My beloved Chenbro PC-611 cabinet

By Abhijit Menon-Sen <ams@toroid.org>

2009-08-08

The heat and dust in Delhi are extremely unkind to computer hardware, and the fifteen years that I've spent here have been punctuated by the failure of many generations of components. My current computer has been in operation for five years, thanks to a double-converting UPS that protects it from flaky mains power, but each passing summer exacts its toll in random breakage and frayed nerves.

But I realised the other day, while removing dust-balls that had choked up my CPU fan, that one component in particular deserves my gratitude for never once having gotten on my nerves since I bought it five years ago: my Chenbro PC-611 tower cabinet.

I had forgotten the model number, and had to look through ancient email to find it, but I remember that it was recommended by a friend, and that I had trouble finding one in Nehru Place. With its power supply, it cost me more than five times as much as the generic cabinet I had been about to buy, but I have never once regretted the decision.

My exposure to high-end cabinets has been limited to this one, so I have no real basis for an evaluation, but it is so much better than any other cabinet I've seen that the comparison seems unfair. Every single time I have had to open up another computer in the last five years, I've missed mine. I like the way drives get mounted on rails, the precise and solid construction without rattling, the rounded metal edges, spacious layout, "tool-free" disassembly—and it's not even hideously ugly, as are most of the cabinets I see these days!

Best of all, other than the dust, it shows no signs of age. I expect it will outlive every other component in my computer.

Update: In fairness, I should mention that one of the two chassis fans began to stutter a few years in, and the power switch has become a little unresponsive because of accumulated dust… but there's no getting away from dust in the end.