Thermaltake Commander MS-I Case ReviewBluePanda -
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Out of the plastic the case looks just like the pictures on the box, not a big surprise really. The front has three external bay covers that can be removed for optical drives, fan controllers, water bays, or what have you. It definitely has the Thermaltake feel, with lots going on, never too simple a case comes from them. In black, it’s nice and classy looking. The only things that really stand out are the cut out for a floppy drive in the middle and the overly large Thermaltake badge. Perhaps I just don’t like badges on things, not even cars, but it really stands out to me here.
Around back you can see a pre-mounted rear fan above seven punch-outs for PCI-E slots. It seems they took the easy/cheap way out here and went with punch-outs, instead of the removable PCI-E slot covers. I guess if you only ever use one graphics card in this case, you would never have any empty holes, then it is okay. I just prefer to be able to put something back in the holes, in case I change hardware in the future. I guess this helps with lowering the cost of the case. The PCI-E slots also mount on the outside of the case with a one screw bracket to hold things in place. I guess that makes it a little easier than trying to use a screw driver on the inside. But, it is just as difficult to have to hold a card in place, while trying to hold the bracket cover on also.
The sides of the case have a rather familiar shape. The protruding square-like shape with cut corners seems to be showing up on lots of case panels. The window shape, however, is truly unique and gives it a different edge compared to other cases with a similar panel layout. The fan holes for adding an additional fan do not really have defined screw placements, which could be beneficial or frustrating. Too me it looks a little cheap this way but at least the ventilation exists. Don’t be too bummed out, but only the left panel is held on with thumbscrews. The right panel has gone back an era and reverted to case screws, so I hope you remember your tricks to holding the panel and closing it up. You could always spend a couple bucks to get some thumbscrews to replace them though...I know I would.
A closer look at the front panel reveals that the Thermaltake badge is there to stay. The mesh behind it is shaped to hold it. So even if you don’t like it, the best you can do is paint it black or fill it with something else. Not a big deal, but something for you modders to consider. The middle of the front panel features a power button, a reset button, HDD LED, power LED, headphone jack, mic jack, USB 2.0, and USB 3.0…oh and wait what’s this, that silly floppy bay drive. This isn’t the only case I’ve seen recently with floppy support, but I really just don’t understand why. I suppose you could use it for a smaller fan controller, but floppy drives are dead.
From the outside, the case doesn’t look too bad. The Commander MS-I has a little of its own personality, which makes it fun. It does unfortunately look a little cheap and does indeed have the feel of a cheap case as well. However, the cost is reasonably cheap, so I cannot complain too much. But, I would like to find a cheap case that doesn’t feel like it is so. Let’s get the Commander opened up and see what’s inside.