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Now that we’ve taken a closer look at the Matrix, I think it’s time we get ready to install components into the system. Now this is something I don’t normally do, but looking at ease of installation, following the instructions is the way to go. Depending on the components you are installing, you can skip a few steps along the way and add some that are unmentioned.
The first thing I normally install in a chassis is the power supply, which isn’t mentioned in the instructions. One of the more odd things I have found in the chassis is the hard drive support bracket above the motherboard. It is adjustable so you can actually fit it to the size of your power supply. If you are using any of the longer powersupplies like high end 700W PSU’s, you may need to remove the bracket in its entirety. It will still support the power supply above the motherboard.
The second component that I installed was my motherboard, since it’s the least likely to be removed, The provided back I/O plate, is standard of older ATX boards so the back plate provided by the motherboard will more than likely be used. One of the features of the board that I am undecided about is built-in motherboard stand offs. In most cases you have to use provided brass stand offs, which means if they get stripped you can replace them, although if you strip the threads on the chassis itself you're in the same position. Thermaltake uses built-in standoffs which are in the position of most standard ATX holes.
The next piece of hardware that I had planned to install was my DVD burner, and temperature monitor. The front of the Thermaltake chassis is not secured with screws, but is firmly held in place by 6 plastic tabs which expand when placed thru the holes in the chassis to firmly hold the front of the case in place, what is great is that they appear to be replaceable. With the front panel off you can take a closer look at the filtering system. A simple filter is used to cover each piece of the front panel.
The next thing I had to do during my installation was remove the metal blocks over the CD and floppy bays; this will allow air to flow more freely. Now is a great time to install the optional 120mm fan in the front of the chassis. To reinstall the front panel, simply line up the holes to the plastic tabs and firmly press them into place.
To actually secure the drives into position I decided to take full advantage of the tool less design of the matrix. Simply rotating the green knob into the unlock position and pulling the lock from the chassis removes the key. To secure a device, simply slide the drive in until the two holes line up, with the key in the unlock position, place it so the two pins go thru the holes in the chassis and the drive, and turn the green knob into the locked position. Repeat for any additional drives.
For users who want a more secure method they can simply use hardware that’s provided with their components, a simple tool-less design that can easily be adapted to the standard screw and screwdriver security.
The next thing I had installed was my expansion slots; again, the tool less design is one of the best I have seen. Simply open up the green tab and remove the PCI bracket. Insert the peripheral you intend to install, close the plastic clip, and just like before this chassis can go to a more secure chassis by removing the few screws that hold the tool-less tabs in position and inserting screws as necessary.
One of the last things necessary to hook up is the Leads for the front panel. Thermaltake gives you plenty of wire so some cable management skills would help keep this area neat. As most components are standardized, the Firewire and USB2.0 connectors are in the proper pin order and line up with the keyed ports on the motherboard. The audio is wired as well and is wired with 2 connectors for the two popular pin methods, be sure to plug in the appropriate connector for your audio chipset. And last but certainly not least are the switches and LED indicator lights and speaker. These are standard and have to be matched with the leads on the motherboard. Consult your motherboard manual to ensure they are in the proper locations.
By now you should be ready to put on the side panel and fire up the system. That is one of the things I forgot to mention. For a tool-less design, Thermaltake designed the Matrix to have a very simple 2 latch securing system. Simply apply the side panel in the front of the chassis and close it like you would a regular door. The Matrix also offers a keyed lock out for securing components inside from others trying to get inside of your system. And just like most of the other tool less features in the chassis, you can use good old fashioned screws to secure the chassis. Thermaltake does provide large thumbscrews for securing the side panel and maintaining a tool less design.