Sometimes I think that I have reviewed just about every variation of case over the past few years. I received an email from a company called Microcool who wanted us to check out something a little different. Their Banchetto 101 is a full acrylic test-bench with an Italian design. Is this a case the average user is going to want to use, or will it be limited to overclockers and press? The best way to find out is to throw one of our test rigs into it and see how it turns out. Lets jump in!
Product Name: Microcool Banchetto 101
Review Sample Provided by: Microcool
Review by: Wes
Pictures by: Wes
400(L) x 350(W) x 362(H) mm
Methacrylate shelves (8mm)
Clear, black and chrome
ATX and Micro ATX
3 with removable rack
4 with removable rack
Standard ATX PS2 with removable rack
Water Cooling bay
Designed for radiators with up to 3 fans, pump and tray
Fan door hanger (2x92mm)
Apparently the Fedex/UPS guy didn’t know or care how fragile the contents of the package were when they shipped the Banchetto. This box came in with dings, dents, and rips all over it; I was a little worried when I opened it up. Inside, the case was packed in a few inches of Styrofoam all around it. Even with all of the damage to the box, there was no damage to the case to be found. Along with the case there were a few bags full of thumbscrews and PCI risers.
Getting ready to install our test rig I was shocked when I noticed the motherboard tray both is removable and has a large access hole to the back of the CPU. On the underside there are three compartments, one each for Hard Drives, Disc Drives, and the PSU. Beneath them you will find room for a 360mm radiator, three 120mm fans, and the PSU’s wiring. Each compartment is attached with a thumbscrew making it easy to pull out and install. I dropped our DVD burner, Cooler Master 850 power supply, and OCZ Agility SSD in their corresponding compartments before moving onto the motherboard installation.
The motherboard standoffs are much larger and stronger looking than normal, and they come preinstalled into the motherboard tray. Surprisingly, you attach your motherboard and everything else using the included thumbscrews. This was a little bit of a change, I wish the thumbscrews would have come with Phillips screw heads, getting thumbscrews into the tight spots on a motherboard is a little difficult. Without a backplate to attach your PCI cards to, they did get creative using very tall standoffs and thumbscrews. Installing the PCI standoffs ended up being a little difficult, each of them rusted a little inside. I am surprised considering the quality of the parts used in the Banchetto that they didn’t use a design that wouldn’t rust on the areas that were not chromed. Even with that issue I did get everything installed, by the end of the build my hands were killing me from all of the thumbscrews.
Routing the cables was easy with the amount of room they give you behind the bottom compartments. Up top, the motherboard tray has more than enough well placed holes to route everything up to the motherboard. The power and reset buttons come with a nice red and black sleeving, and they are attached to the removable motherboard tray to make popping it off at any point much easier.
With everything installed and up and running I was impressed with the amount of cooling provided considering the open air design (5 fans). It is much more than you need, but it is perfect for setting up a kick ass water cooling setup without having to mod the case at all. Noise of course is going to depend on the fans you decide to use, but remember it’s always going to be louder than a normal case because of the open design. Having cats, I was a little hesitant about having everything easy to access. The fans on both the case and heatsinks are begging to have a finger or tail in them at some point. I would love to see a similar design to this but with a drop over acrylic cover for a little more protection.
So when I started, I asked if this case was for everyone. As much as I want to say yes, the open air design will always be a major issue in households who have kids or cats, not to mention the idea of taking your rig to a LAN and having someone with sticky fingers snatching up your RAM. With that being said, this case is more than just a test bench, the build quality and design make this something you just have to show off. As a test bench the Banchetto 101 is one of the easiest cases I have ever worked with. For once, I’m looking forward to swapping out parts. The CPU cutout and removable motherboard tray should be used on every test bench. Even if it’s not for everyone: if you like showing off your hardware and are always changing things up, this is the case you want!
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