Thermaltake M9 Review

Desja - 2008-04-30 20:33:23 in Cases
Category: Cases
Reviewed by: Desja   
Reviewed on: May 6, 2008
Price: $72.50

Introduction:

Almost all of us know at least one person whose PC emits a sound akin to nails on a chalk board - an unholy noise that would make dogs whimper and babies cry. When you finally convince that friend to get a new case to house his components, what's he supposed to do with the old one?  Tossing it in the trash is always an option, but a "Green" solution - like recycling - is probably more appropriate, considering the growing importance of being eco-conscious. Heck, if you're feeling especially handy, the two of you could turn that old case into a wood burning stove. Once you're done saving the planet, it's time your buddy starts thinking about picking out a case that's quiet and has excellent ventilation. The Thermaltake M9 VI1000BWS PC case is one of many on the market that claims to offer incredible cooling and a silent workspace - all at a reasonable price. Will the Thermaltake M9 VI1000BWS case offer solid bang for your buck? Can it really outperform other cases in its price range? Let’s see what it has to offer!

 

Closer Look:

The Thermaltake M9 VI1000BWS's packaging seems well designed. The black background really shows off the product and makes the images stand out more; plus, its specs and features are clearly illustrated, so you know what you're getting without opening the box.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Thermaltake M9 is encased in Styrofoam, protecting its top and bottom, and the shell is sized to fit the box in such a way that nothing moves during shipping. The M9 is also wrapped in plastic, which offers additional protection from dust and scratches.

 

 

The M9 comes with the standard accessories - a baggie of screws and standoffs, and the instruction manual. Somewhat out of the norm, Thermaltake supplies a plastic bracket to aid in cable management, and a faceplate adapter for those who choose to install a 3.5" floppy drive.

 

Well, we've seen what the package holds - let's have a closer look at the case!

Closer Look:

I loved the looks of Thermaltake's WingRS 100 case, but I've got to say the M9 would win hands-down in a beauty contest. I really like the M9's Piano Black finish, and the vented bay covers are much nicer and more functional than those found on the WingRS 100. The clear side panel on the M9 is a nice bonus; all in all, this case looks great!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Thermaltake M9 VI1000BWS has nine 5.25" drive bays, and three of them are cooled by a 120mm fan. This mid tower case has plenty of room for expansion, and offers modders tons of potential. The air duct on the side is a nice bonus, but could get in the way of a large aftermarket CPU cooler.

 

 

Now, let's see how the Thermaltake M9 looks on the inside.

Closer Look:

The Thermaltake M9 comes with plenty of cooling properties right out of the box - especially for a mid tower - sporting two 120mm blue LED fans. I love Thermaltake's intake fan design, as it pulls fresh air over your hard drives, which can increase their lifespan significantly.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tool-free drive installation has almost become the industry standard, and I couldn't be happier. Surprisingly, Dell was the first major PC manufacturer I have seen that took advantage of tool-free cases, and when I was running a computer repair shop, it was a welcome change not having to reach for my trusty screwdriver every five seconds. The Thermaltake M9 VI1000BWS case comes with tool-less expansion slots and drive bays, which will certainly make installation easier.

 

 

Thermaltake also scored points by building the motherboard stand-offs into the motherboard tray, and most standard ATX form-factor boards can be installed without needing to add extra stand-offs. I love this aspect, because the stand-offs line up so well and won't result in a misaligned installation.

 

Let's gets this motherboard installed and see how well the tool-less design works.

Installation:

As I have mentioned in other case reviews, I like to install the motherboard itself before I install any other components; I find it's easier to maneuver into place without the power supply getting in the way. Installing the bare motherboard first also prevents accidental component damage if I slip with my screwdriver. After the motherboard is installed, I set up my PSU and slap the RAM in place.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Next, I plug all of the front panel wires into their headers, and install my hard drive and SATA DVD burner - and I always do my best to run the wires cleanly. The tool-less drive calipers are awesome; you just unlock them, slide the drive in, and lock the drive snugly in place.

 

 

The last components I install are my video and audio cards, and I'm thrilled to find that these tool-less expansion slot locks aren't flimsy like so many others. In order to lock your cards into place, you pinch the tabs together then slide the ratchet into place and let go of the tabs.

 

 

Now, with everything locked in place, I fired up the PC and was very impressed. The case looks incredible, with the blue LED fans in the front and rear, and the beautiful clear side window. I have always been a fan of black and blue, and this case is a great example why.

 

 

Let's test this case against some competitors.

Specifications:

 

Model

VI1000BWS

Case Type

Mid Tower

Side Panel

Transparent Window

Net Weight

6.4 kg / 14.1 lb

Dimension (H*W*D)

440.0 x 200.0 x 495.0 mm
(17.3 x 7.9 x 19.5 inch)

Cooling System

Front (intake) : 120 x 120 x 25 mm blue LED fan, 1300RPM, 17dBA
Rear (exhaust) : 120 x 120 x 25 mm blue LED fan, 1300RPM, 17dBA

Drive Bays
- 5.25" Drive Bay
- 3.5" Drive Bay
-
3.5 " Drive Bay

(Hidden)


9 or 6
1 (converted from one 5.25” drive bay)
- or 3

Material

SECC

Color

Black

Expansion Slots

7

Motherboards

Micro ATX , Standard ATX

PSU

-

 

Features:

Testing:

I will be comparing the Thermaltake M9 VI1000BWS against the Apevia X-Telstar Jr. G Type and Thermaltake WingRS 100 enclosures to determine which case presents superior cooling and ventilation properties. My testing will compare the CPU, GPU, chipset, and hard drive temperatures in each of these cases in degrees Celsius. To ensure a level testing platform, I have recorded ambient temperature at 25 degrees Celsius.

 

 

Testing Setup

Comparison Cases:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Apevia case's side-panel fan earned it the best marks in the CPU and GPU tests, as it provided better airflow around both components.  The GPU temperatures were especially impacted because the Apevia's fan blew directly on the passively cooled 8600 GTS. If Thermaltake were to add a side-panel fan to the M9, I know its cooling potential would be significantly greater. Thermaltake's WingRS 100 case didn't do much to set itself apart from the others, posting middling scores all around. The M9 performed very well in the chipset and hard drive tests, and I was impressed by the drastic temperature differences versus its competitors. Let's see what the verdict is on the Thermaltake M9!

 

Conclusion:

One word describes my feelings about the Thermaltake M9 VI1000BWS - fantastic! It performed very well in my tests, looks awesome, and the included 120mm fans manage to push a good amount of air while remaining very quiet. The tool-less drive bays and expansion slot retainers were very well made - I didn’t even break one! From top to bottom, this is my favorite mid tower so far, and its very reasonable price makes it an even more attractive option. The M9 also provides good ventilation; my only disappointment arose from the mediocre CPU and GPU temperature test results - and unfortunately, those numbers are of the highest importance to enthusiasts. Overall, I think Thermaltake's M9 is an attractive case that offers plenty of cool features and solid performance - and I certainly won't be turning it into a wood burning stove anytime soon!

 

 

Pros:

 

Cons: