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Appeared on: Thursday, December 09, 2010
Thermaltake Armor A60 Case review


1. Basic features

We have in our labs the Thermaltake ARMOR A60 chassis, a middle tower case featuring the SideClick EasySwap HDD docking and integrated USB 3.0 connector on the front side.

With the ARMOR A60 chassis Thermaltake is adding yet another member to the ARMOR series of chassis, which are set themselves apart from the crowd by virtue of their design approach.  The entirely black “bulletproof” armor design with metal mesh elements lend the ARMOR series a stylish and powerful appearance that attracts gamers and enthusiasts alike, while the top and front blue LED-fans enhance the overall combat ambience.

Thermaltake’s SideClick EassySwap design in the left side panel of the ARMOR A60 offers easy access to removable hot-swap capable 3.5" hard drives. You simply place your HDD (SATA, SATA 2, SATA 3) in the drive tray, slide it into the SlideClick slot till a tiny "click" let’s you feel that the drive is connected.

Optimized multimedia connectivity is provided for by one USB 3.0 and one USB 2.0 port in the front panel of the case. An additional eSATA connector on the top makes convenient to connect your mobile storage device, while the HD microphone and headset connectors in the front offer you quick and short access.

 

The feet elevate the ARMOR A60 high enough as to allow for improved ventilation of the bottom based ATX PSII power supply. To avoid outside dust to find its way into your power supply a removable dust filter is positioned underneath, providing users with an easy way to keep it clean.

As characteristic for Thermaltake chassis, special attention had been paid to  optimized ventilation and airflow. Therefore one 20 cm blue exhaust LED-fan on top and one 12 cm intake blue LED-fan in the front have already been pre-installed and increase the combat spirit with light-effects. One more 12 cm exhaust turbo fan on the backside top further increases air circulation. For power-users there are still four more options to install additional fans. And the geometric window right next to it let your graphics card shine and allows for a look at your hardware so you can quickly check if everything is in order.

HDD Air Cooling System

1. Front (intake):
120mm x 2 (one is optional), or 200mm x 1 (optional)
120 x 120 x 25 mm Blue LED fan, 1000rpm, 16dBA;
120 x 120 x 25 mm (optional) or
200 x 200 x 20 mm (optional)

CPU Air Cooling System

2. Top (exhaust):
200mm x 1 or 120mm x 2 (optional)
200 x 200 x 20 mm Blue LED fan, 800rpm, 15dBA or
Two 120 x 120 x 25 mm (optional)
3. Rear (exhaust):
120mm x 1
120 x 120 x 25 mm TurboFan, 1000rpm, 16dBA

VGA Air Cooling System

4. Side (intake):
120mm x 1 (optional)
120 x 120 mm fan (optional)
5. Bottom (intake):
120mm x 1 (optional)
120 x 120 mm fan (optional)

 

- Specifications

Model VM20001W2Z
Case Type Middle Tower
Dimension (H x W x D) 480.0 x 210.0 x 500.0 mm (18.9 x 8.3 x 19.7 inch)
Side Panel Transparent Window
Color Exterior & Interior: Black
Material SECC
Cooling System Front (Intake) :
120 x 120 x 25 mm Blue LED fan, 1000rpm, 16dBA;
120 x 120 x 25 mm (optional) or
200 x 200 x 20 mm (optional)
Rear (Exhaust) :
120 x 120 x 25 mm TurboFan, 1000rpm, 16dBA
Top (Exhaust) :
200 x 200 x 20 mm Blue LED fan, 800rpm, 15dBA;
Two 120 x 120 x 25 mm (optional)
Bottom (Intake) : 120 x 120 x 25 mm (optional)
Side (Intake) : 120 x 120 x 25 mm (optional)
Drive Bays - Accessible : 5.25? x 3, 3.5? x 1
- Hidden : SideClick EasySwap 3.5? x 1, 3.5?? & 2.5? x 5
Expansion Slots 7
Motherboards Micro ATX , Standard ATX
I/O Ports USB3.0 x 1, USB2.0 x 1, eSATA connector x 1,
MIC & Speaker (support AC?97 & HD Audio)
PSU Standard ATX PS2 (optional)
Net Weight 7.1 kg / 15.7 lb
Other CPU cooler height limitation: 180mm
Graphic card length limitation: 305mm

2. A closer look

The Thermaltake Armor A60 retails online for online at ~$90.

The case arrives in a colorful box with the "futuristic" soldier on the front. The 'Created For Combat' logo on the front indicates that this case is designed for action oriented gamers.

Besides the case, the package includes the user manual as well as a small plastic bag that contains all screws and standoffs that are needed for the installation of the compatible motherboards and drives.

The Thermaltake Armor A60 is constructed from SECC steel and has a net weight of 15 lbs.  This is rather light for a middle tower case and we can attribute this to something left out of the specifications, the thickness of the SECC steel.   As you may have guessed the metal is extremely thin and while fancy bends and embossing help strengthen the metal it doesn't prevent the panels from rattling.

