2003 Winter Case Review Part 2: The ATX Avalanche

Cooler Master Wave Master: TAC-T01-EK, Continued

As with all Cooler Master cases that we have reviewed from their high-end Series, the quality of the construction of the Wave Master is exceptional. Cooler Master goes the extra mile to ensure that there are no rough edges inside the chassis. This case is sturdy, and uses a variety of riveting techniques to secure the pieces of the case together. We did not see this as a disadvantage in the construction of the TAC-T01-EK. The internal makeup of the TAC-T01-EK has not evolved that much from previous Cooler Master offerings. It is clear that Cooler Master spent their design efforts and time working out the "kinks" from previous versions of their case Series; they certainly have worked magic once again with the TAC-T01-EK. While we were disappointed by the lack of newer innovations, we were not disappointed by the TAC-T01-EK's lack of bend or twist to its chassis. This solid rivet construction principle has enabled Cooler Master to offer a very sturdy case. Weighing in at slightly more than 17 pounds, this case is highly transportable, but still not a lightweight case.

As with previous generations of other Cooler Master cases, Cooler Master has upgraded the TAC-T01-EK to now include two 80mm fans that are located in the front of the case behind the sculpted bezel design. This was one of the major criticisms of the earlier revisions of the ATCS-TEK that we previously reviewed. Cooler Master's cooling upgrade allows for improved intake of large quantities of air that are exhausted by a single 80mm fan in the rear of the case. While the TAC-T01-EK does not offer a filter mechanism to stop those unwanted dust bunnies from being sucked into the case, Cooler Master tries to reduce this effect by offsetting the ventilation intake holes to reduce the amount of dust that will be picked up from the front air intake.

During our testing, the TAC-T01-EK performed quite well on overall cooling capability; still, Cooler Master might want to relocate the rear 80mm fan down toward the PCI/AGP slots to sneak another 80mm fan in the rear of the case. This would provide this case with even more exceptional cooling potential. While there are worse choices for overclockers, this case would be in the middle of the pack as far as its friendliness toward high-end overclockers. Many of those consumers will favor a case that is less cramped than the TAC-T01-EK and opt for one that offers more rear exhaust for cooling than the TAC-T01-EK provides.

A spring loaded flip-up door on the top of the case is used to hide the selection of easy access ports for the TAC-T01-EK. Should you not want to use this option, the port assembly can be replaced with the included grill to support an additional 80mm fan in the top of the case.