SunbeamTech Tech-Station UV Case

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Product: SunbeamTech Ultra-Tech Station Acrylic Case
Provided By: SunbeamTech
Price: ~$74.99 Online

 

Introduction:

If you are a hardware enthusiast, gamer or hardware analyst, you know how much of a pain it can be to constantly take things in and out of your case.  While it may be true that a case offers a safe home for your hardware, removing a motherboard from your case each time you want to try out a new HSF, install a new water block or even replace your CPU can be a pain in the butt if you do it often.  Over the years, I've actually worn out a couple of cases from all the installation/removal kerfuffle.  Today we are looking at the second "Tech Station" that we've seen around here - the first being the High Speed PC Top Deck Tech Station back in January of 2008.  SunbeamTech has had a while to think about this and improve the design, and we'll find out in this review if it is indeed a nice option.

 

First Look:

Because the SunbeamTech Ultra-Tech Station is a build-your-own kit, it comes in a nice small box.  This allows for cheaper shipping rates based on size, but not necessarily on weight.  The box is a bit more bulky that the HSPC unit, but because it is made from Acrylic, SunbeamTech has opted to be more careful in terms of packing, and it arrived unharmed.

Tech-Station Box
Tech-Station Box
In The Box
In The Box

 

As you can see above, everything is packed pretty well with stiff foam keeping everything in place and damage-free.  Inside the package is a bunch of goodies as you can see below.  Included in the package is everything you need - including feet, screws, stand-offs, gloves, and even a USB bracket that also contains power and reset buttons as well as audio.  The Ultra-Tech Station is much more of a case than other the other Tech Station we looked at which was simply a bench on which to assemble gear.

Lots Of Goodies
Lots Of Goodies

 

All the screws included are too-less and even though it looks like a lot of gear, assembly is pretty simple and the manual is helpful if you get stuck.  I put this unit together in about 10 minutes and was pretty happy with the result and never had to take anything apart and put it back together "correctly".  Overall, it was a quick, easy experience.

Before we get into assembly and installation though, we'll take a look at the features and information about this product.

 

Overview, Features & Specs:

The Ultra-Tech Station Acrylic Case was designed for the DIY fanatics!  We placed the ease of installation at the top of the list and designed this unique case with ultra quick component mounting design for all internal components from hard drive to mother board.  We even made sure that installation of power supply was quick too!  We also felt that even though speed and ease was the primary objective, having cables dangling all around is just too unsightly, so three cable through-hole was place at key locations to tidy the cables up.

As for the easy-to-loose screws, we made sure that they are always available when you need them by providing you with 8 spare holes, which can also be used to hold your screw drivers if you so incline.  The Ultra-Tech Station not only provides you with ultra easy installations, it is equally easy during removal of components.  The case is also free from side panels to allow for free-flowing air to naturally cool down the system, a breakthrough in cooling design that will challenge the idea that acrylic cases have poorer cooling capability.  The Ultra-Tech Station, designed to please the DIY monster in you!

 


Small Glove Features:

  • Easy Mounting
  • USB 2.0 Ports x 2 + Audio and Microphone
  • Tool Free Installation for 3.5” and 5.25” Devices
  • No loose AGP/PCI add-in cards
  • Can be Assembled with 3 PCS 3.5" HDD
  • Can be Put Spare Screws and Screwdriver
  • Easy to Organize Cable
  • Support HD Audio and AC97 Audio

 

Specifications:

  • Color - Transparent UV-Blue
  • Drive Bay - 2x 5.25" + 3x 3.5"
  • Dimension - 415(D)*290(W)*280(H) mm
  • Motherboards - Flex ATX, ATX, Micro ATX

 

On the next page we'll put it together, build a system on it and share some final thoughts.

 

Assembly:

As I mentioned on the previous page, assembly went very well and the system is laid out in such a way that the instructions weren't really needed at all.  The top and bottom decks are notched so that the drive racks can only go in a certain way.  This prevents screw-ups and helps you get it assembled very quickly.  All the bags of parts and screws are clearly labeled and this too is a big help.

Bottom Assembled
Bottom Assembled
Bottom Feet
Bottom Feet

 

Almost everything screws together with thumbscrews and I only needed a screwdriver for the USB/Audio/Button bracket and the power supply bracket.  As you can see in the images above, the drive racks have a "V" mounting system that has soft silicon lining in the "V".  The drives are mounted using brass thumbscrews with a knurled finish.  This helps the drives stay securely in place - not like the HSPC Top Deck Tech Station where the drives can slide around and fall out.  This is a much more secure system.

 Assembled
Assembled
 Tech-Station Done
Tech-Station Done

 

Installation:

There are certainly some great things about the Tech Station worth mentioning.  Other than a very simple assembly, the SunbeamTech Ultra-Tech Station has very tall motherboard standoffs which allow you to run cables from your power supply and drives up under the board and out the side.  This helps keep everything nice and tidy.  Also the ability to have two 5.25" drives and three 3.5" drives is a nice bonus.  Also, a standard power supply can be held securely to the bottom deck of the Tech Station with a nice little bracket - unfortunately, this didn't work on the Thermaltake ToughPower 1200W PSU as it is a little too long for the bracket to work.  

 Down Low View Top Profile

 

Final Thoughts:

The SunbeamTech Ultra-Tech Station is hands-down a winner in terms of functionality, looks and ease of use.  This unit has great curb appeal and is very functional.  Unlike other similar products, your drives are held securely in place - as is the power supply so you can move this unit around without worrying about sliding a drive off the rails and buggering it up.  The integrated power, reset, USB and audio is a great touch as well, and the cables are long enough to be routed underneath the motherboard and the whole unit is very tidy.

 

 

UV Blue
UV Blue

 

My only concern would be on how this unit holds up over time.  Acrylic isn't the most durable material, and if you use and abuse it, I'm sure you'll break it.  That being said, it does appear very tough and has the strength to hold a stout system.  I didn't think you could get much better than the HSPC unit, but in my opinion, SunbeamTech takes the cake and ups the ante.


Pros:

  • Drive racks hold drives nice and stable
  • Motherboard on top permits large HSFs
  • UV Reactive is a very nice effect
  • Room for a total of five drives!
  • Very affordable

 

Cons:

  • No fan for additional cooling

  BCCRating

 Gold

This unit is priced quite a bit cheaper than the HSPC Top Deck Tech Station and has similar features.  The SunbeamTech unit trumps it in terms of drive number, looks, features and stability, but I'm not sure if it will last as long - the HSPC unit is built like a tank and Acrylic can crack if mistreated.  Still it scores very well and is a recommended buy if you are thinking of an open testing platform.

If you have any questions or comments regarding this review, we'd love to hear it!  Please post them at the "Comments" link below.