There are extremes to everything in life, and products are certainly not an exception - especially technology products. Earlier, we looked at one of the ends of the extremes in computer cases with Dynapowers' super-affordable E68 in addition to two more moderately-priced cases in a price-point comparing shootout, but this time, we're going to examine two cases at the other end of the spectrum. Barring solutions such as Zalman's TNN-500A, which attempts to handle all cooling needs for a computer on its own in complete silence, the Tai Chi by Thermaltake and Stacker 830 that we'll be looking at here represent some of the very finest in case design - and have a price to match.

We've looked at products from both of these companies for several years now, and it's apparent that they both know what they're doing. The last several models of Thermaltake's have had exceptional capacity for drives, but don't have quite the same "quality of construction" feel that cases from others like Lian Li tend to have. With their latest, that's all about to change. The Tai Chi sets a new standard for case construction and "modability", and provides the lucky few who can afford such a unit a tremendous wealth of configuration choices including wide support for multiple water cooling loops.

Cooler Master's last several cases, on the other hand, seem to be focused more on the realm of exuberant venting for the sake of cooling performance, and their latest simply takes this idea and stretches it to a new level as we're about to see. The Stacker 830 gets rid of all the difficulties of installing hardware with a vengeance - offering effective tool-less solutions and a multi-part design that are more numerous than what we've ever seen before.

For a quick overview of what each case offers, we've made up a feature chart for the two products:

(TL: Tool-less, TS: Thumbscrews, SS: Standard Screws)

With the obvious features out of the way, let's go ahead and examine the older of the two - the Tai Chi - in more detail.

Thermaltake Tai Chi
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  • BubbaJudge - Thursday, February 23, 2006 - link

    I was wafting between the Tai Chi and the Koolance PC3-725BK based on the Lian Li PC-V1000, it would have been great to include both watercooled versions for review, but great review regardless. I think I will go with the Koolance, as I agree the Tai Chi looks a little heat sink gimmicky. Hopefully I can stuff a PC P&C 850 in the Lian Li chassis.
  • chynn - Thursday, March 2, 2006 - link

    The PCP@C 850W might not fit in the Lian-Li V1000 case; however, it will definitely fit in the Lian-Li V1200 case. I have the latter Lian-Li case but will be replacing it with RC-830 Stacker case ... the RC-830 case is just that much better.
  • mkruer - Thursday, February 23, 2006 - link

    Call me old fashion but I like the simple design
  • Rip the Jacker - Thursday, February 23, 2006 - link

  • tuteja1986 - Thursday, February 23, 2006 - link

    I am buying Cool Master Stacker now :) . its an awesome case and goes arround $200AUD in Australia. I am going to use 2 PSU 480W antec and 550W antec. Go full crossfire when i sell my Asus A8N SLI-32 and buy either a RD580 mobo from ABit or ASUS or DFI.

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