Exterior Design Part 1
Exterior Design Part 1
There are two models of the SwordM, the VD500LBNA, a liquid cooling version using Thermaltake's liquid cooling kit, and the VD5000BNA, which was the one we received. The difference is the inclusion of the liquid cooling kit but that doesn't mean you can't go out and purchase your own kit for the VD5000BNA. After all, both chassis are identical and mounting holes for pipes and radiators are present.
The SwordM itself is a solid piece of engineering. The build quality is impeccable. The side panels and doors are heavy and thick despite being aluminum and the ridged styling at the top and sides give it a menace that fits its name, even if they have been smoothened not to draw blood from an accidental scrape.
The front bezel is conventional enough, with the usual I/O ports and up to six 5.25-inch external drive bays supported. The I/O ports have been supplemented by eSATA support and this will probably become a standard feature in the coming months. The top two 5.25-inch drive bay can be converted to fit a 7-inch wide device. This is done by removing the separate drive cage and replacing it with your 7-inch drive. All this seems to be done so as to accommodate the optional 7-inch LCD display module that can found at Thermaltake's website. We aren't sure how many users would be interested in this but off hand, there are no 7-inch drives that come to mind as an alternative either.
Besides that, there are four other 5.25-inch drive bays, though we didn't find a converter for an external facing 3.5-inch drive, which is arguably more useful (for those still sticking to their floppy drives and the likes) than the 7-inch one. What's more puzzling is the presence of only three 3.5-inch internal drive bay slots, which are joined together in a removable drive cage. A 120mm fan is also attached, providing cooling for your hard drives. However, three hard drives is definitely insufficient, especially since the falling prices of hard drives now probably encourages more purchases. While this design probably encourages the prospective customers to utilize advanced internal RAID storage subsystems like the Promise SuperSwap 4100 unit , other third-party HDD drive mounting kits such as these from Lian-Li , or even Thermaltake's own flashy drive bay accessories , we really think Thermaltake should have provisioned another internal 3.5-inch drive cage unit to give users a total of 6 hard drive storage space right from the get-go at no additional cost.
This decision to go with only three internal drive bays is more bewildering when we saw the tool compartment below the drive cage. Ostensibly, it's to allow users to store their oft-used tools, like a screwdriver, spare screws and washers. Personally, we'll rather use the space for another hard drive. A closer look showed that while it may be possible for users to remove this compartment by themselves and jury rig a hard drive in its place, which it would also entail getting some form of drive cage and an easier option would be to check Thermaltake's catalog for a compatible, expanded drive cage. Yet more cost if one really needs to utilize every available drive bay at their disposal.