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?
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.
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
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.
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.
- Simply put, it’s different
- Folding front IO Panel
- Extremely Heavy