Spire Pininfarina

Spire Pininfarina



  1. Silverstrand
    Introduction

    Computer cases come in every flavor you could imagine, from the simple Vanilla cases, to the edgy Double Fudge Brownie, there are more than enough choices to suit you. Yet, with all of these choices, most truly come down to the same ingredients. Is it possible to bring to the plate a whole new inspiration of flavor?

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    Spire is not a newcomer to the case scene, although they specialize in cooling products, but they have contracted world design leader Pininfarina to see what the car world believes is missing in the ingredients of a computer case. Their goal with this case was to transform “the traditionally vapid pc case into a sophisticated and aerodynamic PC power house”.

    Before I get to the review, I would like to provide some background on Spire.

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    For the last thirteen years, Spire has been both recognized and respected as the #1 manufacturer of computer thermal solutions in Europe. The quality and reliability of Spire’s products has earned them the loyalty of many well known manufacturers and distributors throughout the world and we have maintained close business ties with international names in the computer industry. In July of 2001, Spire opened its first office in Pennsylvania to bring Spire’s success in Europe over to the American market.

    Spire products have acquired approvals and recommendations from trusted household names Advanced Micro Devices, Intel, and VIA. Spire is also recognized by the International Standard Commission for Quality Assurance in 1999 against ISO 9001 & ISO 9002 (No.Q16437). Other achievements include approval certification from CE, UR and CSA in 1998.

    Features & Specifications

    Contents, features and specifications can also be found on Spire's website.

    • Dimensions: 495x200x450mm (L x W x H)
    • Material: Aluminum Alloy Bezel & Metal SECC Galvanized Steel Chassis
    • Material thickness: Aluminum 6.0mm | SECC 1.0mm
    • Color: Pitch Black
    • Mainboard: Extend ATX / Micro ATX / Mini ATX
    • 5.25 Bays: 3 visible ~ 1 hidden
    • 3.5 Bays: 2 visible ~ 4 hidden
    • Bracket slots: 7 ~ Incl. 3 PCIE/AGP/PCI Stabilizers
    • Cooling: 3x 80x80x25mm fans (rear included, right included, left not included) 1x 120x120x25mm (front included) 1x 120 Fan Duct (left included)
    • External: USB 2.0 x 2 | MIC x 1 | Earphone jack x 1 |
    • Connections: IEEE 1394 x 1

    Features: Lightweight aluminum & Durable metal frame. Italian Stylish design. Front USB, IEEE1394 & Sound connections. full screen, radiation protected. Side panel access, screw free installation. Optimized internal space design for Highly-efficient airflow.

    Packaging: 522x260x517mm (L x W x H)
    N.W. Weight: 13.50 K.G
    G.W. Weight: 14.50 K.G

    After a quick inspection of the specifications, you may have noticed that the Pininfarina is not a gamer’s case due to the extreme physical weight of this case without a power supply installed, which comes to 14.5kg’s. This is strangely heavy for a standard ATX computer case, principally for one that does not include a power supply. Consider that a decent power supply weighs 3.5kg’s, a complete system installed into the Pininfarina would weigh around 20kg’s.

    The Spire Pininfarina comes in five color combinations, black and red, black and blue, black and silver, black and sky blue, and just black. With me here is Spire’s matte black version. The matte black exterior is a set of thick aluminum panels that extend from the bezel, around the top, and onto the back. This plating is the case's most noticeable design elements, but it also has a distinctive shape and lots of interesting features that appear as you start to examine the case.

    A Closer Look

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    The front panel of the Pininfarina creates a very streamline feel. Hidden is a door with with three exposed 5.25" bays and two 3.5" bays, and hidden as well is the IO Panel. Lifting up on the top curve exposes the IO Panel with all of it connections.

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    When opening the left panel the user will get access to the motherboard and drives, just like on any other case, but doing so with the right panel yields a much different result, as Spire has lent a helping hand during the installation process. When opening the right panel, the motherboard tray separates itself from the case and opens on the hinge. So while the Pininfarina does not have a removable motherboard tray, this option is first-rate as the motherboard can be removed from the interior compartment without taking out any of the expansion cards.

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    Taking a look at the cooling features of the Pininfarina, there are quite a few changes to be seen. The fan duct over the CPU is 120mm rather than 80mm or 92mm, which will let out much more air; there's a removable brace with an 80mm fan mount on the access side of the case and on the motherboard side of the case there's an 80mm fan located to the forward center of the case. This fans purpose is to allow you to use the 3.5" external bays and the HDD mounting above the HDD cage for mounting even more hard drives without the worry of your high RPM hard drives becoming to hot. There is an 80mm fan in the rear that will allow for some cooling, but not nearly as efficiently as a 120mm fan, like that of the fan duct, could have.

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    With the left side of the case open, and the brace removed, we have a plain view of the drive cage. The drive cage is tool-less and holds a total of four drives. It's held in with a combination of a clip and a thumbscrew. Removing the thumbscrew and lifting the tab on the clip allows the cage to slide back slightly then pivot back and out to allow for easier loading. Honestly, I was confused at first at how to remove the cage due to its unique yet intriguingly useful pivot. Pulling the cage further out removes it completely and hidden away underneath it is the accessory box containing the drive rails, the PC case speaker and the screws and standoffs. The 5.25" bays, and the external 3.5" bays all share unique locks. They consist of a main body and a center toggle. The ingenuity of this design is that it allows for non-standard devices with the same distance between the front and rear screw holes to fit with the Pininfarina’s non-standard distance from the mounting holes to the front panel.

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    The power supply is also very easy to install, although you do have to remove the rear plastic shroud. With a little force this plastic cover can be removed and the power supply can be screwed into place.

    Conclusion

    Overall I'm pretty impressed with the Spire Pininfarina ATX case. It is a great looking case that seems to fit in just about anywhere. The sleek appearance of this case looks ultra modern, while its modest design is very stylish. There is a bit of room for improvement though and those issues will have a slight ding on the overall score.

    This case is not for the LAN Gamer, the Pininfarina is exceptionally heavy, especially when compared to cases in the same price range, such as the 100% aluminum Thermaltake Shark which weighs half as much as the Pininfarina and offers more features. In addition, the majority of steel cases priced at around $130 US feature their own power supply, where as the Pininfarina does not.

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    Yet, the front IO panel folding up to expose a number of front panel connectors brought some justification to the Pininfarina. This is a feature of the case which I really liked and I felt that Spire integrated it into the Pininfarina very well.

    Although not removable, the motherboard tray creates access makes the motherboard easy to install, to work on, and that the motherboard can be brought outside of the case without removing the expansion cards is another justifiable factor.

    The people at Pininfarina and Spire clearly know a thing or two about making a product that looks interesting and has cool features. While that is great, they still have a few things to learn about performance computer cases. The lack of 120mm fans, silencing products, and the extreme weight is going to be a major limitation to the product.

    Advantages
    • Simply put, it’s different
    • Folding front IO Panel

    Disadvantages
    • Extremely Heavy
    • Price

    Images

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    2. Case.jpg
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    7. HD-Cage.jpg
    8. HD-Cage-1.jpg
    9. HD-Cage-Fan.jpg
    10. HD-Cage-Fan-2.jpg
    11. IO.jpg
    12. IO-1.jpg
    13. Left.jpg
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    15. Lock.jpg
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    17. Mobo-Tray.jpg
    18. Mobo-Tray-2.jpg
    19. Right.jpg
    20. Right-2.jpg
    21. icon.jpg