We’ll admit it: When the Thermaltake V9 BlacX Edition mid-tower chassis showed up on our doorstep, we thought it was a joke. “Surely,” we said, “Thermaltake didn’t just slap one of its dual-bay BlacX hard drive docks onto a cheap mid-tower chassis and call it a day.” Well, Thermaltake did, and in a really confusing way. The V9 BlacX Edition is virtually identical to the plain ol’ V9, true, except the BlacX Edition has more features, better build quality, and a $60 dual-SATA dock slapped on the top. And it’s $30 cheaper than the plain ol’ V9. Er, what?
zThe Thermaltake Frio is a hefty cooler in the dual-fan skyscraper tradition. With both fans attached, it’s a staggering 4.75x5.37x6.5 inches and clocks in at two pounds, 10.6 ounces. It’s not the biggest we’ve ever tested—Noctua’s NH-D14 and Scythe’s Mugen 2 share that dubious distinction—but it’s among the heaviest. Its plastic fan mounts and trim add unnecessary weight, though most of the heft comes from the five meaty heat pipes and stack of heat-dissipating fins.
The two 1,200–2,500rpm 12cm fans that ship with the Frio attach to its preinstalled plastic casing via rubber mounting posts, which add bulk but are easier to use than wire clips. Unlike most skyscraper coolers, which screw down from the top (and thus require removing the fans to get to the mounting screws), the Frio’s mounting system uses screw-on nuts that mount behind the motherboard backplate, so you can leave the fans on during installation. This does mean you have to have hands on both sides of the motherboard during install so the cooler doesn’t fall off, but that’s what motherboard tray cutouts are for, right?
Kudos to Thermaltake for pitching its new Azurues gaming mouse for what it is -- a "no frills" optical rodent with a handful of features that separate it from your standard rodent.
Among them are three different DPI settings (400/800/1600) changeable via a switch on the Azurues' underbelly, three removable 4.5g weights (also on the underbelly), a rubber coated finish, Teflon feat, a braided cable to avoid tangled tails, and a "pause-break" lighting system (the logo lights up).
No frills indeed, though Thermaltake wasn't all humble, calling the Azurues the "most ideal weapon for first-person shooting games." Where then does that leave Thermaltake's higher end "Black Gaming Mouse" with a 4000 DPI?
I have a custom-built gaming computer made by Magic Micro housed in a Thermaltake Soprano case. It has 4GB of RAM, a 3GHz Core 2 Duo (model unknown), a 500-watt Antec power supply, two 1TB Seagate hard drives, and a Sapphire Radeon HD 4870. Things are fun and fast here. The desktop sits right under the air-conditioning vent in my library. Using SpeedFan, I recorded the max temps to be 158 degrees in the Core 0-1 areas and 124 degrees at the CPU. Am I in trouble? Normally it runs around 98 degrees combined, but it was a hot night. I turned the AC on and it all cooled down quickly back to 98 F. Is my desktop OK or do I need to do something?
Read the Doctor's advice for Chris after the jump.
When the wimpy-looking Cooler Master Hyper 212+ (reviewed Holiday 2009) came along and matched performance with the best air coolers on the market, we wondered if its direct-contact heat pipes were responsible, and if so, how soon we’d start seeing imitators. It didn’t take long. Thermaltake’s Contac 29 is a near–carbon copy of that little wonder, with a few subtle refinements and one colossal pain.
Like the Hyper 212+, the Contac 29 features three heat pipes that run from a heat exchanger up through a stack of thin aluminum fins, paired with a single 12cm fan (as well as room for another, if you want to push/pull air). Differing from most skyscraper-type coolers, the heat pipes on the Hyper and Contac contact the CPU heat spreader directly, instead of being embedded in a blocky heat-exchanger. The direct-contact method seems effective; in our tests, the Contac 29 matched the Hyper 212+’s performance to within one degree Celsius at full burn, and performed identically when idling.
