Thermaltake Spedo (notice that it isn’t called Speedo to not cause trouble with the sportswear manufacturer) is a new series of full-tower cases from Thermaltake. We reviewed the most complete model within this series, called “Advance Package,” which comes with seven 5.25” bays, six internal 3.5” bays, six fans and a very interesting system to separate the case into different compartments in order to improve the internal airflow. Our initial impression was that this is one of the most complete cases on the market today. Let’s see if Spedo Advance Package lives up to our initial impression.
Below we listed the features present on the top-of-the-line “Advance Package” model that are not available on the plain (and less expensive) Spedo model:
- Internal parts are painted in black.
- Side panel comes with a 230 mm fan (with 190 mm blades), a transparent window and a small mesh with medium holes. The side panel of the plain is solid with three meshes supporting the installation of two 140 mm fans that don’t come with the case.
- Plastic panels to divide the interior of the case into several different thermal chambers.
- Cable management system below the motherboard tray.
Externally Spedo has a very serious look, which is a good thing, in our opinion. We prefer cases with a more sober looks than cases that look like a parade float, as we think that they will please more users than the second option. But don’t let its sober external looks fool you; internally this case is very different, as we will discuss later.
The left side panel comes with a big 230 mm fan. The problem is that the blades from this fan “only” measure 190 mm, making it hard to compare to other products. For example, Antec Twelve Hundred uses a “smaller” 200-mm fan which isn’t smaller: both use 190 mm blades so both fans have the same size, even though by just reading the specs you would think that Spedo’s fan is bigger. We really wished that manufacturers started at least disclaiming the length of the fan blades in order to fix this kind of problem. This fan rotates at 800 rpm and has no speed control and uses a standard four-pin peripheral power connector, not allowing you to monitor its speed through your motherboard.
On the right panel you can see mesh where you can install an optional 120 mm fan behind the motherboard tray, below the CPU socket. We will discuss this unusual option later.
You can rotate the feet from this case, if you want to. On Figures 1 and 2 you can see them on their default position, but you can “open” them if you’d like, see Figure 3.
[nextpage title=”Introduction (Cont’d)”]
In Figure 4, you can see the front panel from Spedo. This case doesn’t have a door. All bay covers are meshed with a dust filter installed on each one of them. Between these covers and the case itself there is no metallic plate blocking the airflow, a mistake several other case manufacturers make and forget to tell users that they need to break and remove these plates in order to really improve the case airflow (notice that we are talking here about cases with meshed covers; for cases with solid covers it won’t make any difference whether you remove these plates or not). So these meshed covers will really improve the case internal airflow.
The traditional USB ports and audio jacks are located on the top of the case and here we saw a miracle. The two USB ports that come with this case are very far away from each other, so you won’t have any problem installing two “fat” USB devices at the same time. This case also comes with one eSATA port. For a case with a list price of USD 250 we expected more here, at least four USB ports and one FireWire port.
This case comes with another 230 mm fan on the top panel, which is great. However, just like the side fan, this fan is listed as being a 230 mm unit but it uses 190 mm blades, making it to be on the same size of “smaller” fans, like the 200-mm fan used on Antec Twelve Hundred. Like the side fan the top fan rotates at 800 rpm and has no speed control and uses a standard four-pin peripheral power connector, not allowing you to monitor its speed through your motherboard.
In Figure 6 we have the rear panel. On this case the power supply is installed on the lower part of the case. On the top part you can see the two rear 120 mm fans (1,300 rpm, no monitoring, no speed control) and also two holes for external water cooling systems. These holes are protected by rubber covers, so you don’t need to break anything on Spedo in order to use them. The screwless mechanism to hold daughterboards is located outside on the rear panel and we will talk more about it later.
Now let’s see how Spedo Advance Package looks like inside.
[nextpage title=”Inside Spedo Advance Package”]
The side panels are fastened to the chassis using thumbscrews, which is great. Even though you can remove the right panel, the motherboard tray is permanently attached to the chassis. One good thing about this case is that the fan that is attached to the left panel uses a very convenient power plug (called “wireless” by Thermaltake) that is permanently attached to the lower section of the case. While in other cases you need to detach the fan power plug from the power supply when you remove the left panel, this is not necessary on Spedo Advance Package. The plug used does this automatically for you. In Figure
8 you have an overall look from the interior of this case.
The first thing that catches the eye is the plastic divisions located on the lower section of the case, called “Advanced Thermal Chamber” or simply “ATC” by Thermaltake. The goal of these plastic dividers is to create separated thermal chambers inside the case, so the hot air generated by the video cards will stay isolated in one section and won’t circulate on the rest of the case, which would increase temperature inside the PC. The same goes with the hot air generated by the CPU.
This system uses four plastic parts. The first part is a plastic panel with a rubber skirt at the end, separating the video cards and other daughterboards from the rest of the case. The second part is just a plastic cover that fits on top of the daughterboards. The third part is another panel separating the chamber containing the expansion boards from the chamber containing the power supply. This panel also has a hidden drawer for you to store screws or whatever you want to hide. And the fourth part is just a plastic cover that goes on top of the power supply chamber.
So with this system installed your PC has three separated chambers: the CPU chamber, the video card/expansion boards chamber and the power supply chamber.
[nextpage title=”Inside Spedo Advance Package (Cont’d)”]
Since there will be a “wall” separating the power supply from the rest of the case, the power supply unit must be installed with its 120- or 140 mm fan facing down, unless you won’t use the panel that separates the power supply from the video cards and other expansion boards. As you can see in Figure 13 this case has a mesh with a dust filter to match the power supply fan and also a space for the installation of an additional 120 mm fan. This optional fan can only be installed if you use a power supply with standard length. The case comes with one spare 120 mm fan for you to install it here, below the motherboard or on the center bar (more about that in just a second).
Daughter boards are fastened to the case using individual screwless mechanisms. These mechanisms are opened and closed from outside the case and not from inside, as usual. We like this new design, as the latches are easier to manipulate when installed outside the case.
If you pay attention this case has eight expansion slots, not seven as usual. The eighth slot (the lowest one) does not have a screwless fastening mechanism, however.
In Figure 15, you can see the two rear fans and the top fan. Pay attention to the lever located on the right-hand side. This lever controls the height and angle of an optional 120 mm center fan (see Figure 16). The case comes with this fan, but you have to choose where you want to install it: on this lever, on the bottom part of the case near the power supply or below the motherboard, behind where the CPU is installed. Like all other fans from this case it uses a standard 4-pin peripheral power connector, not allowing you to monitor its speed.
As mentioned, you can install a 120 mm fan below the motherboard, behind where the CPU is installed. If you paid attention, this case has three optional places for a 120 mm fan, but it only comes with one extra 120 mm fan. Behind the motherboard tray Spedo Advance Package also has a cable organizer.
Now let’s take an in-depth look at the disk drive options from the reviewed case.
[nextpage title=”The Disk Drive Bays”]
This case has seven external 5.25” bays, four on the top of the unit and three on the bottom. All of them use a very efficient screwless mechanism that works like a charm. You can convert any of the 5.25” bays into one external 3.5” bay for a floppy disk drive or a memory card reader. The case also comes with the front cover to match the 3.5” device. This adapter can also be used if you want to add one extra hard disk drive.
On the hard disk drive side, this case has six internal 3.5” bays divided into two cages, which are located between the top 5.25” bays and the bottom ones. So you can have up to six or seven (if the floppy disk drive adapter is used and you don’t have this kind of device) hard disk drives with this case. Hard disk drives bays are located perpendicular to the 5.25” bays and there is a 140 mm fan (1,000 rpm, glows red when turned on) cooling down the hard disk drives. Like all other fans from this case, you can’t control or monitor its speed.
Each hard disk drive is installed in the internal 3.5” bays using a small drawer. The whole mechanism doesn’t require the use of tools or screws and works very well. Each drawer uses two small rubber shock absorbers in order to prevent the natural vibration produced by the hard disk drive motors from propagating to the rest of the case and thus reducing the noise level. This is a very desirable feature.
You can, if you want, purchase hot swap connectors to install at each hard disk drive bay. This way you can install and remove hard disk drives to this case without needing to connect cables to the drive.
You can remove the hard disk drive cages and install them inside the 5.25” bays. If you do this, however, you will reduce the number of available 5.25” bays, as you can’t reuse the space that was being used by the hard disk drive cages for installing 5.25” devices (see Figure 21). But since most users won’t have more than one 5.25” device anyway, this can be a good option if you are an airflow freak, because by removing the hard disk drive cages you allow the air pulled by the front fan to go straight to the motherboard and daughterboards. On the other hand, you will create a communication between the daughterboards chamber and the CPU chamber.
[nextpage title=”Main Specifications”]
Thermaltake Spedo Advance Package case main specs include:
- Application: ATX and smaller form factors derived from this one.
- Material: Zinc-coated steel (SECC).
- Power supply required: Doesn’t come with the product.
- Available colors: black.
- Side panel: Transparent and meshed with medium holes.
- Dimensions: 24” x 9.1” x 21.1” (61.0 cm x 23.2 cm x 53.6 cm) (H x W x D).
- Gross Weight: 34 lbs (15.4 Kg)
- Net Weight: 28.7 lbs (13 Kg)
- Bays: Seven external 5.25” bays, one external 3.5” bay converted from one of the 5.25” bays and six internal 3.5” bays.
- Expansion slots: Eight.
- Fans: One 230 mm fan on the left panel (190 mm blades, 800 rpm), one 230 mm fan on the top (190 mm blades, 800 rpm), two 140 mm on the rear (1,300 rpm), one 140 mm on the front (1,000 rpm, glows red) and one extra 120 mm fan (1,300 rpm) that can be installed below the motherboard, on the lower section of the case or on the center of the case.
- More Information: https://www.thermaltakeusa.com
- Average price in the US*: USD 230.00.
* Researched at Newegg.com on the day we published this review.
Thermaltake Spedo Advance Package is a full-tower case targeted to very exigent gamers that want the most complete and flawless case as possible, lots of fans and money isn’t an issue. Here is a summary of what we found about this case.
- Amazing number of fans. It comes with six fans and you can have a total of eight fans.
- Meshed front panel.
- Washable dust filters.
- Sturdy screwless mechanism for holding daughterboards.
- Good number of hard disk drive bays (six/seven) and should please even the most demanding user.
- The two USB ports are distant from each other, allowing you to install two “fat” USB devices at the same time.
- Outstanding screwless mechanism to hold disk drives.
- Could have four USB ports.
- Could have one FireWire port.
- No fan speed control. No fan speed monitoring.
- Very expensive for a steel case.
This is a practically flawless case, being one of the most complete cases we ever reviewed. The overall quality of this product is impressive and should please even the most exigent user. The only way this product could be even better is if it were made of aluminum. But then it would come with an absurd price tag.
If money isn’t an issue, you will definitely love this case. But if your wallet started screaming while you were reading this review, you’d be better off looking for a less expensive model.
In fact, the plain Spedo is being sold at a somewhat affordable price, providing a better cost/benefit ratio than the Advance Package model. See on the first page the differences between the two, maybe the regular Spedo will suit you better.