Rosewill has delivered me a chassis that really made me think. While I sit here and try to put my finger on where this case design actually came from, it confuses me more and more. What I have been able to deduce is this is basically a HAF 932 that took on a major redesign along with adding things that make me think it resembles other chassis'. Basically, what I see is the basic concept resembles the HAF 932, but has been stretched taller inside by removing the top power supply mount. So what is the benefit to giving the interior the rack treatment? In this instance it opened the chassis to allow for XL-ATX motherboards, added space for another hard drive, and in the back the chassis can support up to 10 expansion cards. Seems all good so far!
What throws me off in the design are two major elements. The left door panel has a cool mesh window that very much resembles what I have seen from IN WIN designs. The only thing making me think against it is that the grommets for the screws are black instead of the IN WIN green I am used to on this design. To be honest, I much prefer the black! The second element that throws me is the plastic front and top. While the front has an innovative trick up its sleeve, the top ventilation resembles what would typically be seen on a Raven design. Then as I am typing this, one of my friends from the UK mentions to me it has a similar OEM to his Xigmatek Utgard; it seems like quite the conglomeration of cases to take the fine points from.
Wherever the original thought came from, or what the basis of this design is, what matters is whether or not they offer a good feature set, is the price reasonable, and can if fit my hardware? - I plan to go through all of what the Thor has to offer, and you can make up your own mind about the Thor full tower chassis. In the mean time, grab a drink and settle in for some details, images of cool things, and what is going to be a really good story at the end.
Specifications, Availability and Pricing
On the outside the Thor uses a mix of black painted steel, black steel mesh, and black ABS plastic covering the front and top of the chassis. The top of the chassis has movable louvers over the top of a 230mm fan. The front also holds a 230mm fan as the intake behind a large mesh panel. Above the intake fan you will find room to expose up to six optical drives or 5.25" devices. On both sides of the 5.25" covers that come in the chassis there is a removable component to allow you to remove the covers without having to pull the entire bezel off. Between the top and the front you will find the front I/O. Not only do you get the typical layout, but Rosewiil equips this with two fan controllers for up to six fans. There is also USB 3.0. The left door houses the same X shaped mesh window that the Utgard had, but it has been shifted down and this allows for three little vents to be added to the top of the door. Speaking of the doors, these open like a car door, they don't slide on the frame, making them much easier to use.
Inside the chassis you will first notice it also is completely black to match the outside. Under the optical bays oriented perpendicular to them you have a six drive 3.5" rack. All six dive bays use steel trays with holes in them for both 3.5" drive and 2.5" drives. The tray orientation is nice as well; once the drive is installed the wiring is all in the back and hidden. Besides the two fans I already mentioned, you will find a 230mm inside the door and a 140mm fan in the rear of the chassis. Below this you will find not only ten expansion slots, but a fully tool-free clip system to lock the cards in place. This leaves the motherboard tray, and it's a nice one. It offers eight normal management holes and one really large one by the bottom mounted power supply. All of these holes have soft rubber grommets for that finished look. There is a large access hole for the CPU and the tray will accommodate m-ATX, ATX, E-ATX, and XL-ATX motherboards.
Since Rosewill is Newegg.com's "house brand", it's obvious you will find it there first. Looking at Google shopping I found it located there as well as Amazon.com or Newegg's sister site, cheifValue.com. Pricing across the board is exactly the same and all three are offering free shipping with the purchase. Now, I get that a product made by a company for a company has its benefits, but the scoring will show a bit of a hit due to only three places you can get the Thor currently. Pricing is set at Newegg.com at 149.99 which matches the MSRP on Rosewill's site. For what the specs and features show, this seems to be one heck of a deal for $150, but I will let you make the final decision.
The packaging is fronted with a shot of the louvers on the top of the chassis with the Thor name across it.
On the side there is the Rosewill naming above the weight and packing information.
To save money on printing this shiny outside packaging, the front and back are identical.
The sides are the same as well.
Opening the box, I found that this sample was also packaged inside of a plain brown box. Not too sure if this was an early sample that was originally coming in a plain box, or if all the cases are double boxed - I am assuming it's the first one.
Once the second box was removed I found the Thor to be in a plastic bag with the owner's manual floating around inside. Both of the ends are capped in Styrofoam and delivered this chassis to me in great shape.
The Rosewill Thor Full Tower Case
The front of the Thor is made mainly of the mesh covers and large area for the 230mm intake fan covering. The sides are made of molded plastic with venting added along with a removable top half that I will show you in a bit.
The front I/O is the main hub for everything. Lighting, fan control, power and reset, and even a USB 3.0 port are all found on the brushed aluminum plate.
Behind the I/O on the top of the chassis there is a large catch all area followed by five large plastic louvers.
