Four Unique ATX Cases Compared

Mozart TX Test Notes

Thermaltake's use of 4-pin fans means that all fans will always run at full speed unless the user buys an optional 4-pin fan speed controller. This is a real shame, since the Asus Striker Extreme would have supported automatic fan speed control for five 3-pin fans. Intake and exhaust fan combined noise is estimated at just under 30 dB at 1 meter in comparison to lab-tested fans of similar noise levels.

The noisiest fan was the lower intake fan, due to its close proximity to inlet holes. Most users will find front fans to be most noticeable anyway due to location, but users may find that adequate temperatures can be maintained by using exhaust fans only.

Since this case is intended for use in a living room, it made sense to test it in the quietest configuration possible. Starting with a maximum 36°C CPU and 37°C chipset temperatures with all fans running, temperatures climbed to 59°C CPU and 50°C chipset with intake and exhaust fans disabled. Enabling only the one exhaust fan directly behind the CPU turned out to be the best compromise, resulting in CPU and chipset temperatures of 40°C and 38°C respectively. The single exhaust fan was so quiet that it could not be heard over the noise of other components.

In addition to substituting 3-pin fan leads - possibly with 4-pin adapters for buyers who need them - Thermaltake might also consider adding more extra-long cables, since the two included cables are only enough for three drives (two Ultra ATA and one SATA). Right now, buyers will be forced to spend a considerable amount of time hunting down special parts whenever they need to add a drive.

Thomas Soderstrom
Thomas Soderstrom is a Senior Staff Editor at Tom's Hardware US. He tests and reviews cases, cooling, memory and motherboards.