Thermaltake Spedo Advance Chassis Page: 1 Introduction
At Computex 2008, Taipei based chassis and aftermarket cooling manufacturers' Thermaltake exhibited their latest chassis - Spedo, which promised to revolutionise the global PC chassis market. Thermaltake' design criterion for the Thermaltake Spedo appears to be based primarily on providing a chassis that provides excellent thermal management properties and better cable routing. Let's see what Thermaltake has to say about their Thermaltake Spedo chassis:
Thermaltake as the top choice brand of PC Chassis around the world, will be exhibiting their latest innovation of the new Chassis Superlative --- SPEDO! With many new features that are never seen on the market before, SPEDO has been predicted to be the next hit of the global PC Chassis Market.
Thermaltake has implemented two breakthrough designs into the new SPEDO Chassis; “A.T.C.” (Advanced Thermal Chamber) and “CRM” (Cable Routing Management). While “ATC” design provides excellent thermal-management by separating chambers for the CPU, GPUs and PSU, “CRM” offers users a neat and tidy interior with superior cable arrangement. Not to mention the excellent integration of advanced tool-free mechanism for HDD and PCI installation; bottom-placed PSU design and the adjustable fan bar; SPEDO will provide the minimized and the most enjoyable system installation experience! The hot swap design of side fan and the adjustable fan bar allow easier system maintenance, VGA/ CPU thermal management can also be easily solved by simple adjustments of the fan bar to fit with various system requirements.
Other than the structural perfection internally, the meshed exterior design of SPEDO allows the ambient air to enter unrestrictedly into the chassis. Ventilation can even be further upgraded with up to nine system fans. With the C-shaped unique styling, SPEDO will bring you the most pleasure as a true PC enthusiast both from the experiential and functional perspectives.
View the press release here
While Thermaltake uses two acronyms to describe the predominant features of the Spedo - Advanced Thermal Chamber (A.T.C) and Cable Routing management (CRM), these technologies are hardly new. A.T.C in its very essence is compartmentation, or breaking the chassis down and isolating the main thermal emitting components of your PC in order to reduce overall case temperatures. Fellow Taipei chassis manufacturers' Lian Li have been using this technology for some time now.
CRM has also been doing the rounds quite a bit recently, with many chassis manufacturers' opting for different approaches to the problem. Cable routing holes in motherboard trays seem to be favourite here, but Thermaltake have actually taken it one step further. And no I'm not going to spoil the surprise, you're going to have to wait a bit longer. Unless of course you'd like to check out the teaser video that Thermaltake released!
It's been quite a while since we had a Thermaltake chassis
in at OC3D, and now that the Thermaltake Spedo is finally here let's begin the review by taking a look at the all important specifications.
Model Name: Spedo Advance Package
Case Type: Full Tower
Dimensions (HxWxD): 536mmx232mmx610mm
Net Weight: 13.0 kg/ 28.7lb
Windows Side Panel: Transparent Window
Cable Routing Management: Yes
Advanced Thermal Chamber: Yes
Material Front bezel: Matal Mesh/ Chassis: 0.8mm SECC
Colour Exterior and Interior: Black
Front Intake: 140 x 140 x 25mm red LED Fan 1000RPM, 16dBA
Rear (Exhaust): Two 120 x 120 x 25mm TurboFan 1300RPM, 17dBA
Top (Exhaust): 230 x 230 x 20mm fan 800RPM, 15dBA
Bottom (Intake): 120 x 120mm fan (optional)
CPU (Exhaust): 120 x 120mm fan (Optional)
Fanbar (Intake): 120 x 120 25mm TurboFan 1300RPM, 17dBA
Side (Intake): 230 x 230 x 20mm fan 800RPM, 15dBA
Motherboard: Micro ATX, Standard ATX
5.25" Drive Bay - 7 x 5.25"
3.5" Drive Bay - 1 x 3.5" (Converted from one 5.25" drive bay)
3.5" Drive Bay (hidden) - 6 x 3.5"
I/O Ports: USB2.0 x 2, e-SATA connector x 1, HD Audio
Expansion Slots: 7
PSU: Standard ATX PSII (Optional)
Interestingly, Thermaltake have two Spedo chassis' available - the Spedo Advance Package and the Spedo. The differences between the two are: a small weight reduction in favour of the Spedo because it doesn't come with CRM partitions; and the Spedo loses the large 230mm fans on the roof and side-panel for 120mm and 140mm variants.
