Viewing page 2 of 2 pages. Previous 1 2
Normalcy returns at the rear of the case, where the design is budget-case
A single 80mm fan exhaust supplements the PSU. The stamped fan grill is
nicely open, much better than most budget cases. Included with the case is an 80mm Martech fan. No
spec sheets could be found for the fan, but side by side comparison with an
L1A showed it to be decently quiet low-flow fan. Overall its noise was lower
than that of the reference L1A, but so was the airflow.
The generic cheap-case design continues to the interior.
Nothing of particular interest in there. Another 80mm fan mount is provided
at the front. Its cutout is more restricted than the one at the exhaust, which
is likely of little practical consequence, since the intake itself is limited
to an opening on the underside of the bezel.
The fan grill is not great...
.. and neither is the bezel intake. But both can be improved by the modder.
The Control Panel
Besides the cell-phone charging gimmick, the other feature that makes the
Think-tank stand apart from the crowd is information/control panel on the
front. And it is this feature that is actually of use to the SPCR reader.
Image courtesy of Coms-com
The control panel puts several functions in one location:
The Power button, and the usual indicator lights. (The reset button
is relocated to the side of the bezel, with the ports)
Cooling After-Warmth System: Keeps the case fans running for 3
minutes after the machine is shut down, to evacuate the residual heat.
In my opinion, that's another feature in search of need, but it seems
to be showing up on more and more products.
Temperature Monitor Control: The Think-tank includes 3 temperature
probes that can be monitored via the LED readout. The probes are the flat
film variety, and are attached to 18" cables.
Overheat Alarm Control: One of three alarm points, 45°, 55°,
or 65° can be set for each of the temperature probes. The feature
is only partially useful: an annoying beeping alarm sounds when the critical
temperature is reached, but nothing else happens. It would seem more useful
as an alarm if it would speed up the fans, or perhaps shut down the system
at the alarm points.
Fan Noise Control: Allows front of the case adjustment of the
speed of both case fans. The Low, Medium, and High settings correspond
to 7.5, 10, and 12 volts. It proved to be a convenient little gizmo, but
I would have liked to have seen an option to tie the fan speeds into the
The control panel connects via a ribbon cable to the Hub Box, which
sits inside the case. The hub draws its power from the ATX cable directly,
through the short interconnect that gets installed between PSU and motherboard.
Into the Hub the user connects up to 2 case fans, the three temp probes, and
the motherboard power, reset, and HDD LED's.
Overall, the Think-Tank is surprisingly full featured, for its
price. A direct comparison to some of the other cases we've reviewed is probably
unfair. It is half the price of an Antec Sonata or BQE after all. But it does have
its strong points:
- The full accompaniment of front connectors, and the fan
and temp monitoring features are usually seen on cases costly significantly
- The quality of materials, and their fit and finish is also atypical for
this price range.
Unfortunately the reliance on outdated intake and exhaust
designs limits the use of this case to moderately powered systems. A single
80mm exhaust and an under-bezel intake is simply not enough airflow to quietly
cool a modern high-wattage system. I'd gladly trade the ability to charge
my cell-phone for a 120mm fan mount.
Note: For those willing to do some tin snip work, a 120mm fan will fit
on the back panel pretty nicely. The intake opening at the bottom of the front bezel can also be expanded at least a little. These changes may be enough to make the case breathe well enough for something like a basic P4-2.8 system.
The single sentence summation: An interesting quiet-minded case for those on a tight budget.
Our thanks Coms-com to for the opportunity to examine the Think-Tank
* * *
Discuss this article in the Silent PC Review Forums.
|Help support this site, buy from one of our affiliate retailers!|