Thermaltake is a well-known Taiwan-based company that specializes in power supply units and cooling products. Thermaltake also produces high-end cases for the do-it-yourself computer market such as the Armor, Tsunami, and Xaser. They also produce a case for the more budget-minded computer builder: the Mambo.
The first thing that struck me about the Mambo case is the wavy front that draws a lot of stylistic elements from the more expensive Soprano series and is seen on the Coolermaster Wavemaster. The case is finished in a decent matte black powder that is seen on any number of other budget cases available off the shelf at any retailer.
The case features a very nice opening front panel that lets you tuck away your exposed optical drives, fan controllers, and floppy drives. A really nice touch on this front panel is the use of a push clip that pops open with a slight push to the door rather than making you pinch the plastic or force your nails into the seam of the door to open it. A further feature of this door is the ability to remove it completely from the case.
This is done exceptionally well and allows you to quickly and easily remove the door completely from the bezel without the need for any tools or concern over damaging the plastic. This is often a significant issue with cases with front panels similar to this. It is not uncommon to inadvertently break the case door when opening it too far or bumping against it while it is open. The quick release method for removing the front panel is also handy when working on the system; you can remove it while installing or removing components and when finished, reattach it. This is exceptionally useful when installing optical drives so that you can use both hands to guide the drive rather than one while the other one is holding open the door.
The bezel also has the usual front USB and audio ports available. This is an exceptional feature for ease of use, especially with the growing number of on-the-go USB devices that tend to travel with people everywhere. The front audio ports, though, remain a mystery to me. A large number of manufacturers include front audio connectors but frankly I would gladly do away with this feature in favor of two more USB ports. The problem with this is that by connecting the internal wiring for these jacks to the motherboard, you typically disable the motherboard's ability to provide 5.1 or better audio support to the rear jacks. Since very few people are employing separate sound cards on their systems anymore, and the quality of integrated audio components is significant enough for all but the most rabid of audiophiles, this loss of the rear audio support is not a suitable trade-off for headphone jacks on the front.
The front is also tastefully decorated with chrome plated plastic pieces depicting the Thermaltake logo with a pair of wings behind it. Considering Thermaltake's compulsive behavior to plaster their name and logo on nearly every available surface of any case they produce, this small touch is rather remarkable and their restraint should be admired. While it is certainly their product and they are entitled to put their name on every part of it, there comes a point where it becomes excessive and Thermaltake has taken some criticism in the past for their almost extraordinary commitment to marking every possible surface on their systems with their name and brand.
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