“We might have another little problem,” declared the email, cheerfully.
Uh-oh, I thought. I’ve seen something like this before…I’d best read on…
“I’ve been making progress on doing some basic layout testing. I decided to start by confirming that we could get a fully-assembled radiator in all the locations we agreed to put one.” Sensible fellow, I thought, seeing as this build will have 5 radiators, that’s a good idea…
“And, well, I’ve hit a problem. Your radiators don’t fit in the case.” He sent me a picture, to illustrate the point:-
Now, this might not be too informative, so let’s try a second picture and an explanation:-
In this second shot, you are looking across the width of the case plinth. Front is to the left of the image; rear is to the right. Take a look at the top left corner of the plinth unit, where you can see that three pieces of angled steel come together to make the corner. Can you see the curve of metal that forms the corner to the side panel? With the small locating hole drilled in it?
Now look at the radiator assembly. Screwed to the far side of the radiator you will see a “mounting plate” that is provided with the case. The idea – and it’s brilliant – is that you fit the radiator to this mounting plate and then you fit the plate to the case. Use some flexible raidator hosing with lengths just long enough and you can open the side door, pop off the radiator and move it just far enough out of your way to get in to the plinth, without having to disconnect and drain the radiator. Neat, huh?
Except the radiators I’ve bought simply won’t fit in the case. They’re too big. For the record, these are EKWB CE560 radiators, each being 560mm long ~150mm or so wide and 45mm thick, capable of taking 4, 140mm fans. As you can see in the above picture. The problem is that the claims Thermaltake made for the case turn out to be complete bunkum, because the radiators won’t fit.
Take a look at this (slightly grainy) enlarged image:-
See the separation from the inner edge of the steep “corner” to the locating hole? (marked with the fat red line at the top left of the picture)? Now see the separation from the mounting plate locating hole to the corner of the radiator as mounted?
See the problem?
At this point, Simon decided that cowardice was the better part of valour and got in touch.
So… I went down to see him, armed with an electric screwdriver and a range of drill bits. Dismantled the plinth, bringing all 4 of the connecting pieces home. Whereupon I got busy with a Dremel and a cutting disk, removing just enough of the bracket metal in the frame to connect the “locating hole” with the edge of the bracket. Used the locating hole to give a nice, clean, rounded corner (which is safer and stronger) and now producing a hole in the side panel large enough to fit the radiators.
Why on earth would Thermaltake claim their case could take a 560mm radiator there and then build it so that it could not?
A better question would be: why did I believe them? In fairness, this was the first time I’d come across a case where claimed fitting dimensions turned out to be an exaggeration – it’s not the sort of thing you expect to find, to be honest.
Problem solved with the BFI Technique (Brute Force and Ignorance), I then set about re-assembling the plinth and testing it’s strength (by standing on it and using it as a makeshift skateboard to zoom around round the shop, of course) to confirm structural integrity was preserved.
I’m starting to get the idea that this build might become something of an adventure. Are you?