Introduction to the Thermaltake Core X71 Full-Tower Chassis
Today we’re going to take a look at a brand new case that Thermaltake is announcing at CES 2016 in Las Vegas, NV. Kicking off our review coverage today, we’ll take a look at what this full-tower case all has to offer, and show you what makes it so special.
The Core X71 is a massive full-tower chassis, featuring two chambers for advanced cable management and/or various liquid or air cooling opportunities. Inside this case you will find no shortage of cooling potential, so right off the bat I think this case may be a hit amongst enthusiasts. We will have to find out how well these features look like they will work, along with how well the case is built.
Should you like what you see in this review, you will be able to have your very own Core X71 for $149.99 (MSRP) and will be available starting January 22nd on Newegg
. We will update this article should we find it for sale at an online retailer, such as Amazon. Like all other Thermaltake PC Case products, you will find a 3-year warranty included.
You will only find the Core X71 in a matte black finish, with a large window on the left side, which is pretty common today. Inside is a fully-modular design, allowing you almost limitless potential with how you want to configure your system. Included with the case are two 140mm Riing LED Blue intake fans and one 140mm Turbo exhaust fan. This case has easily removable filters darn near everywhere, so as long as you maintain your filters, you should have a fairly dust-free interior.
Core X71 Technical Specifications:
|Chassis Dimension (H*W*D)
||677 x 250 x 511 mm (26.7 x 9.8 x 20.1 inch)
||12 kg / 26.5 lb
||Exterior & Interior : Black
||Front (intake) :
140 x 140 x 25 mm Riing LED Blue fan (1400rpm, 28dBA) x 2
(1000rpm, 22dBA with LNC)
Rear (exhaust) :
140 x 140 x 25 mm Turbo fan (1000rpm, 16dBA)
||2 x 5.25’’
3 x 3.5’’ or 2.5’’ (HDD Cage)
2 x 3.5’’ or 2.5’’ (Behind the M/B tray)
||6.7” x 6.7” (Mini ITX), 9.6” x 9.6” (Micro ATX), 12” x 9.6” (ATX)
||USB 3.0 x 2, USB 2.0 x 2, HD Audio x 1
||Standard PS2 PSU (optional)
||Supports 1/2”、3/8”、1/4” water tube
||Front: 3 x 120mm or 3 x 140mm or 2 x 200mm
Top: 3 x 120mm or 3 x 140mm or 2 x 200mm
Rear: 1 x 120mm or 1 x 140mm
Bottom: 2 x 120mm or 2 x 140mm
Left / Right Side: 3 x 120mm or 2 x 140mm
||Front: 1 x 480mm or 1 x 420mm
Top: 1 x 360mm or 1 x 280mm
Rear: 1 x 120mm or 1 x 140mm
Bottom: 1 x 120mm or 1 x 140mm
Left / Right Side: 1 x 360mm or 1 x 280mm
||CPU cooler height limitation: 180mm
VGA length limitation: 278mm(with HDD rack)
420mm(without HDD rack)
PSU length limitation: 180mm (With One Bottom Fan)
220mm (Without Bottom Fan)
Let’s move on and see what the outside is all about, and follow that up with checking out the interior, and finally build a test system inside, seeing how easy or difficult it is. I have a feeling this will be a pretty awesome case!
Core X71 Packaging and Exterior Impressions
Thermaltake doesn’t really do a whole lot special with their packaging, so we weren’t expecting a whole lot. In fact, when we were asked to review this case, they weren’t sure if the final packaging would be ready. To our surprise, it came shipped directly from China in a Core V71 package, with some modifications. Let’s put it this way, it didn’t really fully fit inside the V71 box, so they had to add cardboard to one end while leaving the flaps open.
Well, upon opening the box and pulling it out of the V71 package, we were surprised to find the X71 packaging. This was likely done to keep prying eyes off of an unannounced product during shipping.
On the front of the box we have a drawing of the X71 and that’s about it. Flipping to the first side we find a bunch of the technical specifications that you will find on Page 1 of this review. The next side just tells you about the top I/O connections, how many expansion bays you’re receiving, and that this case is quiet with Thermaltake LCS (Liquid Cooling System) approval, and advanced cable management features are present.
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Opening up the box you will find the case is enclosed in formed Styrofoam blocks, which did protect our X71 quite well.
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Pulling all of the packing materials off, we find that the acrylic window is protected on both sides.
After removing the plastic protecting the acrylic, I can’t help but think how nice this case looks! I’m digging it on so many levels, and so much is running through my head on how I can configure this down the road with my custom cooling loop. I also am blown away with how massive the Core X71 is, with it measuring 677 x 250 x 511 mm (26.7 x 9.8 x 20.1 inches). The exterior visual features of the Core X71 are fairly similar to that of several others in the Core X series, such as the X2 that we reviewed last year.
Starting with the front of the case, you’ll find nicely laid out horizontal slits, which looks pretty cool. There are only two 5.25-inch bays on this case, so you’ll have to choose wisely with what you’d like to use these for. You can either drop an optical drive (or two) into the slots, or put in 2x 3.5-inch or 4x 2.5-inch drives. Or in my case, my former custom cooling loop has a reservoir that takes up two of the 5.25-inch bays.
The front of the case pops off very easily, which uses the traditional method of tugging forward from the bottom. You will see the cutout to place your fingers in the forthcoming bottom shot. With the front removed, we expose the two pre-installed 140mm Riing LED Blue fans, which are rated for up to 1400 RPM @ 28 dBA.
The front is filtered, just like darn near every other opening on this case. Behind the 5.25-inch fillers, you’ll find foam filters in place.
Below the 5.25-inch bays, where the intake fans reside, is a removable mesh filter, which is identical to what is found on the top and bottom sides. This filter is not magnetic, rather you just have to tug it out, releasing it from its retaining clips. There are slots to tug it, as seen on the bottom of both below pictures.
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Finally moving to the left side with the massive acrylic window, you will also notice a mesh area. Behind that area is where you could mount up to a 360mm radiator in install 3x 120mm fans.
Both pieces are independently removed, so you don’t have to rip open your whole case just to get to the bottom filters.
… or to the top components.
The rear end appears to have a lot going on, but it’s pretty simple. There are eight expansion slots available with this case, with a bunch of pass-thru grommets for external water cooling. By default, the PSU is designed to be mounted on the very bottom of the chassis, on its side. If you’re not able or not willing to put it down there, you may remove the middle grommet and your PSU conveniently will fit in that space instead. The doors also have a place to grab and remove
The exhaust fan is adjustable in height for either itself or for a 120/140mm radiator put in place.
One thing that I found extremely odd was the fact that there were screws holding on the main sides along with the thumb screws. I am uncertain if this was for shipping, but they were completely unnecessary for every-day use of the product. In the below picture, you’ll see three screws on the left. The first is the one that had to be removed with a driver, while the next two are thumb screws.
Moving over to the right hand side, it’s a whole lot of nothing, visually. The side panel is flat, with the bottom being the mesh, filtered zone. Both doors remove independently, again.
Here is what the small side door looks like along with the filter.
The top is a bit more interesting than the right side; here we find the I/O panel and catch our first glimpse at the cooling availability for the top. There is also a removable filter up top, which is attached magnetically and is simply removed.
The I/O panel is located on the front edge and is inclusive of a headphone and microphone jack, reset button, HDD activity LED, power button, 2x USB 3.0 and 2x USB 2.0 ports.
The top, like everything else, is filtered. This filter also holds on magnetically for easy removal.
Lastly, the zone that you will install any cooling seems limitless. There are markings to where you should be installing the fans, plus slots where you can install the fans.
Finally, the bottom usually seems like a boring area, but Thermaltake did a good job designing this zone. There are four feet with rubber caps, keeping the Core X71 one inch off of the ground. Here you also see the full-length filter that is removable from either the front or rear (see additional pictures). I can’t tell you how much it bothers me when cases have filters that only remove from the rear, so this is a nice feature. The hole that you grab to remove the front face is also on the left side of the following pictures.
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I do wish that the X71 had doors that fit a little more snug, like I’ve seen on many other cases that I own or have reviewed. I actually let go of the left door for a brief moment to grab something, after unscrewing the thumb screws, and it fell off. Many other cases that I’ve reviewed they’re a little snugger. Thankfully that short drop to my hardwood floor didn’t damage the product. I would have to say this is a minor issue, though.
The accessories included are similar to what they include with their other cases, providing you with everything that you need to install your system. Thermaltake does include the motherboard speaker for BIOS beeps, cable ties, a low-noise cable to reduce how much noise your fans make while spinning, an 8-pin extension cable, and additional fan mounting brackets. There was also one additional rogue screw in the box, which I couldn’t find a home to. I’m just hoping it was accidentally dropped in there from the factory and not meant to go somewhere.
