First and foremost, one of the most important aspects of a gaming chassis is the cooling ability and the Thermaltake Spedo certainly succeeds here. In our thermal testing the case performs admirably and effort has certainly been put in to ensure first-class airflow capability.
The ATC system is being heavily promoted in the features list for this case … it is a system of compartments that separate your hottest components to direct airflow from one away from the others. It certainly shows some promise, specifically in the gaming test where the CPU benefited from being separated from the hot air generated by the GPU.
However, without the fan bracket facing the GPU section the graphics card reports higher temperatures with the ATC components than without which gives us some concern over what would happen to the temperatures if you had two 4870 X2s squeezed into that restricted space for example. The advantages of the ATC in our test system really are minimal, however It would certainly benefit passively cooled cards but we can’t imagine most people in the market for such a case would be fitting it with passively cooled products. One thing is for certain though, to get anything out of the ATC system you must have the central fan bracket facing the GPU or else it is totally wasted. The small space the graphics card is confined to really requires that 120mm fan cooling it whereas the area with the CPU has 3 exhausts to aid with airflow in addition to the 230mm side fan.
The strong thermal performance of this case comes with a huge sacrifice though – noise. We noticed it the other week when we reviewed the Cyberpower Poseiden i7. The side fan is ludicrously loud and generates an annoying high pitched whine which really stands out from the rest of the components.
When you remove the window disabling the fan, even though your component fans are now exposed you can immediately hear the difference.
One aspect of the case that we really rate highly is the CRM (Cable Routing Management) feature which works really well and enables us to cleanly tuck away all our cables that run to the components within the machine. It just adds that little bit more organisation and cleanliness to the machine.
There is one more issue we have with the chassis in addition to the noise it produces, the sheer amount of low quality plastic used, even in key components. Firstly the front fascia and the top of the machine use a large quantity of plastic in the design and while it might look pretty slick in pictures, up close it really looks poor, especially where the plastic panels meet. Everything seems to be able to be pulled around and wobbles too easily. Once inside there are a plethora of key areas where plastic is used, the first being the ATC system. All of the ATC components are made out of surprisingly weak plastic and we would not be surprised if they broke after a short amount of time. Additionally, while the hard drive bays are well designed in theory, the plastic is incredibly flimsy and fragile. It certainly isn’t a case that feels like it will stand up to frequent tinkering or rebuilds and definitely isn’t something we would feel secure hauling around to LAN parties and such.
Despite the negatives presented though, the case certainly has a lot of potential as the basic design offers marvellous cooling ability and hopefully future iterations can build upon the noise and quality issues presented here.
There was a time a few years ago that Hi-Fi/AMP like HTPC cases were everywhere. That has changed a bit in recent times due to some excellent m-ATX boards allowing builds in compact chassis however there is still something about the home theatre component style of design which can be appealing...