Computer Case Final Thoughts
Every time I start shopping around for a new chassis, I tell myself that my priorities are as follows; features, followed by dimensions, and finally, aesthetics. However, I end up considering all of the cool-looking cases first, and if one of those visually appealing towers has the size and features I’m looking for, that’s usually the one I go with. I think what Thermaltake has in the Chaser A71 is a case that has the necessary visual appeal to grab your attention, and then seal the deal with everything else it has going for it. Yeah, it doesn’t look like Megatron, but it is still going to turn heads. In all reality, it has the look to play the role of either a gaming rig, a desktop PC found in a professional setting, or both.
In the Thermaltake Chaser A71, I found virtually nothing to complain about. It may not have the versatility of a modular design, but it is large enough and built with so much attention to airflow that its lack of modularity isn’t really relevant. If I was really going to pick nits, I would suggest making the power button easier to depress. Initially, I thought it was a touch sensor power toggle. Of course, once you realize that it takes more force to engage the power button on the Chaser A71 then you’re typically accustomed to exerting, it really doesn’t matter.
If you’re looking for a diminutive case that you can hide away or you simply do not have the room for a full-tower, this is not the case for you. However, if you are in the market for an attractive full-tower chassis that is chalked full of features, this is one to seriously consider.
Thermaltake Chaser A71 Conclusion
Thermaltake really has a great lineup of computer cases and the A71 is a excellent addition to its Chaser family. It is a larger version of designs that were already successful, and improvements were made to enhance features that were already more than adequate. One example of the improvements implemented into the Chaser A71 is the top-mounted docking station door, which fully covers the bay in order to prevent dust and debris from collecting in it. This dedication to design excellence resulted in the Thermaltake Chaser A71 earning a 2013 Red Dot award in product design.
It’s difficult to rate a computer case in terms of performance, since so much depends upon the components put into the chassis and if a build is done properly. However, based on what Thermaltake had intended for this design, we can draw some conclusions. One of the goals for the A71 was to ensure that it provided superior airflow. Considering that it was adorned with three 200mm fans and one 120mm fan, is spacious, and has plenty of mesh, air can move freely through this chassis. Mission accomplished. Another aspect of the Chaser A71 that is a positive performance factor is the great cable management integrated into the design. There are rubber grommets a-plenty to run cables through, plenty of loops from which to tie cables down, and a cavernous area behind the motherboard tray for the cables to live. Collectively, these cable management features help performance by aiding the effort to supply air flow to the design.
What I appreciate about the appearance of the Thermaltake Chaser A71 is that it is not over-the-top, but it is also not a boring design. The fluorescent-blue coloring running around the perimeter of each drive bay cover coupled with the blue LED illumination produced by the top and side 200mm fans results in a bold, yet attractive look. This case looks great as high-end gaming rig, but still maintains the aesthetic subtlety to look perfectly normal in a professional setting.
The materials used to produce the Thermaltake Chaser A71 aren’t anything new under the sun; metal and plastic. However, the real test is how well it is put together. I looked for parts that would shake or rattle, weren’t fastened on well, or just felt cheap. I didn’t find anything like that at all. In fact, I can make an argument that some parts are too solidly constructed. For example, the drive-bay covers were a challenge to remove and reinsert simply because they didn’t flex like a cheap cover normally would. And no, it’s not because it’s just harder plastic. You would have to try to break them. The only real complaint I would have is the power button issue I shared in the “Final Thoughts” section above; it could be made easier to depress.
Not only does the Thermaltake Chaser A71 have form, but it is also long on function. The top-mounted hot-swap HDD/SDD drive bay is an under appreciated feature in my opinion. Also, the ability for this case to provide a high-quality cooling solution, whether you want to leave it stock, add some more fans, or upgrade to a liquid cooling setup, it impressive. The attention to dust prevention is another feature that helps to keep your rig performing at desired levels. Incorporating a tool-less method of HDD/ODD installation into the design is a big plus. Finally, the size just offers so much in terms of flexibility when deciding how to initially build or eventually expand.
For under $126 (Amazon / Newegg) you are getting a chassis that has a multitude of positives. For some of us, it’s hard to justify getting to that price-point for a case, but you have to consider what you are getting. And, it is the kind of case that can grow with you as you expand and upgrade.
When all is said and done, there is so many positive things to say about the Thermaltake Chaser A71, and very little to complain about, unless you want to get really picky. In honesty, it might be more case than what some people need. However, it is worth every penny of the asking price, and I highly recommend this case, especially to those planning on a moderate to high-end build, or are planning to eventually modify/expand.
+ modest, yet attractive design
+ excellent stock cooling solution
+ hot-swap drive
+ tool-less design
+ superior cable management
+ highly expandable
+ space, space, and more space
+ whisper quiet fans
+ built like a tank
– drive bay covers difficult to remove/replace
– power button depression is too rigid
Final Score: 9.0 out of 10.
Excellence Achievement: Benchmark Reviews Golden Tachometer Award.
COMMENT QUESTION: Who makes your favorite computer case?