Although we’ll acknowledge a few problems in the Mozart series, on the whole we have been impressed by the efforts put forth by Thermaltake. The new IP model has kept the same feel of the Mozart SX, but is slightly larger with an iPod dock added for good measure.
The case itself is quite heavy, and will only get heavier with the addition of components. As a result, the Mozart IP will by necessity form the base of your tower of Hi-Fi equipment if you aren’t using a proper equipment rack. And even then it will probably end up at the base of the tower or on the floor.
The iPod holder section does exactly the same thing as a dock connector; and by that we mean very little. It will charge and synch any iPod with a dock connector (this excludes iPod Shuffles and the original iPods driven by a FireWire connector in the top -- the ones that aren’t cool anymore anyway) but the only model that lines up properly with the punched holes are the fifth generation video iPods.
This addition has increased the height of the case to the point where it looks more like a desktop case than a home theatre PC. Internally, this has resulted in carnivorous amounts of internal space that will house the chunkiest components available. If you are crazy enough, you will be able to load it up with a 1.2 KW power supply and two dual-slot graphics cards for SLI or Crossfire accelerated graphics, depending on your preferred manufacturer.
Try and do this though and some of the design flaws will start to rear their heads. Two internal braces have been added to maintain structural rigidity, and two hard drives can be installed into one of them. You won’t be able to install any drives in the brace if you plan on using a multiple video card setup, however you’ll still be able to hold three drives in the standard bay if you can’t use the brace.
The front panel does have a spring-loaded cutaway section for a single optical drive, however if you want to load up a second optical drive or a card reader in the front of the case you’ll have to pull the front panel down from the side; fighting friction as you do so. The Mozart SX used a spring loaded front panel and a lock to cover the front facia -- a method we would have preferred to see used here.
The interior is roomy and easy to work with, with two quiet (but not silent) exhaust fans complemented by a larger intake fan at the front left of the case. On the connectivity side of things, you’ll find that the cables that are used to connect the front ports to the headers on the motherboard are twice as long as they need to be -- you will be able to fold them in half and still reach any part of the case.
We could overlook all these minor flaws if the case was cheaper. However at $329 (or $475 with the Media Lab remote control and display) we can’t recommend it. We can, however, recommend the closely related (but better) Mozart SX