Introducing the Rosewill Line-M

Vendors are always very quick to send us their biggest, best, and brightest. Rosewill's own top-selling Blackhawk Ultra has been with us for a little while, but while we rework our testbed for high end cases, we thought it might be worth looking at one of the workhorses in Rosewill's stable. Looking at enthusiast kit is fun, but it's interesting to see what's floating around in the budget sector, too, as many of us are often on the hook to build and maintain desktops for family and friends. With that in mind, we requested the micro-ATX Rosewill Line M.

While the Line M is worth checking out in its own right as a compact, $55 case with USB 3.0 connectivity, it also highlights a disparity in the current industry: Micro-ATX motherboards are still incredibly common, but case designs are stratifying within two extremes. Full ATX and larger cases are going stronger than ever, but the smaller case designs have largely been usurped by Mini-ITX. There's still a place in the world for a good Micro-ATX client, though, and we think the Line-M might just help deliver it.

It's only fitting that just as I'd tweaked the case testbed to handle Micro-ATX and ATX cases with a single bed, Micro-ATX cases started to vanish from the market. That's a shame, because I'm not really convinced there isn't a place for Micro-ATX in the current market. It's true that for many builds even Mini-ITX will be adequate, but that form factor precludes multi-GPU or ever adding any expansion cards (I have a personal, persisting need for FireWire.) I'm a prime candidate for Micro-ATX, but there just aren't very many compelling cases out there in the form factor.

That's part of why I wanted to check out the Line-M. This is pretty clearly a workhorse enclosure, but as a long time proponent of some of Cooler Master's Elite chassis I have a continuing interest in good budget enclosures. The Line-M was kind of quietly tucked away in Rosewill's suite at CES 2013, but I felt like its older style ATX design might still have plenty to recommend it. As it turns out, I was right.

Rosewill Line-M Specifications
Motherboard Form Factor Mini-ITX, Micro-ATX
Drive Bays External 2x 5.25", 1x 3.5"
Internal 1x 2.5", 2x 3.5"
Cooling Front 1x 120mm blue LED intake fan
Rear 1x 120mm exhaust fan
Top -
Side 2x 120mm/92mm fan mount
Bottom -
Expansion Slots 5
I/O Port 2x USB 3.0, 2x USB 2.0, 1x Headphone, 1x Mic
Power Supply Size ATX
Clearances HSF 160mm
PSU 160mm
GPU 300mm
Dimensions 7.29" x 14.37" x 15.74"
185mm x 365mm x 400mm
Weight 8.82 lbs / 4 kg
Special Features USB 3.0 via internal header
Price $55

You can see from the spec table that the Rosewill Line-M is pretty spare. This is most definitely, most definitely a budget enclosure. Construction is fairly thin SECC steel with a plastic fascia and the whole thing is as barebones as it gets. But realistically, basic users aren't going to need more than what Rosewill has on offer here, and they at least made an allowance for an SSD mount.

In and Around 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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