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Reviewed by: Ed Lau [02.09.03]
Manufactured by: Thermaltake

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Yin and Yang

As a small group of ingenious (or moronic, depending on how you look at it) men recently discovered, "it’s all about balance".  You can't be having sex all the time and you can’t be drinking beer with the guys all the time.  It’s all about balance. Such a doctrine not only applies to beer and sex but also to just about everything else in life.

Having the biggest, baddest rig on earth has probably been the goal of every PC enthusiast since the beginning.  How you get there is your call.  Some people spend the extra bills for the latest processor while other choose a slightly slower one and bump up the multipliers.  Still others can afford to spend the extra bills on the latest processor and then some more on some crazy liquid nitrogen cooling system.  Oh, how I loathe you.  Either way, everyone and their mother’s cousin’s brother’s uncle’s next-door-neighbor’s yak knows that cooling is essential to any high-performance machine.

For those of us not using watercooling, peltiers or other types of exotic cooling, it’s very likely that you endure the hum of the fans in your case.  If you’ve got everything in your box overclocked, chances are you’re hearing a jet engine whine as you’re reading this.

Back in the Stone Age, if you had some hardcore cooling and wanted to get some sleep, then you would have to physically open up your rig and disconnect the whiny little bastards.  However, in this day and age, in a world of convienience and laziness, enthusiasts weren’t going to put up with it anymore.  As 'case modding' evolved, one of the first things to appear were switches that turned fans on and off without having to open up the case.  Soon, modders designed devices which did not turn fans on and off but controlled the speed and therefore, noise.  Now, you can turn the fans down when you want to get some sleep and up when you and your CPU is taking a beating in UT2003.  It’s all about balance.

Case mods that began as some guy’s weekend garage project are now produced en masse by major manufacturers.  Today, we’ll take a look at Thermaltake’s newest entry into their Hardcano line.


The first thing that popped into my head when the Hardcano 8VR was given to me was "BLUE!?" Why on earth would anyone make a product, especially an aluminum one, blue?  How many people have blue cases?  At the time, Thermaltake didn’t even sell a blue case in their Xaser line.  Currently, the Xaser III comes in blue but I’m not sure if it is the same blue since I don’t have one on hand.  Either way, the choice of color in the Hardcano 8VR is ridiculous and it looks totally out of place in my BLACK Thermaltake Xaser II or my SILVER Thermaltake Xaser III.

It’s not just the color choice either.  The Hardcano simply falls short aesthetically.  The good news is it fits perfectly in the Xaser II as the knobs do not interfere with the heavy steel door.  Installation using the drive rails in the Xaser III is difficult but that shouldn’t be an issue because no one is going to install it in a Xaser III as it already has a rheobus.

The Hardcano also lacks any sort of LEDs or anything else fancy.  It looks plain and there are definitely better looking units on the market.  It also lacks full aluminum construction in that the knobs are all plastic.  The build quality of this unit simply isn’t up to par with some of Thermaltake’s usual work.  The first time I hooked it up, one of the knobs fell off but I was able to reattach it with minimal pressure.

Included with the Hardcano 8VR are the requisite screws and power cables that you need to connect the device to your fans.  Also included are a pair of drive rails, in case you ever buy enough hard drives to need an extra bay.

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