Feeling wet behind the ears when it comes to liquid cooling? If so, Thermaltake's hoping to ease your trepidation with a new line of liquid cooling products that includes a special version of its Level 10 GT case and two additions to its Bigwater line. All three products are self-contained, all-in-one units that are purportedly easy to install.
It seems like these days it’s just not enough to master the Case-Heatsink-Power supply trifecta of PC parts. In the past couple years we’ve seen Corsair, Cooler Master, and now Thermaltake diversifying their hardware portfolios with gaming mice, keyboards, and headsets. The Thermaltake Shock One is the flagship of the new Tt eSports line of gaming headsets, and we got a chance to take it for a spin.
When you're outfitting a new computer, it can be tempting to just buy the cheapest no-name case you can find, slap your new parts into it, and call it a day. While that might have been a valid choice in ye olde beige days—heck, early Dream Machine builds didn't even list the case—it's not one we'd recommend today. This month, we round up eight cases, from the budget to the extreme, to see how they measure up to the task of holding your precious modern components.
Thermaltake’s original Level 10 chassis was a remarkable collaboration with BMW DesignWorks in which the companies fundamentally restructured the PC chassis into a series of isolated compartments suspended from a central load-bearing wall. It was stunning, cost $800, and wasn’t actually that practical to use. With the Level 10 GT, Thermaltake has taken the basic look of the Level 10, slapped it onto a more standard full-tower frame, and slashed $500 from the asking price. The end result isn’t quite as sleek as its progenitor from an aesthetic perspective, but far outstrips the original in ease of use and practicality, and is not without a certain sci-fi flair of its own.
What’s the most important part of your PC? Is it the processor? The videocard? The motherboard? How about the keyboard?
Don’t scoff—your keyboard is the part of your computer that you get up close and personal with. It’s the conduit between you and the PC, and having the right one can make you faster, more comfortable, and give you an edge in games.
Is Micro-ATX the next big thing in desktop computing? Case vendors certainly think so. We recently took a look at a Digital Storm in a teapot—actually, a Silverstone Fortress FT03 micro-ATX chassis. Fractal Designs is introducing micro-ATX versions of every case in their lineup. And Thermaltake just sent over their Armor A30, a “modular” micro-ATX case with slide-out everything. Join me for a quick look at the Armor A30, in preparation for an actual review later.
The Challenger (ThermalTake’s entry into the gaming keyboard market) is the kind of keyboard that’s looking to set itself apart. It does this most noticeably with a tiny fan that can be plugged in on either side of the keyboard to blow cool air across your hard-working hands and a set of custom, red keycaps that can be swapped in for the WASD and arrow keys. Do either of those features sound like something you can’t live without?
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?