Making some small compromises on features and build allows Thermaltake to deliver a case nearly as good as the A500 but for less than half the price.
Overall - 90%
There is a common theme with Thermaltake, and that is their obsession with RGB. However, there are a few notable exceptions, one, in particular, was the A500 Full Tower which went in the opposite direction and I think it is one of the classiest looking options on the market. The problem with the A500 is that it is about £220 making it one of the most expensive mid-tower options on the market.
The Thermaltake S500 could be the perfect solution, at £100 it is less than half of the price, but you are not getting half the case, from an aesthetic point of view, this is almost as good as the A500.
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Features & Specification
S500 Tempered Glass Edition mid-tower chassis combines sophistication and elegance and is all built with a modern Steel case construction. The S500 is manufactured with one Tempered glass side panel. Two preinstalled standard fans, 140mm at the front and 120mm at the rear to enable outstanding ventilation. S500 TG incorporates a fully modular design, vertical radiator & GPU mount, Patented Rotational PCI-E slots, and the support for 200mm fans. The flexibility is limitless for high-end components.
For storage, this case has four drive trays with modular drive racks, delivering advanced storage capacity and significant liquid cooling expansion. S500 TG is a great fit for users who are looking for a modern and stylish chassis.
Key stats include:
- A maximum CPU height of 172mm
- Support for ATX, Micro ATX, Mini ITX
- Max PSU length of 220mm
- Max GPU length of 400mm
Radiator support includes:
- Front – up to 420mm
- Top – up to 280mm
- Right – up to 420mm
For some reason the AIO support list only goes up to the 280mm models, I think this is an error as it supports 360mm radiators and 3x120mm fans both in the front and top.
Fan support includes:
- Front – 3×120/144mm or 2x200mm
- Top – 3x120mm or 2×140/200mm
- Rear – 120mm
For hard drives, you get two easily accessible 3.5” caddies, plus 2×2.5” accessible mounts in the front. Then there is a 1x 3.5″ HDD or 2x 2.5″ SSDs on the backside of the motherboard tray. So you could have 3×3.5” drives plus 2 SSDs, or up to 6 SSDs.
As well as the PSU shroud, there is also a is a built-in GPU riser bracket.
A500 vs S500
The A500 is made of aluminium, but to keep costs down, this is made from steel, it makes no difference to the overall quality or appearance but it does mean it is quite weighty. However, from what I can tell, it’s not that much heavier than the A500, Scan list this as 15.04kg vs 14.82kg of the A500.
The S500 has dimensions of 565 x 240 x 500 while the A500 is 560 x236 x 510, so almost identical.
One of the biggest differences is the side panels. The S500 has slot on panels with one glass and one steel, whereas the A500 has those lovely hinged panels, which were both glass. I quite like a metal side panel, personally, as it is more forgiving with cable management, however, I do love the hinged panels.
The interior layout is a bit different too. In particular the A500 had a PSU shroud that stretched from front to back with 4 hard drive cages placed above it at the front, if you removed the drive cages this gave you include and tidy look. The S500 uses a half-width shroud with a window through to the PSU, and then the drive cages sat behind it, you also only get two 3.5” drive caddies.
The A500 has a slightly larger motherboard cut out, with fan and radiator support being almost identical. If anything, the cheaper S500 has the edge here as Thermaltake list a right-hand radiator placement up to 360mm.
One annoying omission from the S500 is the lack of a front panel USB-C port, though this probably helps keep the costs down.
When I received this, I had to double check the price as I thought I had my products mixed up. At £100 this is a beast of a case, the weighty steel frame no doubt aids my impression of superb build quality, but it really feels like you get a lot for your money with this case.
If you are not a fan of RGB and want something a bit more classy and minimalist, but the A500 was too expensive for you, then this is it. If anything, this kind of makes the A500 a bad buy, yes it is better, but the price difference is so big it is hard to recommend it over this unless you are building some ultra high-end rig where money is not a concern.
At this price point, there are quite a lot of competing options with the NZXT H510i being the most obvious option I can see. I have not used the NZXT but I think I prefer the aesthetics of the Thermaltake and from what I can tell the A500 has