Thermaltake Commander MS-I Snow Edition

Today we will be looking at Thermaltake’s new entry level chassis, the Commander MS- I Snow Edition. While this is an budget oriented case it still offers plenty of functionality for a fraction of the cost of a top end chassis. The Snow Edition monicker will probably give you a good indication that this is going to be a predominately white chassis …. which it is.


Key features:
  • eSPORTS extreme design now in white
  • Bottom-placed PSU design for easy installation
  • Supports high-end graphic cards up to 12.5”/32cm
  • Rear 120mm silent fan with blue LED
  • Built-in latest USB3.0 SuperSpeed internal header
Specifications:
P/N VN40006W2N
Case Type Middle Tower
Side Panel Transparent Window
Net Weight 4.5 kg / 9.9 lb
Dimension (H x W x D) 426.0 x 202.0 x 484.0 mm (16.8 x 8.0 x 19.1 ) inch
Cooling System Front (Intake) : 120 x 120 x 25 mm (optional)
Rear (Exhaust) : 120 x 120 x 25 mm Blue LED fan, 1000rpm, 16dBA
Top (Exhaust) : 120 x 120 x 25 mm (optional)
Bottom (Intake) : 120 x 120 x 25 mm (optional)
Drive Bays - Accessible: 3 x 5.25’’, 1 x 3.5’’
- Hidden: 5 x 3.5’’, 1 x 2.5”
Material SECC
Color Exterior : White
Interior: Black
Expansion Slots 7
Motherboards Micro ATX , Standard ATX
I/O Ports USB2.0 x 1, USB3.0 x 1, MIC & Speaker (support AC’97 & HD Audio)
PSU Standard PS2 PSU (optional)
Other CPU cooler height limitation: 170mm
VGA length limitation: 320mm

The Commander MS-I Snow Edition comes packaged in a sturdy predominately black cardboard box that features a winter scene with a fully armed Space Marine standing next to the Commander MS-I chassis.

The opposite side of the box has a number of smaller images that advertise key features such as built in USB 3.0 and support for graphics cards up to 12.5″ long.

The 2 ends of the packaging contain a smaller version of the case on one end, while the opposite end has a list of features in various languages other than English.

After removing the case from the box we see the standard packaging which consists of 2 fitted pieces of Styrofoam with an additional plastic bag protecting the sides of the case from scratches during shipping. Also found inside was the user manual and hardware kit to assist us with our system build.

The right hand side panel of the Commander MS-I features a small window that is shaped similar to a stealth bomber. The window provides a partial view of the system components when the panel is in its designated place. This panel also has a square perforated area next to the window for an optional 120mm fan which would increase the airflow directed at the graphics card.

The other side panel is one solid piece of metal and is painted entirely white. The center section of the panel has been pushed out slightly and should help us with the cable management task when we build our test system. The front panel of the chassis is white with black accents that are trimmed with sharp lines. This is not surprising considering it is a part of Thermaltake eSPORTS extreme product line.
In an effort to save space and help reduce costs, the connectivity options like the USB ports and audio jacks, commonly located on the top panel of case, have been placed on the front panel instead. Unfortunately the size of the front panel will limit the number of these options to the bare minimum.

Removing the front panel is as easy as grabbing the grooves in the bottom edge of the panel and gently pulling it away from the chassis. The panel must be removed when it comes time to install an optical drive or front intake fan. With the panel removed from the chassis we gain access to the 5.25″ drive bays and can get a good look at the small PCB that has the USB ports and audio jacks mounted on it.

The rear of the Commander MS-I features a bottom mounting location for our power supply. Located directly above where the power supply sits are 7 expansion slots which are available for any cards we decide to include in the system build. Further up is a single 120mm blue LED exhaust fan. Directly underneath the fan there are two holes cut that could potentially be used for liquid cooling tubes. We browsed their website but didn’t notice any mention of this as an option.

The top and bottom panels of the Commander MS-I Snow Edition are individual pieces of metal painted entirely white. Thermaltake then perforated sections of these panels to improve ventilation and provide space where optional fans can be mounted. The bottom panel has 4 raised black rubber feet that elevate the case far enough from the ground to allow plenty of air to circulate.

Moving on to the interior of the Commander MS-I Snow edition we find that the top and bottom panels are white while the remainder of the inside is painted black with red accents.

Located at the top of the rear panel is a single 120mm fan that will exhaust warm air out of the chassis. This is the only fan included when the case ships from the factory.
There is a large cutout of the motherboard tray to expedite changing cooling solutions. There are also a number of cable management cut outs which unfortunately have no rubber grommets included.

Thermaltake used a bottom mount location for the power supply and have included a removable dust filter for the ventilated area that resides beneath the power supply.

