Thermaltake M9 VI1000BNS Case
Thermaltake has always been one of my favorite case manufacturers for their quality and creative designs. The M9 is yet another example of one Thermaltake's fantastic chassis, featuring nine 5.25" drive bays, tool-free drive and add-on installation, and dual 120mm fans. Will it stand up to the Thermaltake's claims of excellent ventilation and silent operation?
Packaging and Contents
The M9 was shipped in a glossy, full-color box with Thermaltake's typical glamour shots of the case. It sure does look good! Thermaltake sent me the VI1000BNS, which doesn't feature a side window.
The rear packaging shows inside and rear views of the case, as well as lists the major features.
The user's manual was the first thing I found when opening the packaging. Inside, the M9 was held in a plastic bag and secured by two blocks of form-fitting styrofoam.
Since this is a tool-less installation board, the only included screws were motherboard mounts and thumbscrews for the side panel. Let's get the case out of the packaging.
The nine drive bays of the M9 make an impressive show once the case is pulled from its packaging. The mesh drive covers give the case a fantastic feel, and the front panel connections and power buttons on the top of the case as a nicely added touch. I prefer this to the Armor Jr.'s 5.25" bay that provides only power and reset buttons.
Missing from the front panel are both eSATA and FireWire, but I actually don't care for front connectors for either of those. Some may find it annoying, but there's plenty of expansion in the back of the case.
When looking at the case from the rear, the first thing that struck me was the fact that the front of the case extended outwards near the bottom. I didn't realize this at first, but it gives the M9 a much more unique look from the front.
The rear of the case also features seven expansion slots and a 120mm fan, which can replaced with a 92mm or 80mm fan if the user so desires. I'll stick with the 120mm.
In place of a window on the M9's side panel, there's a single 80mm fan mount, which Thermaltake has occupied with an air duct to draw air away from the CPU more efficiently.
The interior of the case is similarly impressive, especially while counting the nine drive bays. The drive bays are held in place by an impressive mounting system, where a bracket is placed in to the side of the drive bay, pushed in to the screw holes of the drive or accessory, then locked in position.
This may be one of the most simplistic mounting methods I've come across, aside from using drive rails.
There are also mounting clips for the expansion slots. They work similar to past clips from Thermaltake, but seem somewhat easier to use. The only argument I have against these clips are that I couldn't fit my dual-slot GeForce 8800GTX. Unless a dual-slot videocard has a slit between PCI slots, then the card will not fit. Thusly, I was forced to remove the mounting clips.
Finally, Thermaltake includes a hard drive cage that holds up to three drives, and locks in to place using three 5.25" bays. A 120mm blue LED fan is mounted to the front of the cage to keep the drives cool, and give the front of the M9 a cool effect behind the fine mesh.
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