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Sharkoon CA-M review

Richard Easton
8 Mar 2015
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
46
inc VAT

The Sharkoon CA-M is an inexpensive compact case but it's not particularly good-looking or easy to work in

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Specifications

Case type: MicroATX, Motherboard compatibility: MicroATX, Mini-ITX, Supplied fans: 1x 120mm, Max 3 1/2in drive bays: 2, Max 5 1/4in drive bays: 0, Size: 225x270x285mm, Weight: 1.8kg, Warranty: One year RTB

The Sharkoon CA-M is a compact and understated box that's inconspicuous enough to be hidden away next to your TV or hi-fi. There aren't any fancy windows built into the side panels and it all looks rather basic and industrial.

The case is made from aluminium, and is very light at just 1.2kg before you start filling it with components. It has a matt brushed metal design with rounded front corners but disappointingly this rounded finish doesn't extend to the rear corners, which are sharp and feel unfinished.

On the top of the case are two USB3 ports, and the front panel has two USB and separate microphone and headphone jacks. There's plenty of clearance between all the ports, so you shouldn't struggle to plug in fat USB flash drives or wireless adaptors. A 120mm fan is pre-installed at the top of the case, and there's also an optional mounting point on the back for a 60mm fan; we find these smaller fans can be noisy, as they have to spin faster to move the same amount of air as larger models.

You'll need a Phillips screwdriver to remove the side panel, as there aren't thumbscrews for easy access. There are four screws in total, two on the back and two on the side, and these are two different sizes; we like our cases to have as many screws the same size as possible. The inside edges of the case feel slightly cheap and unfinished. They're not rounded off, either, so working inside the CA-M can be tough on your hands.

The Case is cramped inside, so we'd recommend working on the motherboard outside the case before you plug it in. The CA-M supports either microATX or Mini-ATX boards. There's only room for a graphics card with a maximum length of 250mm, so if you want to fit a powerful graphics card you'll have to pick a specially-designed shorter model.  

When fitted, a standard ATX power supply will be almost flush against your graphics card. You'll also want to use a modular PSU, so you only have to fit the cables you need for your system, as finding space for a PSU's captive cables will be a nightmare. At the bottom of the case you can mount a maximum of three 2.5in drives or two 3.5in drives, or one of each.

The Sharkoon CA-M feels cheap and we found it difficult to build in. Its main strength is its small size and fairly low price, so it may suit you if you want to cram in large components. If you have a little bit more room and don't mind a more ostentatious design, you'd be better off with the cheaper Cougar Spike

Hardware
USB ports2
USB3 ports2
eSATA ports0
Front panel extrasNone
Case typeMicroATX
Motherboard compatibilityMicroATX, Mini-ITX
Fan mounts1x 60mm, 1x 120mm
Supplied fans1x 120mm
Max 2 1/2in drive bays3
Max 3 1/2in drive bays2
Max 5 1/4in drive bays0
Other drive bays0
Max graphics card length250mm
Size225x270x285mm
Weight1.8kg
Buying information
Price including VAT£46
WarrantyOne year RTB
Supplierwww.scan.co.uk
Detailswww.sharkoon.com
Part code4044951016112

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