much sturdier. I took off the front panel and slid the 5.25" drive right in. Once in and locked, I shook the case as hard as possible. However, every time you want to install a new drive, you will need to take off the front panel. This can get annoying, or might even damage the case because it is made of plastic.

 

 


 

Conclusion and Thoughts

 

 

 

 

The Transformer, although providing some good looks and ideas, did not turn out to be a quality case. Many things were either faulty or weak. Despite these problems, the idea of labeling the motherboard holes was good. SunbeamTech also shipped more accessories with the case as extras for the consumers, which is a definite plus. Their method of shipping was also great, as they tried to provide maximum protection with the product. The case itself contains too much plastic and I've seen one too many chipped pieces. There are full aluminum cases out there costing half as much for better quality. The Samurai was a much better case, despite it's few shortcomings. Consumers should also be aware that this case's six extra 3.5" bays might tug at the short IDE cables and that some power supplies might need extensions.

Pros:

  • Includes three fans (2x 80mm, 1x 120mm)
  • Includes a cold cathode ray tube
  • Cable management very neat
  • Removable toolbox to keep excess screws or parts in
  • Very spacious
  • Extremely well packaging
  • Pre-modified (well some would prefer plain cases and modify it themselves)

Cons:

  • Some parts weak or malfunctioned
  • Expensive for the quality offered
  • Location of the extra six 3.5" bays might tug at IDE cables
  • Some power supplies might need extensions

We would like to thank Sunbeam Technology for providing us the sample.  If you have any questions or comments, feel free to hit us up in the forums. You can also check out more of our latest reviews on the front page. For further information on our rating scale, please check our About Us page.

UPDATE:

After we notified Sunbeam Technology, we were offered another Transformer case to perhaps see if the quality I received it in was due to shipping. After un-packaging the case, I immediately went to the problem areas I saw on the first case, the first of which was the front. I checked every spot and made sure nothing was broken. So far so good, nothing was broken. Everything locked in place correctly and tightly too. The next problem area I looked at were the fan grills. The fan grills were tightly fastened down so that there would not be a rattling noise. The final problem area was the lock and key. Opening the side was easy when it was not locked. Logically, locking it should make it harder and put it next to impossible to open. However, I was able to open the side panel with ease. Why was this? I took a look at it's position when it was 'locked' and the gap was a bit too far apart. Since the handle to pull was completely plastic and the gap between the lock and the handle was a bit far apart, the plastic bent back every time it was being pulled to open the side panel. One revision Sunbeam Technology should make to this should be to reinforce the handle with a sheet of aluminum so that the handle doesn't bend at all.

 

 

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