The front of the Armor A60 is a plastic bezel that features a triangle shape, three 5.25" device bays, a steel mesh cover, and the front I/O ports. These include one USB2.0, one USB3.0, audio and eSATA, as well as the power and reset buttons.

The front bezel pops off easily, without requiring hand-cramping release mechanisms. We also liked the fact that the front I/O ports are not attached to the bezel. This means that when removing the front cover, there is no worry about guiding and pulling wires out or damaging any of the components.

Underneath the bezel is a 120mm blue LED fan with the option to add another. Here is how the front panel of the case looks like with the bezel removed and with a single fan installed:

The back of the case two metal loops on the side panel and the case itself that allow a lock to be installed that secures the side panel in place. Another security measure is the keyboard and mouse cable clamp. But probably the first think you'll notice once you take a look to the rear panel is a blue USB cable that hangs down from the water cooling ports at the top. This cable is actually connecting the rear USB 3.0 port of your motherboard with the front USB3.0 connector. This could be considered as an inconvenience, but it may be worth it if you want to use compatible devices on a regular basis. And of course, once a standard for for internal USB 3.0 headers is decided some time next year, the specific cable will not be required running through your case.

 

The top of the case features some triangle extrusions as well as a very open amount of perforations that allow for an extra 120mm fan to be installed. A 200mm blue LED fan is included, set up as an exhaust.

The bottom of the case also has ventilation holes underneath the power supply and extends forward far enough to allow another 120mm fan to be installed. Four rubber feet on the bottom make sure the case remains stable and they are just under half an inch tall.

The left side of the case has a small window at the top left of the panel, as well as a spot for a 120mm fan. A door on the right of the side panel is available in order to access the hot-swappable slot without removing the side panel.

 

 

The Thermaltake Armor A60 the inside is painted black as well. The paint is nice and even and smooth inside and out as are all of the edges on the steel chassis and panels. The case offers plenty of free room inside enough to handle video cards up to 305 MM long and can support a CPU heat sink and fan up to 180 MM in height.

Both side panels are easily removable by thumb screws.

We also liked the hole found around the area where the CPU is installed. This allows you to access to the backplate of the CPU cooler, so you can replace the cooler without having to remove the motherboard. The cables can be also routed behind the motherboard tray, or even fastened on the motherboard tray using cable ties.

As you can see in the pictures there are are plenty of bay slots for hard drives. In order to remove, the glasp is pushed inwards and they slide out. Though they are made of thin plastic, they most probably won't be so durable and make sure to handle them with care.

In total, we have three toolless 5.25" drive bays and six 3.5-inch bays. The hard drive trays themselves support 2.5" and 3.5" drives. However, a 2.5" drive will require it to be secured by screws through the base. The 2.5" drives are secured through the bottom of the tray and have noise dampening rubber grommets in the screw holes. In case you install a 2.5" SSD, these grommets are not completely necessary.

The top-most internal bay has hot swap connectors, since this is the bay that is accessible from outside the case.The external 3.5 hot swappable hard drive bay is protected by a swinging flap that stays closed when there is not a drive in use, but retracts back when a drive is inserted into the hot swap bay in the side panel. All it takes is to push the drive in, wait to hear the click and any hot swap compatible hard drive is ready for action. This is very handy feature. Of course, the bay can also support 2.5" HDD or SSD:

 

The PSU is mounted at the bottom of the case. The power supply bracket at the bottom allows the user to install the power supply upwards or downwards, which may help out in wire management:


3. Conclusion

Let's sum up this brief article with some thoughts on the Thermaltake Armor A60 case.

First of all, the case has been carefully designed both internally and externally, with the the paint work to be first class belying the budget pricing. There are not any rough edges or patchy sections internally, or any sharp filing on a few of the metal edges.

Thermaltake has also designed the cooling system of the case with great respect to the efficiency but also acoustics. The three fans work in a push/pull airflow methodology and you have room to add 4 more. The high- quality fans are spinning quietly and their airflow is sufficient enough to keep the internal components as cool as you may expect from a $90 PC case.

Connectivity is also excellent as the case is offering eSATA, headphones, USB 2.0 and even USB 3.0. There is a side button to remove a primary hard drive and you can add plenty more into the spacious drive area. The Thermaltake Armor A60 also comes with a great side mounted hot-swap bay for both 3.5" and 2.5" drives.

With an almost tool less interior, installing components is easy and hassle free. Although there is some space below the motherboard to hide the wires, we would like to have a better way to route the wiring, especially you don't use a modular power supply.

What we didn't like is the fact that the case's thin metal tends to rattle, and also the also that the the drive bay locking trays feel a a little bit cheap and delicate.

To sum up, we feel that the Thermaltake Armor A60 lives up to the company's fine record of quality construction and overall builder friendliness. The A60's foray into that area and its USB 3.0 support make it a more forward-thinking than other cases available today and it generally provides a great cost/benefit ratio for users that have USD 90 to spend on a computer case.

Pros

 

Cons:


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