When naming a case for the western market, we’re pretty sure Taiwanese manufacturers just pick a typically fast/macho/cool sounding name out of a hat and go with it. While this usually works out all right (Aurora, Cosmos, etc.) we’re not really sure that the image of ludicrously small, tight, swimming trucks was what Thermaltake had in mind when it chose the name of its latest chassis. I suppose we were thought to imagine words like slick, streamlined and fast instead.
Comical name aside though it certainly seems as though Thermaltake has pulled out all the stops with its new Spedo line, cramming this steel and plastic chassis with a whole host of desirable high end and sometimes unique features in what looks to be an extremely capable cooling setup.
There’s also a fair bit of innovation present too, with Thermaltake introducing its Active Thermal Chamber system, using plastic dividers to isolate the separate heat sources inside the case to individually cool them, as well as some nifty cable management tricks too. There’s certainly a lot to talk about here, so let's dive right in.
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The exterior front and top fascias of the Spedo are entirely plastic, clipped onto the core steel chassis beneath and we’re sorry to start on such a down note but they're pretty shoddily put together. Both the removable plastic fascia panels have very noticeable gaps between them, and the gaps between the front fascia and the steel chassis beneath are almost 3mm wide in places. While we appreciate the fact that plastic is a cheaper material to use for the more intricate sections of case styling, it shouldn’t mean such a big compromise in build quality. It looks good in pictures (subjectively speaking), but when you get it, it's largely disappointing.
The removable plastic fascias also suffer from some very flakily fitted trim sections too. On our review sample the lighter plastic strips on the front fascia quickly came away from the case during normal use and then the retention clips promptly snapped when we tried to clip them back into place.
Other than the ropey build quality though, there are some promising signs. Thermaltake has used foam backed mesh drive blanking plates to completely cover the front of the case, providing top to bottom dust filtering while still allowing passive airflow into the chassis. While the foam filters aren’t easily removed from the drive blanking plates, being held in with just bent clips of metal, it’s certainly a step in the right direction. The additional plastic meshed section fitted in front of the solitary front 140mm red LED lit intake fan underneath seems rather unnecessary – what does it possibly accomplish that the foam back blanking plates don’t?
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The top to bottom mesh combined with the smooth curves of the fascia styling gives the case a pretty classy, almost automotive look that reminds us of the Coolermaster Cosmos – that is until you look at the top fascia panel which is just a mess of metal and plastic mesh, in places three layers of moulded plastic ventilation covers.
It’s a real shame as from the front the Spedo is by no means a bad looking case, but it’s utterly spoiled by the horrendously designed roof panel – we’d even go so far as to say that just removing the top plastic panel (easily accomplished with a firm tug) to expose the bare black steel chassis beneath affords a huge improvement to help to improve the ventilation and lower the noise for the roof mounted 230mm exhaust fan.