Lite-On FS020 Full Tower Review

Author: Yandri Susanto
Editor: Howard Ha
Publish Date: Thursday, January 24th, 2002
Originally Published on Neoseeker (http://www.neoseeker.com)
Article Link: http://www.neoseeker.com/Articles/Hardware/Reviews/liteonfs020/
Copyright Neo Era Media, Inc. - please do not redistribute or use for commercial purposes.

Introduction

The visual appearance might be important when we choose a computer case, but we should not forget about its main function. A case’s main function is to be a home for your PC. The case should provide all the necessary specifications (power supply, fan, airflow, etc.) that your PC requires and also be spacious enough to allow you to easily install and remove components. It also has to provide enough protection for your system. The Liteon FS020 with its solid frame is one of the best cases for that category. This spacious medium-full tower case has plenty of open space and also sports some pretty serious cooling options.

Specification

Appearance and Structural Integrity

The first thing I looked for before working with this case is a manual. To my disappointment, I could not find one. This could make installing it with components & setting it up for general use to be tricky considering that some of it features could go unnoticed. After checking for a manual, I checked the structural integrity of the case. I found that the structural integrity is really strong and seems to be able to protect you system from a great deal of force. It also doesn’t have any sharp edges that can cut your hand when working on it. It is a tower case that has a big interior space so working on it would not be a big problem. Well.. that is not entirely true because there is a bar directly in front of the base panel making it a little hard to work with. The first thing I tried doing was to take off this bar, but I found that doing so was quite a bit more difficult than it should have been. If you don't remove the bar, it really does prove to be an obstacle when trying to put the motherboard in the case or when working with the drives. I understand that the bar is necessary to keep the structural integrity of the tower case, but they should make it easier and more convenient to take off. Because there is no manual, opening the front panel is quite tricky - it seems to be really secured and some of its buttons and screws are hidden behind some parts of the case. The airflow of this case is really powerful. It has one large 120mm exhaust fan on the rear, with another expansion grille just below where you can install another fan of the same size. This would be perfect for an overclocker.. someone using a really hot CPU or one who uses quite a few devices (extra HDs perhaps?) which add to the overall ambient heat of the case. The fans are also positioned just beyond the CPU region of the motherboard, one of the main heat dissipation regions.

Installation

Again, because the case didn't come with a manual (perhaps because it is an OEM product?), we didn't have any reference to help us to identify some of its features. Opening the case is not a problem because it has two thumbscrews (big timesaver) that makes it easier to access the motherboard. Opening the front panel is another story. Even though the front panel can be removed, it is a somewhat difficult task to do because of the hidden screws and buttons. The cage itself is quite heavy and solid, a sign of quality construction and heavy duty matierals, and it even has a conveniently placed carrying handle.

Inside the case you can find a big space to work with. The only thing that disturbs me is the bar directly across the base panel that limits the space when you want to access the motherboard. Although this bar is removable, I found it was not very easy to remove. It would also be inconvenient to have to remove this bar every time you wanted to peer into your case and work with the drives (which is why I was glad for the rear mounted internal 3.5" drive cage). Other than that it has nice open space for you to work with. The first thing I did was to install the motherboard on the base panel. Except for the part of actually getting it onto the base panel, installing the motherboard was not a big problem. The problem arose when I wanted to connect all the necessary cables to the motherboard. To my astonishment I found that the power LED and Reset cable were not long enough to reach the motherboard.

Installing the drives is another story. First you need to open the front panel that is quite a hassle considering it has so many buttons that aren't all that visible. The first thing I installed is the floppy drive, then the hard drive. I found some problem installing the floppy because its cage seemed to be a little bit too small. You have to force it though a little bit to put it in. Installing the CDROM was not a big problem - all you have to attach the slide reel which allows the drive to slide in & out of the bay. The only problem with the ROM was when I tried to adjust it to sit flush against the front panel. You have to open the front panel for each attempt at adjusting the position of the drive.

Conclusion

This case has a solid build with a structural integrity much higher then most others. The design of the case makes it a winner: a nice spacious interior with room for many components and with support for massive cooling. The only problem with this case is that it isn't all that user friendly when you want to build or upgrade your system. I would not suggest this case for people who like to open their case a lot, because even though it has a big open space, the cage is quite heavy and there are some minor obstructions that can hamper your work.

Quality:95%
Design:70%
Features:60%
Expansion:90%
Usability:80%

Overall Score: 75%

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