UK price (as reviewed): £99.98 (inc. VAT)
US price (as reviewed):$109.99 (exc. tax)
We've seen a couple of manufacturers dish out numerous variations of a particular chassis recently, and Thermaltake's new Commander series offers a whole host of different front ends and mixes of black and white details. However, the core frame is the same, with a tempered glass side panel and a mesh-equipped front fascia with a high-airflow design that's also water-cooling friendly.
The Commander C35 TG ARGB Edition we're looking at here is arguably the most attractive of the bunch, with others sporting plastic-laiden asymmetrical front ends that in our eyes look pretty hideous. This one, though, looks similar to plenty of Cooler Master and Corsair models we've seen with a front end that's predominantly mesh with a plastic surround and pop-off panel. The latter comes off fairly easily, as you have to do this to get at the dust filter, which is fixed into the mesh and not your typical pull-out filter that we'd maybe expect at this price - certainly from the likes of Corsair or Fractal Design.
The roof does sport a magnetic filter for what it's worth, and the PSU is also kitted out with a basic sliver of mesh to keep it dust-free. It's a basic if functional arrangement, and that philosophy resonates around the rest of the chassis too. The rear panel reveals seven PCI expansion slots as well as a vertical GPU mount that's usable only if you invest in an optional riser cable, although it does seem fairly close to the side panel, so airflow to air-cooled cards will almost certainly be hindered.
The PSU slides straight into its slot, with a separate plate included to secure it to the rear of the case. Both side panels are held in place using thumbscrews rather than magnets or clips, but they're both easy to install, if maybe not as aesthetically pleasing as other cases we've seen.
Thankfully, it's not all back to basics, as Thermaltake includes two 200mm ARGB fans with the Commander C35 TG ARGB Edition. These can be controlled using a button on the front panel, and we were amazed at just how many colour and effect options were available, with the downside being if you spot one you like and cycle passed it, you've got a rather long way to get back to it. Alternatively, the controller is compatible with ASRock, Asus, Gigabyte, and MSI's digital addressable RGB headers and software should you wish to sync the lighting with the rest of your PC or fine-tune those colours. The fans use proprietary connectors for both power and lighting, with both provided by the controller, and this does help to cut down on cable clutter. The downside is that you can't control the speed of the fans, and they are fairly noticeable thanks to the mesh front panel.
The front I/O section includes the usual array of ports and buttons with a pair of USB 3.0 ports, power and reset buttons, and audio mini-jacks, with the RGB control button on the left for easy access.
That top dust filter is easy to use, and we're happy to report that it sits in place quite snugly too and doesn't move around unless a fairly large amount of force is applied.
Overall build quality is actually very good. The steel chassis is solid and tips the scales at nearly 8kg all-in, while the chassis sits fairly low at 462mm. Still, it manages offer a reasonable amount of clearance inside, which you can read about over the page.
February 17 2020 | 09:00