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Reviewed by: Carl Nelson [02.24.04]
Manufactured by: Thermaltake 

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It's unfortunate to see Thermaltake take a step backwards here, but the Xaser 5, unluke the VM3000A Skull we looked at a while ago, is NOT 100% tool-free. The VM3000A incorporated some awesome features, like tabs to hold the doors on, and the motherboard tray in. The motherboard tray itself is tool-less! However, the Xaser 5's go back to thumbscrews for the doors, and one side of the mobo tray requires screws (although the rest of the tabs can be held in with pegs, which is nice). The mobo tray itself is not removable, but there was plenty of room, so this was not exactly something you would miss.

The drive tabs are thankfully screwless, and for once we have plenty to work with. Enough to fill up all four 5.25" bays, and 3 of the HDD bays.

The side fan holder you saw on the previous page features some nice PCI holders, that help keep cards secure while transporting the case. This is a nice touch I like to see on high end cases.

However, there is a MAJOR problem with the way the PCI retention brackets work here:

Normally, you flip a tab up, install your card, push the tab back in, then swing it down. The problem with this is that many cards are too big for this retention mechanism! Sure enough, two video cards we tested did not work, as well as both soundcards we tried. This is a MAJOR flaw, as whenever you move your case, something IS going to pop out. Don't even THINK of moving the case when turned on, becuase likely it's going to cause a short.

There is no way around it - this PCI retention method is CRAP. It was not thought out well at all, and as far as I can tell, there are no workarounds to it.

Okay, now I am in a bad mood, but we're almost done here.

Rather than have them on a Hardcano, or in the front of the case near the bottom, Thermaltake included the USB and etc ports on the TOP of the case. I really like this, except if your case is enclosed in any way. Most people will not enclose their case of course, due to potential heat issues, so they are most likely safe here.

Finally, the "Damier" features a nice big window to show off much of the internals of the PC. Unfortunately, most of the motherboard is blocked by the fans on the side. You do however get a nice view of the hard drives........

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