In and Around the Rosewill Line-M

Working with the Rosewill Line-M made me feel downright nostalgic. It doesn't suffer from the same kind of poor build quality (and comically optimistic price tag) of the Moneual Sonamu G100 I reviewed some time ago, but I couldn't help but want the Line-M in beige, if you catch my drift.

The front of the Line-M is all business. It's a black plastic fascia and features two external 5.25" bays and a single 3.5" bay for the inevitable card reader. Beneath the drive bays are the I/O cluster and power and reset buttons, and then below them is a large vent for the 120mm blue LED intake fan. A blue LED fan is kind of an oddball choice for a case like this that seems destined to be hanging out under desks in home offices, and it does stick out some.

When you check out the top, sides, and back, there are the subtle hints of a more modern case design (if the USB 3.0 ports didn't give it away). The left side panel features two vents with 92mm/120mm fan mounts, and the back of the case sports a fifth expansion slot for users who somehow deign to install a multi-GPU configuration in the Line-M. The irony there is that I'm reasonably certain the case is actually perfectly adequate for it.

The side panels are held in place by thumbscrews, and while I hate notched panels, they're at least expected in a case this inexpensive. That there's a loop in the back for a padlock is an indicator of where this case is supposed to go, but that loop also helps line up the side panel and makes it easier to slide on without bending the notches. Get those panels off, though, and you'll see there's no space at all behind the motherboard tray.

As for the interior itself, Rosewill's design is very minimal but also uses space very efficiently. I think it's important to remember (and you'll see what I mean later) that there are good reasons to mount the power supply to the top of the case instead of the bottom. Currently the biggest albatross hanging around the neck of case design is the 5.25" bay, but lining up the power supply behind the 5.25" bays at least winds up using space efficiently and lowers the motherboard so the case's intake has a more direct line to the CPU cooler.

Undoubtedly the whole of the Rosewill Line-M is going to look downright archaic. I've been watching the technology of case design continue to advance since I began reviewing cases here, and seeing a build that doesn't include a lot of modern designs is kind of curious. With that in mind, though, I still feel like Rosewill's overall design is a very efficient one in terms of space and apropos to what the case is intended for. But why the blue LED fan?

Introducing the Rosewill Line-M Assembling the Rosewill Line-M
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  • Sweepster - Tuesday, February 26, 2013 - link

    Furthermore, two seconds of research will bring you this:

    The 'wherefore' here means why rather than where. What Juliet is asking, in allusion to the feud between her Capulet family and Romeo's Montague clan, is 'Romeo, why are you a Montague?'. Their love is impossible because of their family names and she asks him to change his allegiance, or else she will change hers.
  • rangerdavid - Tuesday, February 26, 2013 - link

    Thanks - I was going to point this out, as an English Lit snob, but you got there first.

    Juliet says this to bemoan the fact that the guy she loves is Romeo, and not someone else - "Why are you Romeo (...and not some other guy down the street who's family doesn't want to kill mine)"

    Not "where are you." She's not looking for him, she's complaining about falling in love with the wrong guy.

    The more you know!
  • rRansom - Tuesday, February 26, 2013 - link

    That's why I don't like Romeo and Juliet - or Shakespeare in general.
  • sjakti - Tuesday, February 26, 2013 - link

    At first I thought the author indeed meant "Wherefore", as that could make sense too if the author questioned why it was micro-ATX. I don't think that was his intention.
  • cjs150 - Tuesday, February 26, 2013 - link

    Would be a better title for this article because this is a case that time forgot. It is simply a retread of a late 1990s design.

    It is very cheap, it does not do a bad job in will do fine for the vast majority of people.

    But if you read Anandtech you are not the vast majority of people. As far as I am concerned the best M-atx case is the Siverstone 08, sure it is a lot more expensive and not perfect (a bit more width to allow sound proofing as well as cable management would help). The silverstone is what Anandtech readers should buy (I also have a soft spot for Fractal design mni arc).

