Lanning has become a staple of most computer gamers. It's a social gathering for the (largely) socially inept. It gives you a chance to crawl out of your darkened, fluorescent lit den and wander into a darkened fluorescent lit den filled with dozens to hundreds of your brethren. Up until recently you either lugged a huge tower with you or you had to rely on a legacy PC by one or two MFG's. Happily though the case manufacturers caught on and started producing mATX cases in the format of the increasingly popular "mini cube" cases made popular by makers such as Shuttle. Unfortunately the popularity of these cases was limited due to their reliance upon mATX motherboards. Gaming is the domain of enthusiasts and, largely, the enthusiasts found the lack of bios overclocking options and onboard goodies such as 5.1 to 7.1 sound, built in LAN and other useful features on mATX motherboards to be enough to stifle any thoughts of adopting the mATX based lan computers to a large extent.
Flash forward a couple of years with the adoption of PCI-e graphics coupled with really strong CPU's and you have a potent combination that isn't reliant on overclocking as a way to boost performance. The performance is already there. Couple that with the fact that mobo MFG's have wised up on onboard features and you have a platform gamers will use. Now practically every case maker out there has a lan PC case of some sort. One of the last names to try their hands at lan gaming cases is Thermaltake. Today we're taking a look at their first lan offering: The LanBox VF1000BWS.
Shall we take a quick peek at the specs for the LanBox?
300 x 430 x 280
300 x 430 x 230
Window side panel
Front Panel Material
Front: 90mm fan with blue LED x 1, 1500rpm
Rear: 60mm fan x 2, 1800rpm
(up to 60mm fan x 3)
Front: 90mm fan x 1, 1500rpm
Rear: 60mm fan x 2, 1800rpm
(up to 60mm fan x 3)
Micro ATX form factor & mini ITX form factor
7" x 1 (could be converted to 5.25’’ drive bay)
5.25" x 1
3.5" x 3 (Exposed x 1, Hidden x 2)
USB 2.0 x 2, IEEE 1394 Firewire, HD-Audio
Upgraded Kit (optional)
7" Bay LCD monitor – A2413-01
The LanBox is offered in two flavors with each flavor having two versions. The flavors are aluminum and steel. The sub division in each flavor is windowed and non windowed. The aluminum version is offered in a brushed aluminum with clear anodize to protect it and the steel is painted black. The black is a semi-gloss with a slight texture to it. Steel is the flavor we're looking at and the version is the windowed variant.
The packaging for the LanBox is pretty nice. It has full color graphics, nice smooth finish and demonstrates the purpose and use of the case. It also has a nifty handle of it's own to make lugging your purchase out to the parking lot easier.
The end of the box tells you about the case. If you want the full rundown on the features of the LanBox you can take a look at it's product page.
The off side goes into further details on the benefits of the LanBox. Again, for sake of space, I'm not going to go into the manufacturer hoopla here. Instead I'm going to show you the case and outline what you can expect when dealing with it.
And finally the product specs I listed earlier are on the other end of the box.
I would have liked to show you the case in the box but I always remove a case from it's box while the delivery person is on hand just in case there's damage, having learned my lesson a couple of years ago with another review sample. Anyway, the case packing doesn't allow for reusing the box once you've removed it.
Instead of the expanded foam isolators I like seeing, Tt decided to go with molded styrofoam and they're incredibly fragile. As you can see the left one is broken making it impossible to put it back on the case and slip the case into the box.
Once the LanBox is pulled free from it's woven cocoon we get a better look at it.
The front of the case has stealthed drive bays in a large, thick curved aluminum front bezel. The bay covers are both 7" wide which would lead you to believe that the optional 7" LCD could be used in either bay. That assumption would be wrong. I'll go into that in more detail later but suffice it to say that I'm sure that Tt went with the 7" covers to both reduce tooling costs and to give the front a more symmetrical look. We can also see that both sides feature identical windows. Both are ventilated and the left side allows cool air to reach the CPU area while the right side allows for cool air to reach the GPU area. Looking at the back you might get the idea that the case sides are removable after removing the myriad thumbscrews. Nope. In fact opening the case is quite unique. A point that I found after trying to get the stupid thing open for ten minutes. Not to knock the good folks at Thermaltake but the instructions are inside the case. Now, considering the way that you open the case, it might be a good idea to leave the instruction manual out in the open where the new owner can refer to it so that they don't get the urge to throw the thing through the closest window in the first five minutes of ownership.
Referencing the first rear view of the case above you'll notice that there are three thumbscrews missing. These thumbscrews hold the top of the case in place. You remove those screws and then pull back.
And you're rewarded by the top sliding back about 1/2" then it's a simple matter of lifting the top off.
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