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Thermaltake is well-known with their chassis as they have been producing great design, performance-grade, and highly versatile chassis. Armor A30 was launched in Dec 2010 and Thermaltake categorized it as gaming cube form factor since it is neither a mini case nor a mid-tower case. Don't be misleading by the size of Armor A30 as it can do far more than its size; let us explore it to you.
Started from the passion for the DIY (Do It Yourself) concepts and the desires to realize the goal of "Ideas are originated from humanity; Realizing ideas is our belief." Thermaltake Technology was established in January, 1999 and has been market to the world with "Thermaltake" brand name ever since.
Thermaltake became the number one choice for PC DIY enthusiast worldwide with its innovatively breakthrough product designs. The concept of "Quality", "Performance", and "Reliability" have been incorporated into the design of Thermaltake PC Chassis, Cooler and Power Supply to assure the components meet the highest standard.
• Characteristic black bulletproof armor design with metal mesh elements.
• Top and front blue LED fan creates combat ambience and excellent ventilation.
• Front I/O with USB 3.0 SuperSpeed Connector.
• Support Micro-ATX/Mini-ITX motherboard and high-end graphic cards up to 13" / 33 cm.
• Compact size ideal for Lanparty event
Package & Contents
As usual Thermaltake Armor A30 comes with a pretty interesting and eye-catching box. There is a handle on top of the box which allows users to carry it in a much easier way. The used foams are breakable type so users have to be cautious when deal with it; overall we are pretty satisfied with the packaging.
Most of the performance chassis will come with plenty of accessories but Thermaltake Armor A30 only comes with standard accessories such as installation screws, user's guide and cable ties. Two years warranty is given for Thermaltake Armor A30 which is more than enough for a chassis.
A Closer Exterior Look on Thermaltake Armor A30
Attractiveness is one of the important criteria when selecting a chassis especially among the youngsters. This is one of the reasons why mini case is not as popular as other standard chassis besides its expected weaker performance. However Thermaltake is going to change this traditional concept on mini case with the launch of Armor A30.
Besides the great design of Thermaltake Armor A30, it is also able to compete with standard ATX chassis since most of the high performance hardware are fittable within the chassis; graphic card up to 33cm length is supported. Besides that Thermaltake Armor A30 is also compatible with Micro-ATX motherboard (similar performance with ATX board); say bye bye to low end mini-ITX board.
As we mentioned before Thermaltake Armor A30 is not really a mini case where its dimension and weight are 266 x 291 x 456 mm and 6.7KG. This cube form factor; Thermaltake Armor A30 is able to support two 5.25" and one 3.5" exposed drives which is more than enough for normal usage and it is hardly to find a mini case which supports more than one 5.25" exposed drive.
Besides the standard power on and reset buttons, Thermaltake Armor A30 is also furnished with some front I/O; there are eSATA x 1, USB 2.0 x 1, HD audio jacks and USB 3.0 x 1. It is definitely good to see the USB 3.0 (blue connector) on Thermaltake Armor A30 which gives 4.8Gbps transfer speed; about 10 x faster than USB 2.0.
System performance is highly dependable on its cooling efficiency especially for such mini case hence Thermaltake Armor A30 is powered with a 230mm blue LED cooling fan on its top panel for stronger airflow and charming look. Rubber stands are used to hold the Thermaltake Armor A30 firmly on the ground although it is not a height case.
Both of the side panels of Thermaltake Armor A30 are exactly identical and Thermaltake has included a small acrylic window on them; it's time to show off the internal organs of your rig. With such brave and good tried, Thermaltake has just changed our mindset completely where mini case is no longer bored as it could be as fun as those bulky chassis.
The top empty area of Thermaltake Armor A30's rear panel is used to station a standard ATX PSU; smaller form factor PSU is not required. Due to the space constraint of Thermaltake Armor A30, two 60mm tiny fans right on top the rear I/O panel are used to enhance the internal airflow besides the help of the 230mm cooling fan.
A Closer Interior Look on Thermaltake Armor A30
The whole motherboard tray of Thermaltake Armor A30 is removable together with the I/O panel and this is only happened on tower chassis in olden days. Such design is able to solve the installation problem due to the limited internal room of the chassis; another amazing feature that we would like to highlight here.
Here is the closer look of Thermaltake Armor A30's motherboard tray and the whole interior chassis is fully painted in black; not only gorgeous but also corrosion resistance. The top panel is quite thick compare with normal top panel as Thermaltake has to hide the 230mm cooling fan inside the panel for minimizing the compatible issue.
Thermaltake Armor A30 is not really tool-less chassis but it comes with great flexibility where most of the component installation can be done outside the chassis. This front drive case is used to hold 2 x 2.5" HDD, 2 x 5.25" and 1 x 3.5" exposed drives. The exposed bays are not limited for optical and floppy drives but also compatible with fan speed controller, thermal monitoring and etc.
Unlike other mini cases, Thermaltake Armor A30 is compatible with standard ATX PSU but it is advisable to use a modular cable PSU so that unnecessary cables can be removed out. The HDD cage can be used to accommodate 2 x 3.5" HDDs and with the 2 x 2.5" HDDs on the optical drive cage, Thermaltake Armor A30 can support up to four HDDs at once.
Three mesh fillers are used to fill up the exposed drive bays for giving additional fresh airflow to cool down the internal components. Besides the 230mm top and 2 x 60mm cooling fans, Thermaltake Armor A30 is also equipped with another 90 mm blue LED cooling fan at the front panel through this mesh fillers.
Installation, Testing & Performance
There is no doubt that Thermaltake Armor A30 is definitely a well-designed case but let us find out whether these features are useful in practical usage or not. First of all the HDD installation should be done outside the case as the HDD cage comes with vibration dampers so it will be hard to slot in the HDD within the case. Motherboard installation is just a piece of cake with the removable motherboard tray.
No installation issue for 5.25" and 3.5" drives but it is advisable to use a 5.25" drive shorter chassis so that it will get blocked with the PSU cabling. PSU installation has to be done outside the chassis as well and cable management is playing very important role here for better cooling efficient. Thermaltake Armor A30 is only able to support slim type of CPU cooler due to its height constraint with the PSU.
We have installed our Galaxy GeForce GTX260+ dual slot long graphic card on Thermaltake Armor A30 and there is not any compatible issue at all; heavy gaming on mini case is no longer a problem with Thermaltake Armor A30. Anyway Thermaltake Armor A30 looks incredible great through its side windows and any single CCFL will make it even charming.
Overall we are pretty satisfied with installation and setup of Thermaltake Armor A30 especially its flexible tray and cages although tool-less device is not available. However it will take longer time to setup the Thermaltake Armor A30 as there are many detail works to do in order to get the perfect setup. If you enjoy such D.I.Y work then it should be fine else you should just buy yourself a completed-built system from a branded vendor; maybe Dell Inspiron Zino HD, HP Pavilion Slimline or others.
Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo E8300 @ 2.83GHz
Motherboard: Gigabyte G31M-ES2L
Heatsink: Stock cooler
Memory: Kingston HyperX DDR2 8500
Hard Drive: 250GB 7200RPM 8MB Seagate
Graphic Card: Galaxy GeForce GTX260+
PSU: Thermaltake ToughPower Grand 650W
Chassis: Thermaltake Armor A30
Optical Drive: DVD RW
Monitor: Dell 22" Wide Screen LCD
Speaker: Edifier R501
Mouse: SteelSeries Ikari Laser
Mouse Pad: SteelSeries QcK+
HeadSet: SteelSeries 3H
Router: TRENDnet TEW-639GR
Operating System: Window XP Pro SP2/Win 7 HP
Ambient Temperature: 27 Degree Celsius
Here are the cooling performances of Thermaltake Armor A30; processor, graphic card, hard drive and system. With the existence of the 230mm cooling fan and the internal structure, Thermaltake Armor A30 performs much better than what we have expected. Processor performance can be further improved with those copper heat-pipe CPU cooler plus stronger airflow fan; have to deal with the nosier environment. Both of the 230mm and 90mm blue LED fans look just nice and it will be definitely eye-catching during Lan Party as no one is expected to see such gorgeous mini case.
Have you ever thought that a mini case could be fun and interesting as well? Thermaltake Armor A30 is a real kickass product where it is not only attractive but also well-designed. Some of the remarkable features of Thermaltake Armor A30 are removable motherboard tray & cages which just makes the life easier and its performance could be as good as normal ATX chassis since most of the high end hardware are compatible. Everything does not come with nothing; price is the only drawback that we would say as a better ATX chassis could be purchased at the same price. Anyway if you are looking for such small chassis but not affordable to lose the performance then Thermaltake Armor A30 is the one that you should look for.
+ Cube form factor
+ Gorgeous look & design
+ Solid structure
+ Compatible with high end components
+ Removable motherboard tray
+ Useful removable cages
+ 230mm cooling fan
+ USB 3.0 is ready
+ 2.5" HDD is supported
+ Blue LED lightning
+ Transparent acrylic window
- Not cheap
Thanks to Thermaltake for providing this sample for us to review.
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