by William Kelley on November 7, 2007 in Mid-Tower
Gigabyte is well aware that consumers yearning for a quiet PC don’t want to give up great looks and functionality. They prove this with their iSOLO 210. In addition to the case’s aesthetics, it also turns out to have very impressive construction, especially considering its low price point.
With most PC builds, the case is definitely one of the most overlooked parts. Too often, the budget is blown before a proper case is selected and far too often a budget case is chosen. Spend too little and you’ll get a flimsy, noisy and just plain ugly unit. Spend too much and the overall budget can suffer. Today I am putting the Gigabyte iSOLO 210 through its paces. This one fits very nicely in the $100 range which is a comfortable price for most people.
Gigabyte is attempting to sell you a lifestyle with this case. It is strongly marketed as a HTPC style case on their webpage and the classy looks of the solid aluminum front panel sure lend to it. The back lighting of the Gigabyte logo in blue is quite a nice touch albeit a bit distracting if being used in a HTPC arrangement. The aluminum front does lend it a feel and look of very high quality and it would definitely fit in amongst audio-video components as well. All in all, it gives a strong air of quality and style.
As of late, case manufacturers have been spending that extra dollar on packaging to make their products stand out on the store shelves. The iSOLO 210 arrived in a very brightly colored box with high quality graphics. The shipping company was nice enough to test out the strength of the packaging for us as well. I was happy to say that despite the somewhat beat up box, it arrived in perfect shape.
The packaging was also top notch, with all the expected foam and a small compartment in the top foam section that housed the included manuals. This is a nice touch in my opinion, keeping things from floating around inside the box potentially scratching the paint.
Once out of the box, we get a good look at the case with the solid aluminum front panel showing us all its glory.
The paintjob on this case is somewhat of a standard black glossy finish, but it was well done. At first, I expected a plastic front cover with aluminum pieces glues on, but it was actually a solid piece of aluminum and quite heavy. It is a very nice touch and really helps with the quality feel. I was pleasantly surprised when I removed the front of the case that the USB/Firewire/Headphone/Mic ports were firmly attached to the case and not the front panel making it quite easy to remove.
Unlike many cases built today, instead of a window we have a large mesh grill on the side panel. I prefer this over a window since it allows for more airflow and a cooler PC.
I really liked the addition of large rubber case feet. Too many cases have those small rubber inserts that just plain fail at offering any real stability for your case. The feet on this case are screwed securely to the case into metal inserts. The iSOLO case feels firmly planted and solid.
As for the rear of the case, there are provisions for water cooling which is a very nice touch and the 120MM exhaust ran has large honeycomb shaped openings to allow maximum airflow. Even the PCI slot covers exude quality since they are made from a heavier gauge metal than I normally find on most cases.
Now let’s take a look at the inside!