On the left is a large plastic switch to open and close the louvers. If they are closed there is a small area out the back to send the air, but if things are warm you can open these for better ventilation.
The left side comes with the large X shaped mesh panel inserted; this will hold either four 120mm fans, or you can leave the 230mm fan there that is already installed. Above you will find three smaller vents, these will just breathe as the airflow dictates.
The back of the chassis has ventilation down the left, behind the motherboard tray, ten expansion slots, room for a 120 or 140mm fan, even grommets in ½" holes for water cooling at the top.
The right panel is plain. Since the doors swing out from the back, there isn't even need for a finger dimple in the back.
Inside The Rosewill Thor Full Tower Case
Removing the door, we can take a peek at the 3-pin powered 230mm fan on the reverse. This nine blade fan is rated for 0.24 amps and 2.88 watts.
Inside the Thor, the wiring is tidy and doesn't move around much. The hardware that was supposed to be tied to the inside of the drive bays was roaming free, and I found two bits of broken plastic, which I don't even think belong to this chassis.
Up front there are the six 5.25" bays with solid tool-free locks. The bottom houses the six steel hard drive or SSD trays behind the clear 230mm fan that has red LEDs in it.
The motherboard tray offers full support up to XL-ATX motherboards and has plenty of options to wire things cleanly, and the large hole nearest the power supply makes routing everything behind the tray a snap.
In the rear you can see the black 140mm fan included in the Thor, the ten tool-free clamps for the expansion slots, and the padded power supply mounting hole with ventilation and a dust cover below it.
There is plenty of room behind the tray for the thickest wiring. Even when you think its close, the way the door swings closed, you don't have to worry as much as you do with slide on doors.
There is a hole very near al the wiring from the I/O I pulled all this through the back. The wiring is quite extensive. Not only does it cover all the basics, there is USB 3.0 in there, fan control power leads, and six fan power leads.
The bottom of the chassis gets supported with the large plastic feet with rubber pads. The power supply has this easily removable dust cover, but the 140mm fan in front of it has a screwed in dust cover. If you look just over the bottom, you can see the 230mm fan strapped in the roof of the Thor.
Accessories and Documentation
The hardware box that broke free from its confines did all right. On the outside you get a contents checklist for all the screws and risers, but there is more inside.
Not only do you get the hardware listed on the outside, there is a mat for the little cubby on the top that is backed with a sticker so you can permanently set it if you want to. You also receive a motherboard speaker.
The manual covers everything from the top to the bottom. It shows how to remove the top to gain access to the fans, how to use the louvers, everything you are going to need to know to make this case function and get your build completed.
The steel trays use larger screws that pass through the rubber grommets for mechanical hard drives. To install an SSD, you would use the smaller screws and the four small holes drilled in the trays.
This is what it looks like with a mechanical drive. If you have an SSD use the pair of holes on either side, furthest from the edges.
The Build and Finished Product
Removing the front bezel to insert the drive, I noticed that this chassis is attached to it by a pair of wires to a hard to see switch for the LED lighting on the outside. In the bezel all of the drive bay covers are backed with a screen for dust filters. The lower half has a screen backed with honeycomb mesh to hold it in place.
To remove the bay covers you must slide off the top half of the side. Removing both pieces gives you access to the locking tabs. When you got the ones off you need, just slide the side pieces back on and insert he drives.
The drive doesn't detract much from the front, even something like a dual bay XSPC res with the black cover plate would look good with this design.
Getting ready to test as the build comes to an end, I made sure to open the louvers for the best airflow the case can offer for testing.
This case makes my ATX motherboard look small. You can see there is plenty of room for XL-ATX, but this chassis does stop short of fitting a board like the SR-2 from EVGA. It will, however, fit the 4-Way SLI from EVGA, and the GI Assassin from GIGABYTE. Whatever you house in here, the finished product is very tidy.
The rear of the chassis doesn't change much. If you do plan to use the USB 3.0 offered in the front, you will need to run the wire through one of the four holes at the top to reach the rear I/O.
Behind the tray I was able to run and hide all the wires from my power supply. As you can see, I bunched most of the wiring around the 24-pin cable, the rest I just tied in where it was convenient. Even with the huge bulk of wiring, the door panel went on as if it weren't even there.
Houston, we have a problem! - I will get into more detail in the conclusion, but I powered up the chassis and went right to the camera to get all the light in action. Here is what I got. Reason why? - Just after this I saw a trail of white smoke come out of the front I/O panel. While the USB, audio and e-SATA are still functioning, the fan controllers or the lighting on the sides do not. I have made contact with Rosewill about this issue.
Taking one last look at a really nice case that I wish I knew what went wrong! Otherwise, it's a sleek looking case with a very nice set of features.
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.