The case provides tool free mounting mechanisms for both the 2.5″ and 5.25″ drive bays. These devices are very simple in design featuring two metal pins that insert to the holes on the sides of the drive you are securing. The red plastic pieces are the actual lock that we need to turn horizontally to ensure the drive is locked in place.

The interior of the case is not cramped and we were pleasantly surprised how well the system build went. It may not have all the bells and whistles that some other cases have but if you want a lightweight mid tower that is easy to work with, the Commander MS-I may be right for you.
To test the Thermaltake Commander MS-I Snow Edition we will be using the AMD Phenom X4 FX-5000 CPU matched with a Gigabyte GA-MA785GM-US2H motherboard. For today’s testing we are using the SilenX EFZ-120HA5 to cool the CPU.
To begin we have a diagram that indicates the airflow patterns of the Commander MS-I chassis.
Test System:
Chassis: Thermaltake Commander MS-I Snow Edition Mid Tower
Processor: AMD Phenom X4 FX-5000
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-MA785GM-US2H
Cooler: SilenX EFZ-120HA5
Memory: 3GB DDR2
Storage: Segate 150 GB Sata II
Power Supply: Corsair CX500
Graphics Card: HIS Radeon 5570
Digital Sound Level Noise Decibel Meter Style 2
Software
Windows 7 Professional (64-bit)
Aida 64
Prime 95
For the temperature tests, we used Prime95 to load the system for 15 minutes and then recorded the results. We then let the system remain idle at the desktop for 15 minutes before recording the results. The single 120mm fan in the Commander MS-I and the CPU fan are running at full speed for this test. The ambient room temperature was maintained at 18c for the duration of the tests.

When we consider the fact that only 1 fan is installed, the temperatures running Prime 95 were excellent. If the single fan that is included is not enough, as many as three additional 120mm fans can be added to the default configuration.
We take the issue of noise very seriously at KitGuru and we can eliminate secondary noise pollution in the test room and concentrate specifically on the individual components we are testing. It also brings us slightly closer to industry standards, such as DIN 45635.
To test the chassis we have taken it into our acoustics room and have set our Digital Sound Level Noise Decibel Meter Style 2 one meter away from the case. This represents a real world situation and gives us an accurate reading of the noise level produced by the fans in the Commander MS-I Snow Edition Mid Tower.
As this can be a little confusing for people, here are various dBa ratings in with real world situations to help describe the various levels.
KitGuru noise guide
10dBA - Normal Breathing/Rustling Leaves
20-25dBA – Whisper
30dBA – High Quality Computer fan
40dBA – A Bubbling Brook, or a Refrigerator
50dBA - Normal Conversation
60dBA - Laughter
70dBA - Vacuum Cleaner or Hairdryer
80dBA - City Traffic or a Garbage Disposal
90dBA - Motorcycle or Lawnmower
100dBA - MP3 player at maximum output
110dBA - Orchestra
120dBA - Front row rock concert/Jet Engine
130dBA - Threshold of Pain
140dBA - Military Jet takeoff/Gunshot (close range)
160dBA - Instant Perforation of eardrum
We are also using a passively cooled 5570 graphics card to eliminate as much noise as possible.

The noise level recorded during testing was also very good. The cooler used is extremely quiet and combined with the single 1,000 rpm 120mm fan, we experienced a very quiet testing session.
Choosing a case in the sub £70 sector is difficult, because there are so many options available today. Should you opt for something physically larger or compromise in key areas by opting for a mid tower design?
Thermaltake have responded to this challenge by releasing the Commander MS-I Snow Edition chassis. The Commander is a smaller mid tower that makes good use of all the available space. All the extras such as USB 3.0 ports are available, but there is also plenty of scope to improve upon the default cooling configuration.
The appearance of the Commander MS-I may not be for everyone but it has a certain appeal that will attract an audience who have grown weary of black case designs. This is the first case in this price point I have looked at recently, and must say I was pleasantly surprised at how easy it was to work with when building our test system. Past experiences would indicate that this is rare in the bargain sector.
The tool free drive mechanisms are made of plastic which is clearly implemented to maintain aggressive pricing. It isn’t ideal, but we do expect some compromises to achieve such a tight price point.
The Thermaltake commander MS-I Snow Edition can be purchased for £46.99 inc vat in the UK, which is very competitive.
Pros:
  • priced to sell.
  • supports graphics cards up to 12.5″ in length.
  • eSPORTS extreme design.
  • tool free installation of hard drives and optical drives.
  • potential to improve stock cooling.
Cons:
  • only 1 fan included.
  • tool free drive mechanisms are made of plastic.
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About Yomal Malinda

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1 comments:

  1. Great review, very comprehensive. Thanks!

    ReplyDelete

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