There seems to be two distinct design schools when it comes to the aesthetics of small form factor (SFF) casings. One opts to focus on the media center functionality of a SFF, which invariably draws its inspiration from consumer home electronics and their penchant for black and silver. The other lesser-trodden path is to target another market niche, namely young, hardcore gamers who travel with their systems to LAN parties. These designs usually have a more brash, extroverted look as opposed to the understated media center-class SFF systems. Of course, small form factor systems are basically computers so they usually serve more than one purpose, but merging both may result in a schizophrenic appearance that fits in neither category.
Shuttle, the pioneer in the SFF genre, takes the first route with its elegant and classy models, so that is certainly a proven strategy. The neutrality of these SFF systems means that they can double for gaming besides serving as media hubs. The second approach is debatable as while LAN gamers do appreciate portability, performance is more desirable. Ask any serious gamer and you'll know where their top priority lies – frame rates. Therefore, the gaming niche is likely to be much smaller and though it's not a faux pas by any standard, many of the gaming oriented casings we have encountered look out of place in the living room.
Judging by the many media oriented SFFs in the market, this is the more popular approach as it guarantees a larger audience. AOpen's latest SFF casing chooses the alternative and hopes to appeal to gamers with a design that loudly proclaims its allegiance in bold red and black. Presenting the AOpen G325 and its specifications: