Thermaltake Bach VX
I would like to thank Thermaltake for supplying the review sample.
Thermaltake is one of the few companies, which try to be innovative with their products. They are definitely not afraid to try new things and have proven that there are plenty of new design possibilities for computer cases. Two great examples are the Lanbox and the Mozart TX.
The Thermaltake Bach Vx is available in two variants:
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<th scope="row">Model number </th>
<td scope="row"><div align="center">VF4000BNS</div></td>
<td colspan="2" scope="row"><div align="center">VF4000BWS</div></td>
<td colspan="3" scope="row"><div align="center">Black</div></td>
<th scope="row">Drive Bays </th>
<td colspan="3" scope="row"><p align="center"> 4 x external 5.25’’<br />
2 x external 3.5’’ <br />
5 x internal 3.5’’</p> </td>
<td colspan="3" scope="row"><div align="center">Front bezel : Aluminum <br />
Body : 0.8mm SECC</div> <div align="center"></div></td>
<th valign="top" scope="row">Form Factor </th>
<td colspan="3" valign="top" scope="row"><div align="center">Micro ATX , Standard ATX </div></td>
<th valign="top" scope="row">Expansion Slots </th>
<td colspan="3" valign="top" scope="row"><div align="center">7 standard slots </div></td>
<th valign="top" scope="row">Case Fans </th>
<td colspan="3" valign="top" scope="row"><p align="center">Front (Intake) : 140 x 140 x 25 mm, 1000rpm, 16dBA <br />
Rear (Exhaust) : 120 x 120 x 25 mm, 1000rpm, 15dBA</p></td>
<th valign="top" scope="row">Dimensions</th>
<td colspan="3" valign="top" scope="row"><div align="center">497.0 x 210.0 x 475.0 mm <br />
(19.57 x 8.27 x 18.7 inch)</div></td>
<th valign="top" scope="row">Weight</th>
<td colspan="3" valign="top" scope="row"><div align="center">9.46 kg (20.85lb)</div></td>
<th valign="top" scope="row">Front Access </th>
<td colspan="3" valign="top" scope="row"><p align="center">USB 2.0 x 2, e-SATA connector x 1, HD audio</p></td>
Packaging & Contents
The cardboard box of the case has a lot of information about the case and showcases the most important benefits of the case. It is full color and should certainly stand out among other packages.
The plastic handle makes carrying the case home from the shop very easy. The case is secured by some thin Styrofoam spacers. These will suffice as the case itself is not very heavy. Unlike other packaging methods, Thermaltake went with a cloth bag to keep the Bach Vx from getting damaged during shipping. Most other manufacturers use cheaper, plastic bags. The Styrofoam was broken due to shipping, but the case was completely undamaged.
There is not much more to be found besides the Bach Vx. Thermaltake includes a plastic bag with a cleaning wipe and a small box with an outline of a screw. It is nice to see the cleaning cloth, as it will certainly come in handy for the side window. There are two small bags inside the brown box. One is filled with an assortment of required screws, while the other is filled with thumbscrews.
A Closer Look
The case itself looks very nice and sleek. The slogan "The Charm of the Ordinary" which Thermaltake uses to market this case really does not do it justice.
The front of the case is made out of black, shiny plastic as well as aluminum. The back of the case has everything needed. There are the mandatory PCI brackets, the backplate, honey comb fan grill and space for a power supply. Thermaltake also decided to place two punch-outs for serial, parallel or MIDI/game ports. This is great, as there are still some devices that make use of these connectors. An example would be entry level TV Tuner cards with remote controls. These come with serial cable based IR receivers.
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The front is divided into three parts by black horizontal trenches. The Bach Vx embedded logo can be found right above the lowest divider. There is also a mirror finish line across the brushed aluminum, which houses the hard drive access and power LED. The top part of the front groups all the drive bays together. While the 3.5" drive bays are cut out of the brushed aluminum, the 5.25" variants are kept in black, shiny and certainly high quality plastic. The power and reset buttons are of very high quality and can be found to the right of the 3.5" drive bays.
The I/O, which is usually found on the front of a case, has been moved to the top of the Bach Vx. It is protected by a plastic cover which can be opened by pushing down on it and then letting it pop up. There are two USB 2.0, one microphone, one headphone and a E-SATA connector under the little hood. The E-SATA connector is a refreshing addition to the usual assortment of connectivity.
