Last year I looked for an open air ATX bench case to build a modest test system. Popular Tech YouTubers like JayzTwoCents and Paul’s Hardware prefer the Praxis Wetbench open-air bench case. I have two problems with that bench case: too big and too expensive. The Praxis bench case is 18” x 19” x 17” and cost $200 USD. I needed a bench case that was compact and cost a lot less. The Electric Magic Creative Personality open air ATX bench case is 11” x 7” x 16” (standing up) and cost $56 USD. If you think assembling IKEA furniture was bad, try assembling this bench case.
Assembling the Creative Personality bench case requires serious IKEA furniture building skills. The bagged parts are in Chinese, the exploded diagram looks like a bad photocopy, and assembly requires using the included Allen wrench. It took a lot of experimentation to figure out how all the pieces go together. I rebuilt the bench case six times in eight months before I got it into its final form. If you’re interested in seeing how to assemble a similar bench case, check out Tek Everything’s video.
I assembled the Creative Personality bench case with two additional but entirely optional tools.
- A 2” machinist steel square to keep the frame squared while putting it together. The motherboard could flex and break a trace inside the PCB if the frame was out of alignment. Broken traces make for a broken motherboard.
- A 30-piece Allen wrench set. I recently misplaced the included Allen wrench before I found it again. Without the Allen wrench, you can’t modify the bench case. It’s good to have a spare Allen wrench on hand.
A special modification I made was adding a self-stick heavy duty ½” wide felt strip to the bottom and back. The felt strip serves as footers for when the bench case is standing up or lying down. Without the felt strip, the frame would clatter on the tabletop. I used 50” of a 60” roll on five of the nine bars in the frame.
Here are the hardware specs for my test system:
- AMD Athlon 3000G processor with built-in video that I picked up for $50 USD last year.
- G.Skill Ripjaws V 8GB (2 x 4GB) 2666MHz DDR4 memory kit that recently came out of my editing system. Since I had red memory modules, I got the red version of the Creative Personality.
- I paid $70 USD for the Asrock B450 Pro4 ATX motherboard back in January.
- An old Adata 120GB SATA-3 SSD for the operating system.
- The power supply is a five-year-old Corsair CX500 500-watt that just came out of my Linux system.
The newest addition to the test bench is the Be Quiet Dark Rock Pro 4 air cooler. You may be curious as to why I have a massive 250W TDP air cooler on a tiny 35W TDP processor. I’ll have a new video about the Be Quiet air cooler coming out soon.
The Electric Magic Creative Personality DIY bench case is a good value at $56 USD. If you don’t mind assembling a 3D puzzle without any instructions and rebuilding it a half-dozen times.