The Thermaltake Chaser MK-1 is a new case that is out and getting reviews from many major websites and magazines. I’ve been lucky enough to get my hands on one for a build I’m working on. I won’t do a full review on this as its been covered pretty thoroughly already, but I wanted to bring up a few points that I feel many reviews are missing.
Cooler Master HAF 932 next to Thermaltake Chaser MK-1
First, Thermaltake seems to have taken their design cues from the Cooler Master HAF series. This case has a lot of similar features and a nearly identical layout to several cases in the HAF series. Similar hard drive trays, similar button style optical drive mounting systems, same size fans on all sides of the case, etc. In fact, its so much like the HAF series that I wonder if its based off of them. I have yet to be able to confirm or deny this I’ve seen a few forum posts about this topic.
Second, there are some design flaws. One of the great things about this case is that it comes with 5 holes for running cables behind the motherboard tray for proper cable management. This is a great idea, but they seem to have missed one of the critical design components that the HAF series employs here: widening the case to provide more room for cables. The MK-1 has a pretty standard amount of space behind the motherboard tray (which is to say not very much room) which limits you to not being able to route certain cables (or too many cables) through here. For instance, the build I’m using this case for includes an Antec TruePower Quattro 1000w power supply that has wrapped cables for better air flow. This means the main 24 pin power connector to the motherboard has a bundle roughly 3/4″ thick of cabling going to it. This presents an issue when you have 1/2″ or less of room behind the motherboard tray to run all of your cables through. The HAF series resolves this by adding an additional bulge to the side panels which gives you a significant amount more room to run cables.
Another design flaw is the top of this case. Thermaltake has put room for two top 200mm fans (just like the HAF series), however, they have chosen to put them on the outside of the main body of the case instead of inside. To access the fans, they have put a rather large “door” on top of the case that is loosely held on by pressure clips. This makes it easy to work on these two fans, but, it will eventually result in you destroying this case and possibly your computer. How you ask? Simple. This case is designed for gamers. Gamers tend to go to LAN parties. After 12-96 hours of LAN’ing with either very little or no sleep, while drugged up on energy drinks, you need to eventually leave. At this point, you’re exhausted, possibly have a headache from the energy drinks, and you need to get all of your equipment to your car. You grab your computer, bring it to your car, and begin setting it down on the ground to unlock your car doors. Here, in this sleep deprived state, you will eventually make the critical mistake of trying to hold your case up with the convenient handle that belongs to the top “door” of this case which will result in the loosely held pressure clips releasing and you dropping your expensive computer onto the asphalt below. There is a similar handle, on the bottom/front of this case, to remove the front access panel that is also held on with the same loose pressure clips. So you’ve got two potential places to put your hands which may result in the dropping of this case.
Door handle that will eventually result in you dropping this case
This case is clearly trying to compete with the HAF series, yet fails in these key points and is too expensive for what you get. Thermaltake made a nice attempt here, and it would have been a real contender had a little bit more thinking gone into the design. Maybe the MK-2 (if they choose to make one) will be better thought out. As MaximumPC states in their review, “The Chaser MK-1 is the best Cooler Master HAF case Thermaltake has ever put out.”.