Pandora's box opens

— 5:47 PM on November 3, 2001

Victor "grooyOne" Chen delivers the scoop on a new competitor for Shuttle's SV24:
Soldam, a Japanese computer parts company, manufactures their own products under the Windy product line. Last week, they announced their new line of Pandora cases which are very similar to the SV24, except they up the ante and finally give PC users their own "true" cube. Check this out.

Here's a link to the product page.

It's a perfect cube at 225mm around. It uses the same motherboard as the Shuttle SV24 or it can take similar board based on Freetech's P6F209 (almost identical to shuttle's board). They use very high quality parts and lots of subtle enhancements. It comes with a high quality silent fan for heat exhaust. The layout is thoughtful and well planned out. The power supply can be easily removed to make upgrades easier. As you can see, the front has a plexiglass looking finish giving it a nice look. Having two 5.25" bays is a plus making this system a little more expandable than the Shuttle SV24.

Also, to quiet all the people complaining about drab colors, the Pandora comes in 4 colors. Silver, Gun Metallic (black), Grand Blue Metallic, and Grand Rouge Metallic. But wait! There's more! Any anal person wouldn't want to put in beige drives in a nice colored Soldam offers colored coordinated floppy drives and optical disks. Of course, you're limited to the drives they're using but they use pretty good parts so it's not that bad.

Ok, good news and bad news.

Good news: Soldam sells to people in the states. If you go to their English language site you can order products from them and they ship internationally.

Bad news: They aren't currently selling the Pandora to people outside Japan at this time. Since the introduction of the case a week ago, it's been selling like mad and they're having trouble keeping up with demand. They plan to have them ready in about a month or so for export. Other bad news, aesthetics doesn't come cheap. The case and motherboard, given current exchange rates, is around $320. I assume they will charge a little more for international orders. So, it's definitely pricier than the $250 for the SV24. I personally think it's worth the money since it's more expandable and far more polished.

A person could make one decently "mean" machine with this. I'd go with the following:

PIII-M 1.13 or 1.2Ghz (depending on price)
1GB of PC133 SDRAM (dirt cheap)
IBM 60GB 60GXP 7200 RPM drive (or bigger if you need)
Ricoh 9120A DVD/CDRW/CDR drive (or split between two drives)
GeForce 2 MX400 PCI card (so you don't have to use the onboard video)

I really doubt that someone would be completely unhappy with specs like those. It would make a great all around machine... that's for sure.

And yes, we're working to get our hands on one for review.
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