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Sitting mean and green (or red, or blue, depending on your fan LED settings), the Thermaltake Chaser MK-1 combines striking looks with state-of-the-art features, all bundled into an affordable $160 package.
The MK-1 is a steel-construction, full-tower chassis, 22.4 inches high by 9.3 inches wide by 22.9 inches deep and weighing 27 pounds. Its plastic front and top panels are lined in mesh, and blue plastic accents adorn the drive trays, optical bezels, and top corners of the case. The MK-1 features four toolless optical drive bays, as well as six toolless hard drive bays with flexible blue plastic drive trays. We were a little bummed that the hard drive cage itself isn't removable.
That didn't matter too much, however, as the MK-1 has more than enough room to accept even the lengthiest of graphics cards in its eight PCIe slots without having to move a thing. In fact, we found our test build to be quite easy: Utilizing the rubber-grommeted cable-routing cutouts in the motherboard tray, we were able to wire up a very clean build.
The MK-1 ships with a 20cm top fan, 20cm front fan, and a 14cm exhaust fan, as well as an array of further cooling options, including a 20cm fan-mounting bracket on the side panel and a removable top panel that can accommodate a 24cm radiator or another 20cm fan. The MK-1 also features three water-cooling routing holes in the back of the case. The first two routing holes are remnants from the days of eternal radiators, while the third is a leftover from the days of pass-through USB 3.0 cables.
In addition to the three stock fans, the MK-1 features slide-out dust filters (below the case and also behind the front panel) and 1.25-inch feet to elevate the case for better airflow—particularly helpful if you're going to be parking your rig on carpet.
Using our thermal test setup from the August 2011 case roundup, the Chaser MK-1 had a CPU burn average of about 59.5 degrees Celsius, and a GPU burn average of about 83C, which is not stellar, but not terrible, either. Idling, the MK-1 ran a bit hot, with an average temperature of 38.2C. This is actually the warmest idle we've seen in months, but only by a degree.
The top panel has an interesting blend of usual and not-so-usual features: The MK-1 sports a reset switch, a power button, audio jacks, two fan control settings (high and low), and a button that lets you cycle through fan LED colors—red, blue, green, and intermittent flashing of all three—the same basic setup from Thermaltake's Level 10 GT. Though it is cool to have the ability to choose your fan colors, we couldn't help but wonder why anyone would choose any color other than blue, as the case features lots of blue accents. The top panel also features two USB 2.0 ports, two USB 3.0 ports (with an internal motherboard header), a single eSATA port, and Thermaltake's now-familiar drop-down SATA dock.
Overall, we're very impressed with the MK-1. It looks über-beastly, especially when you power on the fan LEDs—although it's a bit reminiscent of Cooler Master's HAF series—and is spacious, to boot. Even minor additions, like a headset holder built into the side panel and the aforementioned foot stands and dust filters show us that Thermaltake doesn't always know when to stop adding details.
For 160 bucks, you get a big, monstrous-looking case with toolless parts and plenty of options for cooling, making it a solid competitor against the likes of two of our recent favorite cases, the Corsair 650D ($200) and the SilverStone Raven RV03 ($140).
Very spacious; classy color accents; custom fan/lighting controls.
Why use any LED color other than blue? Flimsy side panels.