We didn't deviate from our standard testing method for this test session (except for our installing an additional fan into the Commander MS-III which is identical in design to the Commander MS-II we tested in its default configuration), so we can move on to test results right away.
We’ll discuss the computer cases in the same order as we described them.
The Commander MS-I isn’t exceptional in terms of ventilation. The CPU, GPU and mainboard's chipset seem to be somewhat hotter than usual, yet the numbers are far from alarming.
It is the temperature of the HDDs that’s a real disaster. There is only one out of four HDDs that is colder than 50°C in idle mode! At high load each HDD (except for the bottommost one) is over 60°C hot! Even though we've got hot-tempered WD Raptor drives in four bays without gaps, the numbers are bad. We wouldn't recommend using this computer case without installing at least an additional front-panel fan.
Supposedly similar to the MS-I, the Commander MS-II is unexpectedly much better in terms of ventilation. It is superior to the MS-I by a few degrees centigrade in each temperature. Only two HDDs are over 50°C hot in idle mode and none of them is hotter than 60°C at high load.
There are two factors contributing to this: the somewhat higher speed of the fan (700 against 630 RPM) and the larger interior of the chassis due to the lack of a dedicated cable compartment.
Anyway, the HDDs are still too hot as regular computer cases go, although the rest of the components are cooled properly.
The Commander MS-III is similar to the MS-II but we’ve installed an additional fan opposite the HDD rack. These two products only differ in the design of the decorative face panel, so they are identical in terms of ventilation.
Our installing the front fan didn’t affect the temperatures much, save for the HDDs. Some temperatures have even got higher, probably due to the stronger flow of hot air from the HDDs (the mainboard’s chipset is right in its way).
The poor foam-rubber filter weakens the air flow anyway, so the front fan only lowers the temperature of the HDDs by 5 to 7°C, depending on the position and load of the particular drive. So, all of our HDDs are 40°C hot and the hottest of them even reached 50°C under load.
Of course, more economical drives (which can also be placed far from each other) are going to have safer temperatures, hardly above 40°C even under heavy load, but we’ve seen other inexpensive computer cases do better in terms of cooling their HDD bays.
Thermaltake Level 10 GTS
We used the four Easy Swap bays in the Level 10 GTS, leaving the inconvenient internal bay intact.
This computer is comparable to the Commander MS-III with additional fan: the CPU and the HDDs are somewhat colder (and might be much colder if the HDD bays were designed better) while the GPU and chipset are somewhat hotter.
Thus, the Level 10 GTS isn’t exceptional in terms of cooling, so its appeal lies elsewhere, in the area of design and usability.
Thermaltake Armor Revo (low fan speed)
The Armor Revo was tested at both speeds of its large fans.
The components feel much better than in the previous computer cases even at the low speed of the 200mm fans. Although there's the same fan in front of the HDD bays as in the Level 10 GPS, the HDDs are no hotter than 41°C and two of our Raptors are even colder than 40°C under load!
Thermaltake Armor Revo (high fan speed)
Switching the fans into the High mode lowers the temperatures by 1 to 3°C, but the fans become audible already. That's why we'd recommend the Low speed as its ensures excellent cooling, too.
The diagrams below help you compare the tested computer cases with the open testbed in terms of cooling: