SAUDER’S “MULTIMEDIA STORAGE TOWER” IS WELL WORTH 40 BUCKS
Sauder Multimedia Storage Tower, Cinnamon Cherry
Pros: Price (about $40 including shipping). Capacity. Ease of assembly. Satisfactory appearance.
Cons: Back panel’s permanent “fold marks.”
Last March I was in the process of completing my collections of (mostly) “racing” video games for the PlayStation 2; GameCube, and original Wii systems. I’d decided to segregate those older games from my flagship Xbox 360 console’s compatible games (kept in an adjacent billiard/games room), and so I ordered this Sauder Multimedia Storage Tower [from Amazon.com for slightly over $40], and I installed it in my home office’s 6’ x 6’ walk-in closet.
According to Amazon, this product’s “assembled measurements are 32.50 inches wide by 9.375 inches deep by 45.375 inches tall.” However, those numbers pertain to the maximum exterior size of the product, not its usable shelf space. Accordingly, prospective consumers should note well that the actual shelf width and depth (per my hands-on measurements) are 32.2 by 5.5 inches.
As for the usable height of each shelf tier, well, using some of the manufacturer’s predrilled holes (for which insertable little metal “supports” are provided), I’ve adjusted four (of the six included) shelves such that there are five tiers (not counting the top of the cabinet), each measuring about 8 inches high. [This assumes you want each tier to accommodate conventional “DVD” cases, like those originally included with most PS2, GameCube, or Wii video games.]
According to the manufacturer, this “storage tower” can hold 426 CDs or 280 DVDs. In actuality, I filled this tower with only 265 “DVD” cases, as follows: 150 PS2 games; 62 GameCube games; and 53 Wii games. [Sure, I could’ve shoehorned another four or five such cases, but that would’ve made for an annoyingly tight fit.] Now, on the one hand, I wish the shelves were each several inches wider (which would’ve let me display my entire collections of PS2, GameCube and Wii titles). On the other hand, I recognize that any amount of increased width would’ve likely engendered significant warping of the composite-wood shelf boards after several years. [Thus I’m philosophically content to compromise by storing my least significant game titles in a nearby chest of drawers.]
After about five months of use — with all shelves fully loaded with video game discs in DVD cases — there’s no noticeable warping. However, at least one other online reviewer has reported that after a year or more of use, a tolerably slight amount of warping has indeed begun to occur with his specimen. Considering the low cost of this product, I’m not unduly concerned about that issue. Besides, at some point in the future, I could easily invert each shelf board (after applying some dark Minwax stain to the presently unfinished underside), which should effectively reverse any such warping.
By the way, since inverting the shaped top piece of the cabinet would not be an option, I strongly suggest that you don’t place any weighty objects atop this product. [I myself have (primarily for display purposes) placed just five games there that I selected for their cases’ particularly attractive front-cover art. And since I’ve got that handful of featherweight objects positioned “face-forward” near the back edge of that top piece (where at least a modicum of additional support is provided by the thin, nailed-on back panel), I don’t anticipate any perceptible warping in my unit’s top.]
Regarding color, the manufacturer calls it “Cinnamon Cherry.” The actual specimen that I received looks pretty much like a somewhat reddish version of dark walnut. (My specimen looks a bit darker than the above product image.) Although I could’ve used a somewhat lighter hue (to more closely harmonize with a preexisting dark-oak closet shelf on which I’m displaying a six-foot-wide row of original PlayStation [PS1] games in standard “CD” jewel cases), I’m more than satisfied with this product’s somewhat darker color, and I certainly would prefer it to more extreme alternatives like “ebony” or “light oak.”
If you look carefully at the above (click-twice-to-enlarge) product image, you’ll notice that the woodgrain back-panel piece has two vertical “creases” running from top to bottom; this reflects the fact that that panel was packed folded, and only when you unfold and nail it to the rear of the cabinet’s edges does the back panel flatten out. (Actually, as you can see in the photo, it doesn’t quite completely flatten out; indeed, at those points where a videogame case is directly in front of a back panel crease, the case is effectively pushed a fraction of an inch forward. Fortunately, the degree of such discrepancy is slight enough to be scarcely noticeable.) Though the back panel’s permanent “fold marks” will scarcely matter for most installations, they could prove annoyingly conspicuous if much of the shelf space isn’t sufficiently filled with media or whatever.
Though this rock-bottom-cheap product obviously can’t match the hardwood custom cabinetry in my house’s featured books-and-music “library” rooms, it’s plenty good enough for displaying the aforementioned older videogame collections in my home office’s walk-in closet. In fact, this easy-to-assemble/move Sauder unit wouldn’t look half bad in many an apartment living space– especially if you’re not pernickety and/or must make do on a tight budget.