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Reviewed by: Carl Nelson [10.04.07]
Manufactured by: GTR Tech
Price: $249.99
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Don't even think about setting up the GTR3 without fully reading the manual first. There are several things that need to be considered, and everything should be done in order. You wouldn't want to have your hard drive installed, but with no way to plug the SATA cables in!

The first step is to install the motherboard. But before you do that, install the CPU and Ram modules into the motherboard first. This will make installation much easier, believe me.

For this test, we used a Foxconn Nforce 590 SLI motherboard, with an AMD X2 5000+. I should note that I have been using this case as an HTPC for months now, and the configuration is an Nforce 6150 with a double-wide silent GeForce 7600 GT. The CPU is an AMD 3000+ cooled by Thermaltake's Silent 939 cooler. Both intake fans are disabled, so effectively the only fans in the system are the silent CPU fan and PSU fans. The system is used for watching HDTV content and some gaming, and I have never come across problems with heat. And this is in Hong Kong in the summer.

As you can see, squeezing the motherboard in makes for a tight fit:

Once you have the motherboard installed (and all the power connectors, front panel headers, and drive cables connected), and THE CAGE set up, you can then go on to install the hard drive and CAGE. Once everything is done, your system will look like this rat's nest:

I'm sure the cable-folding fanatics are freaking out at this point, but I'm not the type to take my time neatly folding and tucking every single cable. The internal design of the GT3 is brilliant, and makes full use of its meager dimensions of 15.4 x 12.4 x 4.25 inches.

Installation is definitely more involved than your typical case, as are most SFF cases. However, this sometimes has an odd appeal, as I find that people who are into complicated SFF systems are the same type who like to tinker with things. If you find 'snap-on' cases to be TOO easy or boring, then you'll fully enjoy setting up a "sport compact PC". If you really hate putting a system together however, you might want to ask a friend to do this one for you.

The DVD Drive

The one thing that truly is a negative about the GTR3 is the need to use a slim DVD drive - the kind used in 1U server cases and some laptops. This is what allows the case to be no more than 4.25" thick. However, GTR Tech does NOT include such a DVD drive, nor do they offer it separately. You'll have to track one down for yourself, which depending on where you live, may be difficult or even impossible. Newegg does carry some, if you don't mind doing a mail order, and they cost about 2 times as much as standard size drives (and are quite a bit slower).

I can forgive GTR for requiring things like a more complicated installation, and even the fact that the case only allows you to use a single PCI-E and PCI slot. However, without offering slim drives on their website (which is pretty much the only place to find this case, by the way), it makes putting together a finished PC difficult (or, like I said, impossible).

In short, the GT3 "Sport Compact Case" is a perfect example of brilliance in SFF case engineering. This tiny case is able to accomodate everything from a quiet HTPC system to a beefy Quad-Core setup with the latest DX10 video cards. However in doing so, it becomes a complicated install.

If you have the need for a full-featured PC that can fit into a backpack, I can't think of a better solution. The next best SFF case we reviewed is the Silverstone Sugo SG01, and have fun carrying that thing around.

The only place I've found that sells the GT3 is GTR Tech's own store. That means you'll be paying full MSRP for it - $249.99. That price stings, despite the fact that it includes a good power supply. As SFF enthusiasts know though, small, specialized PC cases usually come with big prices. If GTR Tech included a slim optical drive that is required to install into this case, the price would be pretty acceptable.

I should note now that the previous pictures may be deceptive. If you see a full ATX SFF case by itself, it may not look very small at all. However, GTR has some pictures of their product compared to a standard ATX case, and a typical "toaster" style SFF case:

It still seems quite a bit bigger than an XBOX 360 or Playstation 3, in case you were curious.

  • Most portable full-ATX case around
  • Supports full-length video cards
  • Supports double-wide video cards
  • Supports up to two hard drives
  • Looks nice (depending on taste)
  • Very well engineered, good manual

  • Requires slim optical drive that are hard to find in stores
  • Quite expensive, can only be bought from manufacturer
  • Installation may be too complicated for some
  • Looks ugly (depending on taste)