Let's head over the page to check out the packaging and contents...
Thermaltake Spedo Advance Chassis Page: 2
Packaging and Contents
The Thermaltake Spedo Advance chassis' packaging is very pleasant and eye-catching, and a hint of what we can expect later on. On the front of the packaging is an image of the Spedo chassis itself with a blurred image of a sportscar behind it. On the rear of the packaging, Thermaltake have included images and text explaining the main features of the Thermaltake Spedo Advance.
On the left and right hand sides of the box Thermaltake has some smaller images of the Spedo chassis with a green dot denoting that this is indeed the Spedo Advanced package. The box also has small carry handles which makes moving the package around a lot easier than using the walls of the box itself.
Removing the outer box and we are greeted by the Thermaltake Spedo Advance chassis housed in a cloth bag to prevent scratches, and the chassis is further protected by large pieces of Styrofoam on the top and bottom that are moulded to fit the case. Included in the bottom of the box was the Spedo manual and a Thermaltake warranty card.
The accessories box was actually included inside the Thermaltake Spedo Advance chassis, but I have removed it so that you can see the accessories that Thermaltake include in it. Included in the accessories box are:
* 4 x 3.5" - 5.25" adaptor plates
* 1 x Floppy Disk Drive bezel
* 1 x 5.25" FDD adaptor
* 120mm fan
* 24-pin EATX extender cable
* EPS 12v extender cable
* Motherboard stand-off's and various screws.
Let's head over the page to finally see the Thermaltake Spedo Advance chassis in all its glory...
Thermaltake Spedo Advance Chassis Page: 3
A Closer Look: Outside
The Thermaltake Spedo Advance chassis is an interesting beast, and to be honest it grows on me further every day. Probably the standout feature of the Spedo on first impressions is the inclusion of the 230mm fan on the side panel. For those of you who paid attention to the specifications listed on the first page, you'd know that the Spedo actually has two of these 230mm fans included, but I'll show you the second one in a little more detail shortly. If you look carefully at the side mounted 230mm fan, you will see a series of small vented louvres that the air is going to have to be drawn through. It will be interesting to see if this inhibits the fans performance during the testing phase of the review.
The other side panel of the Spedo Advance also features additional mesh to facilitate better breathing capability. For those who prefer to 'mod' their side panels, you may be a little restricted as to what else you can include on these ones without reducing the structural integrity of the panels. The side panels fit onto the chassis courtesy of an 'open hinge' design and are very easy to remove/put back on. The side panels are then secured in place by two thumbscrews on the rear edge. However, the panels don't seem to fit as 'flush' as they should because there is a considerable amount of rattle in each panel.
Moving around to the rear of the Thermaltake Spedo Advance we can see the inclusion of 2 x 120mm cooling fans that work in an exhaust capacity. Thermaltake has also seen fit to make the Spedo Advance chassis water-cooling friendly by adding two pre-cut holes that will accommodate 1/2" ID tubing. Interestingly, Thermaltake has also placed the housing for the power supply at the bottom of the chassis. There are also seven expansion bay slots should you have a motherboard that will take advantage of this amount.
On the top of the Thermaltake Spedo Advance we can see the front panel connectivity of the chasssis. There are: two USB ports; one eSATA port; one microphone socket and a headphone socket. One the side of the front bezel, Thermaltake has included the necessary power and reset buttons. The buttons feel of a very good quality and only require a light touch to operate.
The top cover of the Thermaltake Spedo Advance features louvred vents to increase the entry of cool air into the chassis. It is also designed to be removable, and pressing the two clips visible in the lower (left) image facilitates the removal. Voila - there's the other 230mm cooling fan
The Thermaltake Spedo Advance also features retractable case feet. The image below shows them in their retracted position, but gently swinging them out 90 degrees see's them lock into position providing additional stability for the chassis itself.
Let's head over the page to have a closer look at the internals of the Thermaltake Spedo Advance chassis...
Thermaltake Spedo Advance Chassis Page: 4
A Closer Look: Inside
In the inroduction to this review I highlighted that the Thermaltake Spedo Advance chassis is designed to provide effective cooling to critical components housed within a PC. The inclusion of a vast array of cooling fans and mesh panels will no doubt help to achieve this aim, but Thermaltake use another trick to compliment the cooling effectiveness of this chassis - ATC (Advanced Thermal Chamber). You can see from the top (left) image that Thermaltake has included plastic baffling to help compartmentalise the chassis and help direct heat away from critical components like the CPU, GPU and power supply.
