Thermaltake VC2000 Series Mambo Review - Checking out the Side
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The side panel of the system reveals two more features showing up more and more often in a number of different budget towers: the CPU punched fan hole and the grated air intake near the bottom of the case. It is very difficult to find any cases anymore with a solid side panel that has nothing but paint on it. Low end towers feature these punched or cut air intake openings, while their higher end cousins feature the ever present case window. The concept of the fan hole and grated intake is sound, but it is often done as a replacement for the ability to pull air in from the front or top of the system. With more and more video cards possessing significant cooling requirements, the presence of the grated air intake on the side does provide these more powerful video cards the ability to hopefully draw cooler outside air rather than reusing internal pre-warmed air. The same concept goes for the fan hole mounted roughly over the area where the CPU would be found.
The inherent problem with these features is that it invites the computer builder to splurge on every component in his system while ignoring the practicalities of a more advanced case design for air flow in favor of an inferior case to house all the goodies. These features provide nominal performance at best, and would be better suited to not being used on the case in favor of more thought being given to air flow considerations from the top or front, which are typically not as obstructed by either a computer cabinet or piles of paperwork.
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