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Spire Pininfarina review: Spire Pininfarina

Spire Pininfarina

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Dan Ackerman
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Dan Ackerman

Editorial Director / Computers and Gaming

Dan Ackerman leads CNET's coverage of computers and gaming hardware. A New York native and former radio DJ, he's also a regular TV talking head and the author of "The Tetris Effect" (Hachette/PublicAffairs), a non-fiction gaming and business history book that has earned rave reviews from the New York Times, Fortune, LA Review of Books, and many other publications. "Upends the standard Silicon Valley, Steve Jobs/Mark Zuckerberg technology-creation myth... the story shines." -- The New York Times

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While most nontraditional midtower cases look like they were invented by neon-addicted LAN-party veterans, Spire had the aluminum curves of its new $99 Pininfarina case sculpted by the legendary car design company of the same name. Founded in 1930, Pininfarina has designed cars for Ferrari, Rolls-Royce, and Maserati. Its take on the PC case echoes the aerodynamic lines of a sports car, with a solid aluminum exterior marred only by a plastic front-panel door hinge that keeps the door from lining up perfectly.
Both of the side panels are made to either drop down flat or lift off completely, thanks to a unique tabbed design and easy-to-grip handles. The easy right-side access makes attaching a motherboard (micro, standard, or extended ATX) a breeze. Inside there's room for three 5.25-inch drives and two 3.5-inch drives, plus a four-slot hard drive cage. One welcome note is the illustrated instructional stickers throughout that explain how to install fans and optical drives. The turnkey drive rails; unique, rotating, removable hard drive cage; and a hidden compartment of screws and accessories are all noteworthy innovations but are sometimes slightly awkward to use in real-world situations.
7.7

Spire Pininfarina

The Good

Auto-inspired design; oversize case handles; instructional stickers; innovative design ideas.

The Bad

Some innovative ideas not fully worked out; accessing some parts can be awkward.

The Bottom Line

With a curved case by an Italian sports car designer, the Spire Pininfarina looks great, without crossing over into geek territory. Interior components such as drive rails and cages are innovative but may need another generation or two to work out the kinks.
While most nontraditional midtower cases look like they were invented by neon-addicted LAN-party veterans, Spire had the aluminum curves of its new $99 Pininfarina case sculpted by the legendary car design company of the same name. Founded in 1930, Pininfarina has designed cars for Ferrari, Rolls-Royce, and Maserati. Its take on the PC case echoes the aerodynamic lines of a sports car, with a solid aluminum exterior marred only by a plastic front-panel door hinge that keeps the door from lining up perfectly.
Both of the side panels are made to either drop down flat or lift off completely, thanks to a unique tabbed design and easy-to-grip handles. The easy right-side access makes attaching a motherboard (micro, standard, or extended ATX) a breeze. Inside there's room for three 5.25-inch drives and two 3.5-inch drives, plus a four-slot hard drive cage. One welcome note is the illustrated instructional stickers throughout that explain how to install fans and optical drives. The turnkey drive rails; unique, rotating, removable hard drive cage; and a hidden compartment of screws and accessories are all noteworthy innovations but are sometimes slightly awkward to use in real-world situations.
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