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Reviewed by: Carl Nelson [07.27.02]
Manufactured by: Thermaltake
MSRP: $195

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Well, Pobody's Nerfect!

After installing 3 systems in this case (don't ask), I have to say that it's one of the easier cases to install a system in.  I did run across a couple quirks when playing around with it over the past few days... Nothing serious though, but worth mentioning...

First and foremost is the noticeable lack of a motherboard tray.  I fell in love with the Mobo tray on the Skyhawk case we reviewed a while back, and now I feel like I can't live without it! Now the case is big enough that installing any motherboard should be dead easy, but still, I would expect a case of this calibre to have a mobo tray!

Secondly, and quite less important, is the fact that it isn't exactly 100% aluminum.  Some people say that aluminum keeps the case cooler, some just like it for the looks.  If you are of the later group, then this is a complete non-issue to you.  But if you are very picky about what your case is made of, keep in mind that some other metals besides aluminum were used in the making of this case, and the bezel is plastic.

Thirdly, and we're getting into knit-picking territory here, is the reset button, which for me anyway, is all but impossible to press without the use of a pen or something.  It is WAY too small!

Other than those minor complaints, I honestly feel that this case is pretty damn close to perfection.  The only thing that might hold it back is the price, and finally, I can tell you what that is.  Here is a list of MSRP, direct from Thermaltake:

A5000 (black, no window) - $129
A5000+ (black, with window) - $141
A6000 (aluminum, no window) - $179
A6000+ (aluminum, with window) - $195

To me, the black case with a window would be the best buy.  In fact, I think the black cases look better ;)

Performance Testing

To test performance, I wanted to put the Xaser II through the paces using an AthlonXP 2200+ and an overclocked GeForce 4 Ti4200 (above Ti4400 speed).  This would have made for an EXTREME worst-case scenario, and would have made the Xaser II work harder than it had ever imagined.

Unfortunately, due to an untimely motherboard crash, I was unable to do this.  My only AMD motherboard died while installing and uninstalling heatsinks that I am testing.  I have no idea what happened, but it's fried.

So the best I can do for you is a Pentium 4 2.4 with the same GF4 kicked in.  This isn't exactly a volacano of a system, but the GF4 does produce quite a bit of heat when stressed.  I ran continuous 3DMark 2001 benchmark loops for 90 mins per session, and this is what I got:

The main figure to make note of here is the difference between Idle and Stress temperatures.  As you can see, it was already fairly warm the morning I performed the testing, but all those quiet fans kept things running nicely.  Unplug them however, and things start to heat up a bit.  Expect this to be even higher on an AMD system.  Overall, the performance definitely matches the style of the Xaser II!

When I first showed this case to people, some of them said "SWEET! Thermaltake made a case! Let me know when you post the review!" Others said, "What? It's just a modded Antec!"

Well yeah, it's a modded Antec, but is it "JUST" a modded Antec? To a lot of people, brand name means something.  Thermaltake has clearly established themselves as an elite brand.  We've reviewed dozens of their products since the Golden Orb in June 2000, and I can tell you that while not all of them were the highest performing (remember different products have different goals), not a single one was of poor quality.  When you get a Thermaltake product, you can expect a refined, unique, high quality product.  The Xaser II case is no different.

  • It looks SWEET!
  • Drive rails for 5.25" slots
  • Removable bays for 3.5" slots
  • Comes with a HardCANO - Front USB ports, Firewire, and a temp guage!
  • Low RPM fans = good air flow, low noise
  • Lockable front panel, and lockable side door
  • Fit & Finish is beyond compare

  • Not 100% aluminum
  • No motherboard tray
  • Small reset button
  • Expensive

Final Score: 98%