Introduction and Specifications
ExternalExternalThe front panel has a brushed aluminium finish, with the drive bays kitted out with a black plastic mesh. The 7" bay takes pride of place at the top to the right with the 5.25" bays aligned underneath. To the immediate left of the 7" bay is the front I/O panel, consisting of four USB ports and one FireWire-A port. There are two audio jacks, which are compatible with either AC'97 or Intel HD Audio connections. Underneath the front panel is an e.SATA port and e.SATA Power jack, which is a great addition. Directly underneath is a transparent panel which supports the Thermaltake VFD Media Lab, and underneath that is the single visible 3.5" drive bay.
InternalInternalThe internal space of the Mozart TX is divided into four sections, utilising Thermaltake's ITC Technology - Independent Thermal Chamber. The concept is that each section has its own thermal solution so that generated heat doesn't flow through to any other section of the case. The top half of the internals is given over to drive bays - the 3.5" bays on one side and the 7"/5.25" bays on the other. The 3.5" bays are housed in a dedicated casing which is held in by three thumbscrews - of the seven bays one is exposed while the other six are hidden. Of those six, five are proper hard drive bays with rubber mounts to absorb drive vibrations. These five bays are positioned directly in front of a 12cm intake fan protected by a black mesh grille hidden in between the case and the front panel.
InstallationInstallationThe size of the case makes general installation a little unwieldy, especially when turning it on its side to install the primary motherboard. Being able to remove the back I/O panel completely makes installation much easier, as you can avoid that tricky, slightly diagonal mounting of most motherboards, as you have to get the I/O ports through the panel at the same time as aligning the board to the mounting screws. This way, you can mount the board first and then refit the back panel over the board - much easier. The vertical size of the case means that the primary motherboard is much further than normal from the optical and hard drives, so standard IDE/SATA cabling probably won't reach. The case ships with an extra-long dual-channel IDE cable and SATA cable, but that's only good for one hard drive. If your system connects to multiple drives then you'll probably need to purchase some more extra-long cables.One distinct advantage of the Mozart TX's size is that it tends to eliminate the problem of internal cable clutter. There's a lot of room in between the drive bays and the rear of the case, so cables don't tend to bunch up and restrict airflow. It also provides lots of room to work with. Additionally, there are a number of access points cut into the mounting plate for the primary motherboard through which you can feed cables from the PSU positioned directly behind it. PSU cabling tends to be a problem at the top of most standard cases, and it's nice to have this problem minimised.With any secondary system drawing its power from the drive bay PSU, you'd want to install the PSU in the bottom-most 5.25" drive bay. Based on a mini-ITX format, the secondary system really doesn't cause that much extra clutter, but you'd really want to install the extra 12cm and 8cm case fans in this section to reduce overall heat buildup.
Final ThoughtsFinal ThoughtsPart of me wants to write the Mozart TX case off as extreme and ridiculous. The other part of me thinks it's the grooviest and most innovative case I've ever seen. The size is, unfortunately, rather off-putting. Thermaltake are marketing this as an ideal case to house a media center system, and while they've certainly created a case which would make an awesome entertainment unit, I can't see too many people wanting to have such a large case in their living rooms. Thermaltake haven't made any real attempt to make it look like a home theatre piece of hardware so it doesn't integrate visually all that well, and it doesn't have much in the way of silent running features which so many other HTPC cases do. You'd have to put a fair bit of work into absorbing vibration and installing silent fans, or possibly using a liquid cooling system. Having said that, the case is already geared towards making such modifications easier.To be honest, I'd suggest that this case is more suited to running as a dual-system server, or possibly as a housing for your primary gaming rig plus a low-power media machine.Don't get me wrong - I really, really like this case. Thermaltake have demonstrated what can be achieved with a radical design and lots of internal space. It's the sort of case that gets you all excited and actually makes you want to build a new system, simply for the sheer pleasure of using it. Bear in mind though, that to kit out the Mozart TX fully with a secondary system, the 7" retractable LCD and adequate cooling to cope with all of this will mean a fair bit of financial outlay. The screen alone is almost twice the price of the case itself.So as much as I want to be able to recommend this case, it's difficult to do so. It's a joy to work with and seriously, seriously cool - guaranteed to tickle any geek's nerve endings, but in my opinion it's too damn big to fit into any living room as an HTPC. If you've got the room and are prepared to put in the work, then I can't recommend it highly enough - go for it, and you'll have a conversation piece for years to come. If you don't though, then it becomes a specialist case without a niche - always a difficult situation to be in. It would make a fantastic case for a home server or high-end gaming rig. The internal space and expandability make it really compelling, and it would suit either role equally well.But the overriding question is always going to be - have you got the room for the Mozart TX? I do, and I simply love it.- ProsInnovative and uniqueICT Technology promotes great airflowLots of internal spaceWeight isn't a problemDual-system casee.SATA supportOptinal 7" LCD and remote control- ConsToo big for an HTPCLimited silent-running capabilityExpensive to kit out fully- Latest Pricing Rating - 8.5 out of 10 and TweakTown's "MUST HAVE" Best Features Award
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