Golden Field “Bamboo” Case Review
Product Type: Budget ATX Mid Tower Enclosure
Construction: Steel with plastic front bezel
Manufacturer: Golden Field
Price: $50.00 USD (No Power Supply)
Product Sponsor: VAM Computers Inc.
A few months ago we received a Golden Field “Bamboo” ATX form factor mid tower enclosure for review. It was presented to us as a possibility for a discount “Gamer / Enthusiast”case. It’s been sitting around for a bit as we’ve been quite busy but as I was (finally) putting together my i7 test machine that’s been sitting around for a few months as well I decided that this was as good a time as any to get the Golden Field review done as well. I would have preferred to keep using my existing Thermal Take V3 case but regrettably it’s been sat on a few times too many and my might buttocks have started to dent the top of the case in. Well that and the fact that the power button on that case seems to be dying and is somewhat intermittent in it’s function. So we decided to see if we can shoehorn in the guts of a gaming machine into this budget case and make it all work.
We’ve done a lot of case reviews over the last ten years and they’re generally of mid range towers but occasionally we get sent something I’d consider low end. We’re happy to review these sorts of products as well. Please keep in mind that we do review them for what they are and don’t spend too much time comparing them to higher end cases that are much more expensive. That’s just not fair.
The Bamboo is the best looking of a series of very similar cases from Golden Field that share an identical base chassis with only the paint job and front bezel being different. My initial impression of the Bamboo was that it’s dead sexy to look at. I’ve never come across a budget case that has such a nice looking wood facade. I generally go for somewhat subdued cases in plain black so this is something refreshingly different. It’s visuals have certainly gotten mostly positive reviews from the people who’ve seen it. There’s been a few negative comments as well but they’ve been in the minority.
Once we get into the inside of the case we get into the less awesome. For $50 one can’t expect the be all end all of cases and we weren’t surprised. It’s not a bad case for what it is but the construction feels a bit flimsy when compared to a more expensive enclosure. There’s very few sharp edges inside the case and no fingers were cut up in the assembly of this rig which was a nice change from most of the budget cases we see.
Here you can see the misalignment of the bottom two tool-less retainers for the 5.25″ bays.
The case features 5x 5.25″ external drive bays , 1x external 3.5″ external drive bays and 4x internal 3.5″ drive bays and tooless disassembly on the drives and the cards. In theory. Alll in theory. In reality the two of the external 5.25″ bays (Top and bottom) are blocked by the front bezel pieces. There’s two covers for the optical drives that hinge down when the drive ejects. The 3.25″ external drive bay is blocked by the front USB and audio ports. The 5.25″ thing I don’t care about as I only have two optical drives and nothing like a front breakout box for a Soundblaster platinum or a fancy capture card. The 3.5″ external being inaccessible is more of an issue for me as like the majority of people building a modern PC I’d like to stick a card reader in there but in this case that’s just not going to happen unless you put it in a 5.25″ bay with an adapter and loose one of the optical drives. Again that ain’t going to be happening.
The top tool-less release is worthless as the bay isn’t usable. The one under it works fine and lines up the optical perfectly with the flip down drive cover on the front of the case. The two under that don’t seem to line up with anything and are obviously designed for one of the other cases in this series where the 5.25″ drive sits further towards the front of the case. It’s not a huge deal as there’s a screw hole that lines up where you need it however it’s very annoying. If you’re going to have tool-less drive bays make them all line up. The hard drive bay releases all worked perfectly as did the quick release retainers on the card slots. They even seem to be holding in my rather large Geforce 280 with no issues, but as I move my PC every day and prefer the security of a screw to plastic hold downs they’ll liked be replaced in the very near future. For the moment I’m curious as to how long they’ll hold my monster of a video card in.
Shoehorn those hard drives in!
Assembly went smoothly other than the above mentioned drive release annoyances. I’m starting to really prefer cases that mount the PSU in the bottom of the enclosure and unfortunately the Bamboo mounts it at the top. Due to the length of the video card we had to stick the hard drives in the top 3.5″ internal bay and mounted the WD Velociraptor into the “external” 3.5″ bay. Sadly since it seems to be setup for a floppy only one screw fits in on either side of the drive. Again not a big deal but it is annoying.
We managed to pack everything in and make it work. A bit tight but it works.
Conclusion: The Golden Field Bamboo isn’t bad for a budget case and it really does look amazing. Having number of drive bays rendered non-accessible is quite annoying but understandable given the styling of the front bezel. The case definite losses some points for the lack of an externally accessible 3.5″ drive for a card reader.
If you’ve got a large video card or a lot of drives you’re best to stick with a better quality case with more room and features. But if you’re looking for a basic case that looks good and draws attention you can’t go too wrong with the Bamboo.
PS: The more I work with cases that have traditionally mounted hard drive bays the more I love cases that have side mounted bays.
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