Review : Thermaltake CTE T500


After testing a large-format case from be quiet!, we’re back to large-tower cases with Thermaltake. The brand recently launched its CTE case series, and generously offered us the CTE T500, the smallest model in the family. We’re pleased to offer it for testing. Bear in mind, however, that although this is the smallest model, it’s far from small and compact!

Thermaltake CTE T500 Air black

The exterior of the CTE T500 :

If, like us, you were expecting a reasonably imposing case… Ouch. No, in fact it’s an imposing case, with dimensions of 274 (W) x 516 (D) x 615 (H) mm. Clearly, this is a serious performer, with dimensions larger than Corsair’s iCUE 5000X and slightly smaller than be quiet’s Dark Base Pro 901.

From a visual point of view, it’s clearly not the most extravagant case we’ve seen; on the contrary, it’s rather wise. Its front panel features a long ventilation grille with large openings, while a Thermaltake logo appears at the bottom. It’s relatively all-purpose, dimensions aside at least.

The choice of materials is mainly steel for the chassis and certain exterior parts. However, we also find some plastic on the front panel and tempered glass for the side window. All this, together with its imposing dimensions, makes for a particularly heavy case: 15.3 kg on the scales. Take care on delivery and during assembly.

On the other hand, as far as dimensions are concerned, we’re looking at a case priced at around €180 for the Air version. The TG models, on the other hand, cost around €200 with their front glass. Finally, this case is available in both black and white.

The control panel :

Thermaltake CTE T500 Air Black

The case’s control panel takes its place at the top and won’t be easily accessible if your PC is on the desk. Certainly, you’ll have to stand up to access it. Nevertheless, it features :

  • A reset button
  • Two 3.5 mm jacks for headphones and microphone
  • A storage activity LED
  • A power button
  • Two USB-A 3.0
  • One USB-C 3.2 Gen2

As you can see, Thermaltake’s CTE T500 offers a fully functional control panel. Unlike NZXT, the brand doesn’t give in to the trend for minimalism, offering just a single USB-A, for example. Nevertheless, let’s keep in mind that we’re dealing with a full-size case.

The underside :

Thermaltake CTE T500 Air Black

On the underside of the case, we’re treated to our own four feet with extra-grip rubber pads. While some may see these as a guarantee of stability, they will complicate matters during assembly: you’ll have to lift the case rather than slide it when you want to access the rear of the motherboard tray. On a 15 kg case, this means lifting it every time!

Otherwise, there’s a long dust filter running the length of the CTE T500. On the plus side, it can be accessed by sliding it to the side. That’s a change from housings where it’s only accessible from the rear, well done Thermaltake.

Rear :

Thermaltake CTE T500 Air Black

The rear of the case is quite distinctive, with nothing special except a long ventilation grille. At the bottom, we find the power supply slot, and that’s it. Unlike more conventional cases, the motherboard’s I/O shield slot is in a different place!

The top :

On the top, we also have a large perforated grille that clearly favors air flow. This can be removed after unlocking it with two hand screws. Once removed, it reveals a fan and a grid beneath which are seven expansion slots. This is also where you’ll find the motherboard’s I/O shield slot.

Yes, we’re dealing with a case where the motherboard tray is oriented at 90°. This will become more obvious when we examine its interior.