Thermaltake Overseer RX-I Case Review

Author: Hienrich Jager
Editor: Howard Ha
Publish Date: Wednesday, June 6th, 2012
Originally Published on Neoseeker (http://www.neoseeker.com)
Article Link: http://www.neoseeker.com/Articles/Hardware/Reviews/Overseer_RX-I/
Copyright Neo Era Media, Inc. - please do not redistribute or use for commercial purposes.

Following last month's review of Thermaltake's Level 10 GTS "Snow Edition", Neoseeker has received another enthusiast level computer case from the well-known computer component manufacturer. The case under review today is called the Overseer RX-I and has been designed for massive air-cooling.

While not quite as visually flashy as the Level 10, the Overseer still stands apart from more generic cases with its bold styling and imposing presence which happens to includes two massive blue LED fans and blue LED highlighting down the front panel.

Specifications
Material
Steel Construction, w/ Plastic Front Bezel
I/O Ports
USB 2.0 x 2, USB 3.0 x 2, Mic x 1, Headphones x 1
Dimensions
(W x H x D)
535 x 220 x 580 mm
  21.1 x 8.7 x 22.8 inches
Weight
10.3 kg / 22.7 lbs
Supported Motherboard
form-factor
Micro-ATX,
ATX, E-ATX
5.25" Drive Bays
3 exposed
3.5" Drive Bays
  1x Hot-Swap
  5x  Internal
Expansion Slots
8
CPU HS/FAN Clearance
150 mm
GPU Clearance
340 mm
Fan Mounts
FRONT: 1 x 200mm (Blue LED included)
SIDE: 1 x 200mm
REAR: 1 x 120mm
(1 included)
TOP: 2 x 200mm
(Blue LED Included)
Bottom: 1 x 120 mm
Water Cooling
2 x Rubber Gromets for
Pass-through Holes in rear

Removing the wrapped case from its shipping box, I immediately noticed the super-humongous port in the far left side-panel; you can even see it through the protective shipping plastic! Other than that, nothing really to report with the packing job, so let's move on to the more interesting parts.

The front panel for the Overseer has slots for four external optical drives with drive covers that are a plastic and aluminum mesh, with a thin expanded foam dust filter installed on each drive. The styling on the front of this case is quite angular and I personally like the look. The rear side has an exhaust port that is capable of fitting a 120mm case fan. Stock, it comes with one that is only 25mm. The back panel also has two rubber grommets for water cooling tubing to exit the case and route to a external radiator or reservoir. Additionally, there is support for up to eight PCI add-in cards, and the factory covers are perforated to allow for some airflow to pass through if you decide to organize your rig with positive air pressure. Other than that, this case is fairly standard in the design department.

The left access panel has an absolutely huge fan mounting port incorporated into the side. Unfortunately Thermaltake only provided mounting holes for a 200mm intake fan. It is possible to put a smaller fan in this position, however it will take some ingenuity and non-standard mounting options. A panel window also makes its presence known, providing a view from the outside of the RAM slots and part of the CPU cooler. This window is really too small to be of any practical use, and it's certainly not enough to give a good enough view of the internals in my opinion. All It seems useful for is light emission or to show off the RAM. The right side panel has the characteristic bulge that most modern cases have incorporated, which is nice to see because it allows the room needed for extra cable management and routing.

The top of the case has a thick plastic cowling attached to it. This not only gives the Overseer a little bit of a height advantage among its peers, but also provides ample room for the seriously massive 200x35mm exhaust fan to be installed right over the CPU heatsink location. There is only one fan that comes installed at the top of the case, however there is room and mounting holes for two of these monsters.

Also located on the top of the case are all the I/O connectors and the power and reset switches. This case offers e-SATA, two USB 3.0, and two USB 2.0 ports in addition to the industry standard headphone and microphone 1/8" jacks. This set up is a little duplicitous as there is only one header on the connected cable, meaning that even though there are two external sockets, only one item can be plugged in at any one time. I personally consider this a design flaw and I am not quite sure what the Thermaltake engineers were thinking with this. I mean seriously, how much could an extra motherboard USB header plug cost? I must give this case the due credit it deserves for the feet that have been included on the bottom. These risers are true case feet and they helped increase the Overseer's height by nearly two inches. With feet like this I am more than confident that the bottom air intake ports will be able to do their jobs even when the case is placed on the craziest of shag carpets.

Thermaltake has done quite well in my opinion however in masking its otherwise generic case roots with the top and the front panels. These two plastic panels do wonders for this case and seamlessly integrate with the rest, allowing for the lines to disappear and giving the case a unified stylistic approach. It actually took me forever to get the lighting just right to highlight the seams in the photo below, just so I could showcase this.

The front 200mm intake fan is absolutely massive and really dominates most of the real estate under the front panel. Thankfully, the front-panel is sufficiently large enough to contain it while keeping the design of the case clean and stylish. There is only room for this one intake fan, but seriously it is all that will be needed for this case, but if you feel more airflow is needed take a look at the side panel fan mount covered on the previous page. Other than that, there is not much different about the case with the plastic cover panels removed.

When viewed in profile, as shown above, one can further appreciate the heft of these massive 200mm case fans that have been bolted on, and I mean bolted as they have a large threaded rod with a nut on one end and a Phillips head on the other. Normal case-fan screws won't handle these bad boys, so make sure you don't lose any of the extras that come with this case!

The Overseer features an extra large motherboard tray cut-out for installing extra large heatsinks or complicated water-cooling set-ups. There is also plenty of room back there, as well as a nicely shaped lip for installing and retaining insulation material for more 'extreme' cooling options. With the large number of rubber-protected cable pass-throughs machined into the motherboard tray, cable management was as easy as could be.

The hard drive cage is set up for transverse mounting and there is room for up to five standard 3.5" drives using the custom rail system. That should be enough even for a decent RAID 5 setup, however I personally would have liked to see mounting options for a few more drives. The 5.25" drive cage meanwhile supports up to four drives and the bottom bay can support both 5.25" and 3.5" drives

Having already mentioned and expressed my joy at seeing honest-to-goodness feet attached to the Overseer, I now turn my attention to the fan ports located at the bottom. There are ports for both a bottom-draw power supply fan and either a 120mm or a 140mm case fan. Both of these slots are covered by a removable dust filter made from plastic screening material that is held securely in place by metal brackets, and can slide out the back for easy cleaning.

The top of the Overseer is set up to accept a hot-swappable SATA hard drive. This feature is nice to see as it allows for either a standard-configuration SSD or normal 3.5" SATA hard drive to be plugged in for easy data access without having to open the case itself to install it. The hot-swap drive is held securely by the sheer height of the plastic top cowling, a nice feature that worked flawlessly throughout testing.

With the plastic covers removed, one can see that this case is really just another metal rectangle at heart. All of the spunk and the presence is exuded from the cowlings when those are screwed on. This is nothing out of the ordinary itself, however the way that Thermaltake managed to include these pieces and still retain the flow and the presence that the Overseer is commendable.

Underneath these plastic covers we can see the beefy and powerful cooling fans that Thermaltake included with the case. There is only room for the one fan on the front panel, but there are two different mounting slots on the top of the case. There is also enough room under the plastic cowling on the top of the case to fit a large water-cooling radiator or two 200mm case fans (A2030L12S). These fans adhere to the "be large and turn slowly" mantra, as they are nearly silent during operation yet manage to move a lot of air. The only down side with large fans like these is that there usually is not enough hydrostatic air pressure created to move air through a complicated air-path or through semi-to-clogged dust filters. These fans have better than average hydrostatic air pressure though as they are 35mm thick and thus have a larger surface area to the blades, and the blades themselves have a more aggressive cut. Oddly enough, Thermaltake does not list this fan on their website and I had some difficulty finding it listed independently for purchase, at least the 30mm thick versions, but this isn't too much of an issue as the top exhaust ports also have mounts for 140mm and 120mm case fans.

One of the coolest features in this case has to be the quick disconnect cables for the top panel connections. I am not sure why this feature hasn't quite taken off yet with case manufacturers. One of the key things about building new computers is the case's front panel connections, especially when I have to remove said panels in order to add or clean intake fans. This quick-disconnect keeps all the cables in one spot and improves the ease of management.

After working with the Overseer (or perhaps for it) I am quite impressed with the spacious interior and the ease of installing even the largest of components. As you can see above, there is also plenty of room for proper cable management and enough empty space for excellent airflow. With everything installed and working, lets take a look at some performance numbers!

The Overseer RX-I will be tested by running OCCT 3.0.1's CPU, GPU, and Power Supply tests. High and Low temperatures will be recorded with HWMonitorx64 after a continuous burn-in of 30 minutes. Between each test I will allow the system to equilibrate for an additional 30 minutes.

Temperature data will be recorded at the processor, video card, hard drives, and chipset areas. Ambient air temperature was recorded with your standard glass-alcohol thermometer. Throughout testing, the ambient room temperatures never varied from between 24°C and 26°C (74°F).

For the tests, the CPU cooling fans were set to 100%, the videocard fan was left on auto, and the case fans were left at their only speed.

Test Setup

Test Results:

I must admit that this case took me by surprise. I have had some sub-par experiences with cases that use these really large 200+mm case fans which were ultimately unable to adequately cool all the hot hardware that gets packed inside them. The Overseer dominates all the competition however and delivers temperature results that were impressive. This case proved to be on par with the smaller mid-tower CM 912 HAF and more than able to keep up with the other full-tower cases tested. For its size, the Overseer does quite a good job of exhausting hot air, especially in the processor and the GPU regions. It does strike me as quite odd that the hard drive test posted higher temperature results than usual. This is still the same hard drive that I used in the reviews of the other cases and nothing has really changed in my wire management strategies. The only thing that I can think of is that not enough air was able to get through the mounting cage to effectively cover the drive.

I think that there will only be significant improvements in the temperatures posted if I had two extra 200mm fans to install here, one being an intake in the left-panel and the other going towards exhaust up at the top. This would only bring temperatures down, especially for the videocard area. Since it exhausts out of the case there are some issues with negative air pressure being created inside the Overseer, with two fans exhausting and only a single in the front providing air intake. With a 200mm intake bolted onto the door and the rear 120mm inverted to provide intake, I have no doubt that this case could become king in the extreme cooling leaderboards.

This latest rendition of Thermaltake's full-tower series has proven itself to be a solid platform for any enthusiast's build. With plenty of room to fit hardware and lots cooling power, the Overseer will handle your gaming component storage needs for years to come.

Though I have often been left disappointed with large diameter case fans, the ones that were included with the Overseer are quite good and having two more only further improves the performance. I was also quite fond of the hot-swap SATA port mounted on top, as this allows for quick data storage and/or data-checking without having to open up the side panel and destroying all the feng-shui you put into the cable management.

PROS:

CONS:

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