There are four parts to the ATC setup and they simply click into place courtesy of plastic clips. The cover that goes over the PSU area also features a neat swinging tray that can be used for placing screws and what-not into. The very top cover that goes over the GPU area features little plastic strips on its edge that helps it contour to the shape of your motherboard. Despite the fact that the ATC is constructed entirely of plastic it is quite solid and feels rigid enough to not fall apart during transport.
The Thermaltake Spedo Advance chassis has the PSU situated on the bottom. The PSU is allowed to draw cool air up from the bottom of the chassis and expel warm air out the rear. Thermaltake has also included some flywire mesh in order to eliminate dust issues associated with the location. Interstingly, Thermaltake hasn't allowed the flywire mesh to cover the 120mm fan hole in front of the PSU area, so the threat of dust entering the chassis hasn't really been reduced at all.
The Thermaltake Spedo Advance chassis has an adjustable Fanbar that can be used to attach a 120mm fan and have its direction adjusted for maximum effect.
Thermaltake has decided to do away with a a removable motherboard tray on the Spedo chassis, and instead opted for a permanently fixed one. Personally I'm a fan of a removable motherboard tray, but the increased height in the top of the case makes for light work when installing a motherboard. Thermaltake has also included plenty of routing holes in the fixed motherboard tray which makes routing cables and absolute breeze.
Interestingly, Thermaltake has included a 120mm fan hole in the tray itself which can be used to extract warm air out from behind the motherboard. How well this would work is debatable, but hey, something is better than nothing right?
Like the top panel, the front bezel is also removable. The drivebay covers are easily removed from the front bezel by pushing two clips to facilitate their release. The covers also feature dust and noise reducing foam inserts. With the front bezel removed we can see the Thermaltake Spedo Advanced can cater for five 5.25" bay devices on the top and three 5.25" bay devices at the bottom. All 5.25" bays feature Thermaltake' tool-less design clips that make installing hardware really easy. Interestingly, the HDD caddy's sit behind the 120mm fan at the front, but they can however, be moved to either the top or bottom 5.25" bays courtesy of the 3.5 - 5.25" bay adaptors found in the accessories box.
The HDD caddy's themselves are very easy to move and/or install a HDD into. Each caddy holds three HDD's and the installation process is again mad very easy because of the Thermaltake tool-less design. To install a HDD into the caddy, simply push the white button on the edge and the black mesh part releases the drive tray. With the drive tray removed, simply place your hard disk into the tray and push down on the four clips on the side that hold the HDD in place. The HDD is now ready to be installed back into the caddy. The hard disk tray is then held in place by locking the tool-less machanism back into place.
Thermaltake' Cable Routing Management (CRM) system is inclusive of the holes in the motherboard tray, but at the same time provides a neater approach around the back of the motherboard. In its very essence, CRM means that cables out of sight are out of mind, and Thermaltake achieve this by including three 150mm x 150mm square plastic panels. The panels click into place over your cable routing job and essentially hide the rats nest of cables that usually end up lumped behind the motherboard.
One other area of the Thermaltake Spedo Advance chassis that I realised I hadn't covered was that of the 230mm fan on the side panel. What's really neat here is that the fan doesn't have a traditional molex connector on the end, but instead it has contact switch which is hard wired into the side panel itself. The other part of the contact switch can be seen in the 2nd lot of images from the top of the page (near the PSU area), and as soon as the door is closed the fan automatically starts spinning. When the computer is powered on of course! This is a great idea as it means that you don't have to disconnect a molex plug before taking the side panel off - excellent touch Thermaltake!
Let's head over the page to see how easily the Thermaltake Spedo Advance chassis is to get 'kitted' out with our test system...
Thermaltake Spedo Advance Chassis Page: 5
Installation of the testing hardware into the Thermaltake Spedo Advance was an absolute breeze. The chassis provides plenty of room to easily manouvre around the inside, and to be honest I didn't miss not having a removable motherboard tray.
Cable routing was also a pleasant experience too with plenty of places to thread cabling out of the way, and improve the cooling ability of the chassis.
In the image above you can see the Thermaltake Spedo Advance chassis with the Advanced Thermal Chamber (A.T.C) compartments installed. It also helps to give a very clean appearance to the setup.
Powering on the Thermaltake Spedo Advance chassis for the first time also produced an impressive visual experience. The red 120mm TurboFan in the front of the chassis compliments the screen colour of my Scythe Kama Meter.
