Thermaltake Armor A30 Case Review
By Gabriel Torres on April 25, 2011


Introduction

Hardware Secrets Golden Award

The latest addition to Thermaltake’s Armor series of cases is a compact model targeted to high-end small form factor (SFF) computers. Let’s see if the A30 is a good pick.

The overall look of the A30 is very aggressive, as you can see in Figures 1 and 2, with ventilation meshes everywhere and transparent windows on both side panels. This clearly indicates that it is targeted to users who want to build a small yet powerful PC.

Thermaltake Armor A30 case
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Figure 1: Thermaltake Armor A30 case

Thermaltake Armor A30 case
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Figure 2: Thermaltake Armor A30 case

The Front Panel

While several SFF cases have dropped the support for 5.25” optical drives and external 3.5” devices, the A30 support both, offering two 5.25” bays and one external 3.5” bay for a memory card reader or floppy disk drive. These bays are protected with meshed covers that have air filters on them.

Thermaltake Armor A30 case
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Figure 3: The front panel

The front panel of the Thermaltake Armor A30 comes with one USB 2.0 port, one USB 3.0 port, one eSATA port, and the traditional audio jacks.

Thermaltake Armor A30 case
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Figure 4: Connectors

At the bottom of the front panel there is a 90 mm fan (Thermaltake TT-9225, 1,200 rpm, 16 dBA) which glows blue when turned on. This fan uses a standard peripheral power connector and, therefore, you can’t monitor its speed.

Thermaltake Armor A30 case
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Figure 5: Front fan

The Top, Bottom, and Rear Panels

The top panel of the A30 is shown in Figure 6. It comes with a huge 230 mm fan (Thermaltake TT-2020, 800 rpm, 15 dBA), which glows blue when turned on. This fan uses a standard peripheral power connector, so you can’t monitor its speed. Something we can’t understand is why Thermaltake calls this fan “230 mm,” since its actual size is 190 mm, and it is smaller than 200 mm fans available on cases from other brands. If you read the part number of this fan (TT-2020), you can easily infer that this is a 200 mm part.

Thermaltake Armor A30 case
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Figure 6: Top panel

The bottom panel, seen in Figure 7, doesn’t have any remarkable feature.

Thermaltake Armor A30 case
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Figure 7: Bottom panel

The rear panel and the interior of the Thermaltake Armor A30 are painted black. This case has four expansion slots featuring vented covers, and the power supply is installed on the top part of the rear panel.

There are two 60 mm fans (Thermaltake TT-6025, 1,500 rpm, 18 dBA) on the rear panel, and they also use standard peripheral power connectors. A hole above the expansion slots is available for you to pass the cable of the front USB 3.0 port, because it needs to be installed on a USB 3.0 port available at the motherboard rear panel.

Thermaltake Armor A30 case
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Figure 8: Rear panel

Let’s now take a look inside the Thermaltake Armor A30.

Inside the Thermaltake Armor A30

The side panels of the Armor A30 are permanently attached to the chassis; you open this case by removing its top panel. The top panel is easily removed by unscrewing three black thumbscrews available at the rear panel.

Thermaltake Armor A30 case
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Figure 9: Top panel removed from the case

Thermaltake Armor A30 case
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Figure 10:  Case with the top panel removed

With the top panel removed, you will see two metallic parts. The one located at the rear end of the case is the power supply bracket, while the one located at the front end of the case hosts the external drive bays and the two internal 2.5” bays. Removing this bracket for the drive bays, which is fastened to the case using two black thumbscrews, you have access to the hard drive cage, which has two bays for 3.5” hard drives.

One great option of the Armor A30 is that its motherboard tray is removable, making it easier to install and add components. You will need to remove six black thumbscrews located at the rear panel in order to remove the motherboard tray.

Thermaltake Armor A30 case
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Figure 11: Removing the motherboard tray

Thermaltake Armor A30 case
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Figure 12: Motherboard tray removed from the case

Amazingly, the A30 supports video cards up to 13” (330 mm) in length. You can use a power supply to 8.7” (220 mm) deep (or longer if you remove the metallic bracket that hosts the disk drive bays).

The Disk Drive Bays

This case has two 5.25” external bays, one 3.5” external bay, two 3.5” internal bays, and two 2.5” internal bays.

As already explained, with the top panel removed you will see a metallic bracket located at the front end of the case that hosts the external drive bays and the two internal 2.5” bays, which use a tool-less installation mechanism – this is the first time we’ve seen 2.5” bays using tool-less installation mechanisms.

Thermaltake Armor A30 case
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Figure 13: The 2.5” bays

Removing this bracket for the drive bays, which is fastened to the case using two black thumbscrews, you have access to the hard drive cage, which has two bays for 3.5” hard drives.

Thermaltake Armor A30 case
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Figure 14: Disk drive bays removed from the case

Thermaltake Armor A30 case
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Figure 15: The 3.5” bays

The hard drive cage is removable, and although you need to use regular screws to install hard drives, the cage features rubber rings to reduce the vibration and, thus, noise produced by the hard drive.

Thermaltake Armor A30 case
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Figure 16: Hard drive cage removed from the case

Main Specifications

The main specifications for the Thermaltake Armor A30 include:

* Researched at Newegg.com on the day we published this review.

Conclusions

The Thermaltake Armor A30 is clearly targeted to users who want to build a small yet powerful PC, and we liked its construction quality. The only thing that could be better is the price, but we think it is fair for users building a high-end PC.

Strong Points

Weak Points

Originally at http://www.hardwaresecrets.com/article/Thermaltake-Armor-A30-Case-Review/1254


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