Thermaltake Matrix Review

Desja - 2008-09-01 14:21:22 in Cases
Category: Cases
Reviewed by: Desja   
Reviewed on: September 9, 2008
Price: $46.99

Installation:

That time of year is here, it’s time to shove that tail between your legs and go sauntering back to hell, aka school. It’s time to grab your crap, choke down some toast, and run your face off to catch your morning class. I feel your pain and sympathize, but a big part of me maniacally laughs because I am done, never to go back again. When you get back to your dorm room after class are you still looking at the same old tired desktop with a big HP sticker on the side? You know, the one your parents pawned off on you? Maybe dressing up your dorm room a little might ease the disdain. Sure, you don’t have the big bucks but anything is better than the HP case sitting on your desk right? Maybe its time you invested just a little in the Thermaltake Matrix case.

There are a lot more custom cases out there than there used to be, but Thermaltake has been around the block a time or two. Thermaltake has a number of mid tower cases on the market for your aesthetic pleasures. Let's see if the Thermaltake Matrix case stands up to the job even though it is a basic mid tower case.

Closer Look:

Thermaltake always has everything you need to know right on its packaging. Great pictures so you know exactly what you are going to get. The packaging is well designed and simple. The front panel gives a front view of the Matrix while the back panel give a breakdown of the case and components with a description of each item. The sides contain little useful information.

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thermaltake never disappoints when it comes to protecting the case in its packaging. The case comes shipped in egg carton style cowling for the top and bottom of the case, and cheese cloth to keep dust and scratches off the shiny finish of the case. Much better than the plastic wrap used on many cases.

 

 

Let's get this packaging out of the way and look at the case already!

Closer Look:

Let’s get a look at this puppy because if it’s going to replace that beautiful department store PC case it better be pretty impressive. Sarcastic jibes aside, this thing better be pretty sweet looking if you are going to drop your hard earned (aka begged for from your parents) - drinking money on it. When you are the designated driver and your friends wake up hung over in the morning they can admire your pretty new computer case. Which may ease the buyer's remorse a little.

At first glance, it’s a sleek looking case, black and silver go well together but it doesn’t stand out that much aesthetically. The ventilation ports on the side are a nice plus to the design, hopefully they are functional enough for additional cooling. Normally I like to see the pvc cooling duct on the side panel of the case facing the CPU. If the looks don’t grab you, then hopefully the Thermaltake Matrix is more than a pretty face.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Thermaltake Matrix comes shipped with a super snazzy cleaning cloth. Depending on how much you like this case it could possibly double for a drool rag. Most of the cases I have received did not have the fingerprint cloth, it is a smart addition to the cases extras. Also included is the manual and the extra hardware for the motherboard.

 

The Thermaltake Matrix has the external USB and audio port on the side which I like instead of on the front; I am constantly bumping and hitting my usb devices when they are on the front of the PC, and I have broken more than one USB port on the front of my cases because of this. Another great feature this case has is an easy to remove side panel with the ability to lock up the case for added security in case your dorm mate likes your video card more than his.

 

 

Behind the front panel there seems to be some space for case modders out there but as with most mid towers there isn’t much room to play around with. There is room for an optional 120mm fan for intake and cooling for hard drive, which is an upgrade I suggest going for.

 

Let's open it up further and see what we are really dealing with here.

Closer Look:

The Thermaltake Matrix case is tool less design at its finest. Two thumbscrews and two quick easy button pushes and you're in. The motherboard chassis has the domed standoff holds like some other Thermaltake cases which I really like because the domed standoffs are in the right place for most of the major motherboard manufacturers. Another great bonus to the tool less design is the clip-ins for the expansion slots and the quarter turn thumb brackets for the drive bays. These options are awesome for those of us constantly tearing down our rigs.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

From this angle you get a better look at the hard drive bay. You can note from this picture that you can have three hard drives directly in front of the fan for optimal hard drive cooling; there are several other hard drive slots, though none in front of the optional 120mm fan. For this model we don’t have this luxury because it is the base line model and there is no 120mm fan for the hard drive, only for the case's exhaust.

