Mid-Tower Round-Up: Antec, Corsair, NZXT, Thermaltake

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By far the flashiest case in our roundup--and coincidentally also really a full tower case, not a mid tower--the Thermaltake Chaser MK-I is loaded with details and little extras that will appeal to gamers and enthusiasts. It’s also the priciest case in our roundup at $169.99.

Like several other Thermaltake cases, the Chaser-MK-I is covered with molding made to evoke space armor, which adds some pizzazz to a gaming rig. The color scheme is tasteful, with a black metal-looking finish and electric light blue highlights here and there. The fan lights can also be switched to blue to pick up the theme, which is a nice touch.



Thermaltake Chaser MK-I
Specifications & Features
Materials:
SECC
Front Bezel Material Combination of plastic and high air flow mesh

Motherboard Support:
9.6” x 9.6” (Micro ATX)
12” x 9.6” (ATX)

Motherboard Tray: No
5.25" Drive Bay: 4
Int. 3.5" Drive Bay: 6
Ext. 3.5" Drive Bay By using 5.25" to 3.5" Converter
Expansion Slots: 8

Front I/O Ports:
USB 3.0 x 2
USB 2.0 x 2
eSATA connector x 1
MIC & Speaker (support AC’97 & HD Audio)

Net Weight: 12.3 kg / 27.1 lb
Cooling System:
Front (Intake): 200 x 200 x 30 mm Colorshift fan x 1 (600~800rpm,13~15dBA)
or 120 x 120 x 25 mm x 2 (optional)
Rear (Exhaust): 140 x 140 x 25 mm TurboFan, 1000rpm, 16dBA
or 120 x 120 x 25 mm x 1 (optional)
Top (Exhaust): 200 x 200 x 30 mm Colorshift fan x 1 (600~800rpm, 13~15dBA);
200 x 200 x 30 mm x 1 (optional)
or 140 x 140 x 25 mm x 2 (optional) or 120 x 120 x 25 mm x 2 (optional)
Bottom (Intake): 120 x 120 x 25 mm x 1 (optional)
Side (Intake): 200 x 200 x 30 mm x 1 (optional)

Liquid Cooling Capable: Yes
Liquid Cooling Embedded: No
Power Supply Supported: Standard ATX PSII Power Supply

Dimension (H*W*D):
567.9 x 237.0 x 581.6 mm /
22.4 x 9.3 x 22.9 inches

Security Lock: for peripherals only


Features

The tool-less Chaser MK-I sports 10 total drive bays (four 5.25-inch, six 3.5-inch) with an included tray to convert a 5.25-inch bay to 3.5-inch. There are no dedicated 2.5-inch bays, but all of the 3.5-inch bays easily support the smaller form factor, so it’s not an issue. The case also has 8 expansion slots.

Included with the case is a handful of accessories including the aforementioned drive conversion tray (with a faceplate to match), several zip ties, an 8-pin extension cable, a small buzzer for the alarm, and all the necessary screws. Although it’s a minor detail, the screws, which are all black, were pre-sorted into several small baggies, so you don’t have to go digging around for exactly the right screw.

Motherboard support is somewhat limited, with a range of micro ATX to ATX, but the case does provide plenty of room for even the most obscenely large graphics cards, up to 330mm. It’s also ready for a water cooling system, including accommodations for a 24mm radiator via the removable top panel.

Cooling is obviously important to Thermaltake, as the Chaser MK-I is built with feet to elevate the case 35mm off the ground to ensure airflow, and there were three sizable fans included in our particular model, as well--a pair of 200mm ColorShift fans, for the front and top, and a 140mm fan at the rear. There are several other fan configurations available as well, of course.

     

Exterior

About one third of the side panel of the Chaser MK-I is occupied by a clear panel, with a large grill (begging for a fan) taking up additional space. There’s also a clip from which to conveniently hang your gaming headphones when they’re not strapped to your head. Around back, there is the 140mm fan, grommets for water cooling setups, and a couple of simple but effective locks for your mouse and keyboard. You can also easily slide out the large bottom-mounted PSU air filter from the back.

The front bezel of the case is easily removable, giving you access to the 5.25-inch bays and the front air filter. However, the top of this case is where the party’s at. Also removable for easy access to the topside fans (and/or 24mm radiator), it features an HDD docking station (with support for up to SAT 3Gbps, a pair each of USB 2.0 and 3.0 ports, an eSATA port, and headphone and mic ports. The power and reset buttons are located on top of the case alongside the fan controls.

Though the fan controls consist of “high” and “low” with no capabilities for fine tuning, you can adjust the fan lights from here, too, alternating between blue, red, or green in a variety of configurations. The LED design around the power button is very cool, as well.

The result of having so many excellent functions built in to the case is a bird’s nest of leads and connectors to organize, but it’s a small price to pay.


Interior

The inside of the Chaser MK-I is spacious enough, and it has lots of options for routing your cables, although there isn’t much clearance on the back side so you’ll have to be careful with cabling back there.

The tool-less clips for the 5.25-inch bays feel surprisingly solid and work smoothly for being plastic, and the grill covers can be removed and replaced with clips, so you can move your ODDs around without leaving gaps in the front of the case. By contrast, the plastic 3.5-inch trays feel flimsy.

The PSU mount is another example of a small detail that indicates the overall quality of the case. Instead of letting the PSU hang there by its screws, the Chaser MK-I has a small support bridge that you can adjust for your particular power supply and then secure with a thumbscrew.


Other than all the supposedly tool-less thumbscrews on this case, which were on so tightly that we had to wrestle them off with a screwdriver, the Chaser MK-I is perfect for tinkering. There’s ample room to work with both side panels off, and the top and front pop off and on easily as well. The fans on this case were remarkably quiet, barely making an audible hum even at full tilt.

The case has solid construction throughout, and the details add small touches that add up to an enjoyable user experience. Further, all other things being equal, the terrific array of ports and features on top of the case make the Chaser MK-I an attractive option.

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Nice review

Antec has some nice airflow cases, but most don't have airfilters to slow airflow. Which also makes them dust magnets.

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fat78:

Nice review

Antecedent has some nice airflow cases, but most don't have airfilters to slow airflow. Which also makes them dust magnets.

You can rectify that with some swiffer pads over the fans or pantyhose. 

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Well i dont mean that it is hard to clean the computer out, but their cases do need to be cleaned out more often.

I would love to get an antec df-85 case because i love the number of fans they stuck on it .

Edit:  the 1100 does have air filters. Although i don't see them doing much because they are very thin in front of  the hard drive bays, so airflow isn't really limited much and most of the air intake spots are opened mesh which helps airflow.

Personally i love antec cases because of how they make their cases with large open mesh for airflow.

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FYI guys, the Eleven Hundred does have dust filters in the front of the chassis and is easily removed by pulling the bezel off (which requires no screws to be removed).

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I like the NZXT box, just because of it's plainness that comes with good features, and at a nice price.

The type of fasteners inside don't matter to me because I use screws to anchor everything anyway.

I also like the Corsair Carbide 500R for looks and utility if I were to consider building a Enthusiast Water Cooling Setup of my own. It has a lot of room and isn't gaudy either.

It's just BIG! Surprise

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NZXT just makes cheapo cases. Even the Phantom feels cheap.

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Antec FTW. I've used them a lot and no complaints.

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Great review. Corsair makes some good cases but boy are they expensive; regardless, I'm surprised that all cases performed similarly. In this case it almost feels less like finding the best case and more like finding the case with the best looks. I'm not doubting Corsair's editor's choice win; just whether or not they'll ever be a truly unique case we can buy.

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Thermaltake, the Chaser-MK-I for me is the winner nice design ,nice airflow, acceptable price and just looks beast.i liked the corsair too

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