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Thermaltake Tenor VB2000 HTPC CaseCase


Product
HTPC Chassis
Date
9th August 2005
Manufacured By
Supplied By
Price
Author

A Closer Look :::...

Out of the box the Tenor is a very stylish piece of kit. For me just about the only thing that spoils the look is the fact that the word "Tenor" is screen printed onto the front left, a nice, raised aluminium logo would have been extremely effective there.

The chromed strip is not only a very nice styling detail, it also separates the flip-down drive bay door on the right from the fixed portion of the fascia on the right.

Front View

 

The left side of the case features only the external connectors. No vents are utilised here. The right side is the same minus the connectors.

Side View

 

The rear of the case is fairly standard with a pair of 60mm exhaust fans sat above the motherboard's rear connector cluster. Bigger fans would be nice but there simply isn't room to accommodate anything bigger without resorting to a cross-flow blower.

Seven expansion slots are offered. Access to the innards is via three thumbscrews, though one was missing from the review sample.

The aperture provided for the PSU makes it clear that this case is able to take a regular, full-sized ATX PSU sat vertically.

Rear View

 

Below you can see how the main, drive bay door hinges open in its entirety allowing access to a genuinely commendable three 5.25" and two 3.5" external drive bays. The cable you can see, thick though it is, does nothing more than to provide power to the right hand of the two front-mounted blue LEDs used both cosmetically, and to indicate power on.

Flip Down Drive Bay Door

 

A classy touch is that the drive bay door has a geared, soft-open mechanism so it swing open gently rather than just flopping open. Is the mechanism durable? No idea, though I've been deliberately rough with for the past few weeks that doesn't really equate to a couple of years of harsh (read kids) handling.

Of slightly more concern to me in terms of durability are the push-to-close style door clips which seem incredibly fragile to look at, though may go on to function perfectly happily for years in practice. Time will tell.

Soft-Opening Mechanism

 

In the large, main drive bay door is a smaller sub-door giving access to the lower of the three 5.25" external drive bays. It's unlikely you'll get an optical drive in this bay as will usually foul on at least part of the installed motherboard, and Thermaltake in fact show this bay populated with one of iMon's VFD panels, though equally you could opt for any 5.25" format device that would benefit from such access.

The drawback with an iMon VFD or any infrared receiver in this bay is that because it's recessed you may get a drastically reduced operating angle from the remote if the receiver is placed close to one edge or the other rather than central, as it is with the iMon VFD.

Top View Down

 

Similar push-to-close clips are used to secure the sub-door, and similar concerns are raised about their durability. I consider this more of an issue with the sub door as there is no stop behind it to protect it from being pushed too far into the aperture it sits in. In my opinion it needs one.

Front Panel Sub-Door

 

Again we hit one of my bugbears.Wile having the external connectors positioned on the side in this way tidies up the front panel, and makes perfect sense when the Tenor sits on a shelf, those who tend to place such devices in TV or HiFi cabinets (and that's most of the UK population at least), will find they immediately become rendered useless. I understand the benefits but would love to see the option to undo a couple of screws and move them to the front for those who's sooner have them there. Maybe that part of the case where "Tenor" is printed should be made to hinge up with an aperture behind there for them?

Front Panel Connectors

 

Two USB2.0 and a single Firewire port, a mic and a headphone sockets are available.

Front Panel Connectors

 

 

Top Views Down

 

 

 
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