Sigma Unicorn Mid-Tower Case
Author: Rutledge Feman
Editor: Shawn Knight
Date: 06-04-2008
Provided by: Sigma Products
Pages:
Conclusions


Working with the Unicorn was generally a good experience, but there were a few small notes that, if improved, would have turned this case from a good one to a great one. One of the most important aspects of a case is its noise level. Many people go to great lengths to ensure that they have a completely silent case. While the Unicorn is not inaudible, it is certainly quiet. In a regular setup, the grills on the left side-panel are a bit too restrictive, causing turbulence in the air and making the whole setup louder. If the left side-panel is removed, or the support bar is removed and its fan not used, then the issue is solved. Otherwise, the included 120mm fans are very silent.

Keeping this in mind, there is little virtue in the support bar. Not only is PCI support unnecessary, especially when using screws in the expansion slot installation, but the case also does not need the structural support that it provides. A heavy steel case does not need a bar to prevent it from succumbing to torque, especially when it just sits on a desk. Furthermore, the fan that it houses only aids in cooling very minimally. This fan would work best when pointed at a passive VGA cooler; those coolers are very large, though, and would not fit along with the support bar in this case.

VGA card fitting, it seems, could be a pretty large problem in this case. There is very little room between the hard-drive cage and the VGA card, which could spell a problem for the longer nVidia cards that are in vogue. If the card isn't too long to fit, its cooler will most likely interfere with your cabling on your hard-drives. Other than this small hot-spot, though, the Unicorn does a great job of keeping the case very small while not cramping the interior working area.

As far as tool-less installation systems are concerned, it would have been nice to see a tool-less system on the expansion slots. There are a lot of tried and true plastic systems out there and using pop out fillers is a cheap and inconvenient choice. At the front of the case, we also see some clumsy engineering. While there is good thought involved in this installation system, it is harder than expected to align the clip after the drive is in place, making it almost easier to just use screws. Again, for external bays there are a lot of good systems already in use, and Sigma could have easily opted for one of those, or at least a similar system. Similarly, it baffles me why Sigma would only include USB ports and audio ports in the front panel of the case. Nowadays, customers are unhappy if eSATA is not present on a front IO panel, not to mention Firewire.

Nevertheless, Sigma did a great job designing the looks of this case. The front panel has a nice sleek look, and the whole case has a durable black paint job. Also, the tinted side-panel makes for a great effect with the red LED fans. All of these fans make for fine cooling in the case, beating out some similar cases by a few degrees in key areas. Finally, the case not only has an easily removable hard-drive cage, but also a removable motherboard tray. While it is tricky to use the motherboard tray with tall CPU coolers, these seemingly small features make for infinitely easier installation processes, and make the case a much more convenient one to work with.

All in all, the Sigma Unicorn is a good case with a lot of little flaws. At $99.99 USD at a popular online reseller, it seems that Sigma could spend a little time fixing up all of these cheaper choices and turn this case from an okay case to work with that has great looks to a great case all around.

Pros:
+ Great looks
+ Good cooling
+ Removable everything

Cons:
- Basically useless support bar
- Clumsy and lacking tool-less system
- Pop out expansion slot fillers
- No eSATA or Firewire on the front panel
- A little small for large CPU coolers and long VGA cards


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