Thermaltake Armor A60 Mid Tower Case
Let's make a list. To be more specific, let's make a list of the things that gamers like. A good game is essential, a top of the line keyboard and mouse, as well as top of the line motherboard, processor, and memory. Those are the heart and soul of a gamer's rig. But the thing that gamers love the most is an awesome looking case, because first impressions are very important and nothing gives a better first impression than a killer looking case; am I right? Who wants to go to a LAN with a lame looking rig? Not me. I would venture to guess that you don't, either. There is a whole laundry list of companies that make PC cases, but there is only a handful that makes gaming/enthusiast cases. One of those companies is Thermaltake.
The reason I bring this up is because over the past two weeks I have had the pleasure of testing the Thermaltake Armor A60 Mid Tower Case.
Thermaltake is well known worldwide for their popular and well built cases, CPU coolers, GPU coolers, power supplies and a whole host of other products that keep our PC's running cool and looking cool. Thermaltake was founded in Taiwan in 1999 and opened a headquarters in the United States at the same time as well. Almost as soon as they opened their doors they were a sensation with the release of the Golden Orb cooler. The result of that popularity is the Thermaltake we all know and love today. Take a look around your office or room and I bet you will be able to find something made by Thermaltake somewhere on your desk or inside your PC.
The Thermaltake Armor A60 (VM20001W2Z) is a mid tower case that is directly aimed at the PC gamer and enthusiast crowd. The case itself has a classy and elegant look that will fit in just about anywhere you choose to put it, and at the same time has that "hey check out my killer rig" look with a small but effective side window that will let jealous onlookers take a look at the inner workings of your "Death Machine". This case comes with features that include a killer inside and out black paint job, Superspeed USB 3.0 compatibility, a side docking hot swap bay for your hard drives right on the side of the case, Blue LED fans to set the mood for a fast and furious frag session and the size and width to accommodate almost any hardware and accessories you can throw at it. Take all of that, throw in a three year parts and labor warranty and a price tag of $89.99 and you have yourself one heck of a bargain on your hands. I guess the only thing left to do is to spec out some new hardware for your new case. Because we all know you can't just get a new case, that just won't do. Folks like us need a whole new system... can I get an "amen"?
Thermaltake certainly didn't skimp on the fans in the Armor A60 as they have also included three fans of various sizes and the option of adding four more to help keep the air flow moving on the inside and your PC running at a nice cool temperature. Because I think we all know what happens to a PC that gets too hot. Well, if you don't, let's just leave it at... you will be buying a new PC. I keep going on and on about these features and what the Thermaltake Armor A60 has, but let's take a look at all the specs for this Sherman tank of the case world.
Thermaltake Armor A60 Specifications (VM20001W2Z):
- Case Type: Mid Tower
- Material: SECC
- Front Bezel Material: Mesh
- Color: Black
- Side Panel Window
- Motherboard Support: Micro ATX Standard ATX
- 5.25" Drive Bay: 3
- Ext. 3.5" Drive Bay: 1
- Int. 3.5" Drive Bay: 5 and 1 x 2.5" SSD/ HDD
- Expansion Slots: 7
- Front I/O Ports: USB3.0(SuperSpeed) x 1 USB2.0 x 1 e-SATA x 1 HD Audio x 1 (Support AC 97)
- Cooling System: Front (intake): 120 x 120 x 25 mm Blue LED fan, 1000rpm 16dBA, 120 x 120 x 25 mm / 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 15 dBA 2 x 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)
- Liquid Cooling Capable: Yes
- Liquid Cooling Embedded: No
- Power Supply Supported: ATX PSII
- Power Supply Included: No
- Dimension (H*W*D): 18.9 x 8.3 x 19.7 Inch 480 x 210 x 500 mm
- Net Weight: 15.7 lb 7.1 kg
- Security Lock
- Warranty: 3 years parts and labor
One thing I can really say for this case is that it sure can hold a lot of fans. I want to put a fan in every available spot, but I fear that if I do the case will take flight. OK, not really but it is an interesting concept to ponder. It certainly would save us all a ton of money on airfare, but I can imagine the air traffic control thing would be a bit hectic. Now that I think about it, gamers that can fly is probably not such a great idea. Forget I even mentioned it.
