Below you can see the SHARK with it’s distinctive fron panel blue LED. The noise level of this case is nearly inaudible except for one issue discussed below. Both 120m fans are practically silent (if working properly) and any watercooling system installed is much more likely to be heard rather then the case-fans.
When I first powered up the case (system) I heard an annoying scraping sound. This derived from the front intake fan which seemed to be scraping against the “dust” filter. I placed quotes around filter because this is also a point of concern. In the photo below you can see the filter is an all plastic affair, and I’m just not sure it would trap all particles of dust, and I’d rather not be specific as to what dust actually is. Suffice it to say dust your room daily, and should Thermltake replace this filter? To be open-minded is to empathize with both sides of a conflict. Therefore one may also argue too gfine a filter can restrict airflow, and since we can be forghetful the plastic filter wouldn’t clog as often. None-the-less it’s better then nothing. I may be nit-picking but you may decide for yourself.
My next issue with the SHARK case is a little more severe due to it’s potential complications. Mounting two different motherboards, including the Abit AA8 Duramax and DFI Lanparty nF4 UT I only noticed after replacing these, the mobo-tray edge (at the rear) is dangerously close to making contact with the motherboard underside. The tray has an edge which stands at a 90-degree angle and is greater in height then the included stand-offs. The length of the tray compared to the length of most full ATX size motherboards results in a potential for contact between solder points on the underside of the motherboard and tray’s edge (or lip). While this didn’t have an adverse effect on my Abit, I felt a responsibility to our readers to bring this issue to light. Perhaps exacting specifications on Thermltake opart didn’t account for the amount of solder used on some motherboards. Regardless I felt the need to bend forward the offending lip with my needle-nose pliers. See the tray edge (bent forward) below;
Additionally bending the tray edge towards the rear of the case also inhibits the PCI-ex (or any PCI card) slot tab from inserting properly as it makes contact with the now protruding tray edge. Above you can see where I’ve bent the edge forward, below you’ll see why as it’s still close to the board edge.
Epilogue: As the modern PC-user becomes more sophisticated, there has been an effort on behalf of manufacturers to integrate many of the attributes once associated only with “performance hardware” into their product lines. If there’s one area of technology which epitomizes the trickledown effect, it’s in the PC world. For example; Watercooling was once a niche’ hobby primarily supported by the Overclocking-enthusiast or experienced PC-hobbyist. Just a handful of manufacturer’s existed where such specialized hardware was concerned. Recently we find a plethora of watercooling manufacturer?s, many of which have become just as established as any other facet of PC production. Even Intel has an H20 prototype for possible use with future CPUs. This of course is largely based on necessity as a result of the heat associated with the modern CPU. Thermaltake is a manufactuer integrating cutting edge technology into everyday hardware. Their SHARK case is an effort to meet the need among PC-users to convert, or at least have the option to convert to H20-cooling.
Conclusion: Besides the issues mentioned, which I would hope Thermaltake will address, this case is one of the best I’ve tested. The SHARK aluminum full-tower case can be priced through Dealtime for approximately 150.00 USD. A little more costly then the average PC-case; however, this is an above average case and an investment I believe to be completely justified. When you consider all the benefits a proper home for your components can offer, the cost is relatively inexpensive. This case offers light-weight yet solid aluminum construction, excellent ventilation with very low noise, excellent thermal characteristics, flexible mounting, great ergonomics and is water-cooling friendly. Once in a while PC-cases I’m not asked to return I’m offered I usually end up donating. However, the SHARK is definitely a keeper. That is a high compliment indeed. Recommended! I’d like to thank Annie at Thermaltake.