Thermaltake Soprano Dx Case

Admin - 2007-06-14 15:07:13 in Cases
Category: Cases
Reviewed by: Admin   
Reviewed on: June 17, 2007
Thermaltake Technology
Thermaltake Technology
Price: $115.99 USD

Introduction:

Do you consider yourself a PC enthusiast? Do you take pride in building your own rig and making it look as good as possible? Many of the boutique shops have been making unique style cases for a while now. Most of these are of a color other than the beige of the first PCs. I think these PC cases are a whole lot nicer looking and many come with a window on the side. Through this window you can view all your precious hardware within the case. This becomes even more important to the enthusiasts who have the UV sensitive motherboards and exotic cooling methods on their CPUs. Today I will be taking a look at a case made by Thermaltake Technology, the Soprano DX. With its 140mm front and 120mm rear fans, e-SATA connector, windowed side panel, and sexy lines, this looks to be an outstanding product from Thermaltake. I am anxious to see more of this case. Let us take a look together.

Thermaltake Technology was founded in 1999. When users are thinking about thermal management for their PC (CPU coolers), the user should be thinking Thermaltake as it is the world leader in supplying these solutions. Thermaltake also makes high-end power supplies and thermally efficient chassis. The company is headquartered in Taiwan, but has branches in China, Europe, Germany, Japan, Mexico, Brazil, and in Los Angeles, California.


Closer Look:

The package that this case came in was a heavy cardboard box. It had pictures on it showcasing the case, along with descriptions of a bunch of its features. This was the actual shipping box. It seems like Thermaltake wants to do some advertising while the case is in transit, which I think is pretty smart of them.

 

 


On one side there was a list of specifications and the top of the box had a handle incorporated into it. It was a nice feature as this was a pretty heavy box.

 


When I opened the box, I saw that the case inside was well protected. There were Styrofoam protective caps on either end of the case, as well as it being covered with a protective bag. The bag was made of some sort of fabric material. I can’t describe it, but it was clearly designed to protect the mirror finish of the case.

 

Closer Look:

The Case:

Now that the case is out of the box, you can see that there are still a few protective measures in place. The front bezel is taped shut, along with the chromed strip across the door being covered with tape. The window on the side panel also has a plastic layer on it to prevent scratches.



 


Now that all of the protective measures are removed, we can take at look at the beauty of this case. The finish is quite shiny, not unlike that of a piano, which seems to be what Thermaltake intended judging by the name of the case and the finish description.

 

 


The front of this case is unique to any I have seen as of yet. To begin with, the door is made of 0.125 inch aluminum, making it very sturdy. No more of those thin plastic doors that break off when you accidentally bump into it with your leg while they are open. It has a nice wavy design to be aesthetically pleasing. You may notice a lock on the right-front side of the case. This lock serves two functions. It will lock the door shut and also lock the front bezel in position. If you turn the lock 90 degrees, the front door will open to give you access to your drive bays. If turned a complete 180 degrees from the locked position, it will allow the whole front bezel to be opened much like the door as it is on hinges.

 

 


With the whole front bezel swung out of the way, you can see the plates that will need to be removed to insert 3.5 or 5.25 inch drives. Also note, at the bottom edge, there is a filter covering the fan intake, which is removable for easy washing. Just push down on the two clips and roll it forward and down.

Closer Look:

On the top of the case is a panel that when pushed on, releases to be lifted up. Underneath is access to the I/O ports for USB 2.0, eSATA, mic, and headphones.



 


The left side of the case has a window in it. A lot of enthusiasts like these to show the hardware that they have inside. Like most, there is a place to add a fan in the door, which is positioned so it will blow air onto the CPU and video card area. To open the door you will first have to unlock it if it is locked. The lock is in the upper latch. Once unlocked, pull back on both latches and swing the door out. After it is swung out, it can be removed completely as it just interlocks with the side panel of the case. Notice the Thermaltake Logo and slogan embossed into the window near the bottom.

 


The right side of the case is absolutely plain with the exception of the lock and cutouts for your fingers to pull on the door and bezel.


The back of the case has the cutout/mounting holes for your PSU, the perforated holes to let exhausting air escape from the 120mm fan, your I/O connection plate, and the cover plates that you will remove when you install a PCI-Express or PCI card.


On the bottom of the case are four feet, something that almost every case has by now. These feet are movable to allow you to spread them out for a wider stance, which gives it more stability. You can choose from one of three positions. This can be beneficial when placed on a thick carpeted floor.

Closer Look:

Working Components:

Inside the case I found a box with the needed screws and standoffs, and a plastic bag that contained the user manual and a cloth provided to polish the case. This cloth was helpful as the finish showed finger prints easily. You can see that the screw assortment was quite extensive.



 


From this shot you can see the rear 120mm fan, the I/O plate, and below them the PCI slot back plates. Toward the top is the opening for your PSU. The cables hanging down are from the I/O ports on the top of the case: audio, USB, and the eSATA connection. Notice the audio cable is wired for either an AC97 or Azalia audio connection on your motherboard. The plate covers for the PCI slots are interesting in design and I like it a lot. Basically, flip up the black clip pull up on the back plate and remove it. Once your card is in place, flip the black clip back. It is really simple and completely tool-less.