Thermaltake Armor A60 Mid Tower Case Packaging
I am sure we can all agree that it makes us really happy when our new case arrives unscathed. The case that was sent to us by Thermaltake arrived in a graphics heavy box that features a picture of the case itself as well as the specs of the case. Although the box had a few dings and dents, the case inside was unharmed and in mint condition. Our case was packed between the two usual foam block protectors and covered in a plastic bag. It is amazing that such a simple method of protection is so effective.
The size of the case can be a bit deceiving when it comes to trying to guess the weight of the case. It weighs in at a cool 15.7 pounds, but I would have to imagine once you get all of your components installed it will weigh a whole lot more.
Besides the case there are a couple of other items that are included. These include 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.
Thermaltake Armor A60 Mid Tower Case External Impressions
The Thermaltake Armor A60 is constructed from solid SECC Steel, Plastic, and a steel mesh. All of the fan grills are stamped out of the SECC steel panels that make up the chassis and the outer panels of the case itself. It stands almost 19" tall is a little over 8" wide and is darn near 20" deep. They advertise the case as a mid tower but it is approaching the size of a full tower. Hopefully you are as big a fan of the color black as I am because the Armor A60 only comes in black and I cannot find any other style of panels that can be ordered in the event that you don't want the windowed side panel.
One of the first things that came to my mind when I saw this case was that it looked strong; it looked like it could plow through a brick wall and still be asking for more. The only word I could think of at the time was "Tank". For some reason it just has a very strong look to it. One of the first features that really grabbed my attention was the paint job. It is a matte black paint job and the case is painted seamlessly inside and out.
One thing that can truly ruin the look of a nice case is to overuse mesh. And Thermaltake seems to be well aware of that because there is mesh on this case, but it is only used in the right places and in small amounts and for all the right reasons, those reasons being adequate airflow. The combination of the paint and the mesh gives this case the ability to fit into any room in your house and not look out of place. And if you are lucky enough to have this case on your desk at work, you are one lucky mofo.
Since we are on the subject of things that make a case look bad, let's talk about side panel windows. Windows in the sides of cases are a pretty played out feature these days and if most enthusiasts are like me they can really do without a window. The Thermaltake Armor A60 does have a window in the left hand side panel, but it is a small one and for some reason it really seems to fit the overall theme of the case and does not look cheesy for the simple reason that it frames your CPU cooler and the blue light emanating from the internal fans really make it stand out and gives it a look that is sort of like peeking into a nuclear reactor or something like that. If this case had a full side window I think it would have ruined the look. The left side panel also gives you a spot to install an optional 120 MM fan right below the window. The nice thing about this particular spot for a fan is that it is right over where your video cards are installed and is in just the right position to exhaust hot air right off of your video cards. So many companies put these side panel fan bays directly in the middle of the case and it is just ineffective there because it does not pull all of the hot air off of your GPU's. This is the side that also features the hinged door for the external hot swappable hard drive bay. We will talk more about this handy little feature later in the article.
The right hand side of the case is feature free and just has the same stamped design on it that the left hand side has, but without the window, drive bay, or any places to install a fan or two.
Thermaltake Armor A60 Mid Tower Case External Impressions (Continued)
The front bezel of the Thermaltake Armor A60 is a very attractive blend of mesh and solid plastic with a heavy emphasis on the mesh. There are three external 5.25 bays and a single external 3.5 bay. The front bezel is also where Thermaltake has chosen to locate the front i/o ports; on the upper right hand side you will see a USB 2.0 slot, the usual jacks for headphones and a microphone as well as the featured USB 3.0 slot and an E-SATA connector. To the left of the E-SATA connector is the reset button and below both of those is, of course, the power button.
The lower part of the front bezel is made mostly of mesh and has a set of triangular panels that allow for the airflow of the internal 120mm intake fan that is located at the lower front of the case. With more and more cases featuring the front i/o ports on the top of the case, I have to admit that I did find myself wishing that they were located on the top as well on the Armor A60. However, they do look nice and do not get in the way so I really have no basis to complain. One thing I can complain about, though, is the fact that there is only one USB 2.0 slot on the front of the case. I wish there had been at least one more just simply for the fact of being able to connect multiple devices without having to reach around the back of the case. Even if you count the USB 3.0 slot, that still is just not enough for me, personally. The front of the case also features a blue LED to indicate that the power is on and a red hard drive indicating LED that flashes when there is hard drive activity. To give you access to the front of the case behind the bezel, it is easily removable just by simply pulling on it a bit. It is not connected like a lot of other bezels with the tabs that run along the inside lip of the side of the case.
Let's take a look at the back of this guy. At the back we can see the fan grill for the included 120 MM exhaust fan that is located near the top. We can also see that Thermaltake has added holes and grommets for water cooling hoses at both the top and the bottom of the case. As mentioned before, the power supply is mounted at the bottom of the case and is visible from the rear of the case as is all of the add-on card slots and the rear i/o panel for the motherboard.
The top of the case, just like the rest of the case, looks like it was designed with heavy airflow in mind as it sports spots for not just one, but two fans. The first is for a 200 MM fan and the second one right next to it is for a 120 MM fan. The top also features the same stamps as the rest of the case.
Since this is a bottom mounted power supply style case, and gives you the ability to install an intake fan in the bottom of the case Thermaltake has put four nice sized round feet on the bottom of the case that raise the case up enough to not hinder the airflow.
Thermaltake Armor A60 Mid Tower Case Internal Impressions
Just like the outside of the Thermaltake Armor A60 the inside is painted black as well. If you have read any of my other case reviews you already know that I really like it when the outside paint color matches the inside paint color, and if that color happens to be black... even better. The paint is nice and even and smooth inside and out as are all of the edges on the steel chassis and panels. I ran my hand along the whole inside of the case as well as the side panels and I did not feel a sharp edge anywhere. To say the inside of this case is huge is an understatement. I think a family of three could move into one of these. OK, not really, but you get the point; there is a ton of room inside this thing. Just take a look at the next section where all of the internal parts have been installed. This case dwarfs my MSI 790FX-GD70 motherboard and makes my Radeon HD 5770 video cards look tiny. As a matter of fact, the Thermaltake Armor A60 can handle video cards up to 305 MM long and can support a CPU heat sink and fan up to 180 MM in height. Which means it will handle almost anything you throw at it.
The top front of the case is where you will find the three 5.25 drive bays for your optical drives or any fan controllers you may want to install. Thermaltake has made the installation of your optical drives a breeze with its tool-less flip up locking design. All you do is pull back on the lever, flip the fastener up, slide in your drive, flip the fastener back down and pull the lever back to lock it in place. You can literally install your drives in seconds.
Right below the 5.25 drive bays is a drive bay that is designed to hold smaller 3.5 devices such as a floppy drive or a card reader.
In front of all of the drive bays Thermaltake has included a Blue LED 120 MM intake fan that is located at the front bottom of the case and is easily accessed by pulling off the front bezel.
Below that at the front of the case are the 3.5 drive bays. But wait, there is something a bit different about these bays. For starters, the top one is the bay for the hot swappable external drive that can be added or removed from the system from outside the case, but the five bays below that are all internal drive bays. The drives are mounted in removable brackets that can hold either a standard 3.5 hard drive or they can also hold the smaller 2.5 drives such as a solid state drive. Now I finally have a safe place to mount my solid state drives. Trust me; this is a killer feature if you have an older case and have solid state drives that need to be mounted in it. It can be tricky or, in some cases, darn near impossible to do. So I have to say that I am a huge fan of the addition of support for 2.5 drives. The brackets that hold the hard drives are simple to install as you just slide them into the bay and they will click into place. To get them out just squeeze the two sides of the front of the bracket together and that releases the drive. One thing worth mentioning is that the brackets are not tool less and do require that you screw the drives into place with a flat head or Phillips head screwdriver.
The really big feature on this case is the external 3.5 hot swappable hard drive bay. This 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. If you look way far back there you can see the mounted SATA back plane sitting there on the very top internal 3.5 drive bay. Can you see it? 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 if you like to keep different OS setups on different drives or if you just like to store your data across many drives. So no matter what your preference is, this sweet feature will serve you well.
Thermaltake Armor A60 Mid Tower Case Internal Impressions (Continued)
As mentioned on a previous page the power supply is mounted at the bottom of the case and sits on top of a vent that is specifically designed to aid in the removal of the hot air that exhausts from the power supply. There is also an internal fan mount point so that you can either intake or exhaust air from the bottom of the case. I know I said it before, but this case appears to have been made with serious airflow in mind. As we move up from the PSU we can see that the motherboard tray is not removable in this case but does supply ample room to install a full ATX motherboard and will also house the smaller micro ATX motherboards as well. The motherboard tray has the cut out at the bottom to support the different mounting brackets that may be used on different coolers and water cooling setups.
At the top rear of the case we can see that Thermaltake has included a 120 MM fan for exhaust at the rear of the case and a blue LED 200 MM fan for the top exhaust and, as mentioned on the previous page, there is a mount to install another 120 MM fan in the top as well. The top fans can also be removed and can easily be replaced by a single or dual radiator setup for a water cooling system.
As we move on to the right hand side of the case this is where I became a bit disappointed. Why, you ask? Well, because with all of the sweet features that this case has the feature that is really important for those of us that are tidy wiring freaks there is almost no room at all behind the right side panel to properly hide your wires. If you have a modular power supply you will be able to do a way better wiring job than those who have a standard power supply because you will have less wire to hide which means that you won't fill up the limited room with unused wires. So I highly recommend using a modular power supply with this case. I do not have a modular PSU so I was stuck trying to hide all of my wires and I think the pictures on the next page will tell the story of my success or, shall I say, failure on that subject. Most of my wiring had to be stuffed into the lower 3.5 drive bays at the front of the case. Luckily, the drive brackets were still able to slide into their bays so I was able to at least somewhat hide the wires, but not as nicely as I would like to.
The internal wiring harness is pretty much the same as the ones you see in every other case with the exception of the blue USB 3.0 cable that runs from the front bezel of the case to the back so that you can plug it into either a USB 3.0 add on card or into a motherboard that has USB 3.0 slots on it.
Thermaltake Armor A60 Mid Tower Case Parts Installation
Installing all of your parts is always a lot more fun when there is ample room, and lots of room is something that the Thermaltake Armor A60 has. With dimensions like 18.9 x 8.3 x 19.7 inches and the ability to fit video cards that are up to 305 MM in length and CPU coolers that are up to 180 MM in height there isn't much that won't fit inside this case. I started out installing a few of the standoffs to support my motherboard which is just a standard ATX MSI 790FX-GD70. After that was the very quick and easy installation of my optical drive with what I call the Thermaltake flip and click fasteners. All I had to do was slide my drive into the 5.25 bay and flip down the latch. After that, you just click the lever back and bam! Your optical drive is installed.
Next up to bat were my hard drives, which included both a regular 3.5 hard drive and a 2.5 solid state drive. The wonderful thing with this case is that the removable drive mounts can house both sized drives. The only difference is that when you install a 2.5 drive you have to use four screws that screw into the bottom of the drive and the 3.5 drives only require two screws that install into the side of the drive. So calling this case tool-less is not truly accurate.
The three fans that Thermaltake included in the case are a 120 mm front intake, a 120 mm rear exhaust, and a 200 mm top exhaust that did not need to be removed or modified at all during the build and kept the case cool with a nice steady flow of air. The best part of all of this is that it did it quietly. Nothing can be worse than to have your PC in a room, and while in that room all you can hear is the PC.
