Friday Rant - A tale of two PC cases

Summary:Two different mid-tower PC cases from the same company, two very different experiences.

Two different mid-tower PC cases from the same company, two very different experiences.

Last year we built some new PCs here at the PC Doc HQ.  One system (mine) used a Thermaltake Armor Jr chassis while the other (which would belong to Kathie, my wife) was based on the Thermaltake Tsunami.  Overall, I've been pretty pleased with mine, but Kathie has had nothing but heartache and hassle with the Tsunami.  In fact, it's been a catalog of random issues all along. 

Here are just a few of the gripes:

  • First, the design.  On the front is a door that closes (and locks) to neatly hide away the CD/DVD drive and the on/off and reset button.  The problem is that there's a design flaw with the door - it's hinged on the left (as you look at it) so the case has to ideally sit on your left.  If your office is organized so that the PC is on your right, the door basically makes it difficult to operate the PC.  Having the option to swap the sides on the hinge would be great.
  • Still talking about the door, not only is it badly designed but it's also not all that robust and after a few months of operation the hinges and door catch fell apart.  The door sat on the floor for months, not it's been sent off to be recycled into something more useful.
  • The lockable side panel is a total joke.  Not only is it easier to solve a Rubik's Cube than it is to get the thing in place, once in place it seems to inexplicably weld itself into place and you have to take tools to it to get the side off again.
  • The screwless slots are a total joke.  The flimsy plastic clips just don't do the job of holding expansion cards in place.  We had to rip these out and replace them with screws on the first day.
  • The screwless drive holders are also next to useless.  Sure, they hold the drives in place, but loosely enough that they vibrate.  Over time this vibration turns into a really annoying rattle.  These have also been thrown away and replaced with screws.
  • The washable dust filter at the front of the case is totally ineffective, and in order to remove it for washing one of the clips broke off.
  • The internal pop-rivets holding the chassis together aren't up to the job and several were loose when the case was new.  As you can imagine, these haven't tightened up over time.
  • The position of the USB and audio connectors (at the top of the case) is totally useless.  This flaw is also present on the Armor Jr.

Note:  With regards to the door, I've noticed that the newer Tsunami's seem to have an aluminum door but ours was made of plastic.  It's possible that Thermaltake have since solved some of these problems, but I'm not buying another one to find out. 

How can I sum up the Thermaltake Tsunami?  Well, I'd go as far as to say that building this case was a complete and utter waste of the Earth's resources.  Sure, it looks fine, but as a PC case it's a total disaster.  We'd have been better keeping the cardboard box the case came in and putting the PC into that.

Our plan is that this case will be disposed of ethically pretty soon now (and hopefully be turned into something more useful) and that we'll never speak of it again.

Thoughts?  And remember, since it's a Friday, you can vent your spleen about anything tech-related that annoys you!

Topics: Hardware

About

Adrian Kingsley-Hughes is an internationally published technology author who has devoted over a decade to helping users get the most from technology -- whether that be by learning to program, building a PC from a pile of parts, or helping them get the most from their new MP3 player or digital camera.Adrian has authored/co-authored technic... Full Bio

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