Thermaltake V9 BlacX Reviewairman - March 1, 2011
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Pulling open both side panels show the inside of the V9 BlacX, accented with the red, tool-less device security along with the mess of wires that carry signals for the front I/O, hard drive docks, and the headers for the included fans. The first thing that I noticed aside from these features is the lack of wire management capabilities other than the free-floating motherboard tray that wires can be run behind from the power supply located beneath it. While it will indeed work to hide wires, it will not look as clean as those cases with specifically cut holes for the same reason. The back side of the motherboard tray does not look to have any tie down points for wires either, so that was slightly disappointing as well.
Turning to the bottom rear of the case shows a good angle which reflects the sheen of the semi-gloss paint. It also shows the detail of what lies in front of the power supply dust filter. Here is a grate stamped into the metal that allows cool, intake air into the power supply if the unit is oriented so that this fan is facing downwards. The seven expansion slots can also be seen, which have a "wave" pattern stamped into them that still allows air to flow through this interface if there are still some present. Looking upwards to the top of the rear of the case shows a good look at the location of the two exhaust fans. The rear exhaust fan is a 120mm black fan, which is beneath the 230mm top exhaust. Turning to the front of the case will show, again, the next of wires and the four 5.25" device bays. Only three of these bays have tool-less locking mechanisms which can be removed and replaced in different locations. Underneath these 5.25" bays are the two 3.5" external bays, which aren't equipped with tool-less mechanisms, and the 2.5" internal bays which are equipped with them. Just like the locking mechanisms in the top 5.25" bays, these are removable and replaceable as well.
Internally, the case is clean and simple — a good and a bad thing at the same time. Cleanliness and simplicity inside of a case is a strong feature, but the simple nature of it causes a lack in wire management capabilities and other aspects. This isn't the end of the world as of yet, but I do like seeing a little bit of meat on the inside for routing cables cleanly. Moving onward, there are two sets of tool-less drive holders integrated with the case. They work well and are secure. A 90 degree turn clockwise will release the lock from from the case. On the opposite side of the lock are two pins that fit into the mounting holes of each device. The locks for the 5.25" bays are the same as the ones for the hard drives.
Below is one 5.25" clip (left) and one 3.5" clip. The inner, red tab is what locks the clip in place once turned — much like a key in a lock. I could see this plastic material becoming fatigued and worn out after heavy usage, but I wouldn't expect it soon into the case's life.
The 5.25" bay covers are formed from metal mesh with a foam, padded insert that works well for dust filtration. Unfortunately, they are easy to knock into the bezel where they cannot be retrieved without removing the bezel completely. Reseating them requires a delicate touch to get them in place, but are just as easy to knock in again. I took the small metal tabs on each one and bent them outwards for a more snug fit. Now I'm sure what that strip of masking tape on the front bezel was for when I first opened the package. It was to secure these covers and prevent them from "falling in."
I wanted to provide a close up of the dust filter on the front intake fan as well as the whole assembly because it's rather unique to what I've seen in the past. Before taking off the front bezel, I wasn't sure how the front fan was accessed. It turns out that behind the front bezel is the cage that the fan is attached to, which, has the ability to support a 140mm fan as well. The stock is a blue 120mm LED fan. There is a single thumbscrew on the left side of this "cage" that, once removed, swings open and allows access to the fan. The two 120mm fans in this case are 12V and pull approximately 0.30A, and the top 230mm fan is unlabeled so the specifications on that are unknown.
The fan filters are a woven, plastic mesh attached to a plastic frame. The front fan filter is the larger one, and the smaller rectangular one can be found beneath the power supply area. These filters do an important job of keeping the inside of your case clean, but will need cleaning themselves. This is especially needed for homes that have poor dust filtration, as these can pull an impressive film of dust over themselves in only several weeks. They are both held into place by a relief in the plastic frame that fit under metal tabs built into the case. Removing these simply takes a little bit of pressure on one of these sides to bend the frame up and out of the way of these tabs.
The connection headers that connect the front I/O ports to the motherboard are a relative standard now. For the Thermaltake V9 BlacX, there are plugs for audio, one USB2.0, power and reset switches, power and HDD activity LEDs, two SATA signal cables, and three molex connectors. Two of these molex connectors are to power the two SATA docking stations on top, and another Molex connector for the front fan. This sounds like a hefty list, but the congestion isn't terrible. The cables for the SATA can be tucked away easily if they aren't going to be used. The USB3.0 connector, as I said, is run through one of the water cooling grommets. This can cause problems for those who wish to use an external water cooling loop and USB3.0 at the same time. I'm waiting for a manufacturer to solve this problem!
With the case completely checked out and the parts ready to go inside, getting it tested is the next thing on the list! I always take my time and care when installing a computer into a case, especially on the wire management side. As I expected from my first glances at the inside of the case, the wire management capabilities aren't very spectacular. What I've done in the pictures below is more or less my thought out, planned, and methodically performed wire management - which turned out rather unsatisfactory. The internals of the case leave little room for creativity, which is another needed characteristic for cases that lack wire management options from the beginning. Once turning the computer on, I was disappointed at the lack of lighting inside of the case, especially since it has a window. The only lit piece of hardware provided with the case is the front 120mm fan. Below is roughly a half-second exposure which really exaggerates the actual, visible light. Anyways, the next page will have a full list of manufacturer-provided specifications and features, and the following page will show testing results.