This wraps up the product tour, so let’s move on and take a look at the interior of the Core X71 and see what it all has to offer.
Core X71 Interior Impressions
The inside of the Core X71 is fully modular, meaning that you can rip out just about any part inside to make room for various components.
Also like its siblings in the Core X line, the X71 has a massive amount of flexibility when it comes to cooling configuration. You can fit as small as a 120mm radiator or all the way up to a 480mm, so you can begin to see the options. You aren’t limited to just a single radiator in this case, either, rather you could theoretically put up to four different radiators inside this case with ease. See the exploded view below for the various configurations that you could do.
Not only do you have a lot of options for liquid cooling, there are tons of options for installing fans inside, as well. See the below diagram for the various sizes and configurations that you could use. Also note, though it is not displayed on the below picture, you’re limited to a 180mm height on your CPU cooler.
The below chart list shows you the fan and radiator compatibility with the Core X71.
With as big as the X71 is, you will find that it only fits up to an ATX-sized board, which fortunately shouldn’t be an issue with a vast majority of people. The standoffs for ATX or mATX are pre-installed, cutting out at least one item that you need to do.
Removing the lower door on the left side we expose how cooling will attach to the bottom via the included bracket. You will be able to install either a 240mm or 360mm radiator in this space, along with your PSU hiding behind it, or you can mount 3x 120mm fans on the bracket. Should you reconfigure how this is laid out, you can also install fans or a radiator to the bottom of the chassis (consult the chart and pictures above).
The radiator/fan mounting bracket is removable completely or you can swap it to be on the other side of the case.
When you remove it, you’re able to also move the HDD cage down to the bottom.
If you didn’t notice from the previous pictures, there are tons of wire pass-thru holes with rubber grommets in place. Depending on the board size you’re going to use, you’ll be able to use the majority or all of these holes. There is a very large cutout on the rear of the motherboard tray, should you choose to swap around your cooling and need to install a different CPU bracket.
On the bottom of the top chamber are also three grommets to pass wires through.
Up top, the 5.25-inch bays are equipped with a tool-less design, should you install a 5.25-inch device. You can either completely remove these or install 2x 3.5-inch or 4x 2.5-inch drives instead. They’re removed via screws on the front.
Example of reconfiguring the 5.25-inch bays for hard drives:
The bottom right of the main chamber is where you’ll find the main hard drive cage, including three cages for your HDD or SSD needs. What I find interesting are the slots on the top of the cage, with an arrow, because it makes me wonder if the cage could expand or had a dual purpose in a different case (to hang underneath the 5.25-inch bay).
For your expansion slots, they are designed to be tool-less by using thumb screws, however if you have to squeeze a screw driver in place, you can. I tend to find that a lot of these thumb screw expansion slots don’t work as well as I’d like.
Moving to the backside of the motherboard tray, you can’t help but notice the massive 1.5 inches of space for running cables!
On the back we can also mount up to 2x 3.5-inch drives or 2x 2.5-inch drives with the included brackets.
Closer view of the brackets:
Thermaltake did design a spot to move one of the brackets to a third spot, but did not actually include a third bracket. I’m hoping that they’ll offer this as an add-on to purchase, as centralized storage is not a strong point of this case – it’s all over the place. If you’re feeling adventurous and don’t have many drives in your system, you could always snag a hard drive tray from the cage in the main chamber, possibly getting rid of the hard drive cage altogether. Do note that you will now be blocking SATA access to your drives in the HDD cage, should you leave the HDD cage in the top chamber.
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On the bottom chamber, you can even swap around the cooling bracket and place it on this side instead. Regardless, the door is filtered like the rest.
That’s what there is to show on the interior, so let’s take a quick look and see how easy it is to install some hardware inside this case.
Hardware Installation Inside The Core X71
Being that this is a full-tower chassis, I expect near zero difficulties when installing my hardware inside this case. I’m going to be leaving the hard drive cage where it was from the factory, plus I will end up just using a 2.5-inch laptop HDD in place of a 2.5-inch SSD for demonstration, as I don’t have any SSDs available for this build. The 8800 GTX that I’m using in this build is definitely a golden oldie, but the card length is similar to cards that are out on the market today, measuring approximately 10-9/16-inches (~268 mm) long.
Since the standoffs are installed from the factory, there is little prep work to do here.
I was able to drop the motherboard in place and mount it with the included screws and had zero issues fighting the install.