 


Toward the front of the case is where we find the hard drive, 3.5, and 5.25 bays. The hard drive bay is removable by removing a thumbscrew at the bottom, then pressing down on a retention tab and sliding the bay out. This makes it easy to put your hard drive into it and securing it down. Notice the rubber mounts for your drive to keep vibration down. Once you have the hard drive bay out, you will also see another place to mount a 3.5 drive, if you so desire, and the front intake 140mm fan is visible.

 


The 3.5 and 5.25 bays are also tool-less for the drive retention. All you need to do is pinch the plastic tabs and let the retention clip swing open on its hinge. Then you insert your drive and swing the retention clip back down, making sure it snaps back into place. The small plastic tips on the clips will go into the holes where you would normally put the screws.

 


To insert a CD drive from the front of the case, you will need to remove a plate from the front bezel as well as the case itself by removing a few screws.

 

Installation:

To install your motherboard, you will first want to remove the included I/O shield and put in the one that came with your motherboard. I like to install the CPU, CPU cooler and memory onto the motherboard before putting it into the case. Another good thing to know is that the LED and switch leads from the front of the case are really long and you will have no trouble getting them onto your board. I was able to connect them before the board was in the case. Once ready, just lower it into the case and line it up with the standoffs and screw it down. As you can see, with an ATX board installed, there is a lot of room inside the case. In fact, that is one of the highlights of the case. It will support the newer video cards that are 12.2 inches long and you still have room to remove the hard drive cage. The finished install looks good through the window.

 

 


Specifications:


Model
VE7000BWS
Case Type
Middle Tower
Net Weight
10.53 kg (23.21 lb)

Dimension
(H*W*D)

478.0 x 210.0 x 497.0 mm
(18.82 x 8.27 x 19.57 inch)

Cooling System

Front (intake) : 140x140x25mm,1000rpm, 16dBA
Rear (exhaust) : 120x120x25mm,1300rpm, 17dBA, blue LED fan

Drive Bays
- Accessible
- Hidden

11
4 x 5.25’’, 2 x 3.5’’
5 x 3.5’’

Material

Front panel : Aluminum
Chassis : 0.8mm SECC

Color
Black
Expansion Slots
7
Motherboards
Micro ATX , Standard ATX
PSU
Standard ATX PSII
I/O Ports
USB 2.0 x 2, e-SATA connector x 1, HD audio
Container Load
20’-332, 40’-698, 40’HQ-802


Features:

Testing:

I will be testing this case to see how thermally efficient it is compared to the GT3 case I reviewed a while back. I have the same motherboard, CPU, CPU cooler, video card, and memory installed. I’ll use the monitoring software to compare the temperatures at stock and overclocked CPU speeds while idling, and then again while the CPU is loaded 100% by running two instances of Prime95. I will also use the same ambient temperature. All values in the graphs are measured in degrees Celsius and lower values are better.

Testing Setup:

With the CPU at idle and stock speed, the temperature does not vary from case to case, but once we load things up a bit, then the differences should show. Most of the time at idle, the CPU fan would even stop spinning all together as it is being controlled by the system BIOS. This is a testament to how cool the Core 2 Duo chips run. Even in the overclocked and loaded test I could find no difference in the thermal abilities of this case over the previous case I tested with the test setup I used. I believe things are not getting pushed far enough to show what may be an advantage one case would have over the other. I think it is time to step up to a larger CPU and aftermarket cooler with a greater overclock to sort this out. Unfortunately, the GT3 case will not accept any of my aftermarket coolers, so I could not compare these by doing that test.


 

 


 

As you can see from the graphs, there is not any difference that I can see here between these two cases using the setup above.

Conclusion:

From the moment this case arrived I was impressed. Thermaltake spent a lot of money on the box to not only draw the consumer's attention, but to inform them as well. The case itself is very attractive and stylish. It is also made of quality components for giving the consumer a long time of enjoyment. Actually using the case was a complete joy. It was easy to use and very convenient with its tool-less mounting methods. I also enjoyed the long LED and switch cables coming from the front of the case, as it made connecting the wires quite easy. With the motherboard installed in the case, there is still a good bit of room, which makes it easier for someone with large hands to reach things inside the case.

Since I don't have to share my PC or live where anyone has access to it but myself, I have never had a need to lock my rig shut. I can, however, see where this feature could come in very handy. Whether it is at work, college, or at home, you will rest easy knowing your information is yours alone and no one is doing anything illegal on your PC without your consent. And with the chassis intrusion switch, you will know if someone has opened the side panel if, by chance, you did not lock it.

The thermal performance of the case was as good as the case I reviewed earlier. I was impressed at how cool the CPU would run even overclocked and running two instances of Prime95. With all the room inside the case, and the large fans bringing fresh air in and pushing the hot air out, I think there is room to push the envelope and add hotter components to this case. I have no problem recommending this case to anyone looking to build a system for their personal enjoyment. It has a nice feature set, is easy to work with, cools well, and looks very nice.

Pros:



Cons: