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Thermaltake VA70000BWA "Shark" Aluminium Case


Product
Aluminium Case
Date
16th December 2004
Manufacured By
Supplied By
Price
Author

External Features :::...

I love Thermaltake's case boxes. They tell you everything you need to know and then some. They're well designed, and it's clear a lot of effort goes into their creation. Kind of pointless for something that ends up in the bin? No, because it sets up a first impression that may stay with a buyer for the rest of their buying lifetime. Ultimately it's money well spent in my opinion.

 

 

When you first remove "The Shark" from its holding pool, the first impression is that it's a prime example of new and radical design. If the Tsunami and Wave Master broke the case design mold, the Shark is jumping up and down on it with clogs on.

It's sharp, it's edgy and its different, but I have to say it's an extremely masculine design that probably won't appeal to the fairer sex in the way it appeals to us knuckle-scrapers.

 

 

The front of the case has the sweeping, aerodynamic lines of a Great White with design features created to resemble gills too. It's a design statement of the boldest kind, and a gutsy move for Thermaltake.

If you haven't had the pleasure of handling Thermaltake's Tsunami before, you'll probably be quite surprised by the Shark's weight, or more accurately the lack of it. When you first pick it up it's hard to fathom how they've managed to create something so complex yet kept the weight to just 14 pounds without filling it with Helium.

The back is as you'd expect any quality case to be with a very open, honeycomb grill maximising airflow for the installed 120mm fan. There are pre-pressed holes on the back too ready to be snapped off to accept the tubing for their, or indeed anybody else's water cooling kits. In the box with the screws are plastic bushes that push into the holes to stop the tubing getting cut on the sharp edges.

There's no provision for a redundant power supply.

Case Front and Rear View

 

That small, fine silver mesh is purely decorative, at least I hope it because I couldn't find any purpose for it other than to look good. The PC speaker may (or should) be behind there but at this stage I haven't fired the system up. It might look even better with an LED behind it but left to my own devices I'd be putting LEDs behind everything.

Door Mesh

 

Behind the door is the plastic fascia with a reasonably open vent in the lower portion where the front intake fan is situated. The door is probably the heaviest part of the entire case being made from a quite sizable slab of aluminium.

Front Door Opened

 

The door is held closed with a pair of magnetic catches. They're not particularly secure and the door can easily swing open under its own when you're carrying it so you might want to lock it before you move the case anywhere. The stike button screws into the door and is adjustable if, for some reason, it stops making contact with the magnet.

Magnetic Door Strike

 

The sculpted front door hides a blue LED which adds that extra touch of artistic flair. This also serves as the power indicator for your PC.

Front Door Detail

 

The right hand side of the case is just clean, open space. The only visible features are the locking barrel for the front door, the audio jacks, the USB ports and the Firewire port. This side also, in my view, exposes the first design mistake. A case with a window that's placed under a desk will almost certainly be placed on the right so as to make the window visible. This means that if the desk has solid sides or is up against a wall on the right, you won't have easy access to these ports. Even if you can get to them, you may not have room to plug in bigger items like a Flash drive unless you leave a sufficient gap. For me the ports should be mid way up the front or on the opposite side.

Case Side View

 

Front Ports

 

The front door lock is more about stopping the door swinging open or deterring the opportunist thief rather than a real security feature. This is because almost every lock-able case on the market uses the same type and size of key, so getting hold of one should be considerably easier than trying to obtain some enriched Uranium for a science project.

Front Door Lock

 

And if the front door was a bold statement, then how about the left hand side panel! No plexi here, just two large, sweeping cutouts with a honeycombed grill and a stylish plastic edge molding.

There's a regular locking barrel situated below the large,easy grip quick-release handle with its half-moon shaped aluminium insert. The handle feels a little unrefined to use but it looks stylish and works, both of which are more important in the great scale of things.

Side Panel Cutouts

Unlike a plexi window, the honeycomb steel design offers full EMI shielding. It also allows masses of cooling air to be drawn in, even cooling passively when the system is powered off. The downside is that unless you use a positive pressure cooling setup, running a system in this case will probably result in large gulps of dust-laden air being taken in and the dust content deposited inside.

It would actually be very easy to add a plexi panel inside and hide the screws or rivets behind the plastic molding around the cutouts, and this may in fact be what a lot of people choose to do to cut down on the maintenance.

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As with the Tsunami, the case feet can be swivelled outwards for added stability. There's a large cutout visible here and this serves as the primar air intake. Fortunately this time the air drawn in from here doesn't completely bypass the dust filter as it could do with the Tsunami. In actual fact very little of the Tsunami's airflow bypassed the filter because of it's very open front door vent, but the Shark can't breathe though the door as easily when it's closed so it needs to use this opening more extensively.

Case Feet

 

 
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