Thermaltake Chaser A41 Reviewred454 -
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Thermaltake Chaser A41 Closer Look:
Before we tear into this case, let's look at the big picture. We have three included fans - a large 200mm top fan, and a front and a rear 120mm fan. I just wonder if that will be enough, I mean this is a gaming case, and gamers are known to push their systems, and that usually means a lot of heat and noise. We'll have to wait for the testing to see how the heat is handled. I am not sure if I like the little blue tabs on the optical drive bay covers. The 2.5" bay cover has black tabs, and they all just look like they should be black. Maybe I will warm up to them.
Removing the side covers reveal the internals. The side covers are secured to the case with retained thumb screws. All of the hard drive cages are turned 90 degrees. There are four oval rubber grommets for all of your cables to pass through. One thing I noticed is that while there is a spot to mount a 120mm fan on the case floor next to the PSU, there really aren't any extra provision for mounting fans inside. Often there are mounting holes to add a fan to the hard drive stack. Sometimes the stack can be shifted or half the stack can be relocated, but not here. Everything is rigidly mounted. And that is not necessarily a bad thing - just an observation at this point.
The back side of the motherboard tray allows for easy cable management. The offset is plenty for extra cables and connectors to be stashed away out of view. The case is wde enough so that the power supply and SATA cables for the hard drives aren't mashed against the back cover when you close it. I am always a little paranoid when I have to lean on a cover to get it closed, and you hear things crunching underneath. We don't have that problem with this case.
At the top of the case is the 200mm blue LED fan. It can be removed to install a liquid cooling radiator (120mm or 240mm). The motherboard tray has a generous opening for easy access to the back of the motherboard for CPU cooler mounting.
Looking at the front of the case with the fascia removed, you can see the front 120mm fan (included). The rear 120mm fan (included) is lit with blue LEDs. The front fan is not lighted. Since I am using the Corsair H70 (in a push / pull fan configuration) at the rear, I moved the lighted fan from the rear to the front. Regarding the rear fan, there are four rubber isolators attached to the fan mounting holes in the case, so when I installed the H70, the isolators further dampened any vibrations from the fans. There are also two bays (3.5" and 2.5") above the front 120mm fan. The lower of the two bays (3.5") is only accessible by removing the entire front cover. This bay can be used for an additional 3.5" hard drive or an SSD. The upper 2.5" bay can be accessed from the front.
The air filter is also accessed by removing the front panel. It is easy to detach from the front panel for cleaning.
The hard drive cages are nice and sturdy. There are four special shoulder screws that attach your hard drive to the cage. They fit through the four rubber isolators and keep vibration to a minimum.
Here are the covers for the 5.25" and 3.5" bays. I have to say that they are exceptionally easy to remove from the front. You don't have to get at them from inside, which is very convenient. But I am not sure that I like the colored tabs on the 5.25" covers. Some people could care less about the color, or whether or not all of their componets match. Maybe light blue isn't your thing. I am sort of in the middle. While I am a little partial to a red / black scheme, I at least like the option to change it, but Thermaltake would have to supply additional sets in red or black. And really that just adds cost.
The hidden 3.5" bay mentioned above has its own cage. Not as elaborate as the other main HDD cages, but it allows for some extra hard drive space.
The instruction set is thorough and easy to follow. The hardware consists of a system speaker, wire ties, some motherboard stand offs, and assorted screws for securing the motherboard to the tray.
The build was uneventful - no issues, no cursing, or bleeding knuckles. So here we have the finished product. Thermaltake lists this case as being ATX compatible - and my motherboard is the ASUS Maximus V Formula, which is actually an extended ATX board. The extended ATX board is a half inch wider than a standard ATX and you may not think that half an inch would be a concern, but indeed this presents problems in some cases, such as my Corsair 500R. But the Chaser A41 case handles it beautifully. No problems at all. The motherboard fit perfectly and the cable routing was a breeze and resulted in a clean, efficient build.
I was especially impressed that the CPU power cables were able to be routed easily behind the motherboard and the pass-through holes for the cable connectors (at the top of the motherboard tray) were large enough. And despite being a mid tower, it really has enough room for everything.