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Reviewed by: Carl Nelson [04.08.02]
Manufactured by: SkyHawk
Est. Street Price: $125


Yet Another Cooling Solution

As CPU's and Video Cards get faster and hotter, ambient case temperature will shoot up. This is an unwanted side effect to most people who care at all about temperature; how are you going to get the most out of your CPU if the case temperature is too high?

Take a look at 2 or 3 of the systems posted in our Show Off Your Rigs! page, and you'll probably see a few different solutions used to keep the systems' ambient temperature down.  Extra intake and exhaust fans are of course the most common, but there is at least one solution that's becoming more and more common - Turn your case into one giant heatsink!

Look at nearly any heatsink and you'll see that it is made of aluminum.  While it isn't the absolutely best conductive material, it is cheap and light.  It is also a suitable material for cases, as we found out with the original aluminum case that first gained the most attention from us: Lian Li.

With the Lian Li cases, we saw that being made of aluminum actually made it quite a high performing case for system cooling.  The aluminum worked very well to keep the temps low, and besides that it looks absolutely bad ass! One thing kept it away from many people however: Price.

Enter: SkyHawk

SkyHawk has seized the opportunity to fill the huge gap in the market for a high performing case available at a lower cost than the Lian Li cases.  SkyHawk saw some success with their low priced aluminum cases, but now they are going after Lian Li in the high end, with a full new model lineup.

Their newest line is the "Eagle Aluminum Mini Server Case" using the model tag "MSR-46xx".  The case we're looking at today is the MSR-4610-EPD(F).  A confusing name if I ever saw one... Here's an explanation:

First, the MSR-4610 is the basic model number for the mid sized ATX tower.  They call it a "mini server case" but it looks like a regular tower to me, but with a few additions on the inside that I'll get to later.

The "EP" part refers to a pair of 80mm intake fans pre-installed on the side of the case.  Also available is an "AP" model that comes with 120mm fans instead.

The "D" refers to the front peripheral panel.  This will come in handy to many people, it includes 2 USB ports, stereo sound ports (Aux in, line out, and microphone), a MIDI/Gameport, and something we're beginning to see more and more now, an IEEE 1394 "Firewire" port.

This new model line is actually SkyHawk's new top end line, and it looks to be a direct competitor to Lian Li's PC60 we reviewed a while back.  Being a high end model, it is up there a bit in price, with a confirmed street price of $125.

But with a high price you get a very high end case.  Let's have a look at the extra features the MSR-4610 gives us...

One major difference that SkyHawk stresses about their cases is that they full anodize ALL the aluminum in the case, INCLUDING the inside.  This should entirely prevent any occurrences of hardware failure due to static buildup.  This is definitely a plus, but I haven't heard of any cases where people have had their comps die on them...

Also, for the modders out there, SkyHawk says that each chassis goes through a 'special treatment' that allows the outside layer do absorb dyes that cannot be rubbed or scratched off.  We're definitely going to look into this in the future, so watch for that.

Let's get to some of the cool standard features this case has...

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