ThermalRock Eclipse

Written by John Chen    Monday, 20 June 2005 11:00
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The first main product release from ThermalRock is the Circle case, which in my opinion is one of the best cases I've ever worked with.  The Circle case provided sturdiness, plenty of room to work with, and stylish looks.  Of course aesthetics is a personal judgment and not an actual indication of overall quality for a case, but I love the way it looks.  Then again, I'm one of those people who love classy and sleek products, like entertainment systems from B&O.  While the ThermalRock Circle is one of my favorite cases, it's not perfect.  It has flaws here and there.  A couple of the major flaws of the Circle case are the weight and size, due to the large tower ATX build and steel construction.  It's perfectly fine for an enthusiast not on the go very often or doesn't change hardware every week, but it can become annoyingly painful when attending LAN parties.

For those who dig the look of the Circle but want something smaller, ThermalRock's newest creation looks like a promising solution.

 


 

 


 

 

ThermalRock Eclipse

When the case arrived, I expected the package to be heavy.  I was happily surprised.  The chassis is constructed of all aluminum and weighs a little under 6.2kg, or 14lbs.  Lugging this case around was no problem for my skimpy muscles.  It was as light as a feather.  If you have a problem carrying this thing around, you better check yourself into a gym and start building up your puny muscles.

The Eclipse is available in two flavors; silver and black.  I personally favor the black version, since it's so much easier to match with drives and internal hardware.  Instead of a single front door, the Eclipse is split down the middle with two swinging doors.  The doors remind me of those large grand mansion front doors.  Because of the mid-ATX tower size, the Eclipse features a single disc holder at the front.  The holder is held by a magnet at the center and only has enough room for one disc.  ThermalRock includes a blank red CD-R disc to start you off.  I'll be switching mine to black for a stealth look.  The case features 4 5.25" drive bays and 2 3.5" floppy bays.

The Eclipse features an arch shaped window on the side panel and provides that slow moving solar "eclipse" feel.  It looks very nice, even though reveals the drive bays.  ThermalRock went a step further to add a stamped logo of the model name on the side panel and a ThermalRock logo on the window.  One of the great things about the Eclipse case is that it features the use of a 120mm exhaust fan.  Just because the case comes in the mid-ATX tower size doesn't mean that it can't utilize the use of large fans.  In addition to the use of 120mm fans, the ventilation area is structured in honeycomb vents to minimize airflow restriction and maximize heat exhaustion.

The Eclipse is constructed to be decently sized and extremely portable.  This means that it would be a great case for attending LAN parties.  When you attend LAN parties, do you want gamers fragging you while you fend off poor drooling saps attempting to steal your hardware?  Of course not.  That's where the included keys come into play.  I was quite surprised to see two sets of keys included.  I figured one would be for the front panel but had no idea what the second set was for.  Then I looked at the side panel and straightened things out.  With these keys by your side, you can frag away knowing that no one's going to be able to get into your case and steal your babies.

 

 


 

ThermalRock Eclipse Continued

If you're not all that impressed with the physical appeal of the Eclipse, you should at least be impressed with the internal design.  True, that at first glance it doesn't seem user friendly.  After working with the case for a few days, the interior of the Eclipse is one of the easiest to deal with.  Notice the two latches at the drive bays?  The top one is for the removable 3.5" drive cage.  Although most users run systems without floppies, a majority of enthusiasts still include floppies to install RAID drivers at the beginning of a fresh Windows install.  The cage below is the hard drive cage.  Notice the little black rubber washers on the cage?  Those washers absorb hard drive vibrations to quiet down rattling sounds that might occur when, let's say, you use a Western Digital Raptor.  To remove the cage, simply press down on that metal tab and pull it out.  It's as simple as that.  While it did remove easily, putting it back in was a little difficult.  Either the cage came a little warped or I had accidentally "mishandled" it.  Either way it's not something 10 seconds can't fix.

The great internals of the Eclipse do not stop there.  All cases nowadays have moved on to tool-less designs and the Eclipse certainly doesn't disappoint.  While floppies and hard drives still need screws to be secured, the work is easy because of the removable cages.  ThermalRock even includes thumbscrews for the hard drive cage.  The only other use I can think of would be added security to add-on cards, even when all the PCI slots have locking tabs that do not require the use of screws.  The optical drives are easily installed with brackets that slide into place.  The brackets are even labeled "L" and "R" to further assist you during the installation process.

