Thermaltake Soprano Middle Tower

Written by Michael Larabel in Enclosures on 26 February 2005. Page 2 of 3. Add A Comment

Examination:

Thermaltake currently offers the Soprano chassis in several different models, including black and silver colors, and with a side panel window or without. In this review, we are checking out the silver model with the X Type side panel window and no included PSU.

Similar to the Thermaltake Tsunami or Cooler Master Wave Master, the Soprano has a curved/wavy front bezel. The wave design is still rather uncommon but has been seen from large case manufacturers recently. In our opinions, the wave design reminded us of sine waves, relating to soprano and sound. Towards the middle of the front bezel is a power and hard drive LED. Unlike many Chieftec, Thermaltake, and Cooler Master cases, the Soprano uses a larger type lock and key, comparable to automobile and house keys. When opening the bezel door, we see the four 5.25 and two 3.5" drive bays. Next to the 3.5" bays is the large power and reset switch button. On most cases with front bezel door, only the top half opens, but the Soprano is quite different. With the Thermaltake Soprano, the entire front panel door opens up; with the bottom half being used for a fan grill on the 120mm intake. With the wave design on the door, we were a bit frightened since the area inside the door where the wave comes to a trough is fairly close to touching the 5.25" drive bays. Some LCD panels, fan controllers, and sound cards (Creative Labs Audigy Platinum series) extend beyond the normal ending point of 5.25" drives because of controlling knobs or additional ports. With some of the drives that are abnormal, they may conflict with the closing of the front panel door, but most users should have nothing to fear.

When pulling the entire front bezel, it rotates out, exposing the front fan filter, access to drive bays, and the actual metal frame of the chassis. Overall, Thermaltake designers have done a great job with the front bezel.


Moving onto the side panel, we see the prominent feature, the X type side panel window. Etched on the lower half of the window is "Thermaltake Cool All Your Life. Above the fine etching is a 90mm intake fan. A black grill covers this fan, which is orange. Thermaltake has entirely reconfigured the setup for keeping the side panel latched and locked into place from the Xaser Series. With the Soprano, two latches can be found at the rear of the panel. Unfortunately, only the top latch uses a lock, and is the style of lock we're accustom to seeing on computer cases, rather than the rare lock on the front bezel door of the Soprano.

On the rear of the case, the 120mm exhaust fan is visible along with the seven expansion slots. Located on the top of the case, concealed by a flapping door, are two USB2.0, one Firewire, and two audio ports. At the bottom of the case, are four feet that can rotate in or out.


Opening up the side panel, we were impressed with the well laid out innards of the case and the tool-less features. All four 5.25" external , two 3.5" external, and five 3.5" internal drive bays with the Thermaltake Soprano are tool-less, which is definitely a huge bonus with us. Another beneficial feature is the excessive amount of space behind the internal 3.5" drives. In most computer cases, there is an insignificant amount of space behind the drive bay, but in the case of the Soprano, there is much more room than usual, which should prove to be very beneficial when concealing computer cables and CCFL inverters.


At the rear of the chassis are tool-less expansion slots. Fortunately, the tool-less expansion slots appear to be more reliable than what we've seen with other cases, such as the NZXT Guardian. One of the items we wish would've been tool-less were the fan mounts. However, we're very satisfied with the findings of the Thermaltake Soprano, due to the number of tool-less features and design.



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