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Thermaltake Mozart TX - Monster Dual System HTPC Enclosure

Looking for a new and innovative case? Today we look at the Thermaltake Mozart TX, a Monster Dual System HTPC enclosure.
@TweakTown
James Bannan
Published Tue, Jan 2 2007 11:00 PM CST   |   Updated Tue, Apr 7 2020 12:26 PM CDT
Rating: 85%Manufacturer: Thermaltake

Introduction and Specifications

IntroductionComputer cases are built to meet the specific needs of all sorts of niche system requirements - business desktops, home servers, gaming machines, media centers and so on. Each niche market has its own set of requirements, essentials and nice-to-haves, and case manufacturers vie to create cases which not only meet those requirements but offer innovations which will hopefully give their products the competitive edge.And if you're looking for true innovation, it's hard to look past Thermaltake's Mozart TX range of cases which were introduced back at Computex last year. Marketed as "The Ideal Home Entertainment Center", so far everyone I've spoken to who has seen one has had some sort of comment to make - some favourable, some not. Regardless, the case has made an impression on every single person who has seen it.And what do we think? Read on to find out!SpecificationsThe particular case we reviewed was the Mozart TX VE 1000SNA. First impressions are that it is, well, rather big. At 72cm high (3/4 of a meter) it towers (no pun intended) over most conventional full towers, and at 33 cm wide it's substantially wider than most also. However, it's only 36cm deep which is actually a fair bit shallower than many full tower systems which tend to be over 50cm deep.
This setup, which Thermaltake refers to as a cube tower rather than a full tower, is designed to promote better airflow and faster heat dissipation as a result. Cooling potential is quite impressive - the case can house up to ten 12cm fans and one 8cm fan, but comes with five 12cm fans by default. It can also house two full water cooling radiators and the chassis has four pre-drilled holes for external tubing.Despite its size, the aluminium chassis is rather light, weighing in at just 9kg. With no system installed, the weight tends to pitch slightly forwards, a result of the drive housings at the top and front of the case. There are 13 drive bays in total - a unique 7" bay, five 5.25" bays and seven 3.5" bays, six of which are hidden. The Mozart TX is actually designed as a dual-system case - it can house two systems, a primary and secondary. The primary system can be an ATX, Micro ATX, BTX, Micro BTX, Nano BTX or Pico BTX form factor, while the secondary system can only be Mini ITX-based.
There are a few optional upgrades which can be purchased for the Mozart TX. There's a 7" retractable LCD monitor which fits into the 7" drive bay, and can be connected to the primary or secondary system. There's also a standard Thermaltake VFD Media Lab, which either fits into one of the 5.25" bays or is installed behind the existing transparent front panel, and a mini ITX 5.25" PSU and BTX kit which features an SRM and rear plate for a BTX-based primary system.

External

ExternalThe 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.
The left and right external panels are exactly the same as each other. There are two slide locks to release the panels, and the top one is lockable. When released, the panels swing out and forwards towards the front panel. The lower half of each panel aligns with the internal housing for the primary and secondary systems, so there's an air vent mesh over the lower slide lock, and mounting for a 12cm case fan directly above that.
The rear panel is divided up into three main sections. The top half is given over entirely to fan mounts. There is space available for four 12cm fans - two are installed by default in the lower two spots. The lower half of the rear panel is divided vertically into two parts.
The section on the right which takes up two-thirds of the lower half is the back panel of the primary system, consisting of the motherboard I/O panel, another 12cm fan and seven expansion slots. The remaining third on the left is the housing for the primary system's PSU, and beneath that a spot for an 8cm fan to service the secondary system. Beneath that and running the entire width of the rear panel are the pre-drilled holes to accommodate the tubing for a water cooling system.

Internal

InternalThe 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.
Devices mounted in the 5.25" bays are held in place by a single slide lock, whereas the 7" cage is secured by two standard screws. This area isn't really two independent sections as there's no clear divider other than the bays themselves. The back panel of this section is given over to the four 12cm fans which effectively act as the thermal solution for the entire top half.
The area which houses the primary system is the largest internal section. It has a single 12cm intake fan with mounts for another two, immediately above and below the existing fan, and a single 12cm outtake fan on the rear panel next to the motherboard I/O panel. This panel, along with the PCI expansion slots, can be completely removed from the back of the case - it's secured by eight standard screws.
The panel which the motherboard is mounted on acts as the divider between the two lower sections. The other lower section houses the primary system's PSU and the secondary system. Unlike the primary motherboard, the mini-ITX board of the secondary system is mounted towards the front of the case, leaving room for an optional 8cm extraction fan. The main PSU is mounted above the secondary system, which leaves quite a lot of room free in the lower secondary section for cabling.

Installation

InstallationThe 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 Thoughts

Final 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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