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Reviewed by: Carl Nelson [01.12.04]
Manufactured by: Thermaltake

 

Is it "Xaser" or "Xaser?"

I still remember seeing the second series of "Xaser" cases at Comdex a few years back. We were one of the first to review the original Xaser (which was actually designated as "II"), and we really liked it. By the time the second series (Xaser III) came out, a lot of the features were available on other cases.

The one thing that really stuck in that conversation with Thermaltake's president was the fact that he was referring to them as "Laser" cases... So I guess that's how they are supposed to be pronounced. How they get and "L" sound from an "X" is beyond me though...

Series IV?

Xaser is now in its 4th generation (although it is still labeled "III"), and the product range has widened greatly. There are the full sized, full featured "Super Tower" series, as well as a compact, low cost "LanFire" and "Romeo" series. Just last week, Thermaltake launched the Xaser V line (what happened to IV? Your guess is as good as mine). We'll have a look at those cases in the near future. But you can't pass up what I think has to be one of the coolest looking cases around - Xaser III "SKULL".

 

The "Skull" comes fully equipped with a ton of features, so be prepared for a long-ish review. First to be mentioned has to be the cool EL logo on the front:

   

Now keep in mind that there are really 2 different scopes of high end cases. You will either like the clean cut, refined look of, say, the Cooler Master ATC111. If that's a bit too bland for you, you have to dig the wild look of Thermaltake's cases (which have been copied by pretty much everyone now, with most using a Chieftec case with a modded front door). If you are into the latter, you have to love the cool looking Skulls, which can either be lit up statically, or in a flashing loop (the red eyes flashing, then the skulls, then the Thermaltake logo).

Knock Knock

Opening the door, you see that there are 6 full 5.25" bays (one is occupied by the HardCano 10 fan controller/temp monitor, which we'll get to later on). The top bays use screwless clips (again, we'll get to installation in a bit - but you can use screws on the top bays if you want to), and the bottom bays only use standard screws, which allow the case to be fully compatible with 5.25" bay accessories, as well as standard disc drives. The HardCano actually has modified clips to allow for installation in the top bay. I was able to successfully install a HardCano 12 in that top drive, but not without some extra effort. The end result was great though, as the blue EL in the HardCano 12 matches the Skulls perfectly!

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