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ASYS Freedom Case

Date: January 16, 2006
Author(s): Greg King

ASYS is a newcomer in the computer tower market, but their Freedom case is a great way to make a name for themselves. It’s packed with functionality and very well built. Let’s take a look and see if it has what it takes to battle with the big boys.



Introduction

Today we have, in house, a case that I plan on running though the ringer to see just exactly what it’s made out of. The case is the Freedom Tower and it’s manufactured by a company that goes by the name of Asys.

Yes, I meant to type Asys with a "Y".

To be perfectly honest, I know little about this company other than they have made inexpensive, yet practical, computer cases for quite some time now. Today however, we are taking a look at their flagship gaming case, the Freedom Tower. I know the name might be a little hokey, but I am anxious to see just what I can find out about this baby. At this point, I am left with many questions that I hope to find answers for over the course of this review.

All good questions and all need answering. To the review-mobile!

The packaging of the case is what one would expect from any case manufacturer. The box the case was shipped in was the actual box that the case is packaged in with the shipping address and P.O. slip taped to the top of the box. Once I lugged the box inside, and I do mean lug, I quickly removed the P.O. slip and opened the box.

As you can see, the box is rather colorful and does a nice job letting us know just what it’s all about.



Interior and Exterior

As you can see, the box shows you pretty much all that a box can show you. It gives you the main selling features, the model number and many colorful pictures. From here, I am going to remove the case from the box and see just what we are dealing with here. Once removed, I am amazed at the sheer size of this beast.

The bottom of the case with a screen to protect the LED lights that run along the bottom of the case.

As you can see, the exterior layout of the case is pretty much what is to be expected. The front of the case offers easy to access audio jacks as well as a large power and reset buttons at the top. Also included at the top of the case are 4 USB hubs and 1 firewire connection. These are nice for thumb drives, controllers, digital camera/camcorders or anything else that you can possibly think of.

For any of you that follow hardware closely, you might notice a similarity between the Freedom Tower case and the Thermaltake Armor Series XASER. Both offer the hinged side guards and both look similar in appearance from top to bottom. This is not a problem and is actually a common practice in the computer tower business. They have used an idea and ran with it. My job is to see if it’s for the better or for the worse. Regardless, let’s take a look at the hinged side guards.

The front side guards are clearly on hinges, allowing you to open them up and remove the front bay covers. This allows you to access the front 120mm fan filters for easy cleaning.



Hard Drive Mounting

Once the side guards are opened up, we can now remove the front bay covers and see what lies underneath the pretty blue pieces.

Without the bay covers, you can see the front 2 120mm intake fan screens. The fans are mounted on rubber spacers to absorb
the fan vibrations and the screens are removable for easy cleaning.

You can see the front of the case without the bay covers on so let’s now take a look at the case without the fan bays in and see what we can find behind them

You can see, once the fans are removed, the hard drive cage. The case allows you to mount up to four hard drives vertically side by side. I like the idea of a removable hard drive cage. Make installations a breeze.

Let’s take a look at one more picture before we move to the inside of the case. The next picture shows just how many of the bay covers are removable and we get a closer look at the two fan filters as well.

Now that we have a good understanding what the exterior of the case is all about, let’s move inward to the interior

The interior of the case is visible through the side window. This window runs the entire height of the case and goes about 2/3s of the way back. In the center of the side door, towards the back, there is a nice size handle that folds out to allow you to remove the side panel easier. Once the handle is open, there is a small lock that is revealed allowing you to secure your case when you are not working in it.

Once the side panel is off, we have a clearer picture of what we will be working with. Along the front of the case, there are little locking switches that you can toggle back and forth. When they are fixed in the forward position, the contents of the bay are locked. This allows you an easy way to secure or remove an optical drive quickly.



Interior Functionality

The panel is gone. Revel in the spacious goodness. What the hell is that giant black piece? in that case?!?

That black piece is a brace for long PCI cards. The thing is removable and on a swivel. You can close this down on your video cards and the foam on the inside of the piece will rest firmly against your card to keep it from wobbling around. More than likely this isn’t a problem in anyone’s cases but perhaps it will provide some of you with a bit more state of mind when you are trying to protect your high end, high dollar video card. This is not something that I care about so it will not be used in the future for me.

One of the features of this case that I am interested in is the removable motherboard tray. This is something that I have never had and am excited to get into the guts of this case and see how nice this feature is. Another feature of this case is the ability to switch it from a standard ATX case to the yet to be widely accepted BTX form factor. All one needs to do is switch the back fan plate from the right side of the case on the back to the left side and follow suit with the I/O plate. This is something that is a nice extra but I could care less about. I do not own a BTX motherboard and I really don’t have any plans to in the future. Am I being closed mined? Perhaps but I don’t care. I loves me some ATX action and that’s where I am staying!

There is a cool feature on the bottom of this case that I have to show off. There are 10 blue LED lights on the bottom of the case and a small dial on the inside of the case that will allow you to speed up or slow down the movement of the LED’s. I honestly can’t wait to see how this looks when I have it all hooked up.

This is the housing at the bottom of the case. Underneath this lies the blue LED lights and I am excited to see what this looks like when lit up.



Installation & Conclusion

As you all know, these are my system specs that will be going into the Freedom Tower.

I attempted to remove the motherboard tray and after great troubles, I succeeded. Upon installation, I was unable to get the tray back into the case so instead of breaking something out of frustration, I removed the motherboard, kept the mounting screws in the proper holes, drank a few Newcastle’s and fought some more with the damn tray. The best I can say about the mobo tray is that it is cumbersome. I do not recommend anyone remove this tray unless you feel that you could have more luck with it than I did.

After I got the tray back into the case, I installed the mobo, the hard drives and the PSU. Once everything was connected, I powered on the system and to my surprise, it all worked!

I am now curious to see what the LED’s look like when lit up. Below you will see a couple of pictures of the case fully populated with all of my components as well as the LED’s all lit up. Please understand that the pictures do not do this case any justice as the LED’s are absolutely beautiful lit up and with the dial, you can adjust the lights to light up extremely fast or very slow.

Conclusion

This case, with its few flaws is a solid case for anyone looking for a good, robust case at home. Its weight will limit it’s usefulness to all but the strongest of LAN gamers. There are many aspects of the case that I absolutely love just as there are things about this case that I would like to see changed.

All in all, I liked this case and with a few adjustments, this could very well be a great case. I would recommend this to anyone looking for a strong case for the office or gaming room and certainly to anyone who is going to water cool their rig. The space inside this beast is more than enough for most and the many open bays allow for all the optical drives, ZIP drives and hot swap bays that you can possibly use. If it wasn’t for my near suicidal mobo tray fiasco, this would be a perfect case for me but with that factored in, I am giving this case an 8 out of 10. This is hands down, a good case that could easily be great. Many thanks to the fine people at Asys for allowing me/us to review this case.

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And I still don’t know why everyone laughs at me!


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