Another feature that many current cases are offering is the front access to I/O ports.  This includes audio and microphone jacks, USB ports, and a IEEE 1394 port.  The connectors for these ports are also one of the many great aspects of the Eclipse.  They're not loose separate connections!  The connectors are lined up together and attached to ease your large thumb sufferings.  Even the audio connector is one big connection.  It's little details like this that really makes me "happy".  The other common connections for hard drive activity, power LED, speaker, reset switch, and power switch are nicely labeled.  Perhaps the biggest fault of the Eclipse case is the power LED connection.  Why just 2 pin?  99.9% of motherboards have a 3 pin design for power LED's.  This requires me to slice up the plastic head and plug each wire separately.  There's another connection included in the case, labeled Micro SW.  It's connected to a switch at the bottom left corner of the case.  If you're motherboard supports chassis intrusion alert, this would be a great time to make good use of that.

 

 


 

Specifications and Installation

Specifications:

Model
RH-M040-1AN
RH-M040-1AW
Motherboards
12' x 9.6" (ATX) & 9.6' x 9.6" (Micro ATX)
Expansion
Slots
7 Slots
Case Type
Middle Tower
Cooling
System
Front -
120x120x25 mm fan 1300rpm (intake)
Rear -
120x120x25 mm fan 1300rpm (exhaust)
Thermal
Test
Ambient: 38 °C, Intel Thermal Requirement Tested
Side Panel
Solid Panel
Transparent Window
Net Weight
6.2 kg
I/O Ports
USB2.0 x 2, IEEE1394 x 1, Micro phone & Ear phone ports
Dimension
(H*W*D)
215.0 mm ( W ) x 480.0 mm ( D ) x 480.0 mm ( H )
Material
Aluminum 0.8mm (Chassis)
Aluminum
(Front Panel)
Carton Dimension
(D x W x H)
550 x 255 x 535 mm
( 372pcs/20'; 767pcs/40'; 851pcs/40HQ )
Color
Black Coating
Drive Bays
4" x 5.25", 2 x 3.5" (Front Accessible)
5 x 3.5" (Internal)

Installation:

Installing hardware in the case was very easy and straightforward.  Even fitting the motherboard into the limited amount of space was easy, again due to the removable cages.  Just make sure that you remember to remove all the cages and install the motherboard first.  Put the cages back after motherboard installation and you're life will be easier.

 

 


 

Conclusion and Thoughts

 

 

 

For the past 5 weeks, I've been bugging Thermaltake about the arrival of the Eclipse that I've been driving their representative crazy.  The reason is the case is so amazing that I just had to have it.  It's small in size, yet roomy enough to work with.  It's light in weight, yet durable in structure.  It's stylish enough to not be plain and plain enough to not be excessive.  The case is simply what I've been looking for for the past couple of years.  Now that I have it, my gaming system will finally be complete.  It's time to full-out mingle in WoW.  Sorry girlfriend, I'll be busy.

Of course, I must again stress the importance of rating a case by its aesthetics.  If I were to give you my opinion, I'd tell you straight-up that this case is the thing to get.  No questions about it.  It's quality is superb and design is almost flawless.  Then again, not everyone out there will agree with me that the Eclipse is attractive.  Randy, for one, doesn't like it.  I have no idea why he doesn't like it, but I'm going to break up with him because his harsh reply of "ehhhh" broke my heart.  If you happen to question the style of the Eclipse, just give the internals a chance.  You won't be disappointed.  Hey, it lights up a nice blue too!

Pros:

  • All aluminum construction
  • Extremely light weight
  • Compact size with roomy interior
  • Great paint finish
  • Beautiful arch shaped window
  • Has a disc holder
  • Utilizes two 120mm fans
  • Removable cages allows easy installation of drives
  • PCI locking tabs for tool-less installation of add-on cards
  • Keys and chassis intrusion button prevents hardware theft

Cons:

  • 2 pin design of power LED connector
  • Style might not cater to everyone (I'm be desperate in the Cons here)

We would like to thank ThermalRock for providing us the sample. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to hit us up in the forums. You can also check out more of our latest reviews on the front page.

 

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