Close Up: Thermaltake LANBOX VF1000BWS - Disassembly
The first thing that we should point out is that this case if not a tool-less design. In fact, there are a ton of screws involved in the disassembly and build up of a complete system, so those of you looking for a totally thumbscrew design may be disappointed.
To start disassembling the case, several screws need to be removed so the top can slide off. Next, the remainder of the rear screws are removed to allow the motherboard tray to slide out. Note that the side panels never need to be removed during the assembly process, which is a good thing. The less plexiglass is handled the longer it will stay clear and transparent. Thermaltake did ship the unit with a protective film on both the interior and exterior of the side panels for maximum protection.
Removing the motherboard tray gives a better view of the rear two 60mm exhaust fans and the drive cages. The LANBOX is out fitted with two drive cages, one housing a 3.5 bay", the other 5.25" and 7" bays. There's that mysterious 7" bay again.
Removal of the cage consists of loosening two screws, then the cage slides back and tips out. Once removed, a second drive cage is revealed which can house an additional two 3.5" drives. In the end, there is no shortage of space to accommodate a healthy collection of storage options.
OK, so what is that 7" bay for? The LANBOX VF1000BWS sports an optional upgrade kit that can add a retractable LCD screen to the mix. The A2413-01 motorized 7" LCD is an excellent add-on for media center applications, sporting touch screen capability and a 1280x760 maximum resolution. The LCD screen was not included with our sample, so we are not able to comment on any features or experiences with the A2413-01.
One item we do want to point out is a surprising design flaw. When reviewing the front of the case on the previous page, we pointed out the half circle mesh that hid the 90mm LED intake fan. What we found is that there is a filter behind the mesh, which is a plus, however, access to this filter requires an almost complete disassembly of the unit. In order to remove the filter, the front bezel needs to be detached by removing four screw on the inside of the case. To get to these screws, the drive cage needs to be taken out at the minimum, and the second drive cage will most likely need removing as well. Why the front mesh wasn't designed to be opened from the front is not clear, but this would have been a better solution. A simple solution would be to have the bezel held in place with tension clips rather than screws, which is commonly done on cases of all sizes.