Thermaltake’s first SpinQ cooler (reviewed February 2009) had style for sure—it looked like a blue-lit stack of bike gears with a fan in the middle, mounted sideways. The SpinQ VT adopts the same basic formfactor—the stack of circular aluminum fins mounted around an 8cm fan—but stands the stack upright, and uses red LEDs instead of blue. Other than that, it’s more of the same—from the variable fan speed to the so-so performance.
The SpinQ VT (we still want to pronounce it “spink”) stands 6.2 inches from base to top, and the fin stack is 4.7 inches in diameter. Six heat pipes lead up from the base into the 50 aluminum fins, and the 8cm fan blows cool air down over the fins. The fan uses a 3-pin connector and includes a variable-speed knob to take it between 1,000 and 1,600rpm, but since adjusting it requires you to reach into the case, we imagine most people will set it once and never adjust it again.
Since we reviewed the Thermaltake Element S (August 2009), Thermaltake has unleashed a dizzying deluge of Elements, from mid-towers G and T to the small-formfactor Q. The first full-tower, the Element V, feels like a bizarre mix of budget case and deluxe enclosure.
The Element V chassis comes with support for MicroATX, ATX, EATX, and various server motherboards, and its motherboard tray includes a CPU backplate cutout. At 21x21x8.7 inches, it’s a full three inches shorter and three inches shallower than the Corsair 800D, which is one of the biggest cases we’ve tested. Still, the Element V is roomy enough inside to accommodate a Radeon HD 5970, the longest PCI-E graphics card on the market, with an inch or so to spare.
Because the Element V is made of steel, not aluminum, it’s quite cumbersome, weighing 31 pounds empty. The side panels are similarly beefy, although we like the integrated 14cm fan in the left-side panel and the small plastic window above it. It’s good that the window is so small, because the inside of the case is unpainted, unlike the Element S.
At one time a niche market largely dominated by Razer and, to some extent, Logitech, gaming peripherals have become big sellers, prompting a crowded field of contestants all competing for your pieces of eight. It's about to get a little more crowded, as Thermaltake jumps into the fray with its upcoming Tt Esports line.
One of the first products in the Tt Esports line will be Thermaltake's Challenger Gaming Keyboard, a rugged looking plank with up to 18 macro keys, an anti-ghost key function, 32KB of onboard memory, integrated USB ports, gold-plated USB connector, and a handful of red caps in case you want to highlight the WASD and arrow keys. It's also the first keyboard to come with a cooling fan, which plugs into either side of the plank.
Thermaltake is also launching a mouse with adjustable weights. It looks attractive enough, but there are currently no other specs to share, such as laser sensitivity and the sort.
Fudzilla snapped a ton pics, which you can check out here.
Asetek is no stranger to boutique OEM builders, and the latest rendevous involves iBuyPower teaming up with Asetek to deliver the "first and only liquid cooling solution for [Thermaltake's] Level 10 tower."
"When iBuyPower decided to liquid cool the Level 10 chassis, Asetek's Total Solutions Team was quick to respond with the guidance on how to optimize liquid cooling performance in this unique chassis," said Steve Branton, Asetek's Director of Marketing. "This is our commitment to 'Thermal Management Done Right!'"
Marketing goofiness aside, it's no small feat integrating a liquid cooling solution into the Level 10. Individual compartments and an overall unique design makes mounting a standard liquid cooling apparatus nothing short of a challenge.
Stepping up to Asetek's liquid cooling solution runs $20, which for the time being is negated by a $20 mail-in-rebate offer.
iBuyPower this week announced it is the only system builder to offer Thermaltake's new and unique Level 10 enclosure, which was designed in partnership with the BMWGroup and scored an 8 verdict in our recent evaluation.
"We are constantly searching for the best components, cases, and peripherals to use in our systems," said Darren Su, Vice President of iBuyPower. "The Level 10 system is just another example of our drive to offer gaming rigs that can deliver the performance and aesthetics our customers demand."
iBuyPower decked out the Level 10 with a respectable assortment of components, including an Intel Core i7 920 processor, 6GB of DDR3 memory, a GeForce GTX 285 videocard, a 128GB SSD for the OS and 1TB hard drive for storage duties, and optional Killer Xeno Gaming Network Card, NZXT Sentry LCD, or Blu-ray drive.