As with all things that seem too good to be true, there is one great fault with the Thermaltake Armor A60. There is simply not enough room beneath the motherboard tray to hide the wiring of a standard power supply and, therefore, all of your wiring needs to be hidden or, shall I say, kind of hidden behind all of the hard drive bays. While this isn't a deal breaker, you are much better off using a modular power supply with this case than you are a standard power supply. The drag about all of this is that even if you do use a modular power supply you are still going to be hard pressed to truly hide the wires properly if that's your thing.
As you can clearly see I was forced to bunch up all of my wiring behind the 3.5 drive bays. Luckily, the drives were still able to fit even though that rat's nest was behind it. With only 9/16 of an inch behind the motherboard tray, it was nearly impossible to hide any wires there.
Other than the one downfall I mentioned the Thermaltake Armor A60 was a pleasure to build out and the size of the interior made it very easy to install all of my components and still left me room to manipulate my hardware or wiring if something needed to be adjusted. As mentioned before, there were no sharp edges inside the case that could possibly leave you bleeding so it is always a plus to not have to donate blood when you are building your new PC.
All in all, the entire build of this case took around an hour. Thermaltake has gone out of their way to make sure this case is not only easy to build out but that it is easily accessible in every way to make sure you don't spend the majority of your day installing components. The thing that took the longest in all of this was deciding where to run the wiring and then running it. Had Thermaltake made this case just a tad wider it would have made adequate room to hide your wiring under the motherboard.
Conclusion and Final Thoughts On The Armor A60
With the looks of a true fragging war machine and an interior spacious enough to house most modern components the Thermaltake Armor A60 is definitely worth every penny of its $89.99 price tag, and those spent pennies also include a 3 year warranty. The combination of the mesh, plastic and steel of the Armor A60 makes this a case that will fit in with any decor and will definitely make you stand out at a LAN. With an almost tool less interior, installing components is easy and hassle free... well, except for when you get to the part where you have to actually hide your wires. I don't know what happened; maybe Thermaltake forgot that we all needed a place for our wiring when they designed the A60, or maybe they just felt this case would fit in better with those that commonly use modular power supplies. Either way, it doesn't matter as the Thermaltake Armor A60 is still an awesome case.
If just having a cool looking case with lots of internal room wasn't enough, Thermaltake went and added three fans to the case: a 120 mm front intake, a 120 mm rear exhaust and a top exhaust 200mm fan. Airflow moved through the case and kept it as cool as you would expect. There are also optional spots to add more fans to the case if you feel that they are needed. The noise levels of the fans were on par with just about every other case in its price range, and while the fans were clearly audible in a silent room, during regular everyday activities the fans could not be heard at all. But, then again, I have two kids and it is pretty hard to hear anything with kids around.
I used an Antec p-180 case for many, many years and I thought it was nice looking and that it had a ton of room in it. That was, until I got a modern video card. Boy, was I surprised when it barely fit and I actually had to move my hard drives to get the video card in place. Well, you won't run into any problems like that with the A60. I installed both of my 5770's and there was still plenty of room to spare between the end of the cards and the drive bays. The same thing goes for the CPU heat sink and fan. There was plenty of room for my Spire Thermax Pro cooler. As a matter of fact, there was plenty of room to spare between the top of the cooler and the side panel of the case.
I am just going to go ahead and say it. I like this case. I like it a lot. With all the features that this case has it should cost a hundred dollars more than it does. It's not often you come across a case of this caliber with this many features that you don't need to go into escrow to buy. It looks great on my desk and I am able to switch components in and out of the case without having to tear up my hands or remove other components just to get to what I want to work on. I have already had a handful of my friends and family ask me what I am going to do with the case when I am done reviewing it and they are disappointed to hear that I am going to be keeping it as part of my fleet.
The Legit Bottom Line: The Thermaltake Armor A60 is a high class case in a low class price range. It has all the features of a much more expensive case but without the cost. I just wish it had more room to hide the darn wires.