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Chieftec CH-02 Case Review

Chieftec CH-02 Case Review

Ch-02 Front

Based on the principles of flexibility, innovation, and efficiency, Chieftec has been producing computer cases and power supplies since 1990. Its products aren’t typically flashy or heavily advertised, but they have always featured sturdy construction, subdued looks, and good value for the money. Today, we’re looking at Chieftec’s unique CH-02 case.

The Chieftec CH-02 is part of their “Mesh” line of computer chassis. This line is focused on workstation and gaming towers with open mesh front and side panels for optimum air flow. The model Icrontic received is silver, but the CH-02 is also available in black, green, and red.

Specifications

  • Model: CH-02SL-SL
  • Case Type: ATX Mid-Tower
  • Dimensions: (w x h x d) 205 x 442 x 540 mm
  • Cooling:
    • Rear, 1 x 120mm Fan
    • Side, 2 x 90mm Fans
  • Drive Bays
    • 3 External 5.25”
    • 1 External 3.5”
    • 6 Internal 3.5”
  • Expansion slots: 7
  • Tool-less rail design
  • Weight: 28.7 lbs
  • Motherboard Support: Extended ATX, ATX, Micro ATX

Impressions

The design is sleek and appealing, yet doesn’t do much to push the limits of flashiness. There is a window in the side panel, but rather than glass it is made of a steel mesh to allow airflow. There are no flashy LEDs on the front or on the fans, and the case lacks any kind of LCD display or other trendy features. Despite the lack of bells and whistles, the chassis maintains a very modern look.

Ch-02 mesh side panel

The sturdiness of the chassis is immediately evident the moment it is removed from the box. It’s heavy. Quite heavy. This isn’t flimsy aluminum. This metal is thick and feels rather dent-resistant.

The front door is made of plastic and feels like the weakest part of the ensemble, but its hinges are tight and its latches are solid, so the door represents itself well for a plastic design.

Ch-02 Open front

The side panel is effortlessly opened thanks to two thumbscrews on the back. Unfortunately, the panel also tends to swing open the moment the screws are removed. We would have preferred some sort of mechanism that prevents this from happening; it might save a user’s fingers or the finish of the panel.

Ch-02 open side

The interior of the CH-02 is very spacious. There are three bays for optical drives, and six for hard disks. The hard drives are mounted perpendicularly and cooled by a pair of fans that lie at the back of the bays. This is a very welcome arrangement for anyone running a glut of hard disks.

Ch-02 dual 90mm fans

These fans attach to the motherboard tray and blow out across the HDDs

Regarding the cabling, Chieftec clearly took great care to make it presentable to the end user. The chassis’ wiring was dressed, bundled, color-coded and placed at the factory to great effect. We never had any trouble locating the cable we needed to complete a given task.

Ch-02 cables

With a 120MM fan at the rear and two fans in the drive cage, cooling for the CH-02 is sufficient but not extraordinary; the unit could do with an intake fan located at the front of the chassis. Display models from the Chieftec website also exhibit a vertical exhaust for the top of the chassis, but our review sample did not arrive in this configuration.

Lastly, the included accessories and parts were very basic. The chassis came with a manual and the standard bag of screws. Though not necessary, it would have been nice to have extra mounting rails — perhaps even power converter cables — as some other high-end cases come supplied with.

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Comments

  1. Linc
    Linc The perfect case for a coin collector. "Is that a 1943 steel penny in row 5, col 3 of the bezel?" ;D

    Great review, Lynx! Hey, can we link to the bigger versions of those images? I'd especially like to see a bigger shot of that first one.
  2. Norge
    Norge This case looks like a fine candidate for a "Connect Four" case mod. Honestly, how cool would that be? You know, up until the point that all the game pieces block your air flow...
  3. BuddyJ
    BuddyJ A Connect Four mod would be sweet. I always thought it looked like a cheese grater.

    I'd like to see the blue LED with the door closed.
  4. DrLiam
  5. Zuntar
    Zuntar The case has TONS of modding potential, but sadly does nothing for me as is.
  6. BuddyJ
    BuddyJ I talked to the Chieftec rep yesterday. They'll be unveiling some cases at CeBit that are more geared toward enthusiasts. What he showed me was similar to the Antec 900.
  7. UPSLynx
    UPSLynx Holy CRAP connect 4 mod has so much potential.

    Remember how feverishly LAN-goers kept playing C4 last summer? Thrax vs. Weezer was epic. Now imagine that showdown... on a PC.

    I uploaded all of the images to the IC media library, you should be able to see the high res there.

    As for the first one:
    //icrontic.com/uploads/2009/02/frontclosed.jpg
  8. UPSLynx
    UPSLynx ...also just noticed that you can see my big daddy figure in the open-side pic. Awesome.
  9. Linc
    Linc
    UPSLynx wrote:
    I uploaded all of the images to the IC media library, you should be able to see the high res there.
    Wasn't aimed at you; no one linked the images to their originals for some reason. I went and added them now.
  10. UPSLynx

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