This case might look familiar, even if the Aspire logo on the front doesn't. That's because small-form-factor systems from vendors such as Polywell and Enpower have used the Aspire X-Qpack. It's easy to see why this case is popular with vendors and DIY types. It's cheap, flexible, and reasonably attractive, if not exactly stunning.
The Aspire X-Qpack chassis can hold any micro-ATX motherboard and full-size PCI Express cards. That kind of flexibility lets you build almost any kind of system--from a Media Center box to a gaming rig--with off-the-shelf components. We slotted in a standard hard drive and a DVD drive, along with a long ATI X1900 All-in-Wonder card with no problems. The X-Qpack has a total of two optical drive bays and two internal hard drive bays.
The case measures 9 inches wide by 11.2 inches high by 13.8 inches deep, making it not as svelte as some of the smaller systems we've seen, such as the Mac Mini Core Duo or the AOpen MiniPC Duo, but it's still a welcome change if you're used to dealing with a space-hogging midtower. The cover lifts off easily after removing a couple of thumbscrews, but the plastic windows on the top and sides are delicate, to say the least; you should take great care to avoid scratching them.
A 420-watt power supply is included, which should supply more than enough juice for most users. The Enpower Media Center Express Special Edition, which uses the X-Qpack case, features an SLI video card setup with two GeForce 7900GT cards, and it ran with no problems using the stock power supply. The front panel includes two USB 2.0 jacks, a single FireWire port, and audio in and out connections. A tiny LCD screen attaches to temperature probes that are affixed to the CPU and hard drives. If basic black doesn't float your boat, the Aspire X-Qpack is available with different-colored faceplates, from yellow to red to green.