Page 4 - Installation and Conclusion
Let me first say although the Thermaltake Chaser MK-1 may be too outgoing or too much of a "try-hard" for my tastes, the interior design of the chassis is quite ideal. Of course. it may not be entirely fair. since a full tower tends to have more room, more cabling options, more cable management features -- or just more in general. So insofar as interior is concerned, having more of all these "things" generally brings anyone to the conclusion that the interior is easy to work with.
Since the standoffs were already pre-installed onto the motherboard tray, I installed my Gigabyte GA-P67A-UD5-B3 motherboard in before my OCZ ZX Series 850W power supply unit. Both of these steps were quite straightforward, and required no change from the standard method of installing these two parts. Since I already had the Thermaltake Jing aftermarket CPU heatsink already installed onto the motherboard, I did not have the opportunity to test out the motherboard cutout provided on the Chaser MK-1. However, I looked at the backside of the motherboard. and I can say with 100% certainty there is a very large area with plenty of spare room to be able to install most, if not all, aftermarket CPU heatsinks backplates without much effort. Also, since the Chaser MK-1 is a fairly wide chassis, and without a side fan obstructing the area around the CPU heatsink, the chassis is most likely able to hold some of the tallest heatsinks in the market.
As aforementioned, since all the front port connection wires are already fed through to the back and tied together, it saved me plenty of time, and ensured a very clean cabling job without much effort. As well, something I may have neglected to mention earlier, is the internal USB 3.0 connection. This is my first case to be accompanied with an internal USB 3.0 connection, and it is definitely a benefit to have. Of course, users with older motherboards will be out of luck, as they do not have the capability to utilize this feature. It seems Thermaltake is one of the first manufacturers to add this feature into their cases, and it is definitely a large step in the right direction.
I have also installed my Gigabyte Radeon HD 6850 1GB OC next, which allowed me to get a feel for the expansion slot system. Although I do not necessarily need tools to remove and install thumbscrews, it is a good idea to keep a screwdriver handy anyway.
The Thermaltake Chaser MK-1 may not have the most open motherboard layout. However, there are a sufficient number of cable routing holes to deal with all your wires no matter the position. One thing to note is I have found a problem within the front panel connections on my unit; one of the USB 2.0 connections has a bad connection, as devices have a hard time powering up depending on the angle that it is plugged in to. This is most likely an isolated issue on my unit, but nonetheless, it is something that should be brought up.
Once it was all setup and plugged in, I pushed the power button with everything working superbly. As it is advertised, you will be greeted with a flashy array of LEDs from the front intake and top exhaust fan. Having the ability to choose an LED color theme of your choice is convenient. However, there really is only one way to describe the LEDs on this rig -- flamboyant. Let's just say that going to a public LAN party with LEDs that will staccato through a different combination of colors every half a second like a rainbow may give strangers the wrong first impression. To be blunt, I took the Chaser MK-1 to our bi-weekly APH LAN party, only to see my fellow co-workers laugh to the ground, haha.
In terms of sound, on a scale from 0.0 to 10.0 where 0.0 is silent and 10.0 is the loudest, the Chaser MK-1 would come in at 3.5 with the fans set on low speed. With fans set at high speeds, the Chaser MK-1 would come in at 5.0. Since we here at APH Networks are fairly sensitive to sound -- where the sound level of a case is crucial to whether or not we will even consider purchasing -- the Chaser MK-1 is quite a disappointment here. I really wished the low fan settings would slow the fans even more, or have a fan off switch that would turn off the two 200mm fans completely.
In essence, I don't think the Thermaltake Chaser MK-1 has any chance of surviving deep space travel. But let me tell you what the Chaser MK-1 can do for you. The Chaser MK-1 is designed purely for gaming, and using this chassis for anything else would be a shame. The Command Center front panel connections are a splendid array of nifty plug-ins, and buttons that will allow any user to have complete control over their chassis features. The exterior shell features an exclusive design that will definitely set your system apart from your peers. The combat headset holder is a nifty but important addition to the case that will increase your convenience. As well, with numerous air filters, a transparent viewing window, a peripheral and system lock option, an onboard HDD docking station, tool-less hard drive and optical drive mounting systems, several cable management options around the case, and last but not least, a flamboyant arrangement of LED fans, the Chaser MK-1 has a lot of good going for it. Even the new internal USB 3.0 interface can be seen as a pro. However, the case is not without its cons. First off, I would have liked to see the option of being able to purchase a full windowed model. The top is missing air filters, which is crucial in keeping your internals clean. The power button sensitivity also needs to be addressed as I found myself accidentally turning my system off on several occasions. Lastly, one of the largest problems I have found on the Chaser MK-1 would be the huge amount of fan turbulence and sound emanating from the rig, even on the low fan speed option set. With a MSRP of $159.99 USD during press time, the Thermaltake Chaser MK-1 is set to compete against the mid to high ranged gaming towers in the market. This could include the very popular HAF series by Cooler Master. Generally speaking, if you like the looks, then there's a lot to like about the Chaser MK-1. At the end of the day, while the Thermaltake Chaser MK-1 may be an obnoxious and flamboyant case, at least it's loud and proud!
Thermaltake provided this product to APH Networks for the purpose of evaluation.
APH Review Focus Summary:
7/10 means Great product with many advantages and certain insignificant drawbacks; but should be considered before purchasing.
8/10 means Definitely a very good product with drawbacks that aren't likely going to matter to the end user.
-- Final APH Numeric Rating is 7.4/10
Please note that the APH Numeric Rating system is based off our proprietary guidelines in the Review Focus, and should not be compared to other sites.
The Thermaltake Chaser MK-1 excels in features, design, functionality, and... flamboyancy -- for gamers with $159.99 to spend at press time.
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1. Introduction, Packaging, Specifications
2. Physical Look - Outside
3. Physical Look - Inside
4. Installation and Conclusion