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THE AOPEN HX95A DESKTOP COMPUTER CASE
Last updated: 6/30/99

PLASTIC.  The front panel is gently curved from side-to-side and has an fairly attractive appearance.  Gone are the useless turbo LED and switch and the keylock--good riddance!  The power-on switch is located in an awkward position at the center of the bottom of the front panel, right below the 3 1/2" drive bays... where it is obscured by the keyboard in most user configurations.  I find this most annoying. The panel is quite securely fastened to the chassis with solid plastic tabs which make it easy to snap on and off.  The speaker is inserted in a molded expansion card guide assembly which is conveniently already snapped into the front of the metal chassis. The plastic is solid stuff.

DRIVE BAYS.  The case has six drive bays: two exposed and one hidden 3 1/2" bays, and three exposed 5 1/4" bays.  A fourth 3 1/2" drive can be mounted on the channel brace, described above, for a total of seven drives.  The three 3 1/2" bays are in a removable cage which is secured with two screws.  This makes it a snap to install and service, all-at-once, a hard disk, Zip or LS-120 drive, and a floppy drive.  All of the exposed bays come with snap-on dust covers.   Drives are easily installed without rails.

EXPANSION BOARD SLOTS.  The case has seven slots.  All of the slots come equipped with removable slot covers (not those annoying knock-outs found in some cases). 

POWER SUPPLY.  The power supply is the major difference in this case as compared to the older HX95.  The HX95 came with a 235W ATX power supply and could be ordered with a 200 Watt PS/2 power supply for use with a Baby AT motherboard without an ATX power socket. This case comes with 250 or 235 Watt ATX power supplies.  My distributors have been stocking them with the  250 Watt power supply.  It is the same as the one that comes with the HX45A mid-tower, which reduces the number of spares you must carry if you are building computers with both kinds of cases.

In addition to the ATX power-on switch on the front panel, which connects to an ATX motherboard, there is a power switch on the 250 Watt power supply itself, at the rear of the case.  This switch overrides the one on front panel and positively and completely shuts-off the computer.  It is useful for making sure power to the motherboard is off when plugging-in expansion boards, etc., without having to pull the power cord.

The power supply is installed on its side at the rear, right corner of the case where it does not obscure any part of an ATX motherboard. 

There are enough drive connectors on the power supply for the number of drives which the case can accommodate:  two 3 1/2" and five 5 1/4".

The power supply has a ball-bearing fan.  It is fairly quiet. By feeling the back of the case, it is obvious to me it is pumping an ample amount of air through the chassis.

VENTILATION.  The power supply exhausts air from the chassis and does not direct it in and towards the back of the motherboard for CPU cooling as preferred in the ATX specification--no big deal; I feel more secure with quality CPU fans and motherboards with temperature monitoring anyway. 

The ventilation of this box is fairly good, mainly because it is so roomy; but, there is a lack of vent holes at the front and back of the case.  Of course, all of those cracks around the drives leak air into the case.

There is a cut-out to mount a chassis fan right below the expansion card guide at the right, front of the chassis.  Unfortunately, there are only two holes, above the cutout, to mount the fan.  Holes for mounting the bottom of the fan are missing on all of the HX95/95A's I've seen.  I would guess two holes would suffice to mount a fan, but four would be better.  Fortunately, all of the computers I build with this case do not need the fan.

Overall, I would say that the H95A, is fine case for the average computer; but, I would be reluctant, because of ventilation shortcomings, to use it for a  file server or heavy-weight game machine.  I certainly would not load this case up with six or seven drives unless it had a chassis fan installed.

My personal computer is built with an HX95 case.  I don't have a ventilation or second fan problem because I leave the lid off (which is not a good practice in theory; but, it is the only practical thing to do if you frequently use your computer to troubleshoot other computers and to test products--a desktop is the best choice for those kinds of work).

MOTHERBOARDS.  The HX95A accommodates both ATX , Baby AT, and microATX motherboards.  An optional B.1 I/O back panel is needed for microATX motherboards.  If you use a Baby AT motherboard be sure it has an ATX connector.  If it doesn't I would replace the motherboard with an ATX motherboard.

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