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The side of the case is held in place by two very big thumb screws. These are about three to four times as big as the usual variants and can be unscrewed with ease by hand. There are two latches toward the back of the windowed side, which also hold the door in place. A lock can be found on the top latch, so you can secure your hardware if you are in a public place, like a LAN party. The combination of thumbscrews, latches and lock is something quite rarely seen for cases. the window sports an 80 mm fan hole, covered in fine mesh and an engraved Thermaltake logo with the new slogan "COOL all your Life". It would have been nice to see a fan grill with a fine mesh behind it, as the square mesh used does not look well with the round fan hole.
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But wait there is more! Thermaltake also includes a 120 mm fan in the back of the case. It is the usual orange/black kind which you can buy separately as well. The PCI slots are right below the fan and feature a black, plastic based screw-less installation system. Each PCI slot is covered by a separate, perforated, metal piece, so you will not need to break anything out with force.
The lower front area houses the hard drive cage. It has space for five hard drives. There are rubber rings in each of the installation holes, which will absorb vibrations of the drives. The cage can be removed by unscrewing a single screw and pressing down on the top level while pulling it out of the case. Hidden in front of the case is another fan. While this one looks just like the back variant, using the same orange/black color theme, it is actually 140 mm and is more than sufficient at cooling up to five hard drives. This may not be the biggest fan in a case (the Twinengine we reviewed here had two 250 mm fans.), yet it is big enough to push a lot of air, while rotating at slower speeds and thus generating less noise.
The afore mentioned hard drive cage is quite tall. The back is folded, so that the installed drives can be lined up easily with the screw holes.
The 3.5" drives have to be secured the old fashioned way, using screws. The 5.25" drives are secured by plastic devices. To open these up, all you need to do is squeeze the latches together and lift it. Then place the drive in the bay and squeeze the latches together once more and press down to secure the drive in place.
The front of the case features a lock just like the side. It actually uses the same key as well. The front can be opened up to ease the installation and to gain access to the dust filter of the front fan.
There is a lot of space around the mainboard as long as there is no power supply installed, which makes installing and routing cables quite easy. The removable hard drive cage is great, as you can make any excessive cables disappear right behind it. There is a small problem with the crossbar used. While it acts as a very effective stabilizer to the overall construction, it also makes it impossible to install a PSU after installing all the other components. I found out the hard way, as there is less than half a cm missing in height to be able to install a PSU above the crossbar. The power supply needs to be installed first, taking away precious space and adding cable clutter to the case. Installing the graphics card is quick and painless. Just insert the card, press the lever down until it clicks and you are done.
The mainboard connectors are kept completely standard. The only notable differences are two single USB 2.0 cables, instead of one "double" plug. This gives the user a bit more flexibility without adding the usual confusion of cable arrangement.
Installing the hard drives is done by screwing in special, longer screws. Thermaltake included enough screws to fill all five slots with hard drives. After installing four drives, there were exactly four screws left. While an optical drive will certainly fit inside the front without any problems, I chose to install the Soundgraph Ultrabay instead. The device is quite different than any optical drive and may cause problems during installation with the screw-less design. There were absolutely no problems installing the device when using the mechanisms in place. The Ultrabay did have a tiny bit of play, but this is due to the hollow construction. Thermaltake has made sure that these devices can be secured as well, by adding traditional screw holes, which can be used alongside the plastic brackets.
After the installation, the front was closed and secured. The round shape with the black drive bays looks great. After all the cables were connected, the inside looked very clean. I did not spend a lot of time on cable management but with the use of a modular power supply the result was great. There only downside is the lack of space for large video cards. A Radeon X1900 or Geforce 8800 will force you to sacrifice the top hard drive bay.
During installation I did not have to break out a single part. Everything was secured by screws and can be replaced at any time. This does not only reduce the chance of injury during installation, but increases the reselling value of the case as well.
Before turning the computer on, the side was put back into place and secured by latch and thumb screws. The overall look, while turned off was simply beautiful - nothing ordinary here.
The power cable was connected and the computer turned on. The fans are very quiet and the blue Ultrabay looks gorgeous inside this case. You can be sure, no matter what front panel device you use, it will fit perfectly. The red LED is to indicate a running system, while the red LED flashes with HDD accesses.
