For a change of pace, we’ll start with our biggest critique first—literally, the biggest. Thermaltake’s Xaser VI chassis (the air-cooling-specific VG4000 model) is the Godzilla of cases. It’s heavy enough to make carrying it an awkward, hernia-inducing experience, and that’s before you slap a system inside. Heaven forbid you make full use of the case’s eight (?!) hard drive bays and seven (?!?!) 5.25-inch expansion slots. Add water cooling and you might want to invest in some wheels and a dolly for transporting the beast.
The Xaser VI is huge. Absolutely huge. Remember: Lift from the knees.
The Xaser VI is a screwdriver’s worst enemy. Save for the motherboard standoffs and typical fastening screws, you shouldn’t have to touch any kind of tool to assemble a basic rig in this chassis. In this respect, some parts of the case function far better than others. For instance, we love the mounting setup for the Xaser VI’s 5.25-inch bays. Removing the front-panel coverings is a one-second process, and you simply shove your device in from there. It automatically locks into place, and that’s it. No screws to tighten, no fasteners to fuss with.
You can remove the drive bays on the bottom of the case and replace them with an included fan!
The PCI holders attempt to follow suit, but they’re a bit more delicate and frustrating than their peers. We broke the very first fastener when we gently tried to remove it from the side of the case. When you do this—and trust us, you will—you’ll be forced to default to the old screw for locking your PCI card into place. It’s an ugly solution that makes us wonder why Thermaltake didn’t include some extra connectors in the accessory bag that comes with the Xaser VI.
The goody bag also lacks any extra thumbscrews for the exterior of the case. But in many ways, we wish Thermaltake would have eschewed these tiny screws altogether. The design of the case is such that the narrow thumbscrews you use for the panels are absurdly close to the case’s decorative exterior elements. So something that should be removable with your fingers requires the use of a tool, thus defeating the entire point of their existence. It’s a minor detail, but when 95 percent of a case is perfectly screwless, there’s no reason you should have to find a tool kit to start (or finish) your work.
An obscene number of front-panel connectors are hidden beneath a stylish push-top covering.
A top-loading storage bin and ample air-cooler support help fill out the list of excellent eccentricities on this fairly innovative chassis. The senselessness of the minor flaws make us hesitant to recommend the Xaser VI for general use, but there’s no denying that this is one of the slickest full-tower cases we’ve tested. A few touch-ups on the drawing board would make this one rockin’ enclosure.