I then placed my HDDs in the areas that I wanted them, which turned out to just be in the drive cage in the main chamber.
I did put a 3.5-inch and 2.5-inch drive on the backside of the motherboard tray for demonstration purposes, but I did not hook them up.
I do have to note that the third location that you could put a drive in the rear, you will not be able to access any of the drives in the cage while the cage is in the top chamber. The bracket and drive will effectively block the SATA connections, leaving you with no way to connect the drives.
Next I mounted my video card and CPU cooler, using the Thermaltake Water 3.0 240mm cooler that I previously reviewed
. I chose to do a top mount as the tubing for this cooler isn’t extra-long like some other coolers can be. I found that I had zero issues fitting this cooler in place, too. There was an absurd amount of room to mount your cooler, and this is absolutely NOT a bad thing - I'm extremely happy!
The last component that I mounted was my PSU, and fortunately was able to use the lower chamber using the included 8-pin adapter for motherboard power. If your PSU’s cables aren’t long enough, you will end up having to use the upper chamber and just tuck your extra wires away – there’s plenty of space to do it. You have approximately 1.5 inches of space behind the motherboard tray to route wires, which I found simply awesome.
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Lastly I connected everything and here is the complete system.
One more shot with the door on, but not powered on.
Firing up the system, I have to say the included fans are whisper quiet, so I don’t think you’ll need that silent adapter. The blue glow from the two front Riing LED fans is a great accent behind the grille of the front cover. Unfortunately you cannot turn the LED off, so that is one con that I have to point out here.
Overall the build was incredibly easy, as you have tons of room to work with on the inside and more than enough room on the rear for wire management.
Let’s wrap this review up with some final thoughts.
Thermaltake Core X71 Full-Tower Chassis – Final Thoughts and Conclusion
I have to say, I think Thermaltake did a great job designing this case. The absolutely massive amounts of cooling potential and so many places to hide wires, you could build one wickedly awesome [looking] system inside this case. With only a few minor flaws to be found, I believe the Core X71 will be a hit. Take for example the shot that Thermaltake sent us - it looks pretty darn cool.
The outside of the case is very simplistic but nice looking. The patterns found throughout the chassis are pleasing to the eye and give it that little extra pop that a plain black case needs. I am ever gracious that Thermaltake decided to put easy-to-remove filters throughout. I can’t begin to tell you how much I dislike using a case that the bottom filter can only be removed from the rear, or the front filter can only be removed if I take out the fans (or something else attached to the fans). The magnetic filters are a favorite of mine and I was happy to see them included here.
The interior of the case is where all of the awesome happens. Sure there isn’t a whole lot going on inside, but it’s a fully modular design, meaning you can rip out most parts to make room for what you need inside. This fully modular design is what assists in the case’s custom water cooling loop potential. I really like the dual chamber design, but you have to realize that it adds a large amount of bulk to the case. If you’re not one wanting a massive case, then you might have to think twice about this case. On the other hand, if you like working with tons of room inside a case and want what seems like infinite possibilities for cooling, then this case is absolutely for you.
I think the only thing that this case could use, is a little bit more storage potential in a centralized location. You do have a total of three 3.5-inch slots to install drives, plus you can take over the 5.25-inch bays and install an additional two 3.5-inch or up to four 2.5-inch drives. Also, on the backside of the motherboard tray, you will find two spots for 3.5 or 2.5-inch drives, with a spot to install a third if you had a third bracket. Unfortunately should you choose to use the third bracket and the HDD cage in the upper chamber, you will find yourself cursing as you won’t be able to connect your SATA connections. Your remedy for this issue: Move the cage to the lower chamber. I also noticed that the HDD cage in the main area of the case appears to have slots to possibly accept an add-on drive cage, so I’m hoping these parts become available.
With an MSRP of $149.99, and being available starting January 22nd on Newegg
, I think Thermaltake will find themselves replenishing their distributors often. The price point for a full-tower chassis of this magnitude is spot on with what I’d expect to pay. The 3-year warranty is always a nice thing to have with your Thermaltake chassis purchase.
Overall I think this case will be a giant success for Thermaltake. I know when I get around to it I’ll be moving my main gaming rig over to this case. I can’t wait to see what else I can throw inside, as I refresh my main system for 2016.
Legit Bottom Line:
Near limitless cooling possibilities in a dual chamber design and at a solid price point make this case a “Must Have” for any serious enthusiast.