Value and Conclusion
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The Thermaltake Bach Vx is one of the rare cases which keeps surprising you all the way from unboxing to the finished system. You will most likely catch yourself just looking at the case for a few seconds after unpacking it. Then the joy continues when taking it apart and installing all your hardware. The only thing that may dim your enthusiasm a bit is the limited space for large graphic cards. You can either use a small card or sacrifice a hard drive bay.<br />
Nevertheless, Thermaltake has really put together a case which features innovations in all areas. From the 140 mm fan, to the big thumb screws. I do not understand why Thermaltake chose the "The Charm of the Ordinary" slogan for this case. It is quite charming if you will, but not because it is ordinary. This case is robust, innovative, great looking and will look good next to your TV as a media center as well as at a LAN party. That by itself is a feat other manufactures still have to master.
That is a very appealing case. Reminds me of my soprano without the front.
humm not bad it is definitely different
i dont like how it and the soprano have that (ugly imo) USB/headphone port on top
but overall its very sexy and stylish
that.... has got to be THE most ugly case ive ever seen..
I don't like the front of it, but it seems to be pretty similar to ThermalTake's other cases internally.
I am glad to see they finally stopped using that ugly green and purple PCI Screwless system. Black looks so much better. One thing to know about that, on my Tsunami I was unable to use it with some video cards. Specifically the XFX cards with that metal bar running down the side of the card. The latch would hit that metal bar, so I had to remove it and use screws instead. It looks like this case would have the same problem.
Also about the video cards interferring with the hard drives. Unless they have change the design and size drastically since the Tsunami, and it doesn't look like they have, longer cards will definitely interfere with the hard drives. My 7900GTs make it impossible to install hard drives in 2 of the hard drive slots. It won't be a problem for most people, since they usually only have one or two hard drives, but I have 4 and it is kind of a pain.
Also, are you sure the fan whole in the side window is 80mm? On the Tsunami and Soprano it is 90mm, and it looks like it is the same size on this case, but Thermaltake doesn't list it in the specs.
Also, the ugly black mesh doesn't look nearly as bad once you put a fan in that opening. In fact I am kind of surprised Thermaltake didn't put a fan there, to be honest. In their other cases that whole already has a fan in it.
Also, the plastic cover over the I/O ports on the top of the case seems kind of weak to me. In fact I broke the one on my Tsunami off on accident, it didn't take too much force. I literally just sort of bumped it with my hand while reaching to unplug my thumbdrive.
Weird looking, but TT makes some awesome products. thanks DS
Did someone actually try to install a 8800 GTX into the cage or has this cage to be removed by all means?
Got this case out of desperation and thinking Thermaltake would build a great cooling case. I have a new cm stacker 830 that has a problem with its buttons and needed a case with its psu on top(my 900 was cramped). Anyway if you get one remove the included fans right away and chunk them even if your running a 1.3 ghz celron,they do not move any air 2 antec tri cools on high drop temps 15 c. I know its a temp case but I could have had a much cheaper case I wanted cooling it even says "Cool all your life" on it "My Bad" :D
I just hot this case from Thermaltake for $59.99 http://www.thermaltakeshop.com/ref/ref-case.html , wish i had gotten 2. I was really suprised at the build quality, I don't know why they called it refurbished looks brand new, I couldn't find any problems with it. I can also confirm the side window vent supports 92mm case fanes. I used an ArcticCooling 57cfm LED fan. Even though it is a high cfm it runs very quiet. On the whole all the fans are really quiet to me. Building in it was very easy, no cuts or scratches this time around. Only gripe was I was shorted one standoff had to borry one from an older system. I was thinking of getting an Armor but wasn't sure I wanted something that big. My HD2900xt fits but as stated in review I lost 2 harddrive spaces, but I am going to get get a HD3XXX series card soon so this is fine for now. Cable management was difficult as there isn't much room to hide wires and my PSU's cables are very stiff and even though its modular (Hiper 580w) it still stands out. I was able to divert the cables from above the boad and used wire ties to bind them topgether for a cleaner look and unobstructed airflow. I would by another in the future as my temps are alot better than my older Kingwin, although that houses a s939/170 Opteron build.
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