 

The Thermaltake Matrix Case comes with all the standard wiring, including USB and audio for the side panel inputs. It also comes with all of your standard power, hard drive, LED, and speaker wires for diagnostics and functionality of your case.

 

 

Now it is time to see exactly what this thing does. Let's have a look at the specs.

Specifications:

 

Case Type

Mid Tower

Material

SECC Japanese steel

Front Bezel Material

Color

Side Panel

Black

Solid

Motherboard Support

Micro ATX,
Standard ATX

Motherboard Tray

5.25" Drive Bay

4

Ext. 3.5" Drive Bay

2

Int. 3.5" Drive Bay

4

Expansion Slots

7

Front I/O Ports

USB 2.0 x 2,
Firewire,
Speaker / Mic ports

Cooling System

- Front (intake) :
120 x 120 x 25 mm (optional)
- Rear (exhaust) :
120 x 120 x 25 mm, 1300 rpm, 17 dBA

Liquid Cooling Capable

No

Liquid Cooling Embedded

No

Power Supply Supported

Standard ATX PSII

Power Supply Included

No

Dimension (H*W*D)

16.5 x 7.5 x 18.9 in
420 x 190 x 480 mm

Net Weight

12.6 lbs
5.7 kg

Security Lock

Application

Warranty

3 Years

 

Features:

 

Let's put this bad boy to the test.

Testing:

I will be comparing the Thermaltake Matrix Case against the Apevia X-Telstar Jr. G Type, Thermaltake WingRS 100, and the Thermaltake M9 enclosures to determine which case presents the best bang for buck, by this I mean best cooling in a battery of tests. 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 verdict is in, the Thermaltake Matrix Case was not up to par with other mid tower cases in its class. I think the addition of a side fan, or at least the pvc piping out the side that the Wing Rs case has, would significantly decrease the CPU temp. Lower temps are much needed, 61 degrees is way too high for a CPU in my opinion. The Apevia wins for the GPU temps, but the Thermaltake M9 is my choice for hard drive and chipset cooling. Let's see what the final verdict is on the Thermaltake Matrix.

 

Conclusion:

The Thermaltake Matrix Cases CPU temps are way too high for my tastes, instead of optional fans the cooling features could be standard fare. Of course, this will raise the price to some extent. I liked seeing the 120mm fan instead of the 80mm, but it still needs to come stock with the 120mm fan up front and not just have it as an option. This would provide an awesome blow through system to help keep the components cool. The design is very nice, that is one point for this case, but at first glance it's not very eye catching. I do like the Matrix's sleek simplicity but the M9 has a much nicer, more eye catching design to it than the Matrix.

Normally, I am a fan of Thermaltake products, but this one just wasn’t up to par with most cases in its class. During the installation I had major problems getting the hard drive and DVD-ROM into the bays, they are a little too tight for my liking.

All of the cons aside, it wasn’t the worst case I have ever used by any means; I still really like the side USB and audio access. The fact that it does not come with a piano black finish like the other Thermaltake cases is a bonus as well. The piano black looks great, until you actually touch it or if there is any dust in the room. At that point all bets are off when keeping that finish clean. This is not an issue with the Matrix

So in the end, would I recommend this case? Not as a case for an extreme enthusiast, but as a standard desktop case or even as an HTPC case, the Matrix is well suited for the job. I would however, love to see Thermaltake’s next stab at this design. I want to see better temps but keep the side access option, that was a nice touch. For now, as it sits without the additional optional cooling features, the case was outperformed by the comparison cases. At less than $50, you get what the case comes with. As a performance PC case, the Matrix is ill suited in stock trim, but add the optional cooling features to reduce component temperatures and you have a classy looking mid tower case.

 

Pros:

 

Cons: