Thermaltake Core X5 Cube Chassis

[caption id="attachment_182329" align="aligncenter" width="645"]Thermaltake Core X5 Thermaltake Core X5 Cube Chassis[/caption] At CES 2015, Thermaltake introduced us to their Core X line which included three models, X1, X2 and X9.  Each of them was designed for different size of motherboards but maintained the ability for the end user to customize the chassis to fit their specific need.  The Thermaltake Core X5 is their their latest cube chassis that debuted at CES 2016 and is designed to support up to an E-ATX motherboard along with a wide range of cooling options.  The Thermaltake Core X5 is currently available in Black and Green both of which can be easily found online starting at $147.40 with free shipping for the Black version, while the Green one includes Riing fans, making it slightly more expensive at $169.99 with free shipping.   [caption id="attachment_183032" align="aligncenter" width="474"]Thermaltake Core X5 Thermaltake Core X5 Stacked[/caption] The Core X5 is similar to the Core X9, but is slightly smaller coming in at 18.2" x 14.6" x 21.3" versus the X9 which is 19.8" x 15" x 25.2".  Both cases will support the same size of motherboard, but being slightly smaller the Core X5 has some differences between the two cases.  However, the key features remain the same.  Like the other cases in the Core line-up, the Core X5 is extemely modular, easy to customize and stackable. [caption id="attachment_183033" align="aligncenter" width="645"]Thermaltake Core X5 Thermaltake Core X5 Components[/caption] Before we get to taking a closer look at the Core X5, if you are unfamilar with the customization that is possible with the Core X line, this should give you an idea.  Nearly every piece of the Core X5 can be removed with thumbscrews, all the way down to the frame.  In addition to removing the interior components, you can also swap side panels and even change the location of the front I/O cluster. Features and Specifications
Core X5 Specifications
Model Core X5
Part Number CA-1E8-00M1WN-00
Case Type E-ATX Cube Case
Dimension (HxWxD) 463 x 371 x 540mm (18.2 x 14.6 x 21.3 inch)
Net Weight 12kg / 26.5lbs
Side Panel Transparent Window
Color Exterior & Interior: Black
Material SGCC
Cooling System

Front (Intake): 120 x 120 x 25mm Turbo Fan (1000RPM, 16dBA)

Rear (Exhaust): 120 x 120 x 25mm Turbo Fan (1000RPM, 16dBA)

Drive Bays

3 x 5.25"

Accessible: 4 x 3.5" or 2.5" (HDD Cage)

Hidden: 3 x 2.5" (HDD Tray)

Expansion Slots 8
Motherboards Mini-ITX; Micro-ATX; ATX; E-ATX
PSU Standard PS2 PSU (Optional)
I/O Ports USB 3.0 x 2; USB 2.0 x 2; HD Audio x 1
LCS Upgradable Supports 1/2", 3/8", 1/4" water tube
Fan Support Front:  3 x 120mm; 2 x 140mm; 1 x 200mm Top: 6 x 120mm; 4 x 140mm; 2 x 200mm Rear: 1 x 120mm; 1 x 140mm Bottom:  6 x 120mm Left / Right Side:  3 x 120mm
Radiator Support Front: 1 x 360mm; 1 x 280mm; 1 x 200mm Top: 2 x 360mm; 1 x 280mm; 1 x 400mm Rear: 1 x 120mm; 1 x 140mm Bottom: 2 x 360mm Left / Right Side: 1 x 360mm
Clearance CPU Cooler height limitation: 230mm VGA length limitation: 330mm (with ODD Cage); 480mm (without ODD Cage) PSU length limitation: 220mm (with Bottom Fan)
[caption id="attachment_183034" align="aligncenter" width="645"]Thermaltake Core X5 Thermaltake Core X5 Cooling Options[/caption] Let's take a closer look at the Thermaltake Core X5 before building a system into the chassis.

Thermaltake Core X5 Exterior

[caption id="attachment_182324" align="aligncenter" width="645"]Thermaltake Core X5 Thermaltake Core X5 Packaging[/caption] The Thermaltake Core X5 comes in a pretty standard cardboard box.  This particular case was shipped multiple times before it arrived at my doorstep.  There is minimal damage to the packaging, maybe it got lucky and the shippers were extra careful with it.   Thermaltake has provided a quick glimpse of the case, along with the model and some information, and an exploded case view on the other.  On the two smaller sides, Thermaltake has placed the features and specifications.  The case itself is packed in a pretty standard method, placed in side a plastic bag and surrounded with Styrofoam.  With the case removed, we can begin our inspection of the exterior. [caption id="attachment_182325" align="aligncenter" width="645"]Thermaltake Core X5 Thermaltake Core X5 Front Panel[/caption] The front of the Thermaltake Core X5 is pretty plain, featuring a fully vented panel.  There are three 5.25" drive bays in the top half of the case. [caption id="attachment_182326" align="aligncenter" width="645"]Thermaltake Core X5 Thermaltake Core X5 Side Window[/caption] Turning to the side, Thermaltake has installed a large windowed side panel which will provide a nice view of the system components.  One of the features of the Core X5 is it's ability to be customized to your particular situation.  If the window is on the wrong side, you can swap it for the other side panel. [caption id="attachment_182327" align="aligncenter" width="645"]Thermaltake Core X5 Thermaltake Core X5 Front I/O[/caption] Along the front edge of the side panel is the front I/O cluster, it features the usual components.  Here we can see the power and HD activity LED at the top, followed by a large power button.  Next we find four USB connections, two of which are SuperSpeed 3.0, and two older 2.0 connections.  Finally, we have the headphone and microphone jacks, and a reset button.  Like the windowed side panel, this I/O cluster is designed to be swapped to the other side if that is your preference. [caption id="attachment_182364" align="aligncenter" width="645"]Thermaltake Core X5 Thermaltake Core X5 Cube Chassis[/caption] The back panel has some very important features if you are planning on customizing the interior layout.  Starting at the bottom, there is room for two power supplies, one slot is ready, the other has a cover.  Above the power supplies is some additional venting, which we will see what it's for later.  On the left side is a cable security slot if you take your case to different events.  The top half of the case includes the motherboard, which is indicated by the standard motherboard I/O key slot, and the eight expansion slots, which are tool-less using thumbscrews.  Thermaltake has included a theft deterant cover over the thumbscrews.  Here we find the rear exhaust outside, which is pre-populated with a 120mm fan, that is rated for 1,000 RPM at 16dBA.  Finally, an oversize water line / cable pass-through hole which is large enough to support up to 1/2" diameter water lines. [caption id="attachment_182365" align="aligncenter" width="645"]Thermaltake Core X5 Thermaltake Core X5 Cube Chassis Solid Side Panel[/caption] The back side of the Core X5 has a solid panel, which is well ventilated to provide plenty of airflow potential into the case [caption id="attachment_182366" align="aligncenter" width="645"]Thermaltake Core X5 Thermaltake Core X5 Cube Chassis Top Panel[/caption] The top panel looks similar to the solid side panel being well ventilated.  Which is good as the Core X5 supports up to 2x 360mm radiators or fans in this location. [caption id="attachment_182367" align="aligncenter" width="645"]Thermaltake Core X5 Thermaltake Core X5 Cube Chassis Bottom Panel[/caption] Along the bottom panel are three filters that cover the vast majority of this side.  I appreciate that Thermaltake has include simple mesh filters on this side, however they are not easily removable for cleaning; magnetic filters or filters on rails would have been preferred.  The four case feet raise the case by 1.25 inches, and have rubber on them to keep the case from sliding around; these are easily removed if necessary.  At the front section, there is a large removable panel if you are stacking cases to allow items to pass through to the next case. [caption id="attachment_182368" align="aligncenter" width="645"]Thermaltake Core X5 Thermaltake Core X5 Cube Chassis Accessories[/caption] For most, an installation guide is going to be overkill, however with the unique options of the Core X5 there is some good information to be found in here.  Thermaltake supplies a good accessory pack with the Core X5.  Included in the accessory pack are cable ties, fan screws, E-ATX standoffs, expansion slot covers, thumbscrews, speaker and all the necessary screws to install the motherboard, drives, and radiators.

Thermaltake Core X5 Interior

[caption id="attachment_182392" align="aligncenter" width="645"]Thermaltake Core X5 Thermaltake Core X5 Panels Removed[/caption] To take a closer look at the internal components of the Core X5, we have removed the exterior panels.  Here we can see the basic front intake 120mm fan which is rated for 1,000RPM at 16dBA. [caption id="attachment_182394" align="aligncenter" width="645"]Thermaltake Core X5 Thermaltake Core X5 Internal Side View[/caption] My first impression when looking at the side of the case, is that there seems to be a large amount of room inside the chassis to work in it.  Of course that is what you expect from a cube chassis that supports up to an E-ATX motherboard.  It's like building a system in a Full (or larger) Tower case; plenty of room for your components.  Here we can start to see some of the customization options, four thumbscrews is all that holds the AIO support bracket in place is easily removable and swapped to the other side; of course the power supply has to be moved to an alternate location to install the AIO bracket on the other side.    The 5.25" device bays are tool-less which as we will find, is very common throughout the Core X5. [caption id="attachment_182400" align="aligncenter" width="645"]Thermaltake Core X5 Thermaltake Core X5 Motherboard Tray[/caption] The motherboard tray comes with standoffs pre-installed, and has an oversize hole for installing CPU cooler support brackets after attaching the motherboard to the tray.  Speaking of the motheboard tray, it is held in place with four thumbscrews (two inside, and two on back), and one screw on back side making it easily removable.. [caption id="attachment_182405" align="aligncenter" width="645"]Thermaltake Core X5 Thermaltake Core X5 "Back" Side View[/caption] On the opposite side we can get a view of one of the 3.5" drive cages, the three 2.5" drive trays and the default power supply location which has a support bracket with rubber feet to reduce vibration.  Each of these options can be moved to the other side of the case if desired. [gallery ids="182390,182389"] On the inside of the back side panel we find that there are two removable magnetic mesh filters. [caption id="attachment_182402" align="aligncenter" width="645"]Thermaltake Core X5 Thermaltake Core X5 Back Panel[/caption] With the motherboard tray removed, we can take a look at the bottom section of the case and the back panel.  The back panel doesn't provide any real surprises; eight standard expansion slots, an included 120mm fan (replaceable with up to a 140mm), extra cable management / liquid cooler hole and the required motherboard rear I/O slot.  On the bottom section, we find the two 3.5" drive cages, and the power supply slot which can be swapped to the other side of desired. [caption id="attachment_182391" align="aligncenter" width="645"]Thermaltake Core X5 Thermaltake Core X5 Front Panel[/caption] The front panel is removed from the case by pulling from the bottom; it comes off without any difficulty, but remains in place securely.  There are three 5.25" device bays, which are removable if you want to use that space to install a large radiator; which will support up to a 360mm.  The front panel has a plastic mesh to help keep larger particles out of the case, the bottom half is removable, however it uses some slots to hold it in place which while functional, I would prefer a filter that snaps in more securely and is easier to clean without removing the front panel.   [caption id="attachment_182401" align="aligncenter" width="645"]Thermaltake Core X5 Thermaltake Core X5 3.5" Cages[/caption] There are two removable 3.5" drive cages on the bottom level.  They are identical, and both contain trays for two 3.5" drives.    The trays allow for a tool-less 3.5" drive installation, or you can install 2.5" drives using screws through the bottom of the tray. [caption id="attachment_182404" align="aligncenter" width="645"]Thermaltake Core X5 Thermaltake Core X5 2.5" Tray[/caption] While you can install 2.5" drives onto the 3.5" drive trays, there are three dedicated trays for 2.5" drives.  Held in by thumbscrews they are easy to remove and attach your 2.5" drive.  Technically any 2.5" drive should fit on them, however as there is no anti-vibration, they are mainly suited for SSD's.  This view is the inside side of the tray, the SSD's would be placed on the other side, the little hole at the top helps with cable routing. [caption id="attachment_182397" align="aligncenter" width="645"]Thermaltake Core X5 Thermaltake Core X5 Top Support Rails[/caption] With the top panel removed, we find two sets of support brackets that will support up to a 400mm radiator, up to two 360mm radiators.  If air cooling is your preference, these will of course support fans as well.  The brackets are held in place with thumbscrews at the back, and a slide in slot at the front.  Thermaltake has marked the slots and screw holes for each size making it easy to have them line up for the appropriate configuration.   Let's take a look at the build process to see what you should be aware of when building a system within the Core X5.

Thermaltake Core X5 Build

[caption id="attachment_182643" align="aligncenter" width="645"]Thermaltake Core X5 Thermaltake Core X5 System Installed[/caption] If you have installed a motherboard before, there are no surprises when installing a motherboard inside the Thermaltake Core X5.  As the motherboard tray is removable, if you do not install your CPU cooler prior to installing the motherboard, you have the option of removing the tray to install the cooler.  Thermaltake has pre-installed the necessary standoffs for a standard ATX motherboard.  For other sizes, the standoffs can be moved, and three long standoffs are provided for E-ATX motherboards.  Within the Core X5, there are many options for installing a liquid cooler.  While I opted to install the small Deep Cool Captain 120mm AIO liquid cooler in the Core X5, however you can install up to 360mm at the Front, Top, Bottom and Sides; or at the rear of the case up to a 140mm radiator.  I went ahead and installed the radiator and fan at the top of the case.  If air cooling is more to your liking, you can install a CPU cooler that is up to 230mm in height! [caption id="attachment_182547" align="aligncenter" width="645"]Thermaltake Core X5 Thermaltake Core X5 PSU Installation[/caption] While installing the power supply, I found that there is a removable support bracket that needs to be adjusted a little for the power supply.  Not only does it get secured to the case by the common four screws on the back, but the support bracket also acts as a retainer.  On the support bracket are two spots that press against the power supply to provide it a little additional security.  The bracket can be moved and adjusted by two thumbscrews; it was in the perfect spot for a standard ATX power supply; however with the 3.5" drive chassis right above the power supply, I had to remove the bracket, install the power supply, and slide the bracket under the back side. [caption id="attachment_182549" align="aligncenter" width="645"]Thermaltake Core X5 Thermaltake Core X5 2.5" SSD Installation[/caption] When installing the drives, depending on your configuration, the drive cables will need to be thought out.  A mixture of right angle and straight SATA connection cables are necessary.  For example, the 2.5" drive trays need the right angle SATA cables, while the 3.5" drives (particularly those above the power supply) could use both straight and right angle SATA cables.  Installing the power cables also were a little challenging, using the connectors in the middle of the cable was easy, needing to use the straight power connector at the end of the cable posed a bit of a challenge, and I would be concerned over long term stress on the cable and connector.   [caption id="attachment_182645" align="aligncenter" width="645"]Thermaltake Core X5 Thermaltake Core X5 Side Window with SSD[/caption] To finish the build, I decided to go ahead move the 2.5" SSD trays and remove the 360mm AIO Liquid Cooler bracket.  The 3.5" drive cage that gets installed on this side against the power supply housing, it would have been nice if you could have it flipped to show the hard drives in the space left.  Instead you can't see that it's installed as the back/bottom of the drive cage is visible through the window. [caption id="attachment_182741" align="aligncenter" width="645"]Thermaltake Core X5 Thermaltake Core X5 I/O and Window Panel Switched[/caption] Switching the front I/O panel is very easy to do, two screws on each side, and you can remove the panel along with the attached cables.  You will want to do this prior to finishing the build, as the cables are attached to the I/O panel so they need to come out of the case as well.  One little difference when swapping the I/O panel, on this side, it is upside down from the other.  The window and solid side panels can also be swapped, nothing to that.  I had already moved the 2.5" SSD trays to the other side, however I could have left them over here to show off the SSD's through the window.  

Final Thoughts and Conclusions

[caption id="attachment_182645" align="aligncenter" width="645"]Thermaltake Core X5 Thermaltake Core X5 Side Window with SSD[/caption] Thermaltake knows a thing or two about building and designing cases for enthusiasts, that are extremely well made.  The Thermaltake Core X5 is one of those cases that won't fit everybody's tastes, however if you are looking for a cube case that you can customize to suit your particular needs, then the Core X5 is a great choice.  It will fit a wide range of systems with motherboards up to E-ATX with multiple cooling options. Overall design aside, when looking for a case you should be concerned about the build quality, this is another area that Thermaltake excels in like their other cases, the Core X5 should hold up for many years.  Their attention to detail allows even a novice to successfully build a system into the Core X5 with ease.  Thumbscrews are used extensively throughout the case to hold everything in place. [caption id="attachment_182741" align="aligncenter" width="645"]Thermaltake Core X5 Thermaltake Core X5 I/O and Window Panel Switched[/caption] One of the key features of the Core X5 is the flexibility of customizing the layout of the case.  If the front I/O is on the wrong side, you can move it to the other side.  This is a pretty common theme on the Core X5; side panels, SSD trays, power supply, side cooling bracket, and 3.5" drive cages can be swapped from one side to the other.  The only things that really can't be relocated is the motherboard, and the front 5.25" bays (these can be removed entirely though). [caption id="attachment_183034" align="aligncenter" width="645"]Thermaltake Core X5 Thermaltake Core X5 Cooling Options[/caption] For cooling, there are so many options it is hard to go through and list them all.  Thankfully Thermaltake has a nice exploded graphic that shows all the various options for liquid cooling radiators and fans.  In addition, if one X5 isn't enough for your monster system, you can always get a second one and stack them. Nearly everything the Core X5 does, is nearly perfect.  I can think of two things that I would ask Thermaltake to take a look at.  First, it would be the 2.5" SSD trays; cable routing can be problematic, but not impossible to do.  The biggest obstacle is the power connection, which even using the mid-line connectors is a little difficult.  The second is pretty minor, the front fan filter is too easily knocked out of it's slots and can vibrate between the front panel and the fans. If the Thermaltake Core X5 Cube chassis fits your design needs, you can find it online for $147.40 with free shipping for the black model, and $169.99 with free shipping for the Green Riing model.  Not only do you get a sturdy and well designed case, Thermaltake also includes a three year warranty on their cases. LR Recommended Award Legit Bottom Line:  The Core X5 follows the other Core X cases in making it easy to customize the case to suit your needs.  Whether it's using one case, or stacking multiple cases, the Core X5 is a great choice for a cube case that is easily customized for your particular needs.