Thermaltake has a few new cases, the ones which you should keep an open mind to we’ve included here: firstly the Spedo.
OK, we didn’t get off to a good start – now I’m sure all you can think about is the tight swimwear of double-e naming. Enough of that though, the Spedo case is Thermaltakes attempt at complete compartmentalisation of its internals, dubbed the Advanced Thermal Chamber (or ATC) and increased cable routing mechanisms to help keep everything tidy.
There are the usual features of tool free PCI card and hard drive install and plenty of cooling - a 120mm fan in the front, 2x 120mm in the back, one in the top, a larger one facing side-in and even one behind the motherboard tray to really keep a system cool.
The compartmentalisation is even greater than that of an Antec case – the hard drives get their own space, the PSU area in the bottom gets it own shroud and even the graphics and PCI card area gets its own fan duct away from the CPU. This part includes flappy plastic ends so it should fit all common motherboard designs.
Style-wise, well, we still wish it had less plastic and the side panel looked better, but we feel the black grills and dark grey surround go well together despite this. Thermaltake are very
aware the UK (Scandinavian, and some other parts of Europe) are infatuated with a minimalist design, however they do sell very, very many of their products in Germany and the States (which are bigger markets). We had a long discussion about the needs of our readers and how the company could appeal to them better and it seemed to strike a chord – after all, the HTPC case line has been doing functional and sleek for quite a while already.
Thermaltake also has a smart little Mini-ITX case for those wanting either one of those new Atom boards or a mini-ITX 8200/780G board for an HTPC. The Luxa2 (squared) is available in a black or silver aluminium extrusion design, and comes with a 100W PSU and a 40mm 24dB, 4000rpm (not a typo) fan built in. It will fit a single 3.5” drive and one slim DVD drive and is just 28.2 x 23.2 x 12.4 cm in size.
There are two SKUs – one with and one without a built in blue 5.5” VFD which also includes a Media LAB kit for extra Windows applications. It doesn’t come with a fan, but we did suggest Thermaltake might want to offer it as an option (since it already makes CPU coolers), although the variety of mini-ITX CPUs is vastly more than ATX.
It’s a real neat and well finished little number and should be far easier to use than a slimline case that limits the hardware you can drop in because you have to fish around for all sorts of riser cards and low profile coolers.
On the cooling front, there’s the Xpressar, which is a sort of above-ambient, completely sealed phase change system. At first it will come pre-loaded into cases for system integrators because of the inflexible way it’s currently designed, however later on Thermaltake say they would like to offer it separately. It will have a five year lifespan before it needs refilling and be available from September onwards.
the Xpressar comes fitted just like a normal phase change kit with compressor, evaporator, condenser and expansion valve, and Thermaltake claims is at least 20C better than most watercooling kits – an overclocked CPU in its demonstration machine tops out at just over 30C load. The fact that it’s above ambient means that there’s no need for insulation, however it shouldn’t require the power of a large TEC either, although we’ve no idea of the noise level yet.
Finally Thermaltake might have a market niche if its cost is not too steep – it could perform on the level of some serious (internal only) watercooling kits, but with less mess and need for maintainence. This might be a concept to keep an eye on.
Like them, love them? Give them a chance at least, but let us know your thoughts on the forums