UK Price (as reviewed):£79.80 (inc VAT) US Price as reviewed):$79.99 (ex Tax)
The new Thermaltake Chaser A31 enters the case market at a rather competitive price point, as £80 midi-tower chassis are fairly easy to come by. It can therefore be particularly easy even for competent cases to fail at standing out from the crowd, a problem that befell the last case from Thermaltake we saw, the Overseer RX-I.
Thermaltake continues to target gamers with many of its products, especially with its Tt eSports brand, and its own website describes the Chaser A31 as having an eSports appearance. The case sports a large side panel window, and both side panels are also extruded. The blue trim on the front stack of drive bay covers (only the top three of which are actually removable) is complemented by the rear blue LED 120mm fan, which is joined by a lower front 120mm intake. Though still likely to divide opinion, it's a lot less garish than a gamer-oriented case could be.
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The chassis feels stable and doesn't flex under pressure thanks to its large feet, but said feet are made from light plastic and lack any sort of rubber grip, which makes it a little too easy to slide the case around. The steel used is rather thin but still strong, as the panels themselves have hardly any wobble to them. The lightweight plastic on the roof and front panels is held on tightly and doesn't bend or creak either, so the end result is a case which is both light and sturdy – ideal for dragging it to and from LAN parties.
As well as the two default fans, there's room for a second 120mm in the front, two 120mm or 140mm fans in the roof and another 120mm in the bottom. It's not the most we've seen but it's still an adequate amount of cooling expansion, and the rear of the case also has two holes for external water-cooling. The meshed sections on the roof and front are protected by foamy dust filtering material, whereas the bottom is covered by a removable filter which covers both the PSU and lower fan mount.
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As well as the lightweight nature and large window for showing off your rig, Thermaltake also makes clear its target demographic by including a lock on the rear of the A31 to help stop would be thieves from nabbing your peripherals. You simply thread your cables through it and screw it closed from the inside of the case. One thing that the chassis does lack, however, is a carry handle, which we saw put to good use in the CM Storm Scout 2, so transporting a fully equipped rig could still be a little troublesome.
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On the roof you'll find a plastic platform, helpful for resting portable electronic devices while they charge, for example. Here too is the roof mounted front panel, which includes dual audio ports and two USB 3 connections. It's the very least we'd expect from a front panel of an £80 chassis, and the lack of any sort of fan control is particularly disappointing. Even cases at the £50 price point include a basic form of fan speed adjustment, so there's little excuse for its exclusion here.
Thermaltake Chaser A31 Specifications
Dimensions (mm) 212 x 495 x 501 (W x D x H)
Material Steel, plastic
Available colours Black (reviewed), snow white, thunder blue
Front panel Power, reset, 2 x USB 3, stereo, microphone
Drive bays 3 x external 5.25in, 6 x internal 3.5in/2.5in
Form factor(s) ATX, Micro-ATX
Cooling 2 x 120mm front fan mounts (1 x 120mm fan included), 1 x 120mm rear fan mount (fan included), 2 x 140mm/120mm roof fan mounts, 1 x 120mm bottom fan mount (fans not included)
CPU cooler clearance 160mm
Maximum graphics card length 290mm/410mm (without drive cage)