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Thermaltake M9 Case Review
Thermaltake M9 Case Review - PCSTATS
Abstract: Thermaltake's M9 stands 17" tall and 7.5" wide, and is constructed out of plain old SECC steel, glossy black plastic, and mesh grating along its front bays.
 79% Rating:   
Filed under: Cases Published:  Author: 
External Mfg. Website: Thermaltake Oct 24 2008   J. Apong  
Home > Reviews > Cases > Thermaltake M9

Front Bezel and Drive Bay Accommodations

The front panel and triangular side fins on the M9 case are made from separate pieces of plastic, one shiny the other matt. The bezels don't match up either, so that the roughed plastic tapers inwards as the triangular sides flare outwards - the effect makes it seem like Thermaltake just had a bunch of generic front control panels lying around, instead of molding ones specifically to match up with the M9's look.

The front of the M9 case is completely aluminum mesh from top to bottom, over the 9 available bays. The mesh itself is good for case airflow, sort of like the Cooler Master HAF 932 PCSTATS reviewed recently (though that beast is in a higher class for sure). While I personally prefer having exposed bays as opposed to cases with doors -- exposed bays allow you to mount and access exotic card readers and temperature gauges -- the Thermaltake M9's uniform front mesh seems uninspired. Even with its blue LED illuminated hard drive cage fan lighting up the bottom third of the chassis, the M9 would do well with some markings on the front to break up the monotony. Dare I say it, this Thermaltake case needs a Thermaltake logo or something... ninja's perhaps?

The side triangular fins are perhaps my least favorite fashion choice. Like Enermax's Phoenix , the Thermaltake M9 swells at the bottom with a pair of triangular sidings that serve no purpose. The grills on the side make them look a little like air intakes on a stealth bomber, but they are not.

While the windowed version of the Thermaltake M9 would likely be more interesting I think. The steel is a bit flimsy, but at least it's held on with thumbscrews.

Inside the M9 you'll find the usual - a top space for a single or dual-fan power supply, a rear 120mm exhaust fan with a molex pass-through, an included I/O shield that will always vary slightly from your motherboard configuration, forcing you to pop it out, and seven tool-free PCI slots.

Motherboard installation is fairly simple, there are six included stand-offs that line up with standard ATX holes. Once the included I/O shield has been removed, the unit supplied with the motherboard can be popped in along with the board. The motherboard tray isn't removable, so if you're using a back-plate design CPU heatsink, make sure to put the back plate on first before you secure the motherboard to the case and start adding in components.

Thermaltake decided to mount its hard drive bays parallel with the PCI slots of the motherboard, and since the case isn't all that deep (it's 19.5 inches, standard for a mid-tower), it may be problematic with larger PCI Express videocards like the Radeon HD 4870 X2 . Graphics cards over 12" in length simply won't fit if hard drives are installed next to them.

The solution that the Thermaltake M9 provides to get around this problem is a three-bay hard drive cage, which can be slotted into any of the nine 5.25" slots that run from the top of the chassis to the bottom. This gives a little more flexibility, as users can leave their video cards in the middle of the case, and then put their hard drives near the top, although solution will definitely make more for more tricky cabling.

More importantly though, there's only three available hard drive bays? Really? Even no-name OEM boxes give more space to expand than that. Users who want to run RAID 1/0 or simply mount old drives inside this case will have to get more cages from Thermaltake or use an external HDD system like this.

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Contents of Article: Thermaltake M9
 Pg 1.  Thermaltake M9 Case Review
 Pg 2.  — Front Bezel and Drive Bay Accommodations
 Pg 3.  Motherboard and Peripheral Installation
 Pg 4.  Expansion Slots

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