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2003 Winter Case Review Part 2: The ATX Avalanche

Thermaltake Xaser III VM3000A: Skull Series, Continued

We experimented with using just the two side panel intake fans as well as the additional front-mounted fan. The results were very similar, but there was a slight improvement within the margin of error with the front fan installed. Obviously, the VM-3000A had no problems passing our testing process.

The Hardcano that is installed at the top of the VM-3000A is a combination of a port transfer device, temperature monitor, and fan bus controller with LCD display. It is a nice addition to the VM-3000A.

The most important special feature on the VM-3000A is the Hardcano that is installed at the top of the case. This device is a combination temperature monitor, fan bus controller and transfer panel. The transfer panel element of the Hardcano includes ports for USB and 1394/Firewire, but unfortunately no MIC and headphone jack. This is puzzling, as the majority of gamers use voice gaming clients to communicate that require them to be plugged into the MIC and headphone jacks. Since Thermaltake has designed this case clearly for gamers we are surprised that Thermaltake would omit such an important feature, considering how much support they lend to the LAN party community. Thus, users will be forced to plug their headsets behind their VM-3000A instead of enjoying the convenience of front-mounted MIC and headphone ports.

The fan bus and temperature monitoring LCD display of the Hardcano worked quite well. The adjustable colored backlit display was easy to read from some distance, depending on the type of backlighting being used. Control of the Hardcano was very easy to understand, due to Thermaltake’s excellent manual that accompanies the VM-3000A. As with the previous Thermaltake case reviewed earlier in this article, Thermaltake’s new manual rivals only Antec in the quality and quantity of information provided for new users.

The VM-3000A Skull Series is an excellent case. It features an innovative, top-notch design with excellent new engineering features. We were impressed by the quality of the VM-3000A. While we were not in love with the flashing EL skull logos on the front of the case, some buyers will undoubtedly appreciate this feature. The only other criticism we can make of this chassis is that we did not particularly like the sliders that were used to secure the side panel ; these sliders were somewhat stiff and difficult to work with. Thermaltake has done an excellent job in its design and production of the VM-3000A, and if you like its innovative design, there is no reason not to consider purchasing this well engineered case.