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Chieftec AH-01SL Aluminum Midtower Case - Cases and Cooling 23
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Here is the case stocked up with a decent system. It has Asus A7A266 with a 1Ghz Thunderbird with a mild overclock, topped by a relatively cheap Coolermaster DP5-6i11 and 31CFM Thermaltake 60mm fan. A Ricoh CDRW, 2 hard drives, NIC, Video card and floppy drive using an Enermax 365 Whisper series PSU. I tested the case with just the three Panaflo L1A case fans. The case temp was 3ºC above ambient room temp over a four day period under constant full load. The case did a good job of cooling for such a small case, and under constant heat from the system while running Folding@Home 24 hours a day.

With everything installed and running for such a long period of time, the loudest noticeable noise from the system was the PSU fan. Even the Enermax Whisper series just isn’t noiseless as people think it might be. There were no rattles or harmonics from the aluminum that can be noticed sometimes in other aluminum cases. This case is simply solid. I’m sure with stronger case fans this case would perform easily on par, if not better than any other case. I just happened to be going for a quieter solution in the use of this case. LAN partiers will love its performance and lightweight style. It’s easy to drag from place to place without a single huff or puff of exertion. Don’t forget the side panel is lockable just in case you worry about stepping away for a BR break at a LAN party, no one is going to walk away with any parts, but with it being so light, I’d be more concerned with them walking away with the whole system then just some parts from inside.


  • Cooling abilities
  • Price
  • Sleek look
  • Light weight – only 12 lbs empty
  • 8 Drive Bays for plenty of room
  • Roominess to handle large motherboards
  • Quick Release side panel
  • Two piece front fascia for ease of install and upgrades
  • Slide rails for CDRs
  • Rounded edges to make for a cut-free installation


  • PSU bracket will get in the way of dual fan PSUs.
  • fan guards are still hindering optimal fan performance
  • Blue LEDs are cool and are missed for this case.
  • No motherboard tray

For the size of the case and what fans and PSU I installed, I was surprised this case performed as well as it did. Quite simply, even in a room with 5 other PCs it tends to get a bit hot, especially here in Hotlanta, GA. Even during the day, it stayed quite cool and varied very little over the course of its testing. I think this case is the best bang for the buck aluminum case you can buy. If you want aluminum, but don’t want to spend more than the system that’s going to be inside it, Chieftec aluminum cases are the ones the look at. I have personally used a comparable steel Antec case for one of my clients; I don’t see much of a difference in cooling performance between steel and aluminum with the same case design. However, the aluminum Chieftec AH-01SL is half the weight filled with a system. Carrying a system to a client, you would like lightweight.

I’d like to thank Michael Chang from Directron for supplying this case for review. If you would like to pick up one of these cases, they are on sale right now for only $59! With a price like that, I will be looking for more of these for future clients.

Questions or comments? Just click my name at the top of this review 🙂

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