Thermaltake V6 BlacX ED £54
18th May 2011 | 09:22
Can this budget chassis from Thermaltake keep your components cool?
Thermaltake makes lots of cooling kit, and this V6 BlacX ED sits towards the bottom of offerings. It's a midi tower and comes in regulation black with a pleasing glossy finish down the sides. It's a tad plain, where most gaming cases are all 'shouty', although it does boast a small side window so you can gaze upon your processor in awe.
The interior space is pretty tight, leaving no room for routing cables and air under the motherboard, or fitting water-cooling kit. It'll take a graphics card up to 11-inches long (280mm if you've gone French).
The bottom mounted PSU has an outside grill to draw in air. There's a mesh to catch dust too, but unlike most similar designs this cannot be removed from outside the case, and looks next to impossible to get at once you've got all your hardware installed.
The expansion cards have screw-free plastic clips which slide down and (hopefully) lock into place. These aren't the strongest of fixing methods and don't look as if they'll take much punishment. The holes are still there for screws if you decide not to trust them.
The top of the case has two grills, actually not so much grills as collections of big holes large enough to lose screws down, let alone all the dust and other debris.
Under the rear set of these is a meaty 200mm exhaust fan, complete with a blue LED which is mounted a little too close to the motherboard for comfort and can foul components. Interestingly there is no front intake fan. On the back another 120mm pushes more air out.
This arrangement concentrates the airflow towards the top of the case around the processor. To get air blowing directly over your graphics cards there's the option to install a 120mm side fan, which might not be a bad idea if you've more 'demanding' cards. Another 120mmm fan can be added to the hard drive cage too.
The drive bays consist of eight 5.25-inch bays with screw-free fitting, again, not of the most robust construction. An adaptor is provided to fit a 3.5-inch or 2.5-inch drive into the space at the very top of the stack. The bottom three drive bays hold a removable cage which takes your 3.5-inch hard drives, fitted with screws that are very awkward to get at.
The front panel is minimalist with no USB 3.0 or eSATA. What we so far have is a capable, but uninspiring chassis. Then we come to the odd door on the top, it's the V6's unique selling point, it's a hot-docking station so you can plug a 'raw' 2.5-inch or 3.5-inch hard drive straight into the case. It does look odd with a drive sticking out of the top though. But it could come in handy.
The V6 BlacX is a mixed bag. It's reasonably cheap, which is always good. This does mean we have some lightweight metalwork as a consequence. This is noticeable on the rear panel which has so many pieces cut out of it.
The main problem here is the details of the design which don't inspire confidence. The less than ideal airflow, clumsy arrangement of drive bays and fragile fixings.
The most direct competitor here is the Scorpio 2000, which is better designed and more flexible. The money used to add that docking bay would have been better spent improving the rest of the case. Unless you need that docking bay, better things are to be had elsewhere.
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