    My problem fwith case design is that there has been no real innovation for years - moving PSU from top to bottom does not count. Lian Li have experimented a bit as have Silverstone but the rest keep with the same designs.

    How about a design with the following features:

    1. Hinges not notched panels: Dustin is right about this
    2. Width so side panels have proper sound dampening but also room for cabling
    3. More experimenting with PSU placement, I like the idea of 90 degrees to current method, but need to be convinced.
    4. More thought about isolating PSU from case for vibration
    5. Oprical drives need noise dampening and vibration isolation as well.
    6. More use of grooves in back of motherboard panel to direct cabling and lots of points to attach cable ties to.
    7. Fewer hard drive cages
    8. Bring back the supports for the GPU
  • CeriseCogburn - Tuesday, February 26, 2013 - link

    I find the stark contrast between the WHINING of the "luxury item" titan $999 brand spanking new awesome nVidia card, and the COMPLAINING about this mid range tiny case simply amazing.

    In the first case the BRATS can't comprehend nor condone the price, nor do they, any of them, save a few, in 300 comments, desire it for gaming at the price.

    In this case, it's not good enough - so some will go waste $100 or more (above or beyond this one's price) on some tiny case they can "feel good about". What a waste in comparison when an extra unneeded $100 is blown away on a feel good whim ( probably more than once so $200 or more ) - then the claimed extra $200 for the $999 Titan is the biggest sin in the world...

    So you get the usb extension to the front, that's a bonus, too, like the toolless drive mounting.

    Another luxury item others will call low end garbage then waste away their build dollars and scream about $5 $10 or $20 $50 or $200 on some (Titan or other) vid card they can't codnone or stomach the few bucks or few hundred extra they already WASTED.
  • beemeup - Tuesday, February 26, 2013 - link

    My favorite Micro-ATX case is the Thermaltake WingMA.

    What sets it apart from most other M-ATX cases is the fact that it has 3 filtered 5.25" bays,
    which makes it perfect for equipping a Xigmatek 4-in-3 HDD cage. In total it can hold up to 7 3.5" HDDs making it ideal for a compact media server / storage machine.

    It also has motherboard standoffs built-in so no need to fiddle around with additional spacers.
    It's "just" wide enough to fit a Hyper 212+ CPU cooler in the intended vertical position with hot air blowing out the rear 120mm fan, and "just" tall enough to allow removal of the PSU without first taking out the aforementioned Hyper 212+ cooler making swapping out PSUs a much less tedious affair.

    It would be perfect if it had a modular / removable HDD cage and front panel USB 3.0.
  • beemeup - Tuesday, February 26, 2013 - link

    Correction: It can hold a total of 8x 3.5" HDDs + 4x 2.5" SSDs if you decide to equip the two front 3.5" bays with 2-in-1 2.5-to-3.5" adapters.

    That's 12 drives total! Very impressive for a Micro-ATX case.
  • lwatcdr - Tuesday, February 26, 2013 - link

    I would like to see more mATX cases reviewed/ They are a good compromise between the extremely small and hard to work on iTX cases and the large in your face ATX cases.

    I think this one would be great for a Hackintosh build

    And this for your typical home office
    NZXT even builds a gaming mATX case but it lacks USB 3 front ports so I left it of my list.
  • Grok42 - Sunday, March 3, 2013 - link

    I would add a few mITX cases to your list as well. There are a few mITX cases that size wise are almost mATX but can only accommodate a mITX board. They are typically when you want a small form factor that can hold a lot of storage or bigger graphics cards.

    The one I just bought is amazing with a few small flaws. It is 14.41" x 7.83" x 11.02" or 1243 cubic inches Vs your first mATX which is 10.35" x 8.35" x 15.47" 1337 cubic inches. Being almost mATX size means it can hold 7x 3.5" + 3x 2.5" drives Vs. the mATX's 2x 3.5" and 2x 5.25" capacity.

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