The whole poof of smoke from the front I/O is still a mystery to me. Usually in an electrical short there is some sort of telling signs. A burnt spot on the PCB, a missing capacitor or resistor, a melted wire or connection; there is almost always something. In this instance there was nothing. I completely dismantled the unit, I even took images for Rosewill if they need them, but there is nothing to see, anywhere. At this time I have emailed Rosewill and explained to them what happened and see if we can get to the bottom of what happened. At this time, I am left with a case that works, but not as it should. I will give them every chance to correct this issue and make any edits as they need to be made. But this does affect my opinion and score of the chassis as it was delivered. I understand that with production, issues happen, and this is likely just something simple, but on the other hand, what if this happened to you?
I was really behind this case all the way up until I hit that power button and looked up from my camera. The case has just about everything you would want in a gaming chassis. While the fan controllers were blown, it left the fans running with 12 Volts going through them, so even though I had the issue I was able to continue on. The airflow from the three 230mm fans and the 140mm in the rear do a great job of ventilating the chassis and keeping the components cool. That is with the top vents open mind you. At idle you can close them to keep things from falling in; when things warm up, it just takes a slide of the switch to open the top and really allow the fan there to breathe. Inside I was very pleased with the whole build and install process, there was nothing out of the ordinary to report, and the tool-free mechanisms work well and are very solid, even for those on the move. Keep in mind, these latches are strong enough to make mobility a non-issue, but its stature and thirty pound weight , empty, make this a case to sit in one spot.
I will end as if there hadn't been an issue and give you my feelings if the case would have functioned correctly out of the box. The case is actually a well thought out design that covers all the marks of what gamers today are looking for. It has room for some of the larger motherboards on the market, and if you are staying ATX or smaller, this leaves a ton of room for water cooling. The motherboard tray is very nice and even uses a softer rubber in the grommets than I am used to, making them less prone to pop out while passing wires through them. The front access to the optical bays is a nice touch as I dislike having to rip off the bezel all the time if I want to change a bay reservoir or drive out. On top of all of that, you also get dual fan controls for up to six fans and USB 3.0. Rosewill did pack quite a bit of value into the Thor, and I think the $149.99 pricing at Newegg.com is on point for a fully functional version. I await Rosewill to respond to either solve this issue or find a solution for my specific situation. Don't forget, with limited availability and not being able to fully test the chassis it will be reflected in the score until the issue finds a resolution.