Now that we've seen how easily the Thermaltake Spedo is to set up, let's head over the page to see how we're going to test it...
Thermaltake Spedo Advance Chassis Page: 6
In order to test the Thermaltake Spedo Advance chassis I have used a standard set of hardware. The hardware has been listed below:
During testing I want to predominantly assess the effectiveness of the Thermaltake Advanced Thermal Chamber (A.T.C) on the main components of the system above. Furthermore, we will be looking at how much noise the Thermaltake Spedo Advance chassis emits during testing.
During the (A.T.C) testing I will be taking temperature measurements from the PSU, GPU, CPU and HDD areas of the chassis using a Scythe Kama Meter and four thermal probes. Idle and load temperatures will be taken with and without the Advanced Thermal Chamber baffling in the case. Idle temperatures will be taken 20 minutes after the computer has been turned on to allow temperatures to acclimatise, and load temperatures will be taken 30 minutes after playing Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare. Ambient temperatures during testing ranged from 26.8 - 27.2 deg Celsius.
Noise readings will be taken approximately 30cm's away from the chassis, and again noise readings will be taken with and without the Thermaltake (A.T.C) baffling. This will give us an idea as to how noisy the chassis is and whether the (A.T.C) baffling has any effect on case noise. All fans have been connected to 4-pin molex connectors on the power supply instead of the motherboard in order to prevent the motherboard controlling fan speed by PWM.
Let's head over the page to see the results...
Thermaltake Spedo Advance Chassis Page: 7
With the Advanced Thermal Chamber baffling removed from around the PSU, GPU and CPU area, we can see just how well the Thermaltake Spedo Advance chassis does at cooling the components.
We can see a slight increase in the temperature around the CPU cooler, which is to be expected during load conditions.
With the A.T.C baffling put back into the case, we now see a rise in the temperature around the CPU area. This could more than likely be attributed to the fact that the Advanced Thermal Chamber effectively blocks off a substantial amount of cool air coming in from the side panel's 230mm fan.
...And the temperatures around the CPU cooler don't get any better at load. Throwing the spare 120mm fan into the adjustable FanBar did see a reduction in the CPU area temperatures, but it does mean that you now have additional case noise to contend with.
Chassis noise was quite considerable during the testing phase, and the biggest culprit was the 230mm fan on the side panel. The problem seems to be exacerbated by the fact that the 230mm fan has to draw air through a series of small vents in the side panel, and then has to force a bulk of the air through the louvres in the GPU baffling.
Without the A.T.C baffling, the chassis noise dropped a little according to our noise meter.
All things considered though, the Thermaltake Spedo Advance gave a very reasonable account for itself. Let's head over the page to see how it all gets summarised in the conclusion...
Thermaltake Spedo Advance Chassis Page: 8
So how well did the Thermaltake Spedo Advance chassis perform in today's review?
First and foremost, I must say that the Thermaltake Spedo Advance chassis is like no other Thermaltake case that I have ever used before. The Thermaltake Spedo is extremely easy to work with and installing hardware in it was an absolute breeze. The reduction in weight over previous chassis's from Thermaltake is also a welcome addition.
The Thermaltake Spedo Advance overall is a well manufactured chassis, even though there is quite an amount of plastic included. However I do have some concerns about the Advanced Thermal Chamber inclusion. Today's testing has clearly shown that for the most part, A.T.C is ineffective around the CPU area, and at times it even produces worse results than if the system didn't use it in the first place. However, should you use the additional 120mm fan on the adjustable FanBar, the temperatures are significantly better.
Chassis noise was a concern too as it really is quite loud. Thermaltake may have better success in addressing the noise isue by replacing the small plastic vents on the outside of the side panel with a modders mesh type material, but again dust intrusion then becomes an issue.
All things considered, the Thermaltake Spedo Advance is a worthwhile contender for your dollar, and is definitely worthy of a decent look. It provides good cooling performance and equally good looks, and for those who frequent LAN's it's not going to be a back-breaker. MSRP for the Thermaltake Spedo Advance chassis is a cool US$243.00, and US198.00 for the Spedo chassis.
Let's have a look at the break-down:
+ Cooling performance
+ Tool-less design is probably the best of any Thermaltake chassis
+ Ease of use
+ Great cable routing possibilities
* Advanced Thermal Chamber is a little flawed
- Nothing to report
Overclock3D.net would like to thank Thermaltake
for making today's review possible
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