Blast from the past: originally published November 24th 2005.
I basically had all the parts at home to build a micro ATX system with an Athlon XP 3200; I just needed a case. This was a spare parts system, so the budget was next to nothing. Checking with my distributor netted me the Asus TM-231 Micro Tower for a whopping $43 Canadian.
Here are the specs:
Dimension w/Bezel (W x H x D)
170 x 355 x 385 mm
MicroATX Mini Tower, Flex ATX
MB Form Factor
5.25″ Ext Bay x 2
3.5″ Ext Bay x 2
3.5″ Int Bay x 3
System Fan (mm) Support
Front: 80 x 1
Rear: 92 x 1 or 80 x1
PCI Expansion Slot x 3
AGP Slot x 1
Weight w/Power Supply
N.W. 6 kg
G.W. 7 kg
Color Options (Front/Band/Side)
Power Supply Options
Front I/O Options
1) W/O front I/O
2) W/ USB x 2 + Audio x 2
3) W/ USB x 4 + Audio x 2 + 1394 x1
It doesn’t look too bad spec wise; the configuration I received was with the 300 watt power supply and front USB and audio connections. Let’s take a look from the outside in.
The front bezel is a hard plastic with a rippled surface, and seems quite sturdy. Sides are black 0.6 mm steel and are both removable. On the front we have two 5.25” drive slots and one available 3.5” drive slot, plus a molded floppy slot. The slot covers are removed by taking off the front bezel and pushing tabs on either side. One button on the front for power that illuminates when on, plus a hard drive activity light and one more for whatever you’d like. Two USB ports and a line out and microphone port finish off the front.
Sides are very straightforward, with each held in place by two normal screws. Three quarters up each side is a hand hold to swing the door off once unscrewed.
Moving to the rear we see a standard microATX configuration with an 80 mm cooling fan. The expansion slot covers are the “Snap” variety. The Enhance 300 watt power supply is generic and quite loud in operation. Of course this is a budget unit and as such we can’t expect whisper quiet operation. No ATX port cover was included, but since every motherboard now includes their own this wasn’t a loss.
The interior is clean and simple. Drives run along the right in a column, with space at the bottom for an air intake fan. The problem is the front bezel doesn’t allow for any air to come in, so it’s a no go and really designed for other models in the TM-200 series. Standard motherboard brass mounts with proper mounting holes. One really nice feature is the cables for the front panel: both the audio and USB are in the standard block formations and individual pins if your motherboard is out of character. A really nice feature that should be in all chassis shipped.
The Asus TM-231 is a nice, simple budget case with an included 300 watt power supply and rear fan. Lots here for the price, but maximum airflow and minimum noise took a back seat on this ride.