Article by: Joe Anderson (Hardware Reviewer)
Edited By: Nathan Glentworth (Owner / Head Editor)
Product was submitted by: Thermaltake
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PRODUCT INSTALLATION AND TESTING
Connecting PSU cables is not difficult, but routing the cables is a bit of a challenge, owing to the lack of management features in the BlacX. This board has outward facing SATA ports and getting the cables routed from the drives and docking station was a challenge as well, but this will be hardware dependent. Everything went in…
…finally, but I can't begin to describe the level of frustration this reviewer experienced when trying to get the 2-slot 8800 graphics card in and secured with the included tool-free clip. I really hate this feature and Thermaltake would have been much better off employing screws here, and the installation would secure. As-is, the card isn't very secure at all and I would be very hesitant to move the case around much without a screw to secure it to the expansion bay.
As you can see, the limited room behind the tray is sufficient for routing some of the smaller cables and wiring back here, but requires some careful consideration and using the openings in the big bays for cable egress, rendering them unusable for their intended purpose. Also, the CPU cooler access window in the tray is too narrow to use with this board, but this will depend on your hardware. Nevertheless, the opening could be bigger.
With the BlacX buttoned up and powered on, the front panel has a pleasant blue glow from the blue LED fan, not too bright but just right. The case has a classic presence and, while not silent, is pretty quiet. Let's see what the cooling performance is like. Here is a table illustrating the temperature change relative to the open test bed, in degrees C. Ambient temps were kept at a constant 21C in the lab and the system was shut down for one hour between test runs.
The BlacX does a pretty good job of keeping this high-watt hardware happy, and the noise level is still acceptably quiet for a gaming case. The front fan does a good job of keeping the HDD cool, but as I expected, doesn't contribute much to graphics cooling. Nevertheless, the air moving passively in through the side vents do contribute to relatively good graphics cooling, and the CPU numbers are quite good.
The docking feature works as advertised, operating well within the hardware parameters. Keep in mind that users will need to have the proper hardware and BIOS settings to make this work properly, and all this is well documented in the manual. While this feature somewhat mitigates the meager number of I/O ports, I'd still like to see a few more USB 2.0 ports on the front (top) panel. After all, USB 2.0 is far from legacy so far.