InstallationThe installation of components into the Thermaltake SwordM enclosure was straightforward and didn’t present any major problems. Because the case is so large, there is plenty of room to work, which is always good.
Hinged side doors on a case always seem like a good idea and they typically provide a convenient way to access the internal components. I like doors, especially if they can be easily removed. During the initial system build, most people lay the case down on its right side and work through the left side opening. Having one or more doors sticking up (or falling closed) tends to get annoying. At least the air spring on the SwordM’s large rear door holds it open while you are trying to work.
For this review I installed a Thermaltake Toughpower 1200W power supply. The SwordM chassis uses a rather unique mounting bracket for installing a standard ATX power supply. I assume the short, right-angle power cord adapter that comes with the SwordM is intended to facilitate closing the rear door on the case. I guess Thermaltake was concerned that a normal straight power cord connector might stick out the back of the PSU too far and keep the door from closing. Unfortunately the adapter appears to be constructed with rather light gauge wire and is limited to 10A, which isn’t heavy enough to safely handle many of the higher output capacity power supplies on the market today. I found a normal straight connector worked just fine so I didn’t bother with the little adapter.
To install the power supply the L-shaped power supply mounting bracket is first removed from the case and then attached to the back of the power supply with four screws. You then slide the assembly back into the case and re-attach the mounting bracket with two screws. Done!
Overall, a pretty easy way to install even a relatively large power supply. The power supply is also supported internally by a shelf bracket.
Optical and HDDs
Installing the various drives was uneventful and the ones I installed fit OK. For the external drives, you must first pop out the bay covers and then slide the drive in from the front. Each drive or bay device is then secured with the provided thumb screws. While I didn’t plan on installing a legacy FDD, I would have liked to install a 3.5” card reader. Unfortunately Thermaltake didn’t provide any means for installing any external 3.5” devices in the SwordM enclosure.
Note: The top 5.25” bay (7” bay) is partially blocked by one of the two top exhaust fans. This will prevent installing a standard length optical drive but various other bay devices should work OK as long as they are not more than ~5” deep. Of course you could remove the fan if you really need to use all six drive bays.
The removable HDD cage is designed to hold up to three 3.5” internal HDDs, which is a little disappointing given how large the case is. The cage incorporates a basic tray design and does not use any type of vibration isolation. The front intake fan blows air directly across the HDDs for cooling.
I installed a full size ATX motherboard (Asus P5N32-SLI) into the chassis without issues. The SwordM case uses threaded standoffs for mounting points. Expansion cards are secured in place with tool-less clips or you can use thumb screws if you prefer. In practice I found the tool-less PCI slot retention clips to be a bit fiddly to use, especially when trying to install dual-slot video cards.
Next is a picture of the motherboard installed from the back of the case with the rear door open. Again, notice the SwordM’s open back plate design.
Note: The optional water-cooling system pump and reservoir assembly partially blocks access to the lower expansion card slots, which could make connecting cables difficult depending on what type of card(s) you plug in down there.