Thermaltake Armor A60 Case Review
By Gabriel Torres on September 3, 2010
Thermaltake has just released a new mid-tower case within their Armor series, A60. Let’s see what are the differences between the new A60 and the A90, which we’ve already reviewed, and see if this new case is a good buy.
The new A60 is clearly based on the body of the A90, but several small changes were made. The door available on the front panel of the A90 was removed (which, in our opinion, is an improvement), the second USB 2.0 port of the front panel was replaced by a USB 3.0 port, the number of USB ports was reduced from four to two, a place for an optional fan was added on the top panel, and a hot swap 3.5” bay (which is compatible with 2.5” devices) was added. This hot swap bay is accessed from the left panel of the case, so you can install a hard drive or an SSD without opening the case. In Figure 2, you can see that, when a drive is not installed, the hole is covered by a retractable lid that has Thermaltake’s logo on it. In Figure 3, you can see the 3.5”/2.5” drawer being installed through this hole.
The left side panel supports the installation of an optional 120 mm fan.
The front panel of the Thermaltake Armor A60 can be seen in Figure 4. As already explained, the front panel of the A60 is identical to the A90’s, but without the front door. The second USB 2.0 port was replaced with a USB 3.0 port. Because USB 3.0 ports are usually located on the motherboard rear panel, the front panel USB 3.0 port uses a regular USB A cable to be connected on the motherboard rear panel. On the A90 the eSATA port and two additional USB 2.0 ports are located on the top panel, and on the A60 the manufacturer moved the eSATA port to the front panel and removed the two additional USB ports.
The Armor A60 has three external 5.25” bays and one external 3.5” bay, which use meshed covers with air filters. The A60 comes with a 120 mm fan (model TT-1225) on its front panel, which glows blue when turned on. This fan rotates at 1,000 rpm and produces a 16 dBA noise level, and it comes with a standard peripheral power connector, so you have to install it directly on your power supply and can’t monitor its speed. You can install a second 120 mm fan on the front panel, as you can see in Figure 5, or you can remove the front fan and install a “200 mm” fan (we put it between quotes because the size is not exactly 200 mm, as we will explain in the next page). You will need to use some plastic spacers to install this bigger fan.
The top panel of the Thermaltake Armor A60 can be seen in Figure 6, and it is quite different from the top panel available on the A90. Both cases come with a “200-mm” fan installed (800 rpm, 15 dBA, glowing blue, model TT-1720), but the A60 comes with a space for you to install a second fan (120 mm). The “200 mm” fan isn’t 200 mm in size. We measured it and it has 170 mm with 160 mm blades. We think someone should step forward and do something to standardize fan sizes. This “200 mm” can be replaced by a 120 mm fan, if you like. The top fan uses a standard peripheral power connector, so you have to install it directly on your power supply and can’t monitor its speed.
The bottom panel of the A60 is identical to the A90’s, with a mesh to match the fan of the power supply. This mesh has an air filter that is accessible from outside the case.
The rear panel of the A60 is also identical to the A90’s. The only difference between the two models here is that in the new A60 two of the four holes for liquid cooling solutions come already broken and with a plastic ring. The rear panel features a 120 mm fan (1,000 rpm, 16 dBA, model TT-1225, three-pin power connector), four holes for hoses of liquid cooling solutions, an anti-theft device for keyboard and mouse, tabs for you to install a padlock or a warranty seal to prevent people from opening the computer, and a mesh above the area where the expansion cards are installed. The slot covers are vented, which may improve airflow inside the case. The power supply is installed at the bottom of the case and the rear panel and the interior of this case are painted black. In Figure 8, you can also see the USB 3.0 cable to be connected on the motherboard rear panel.
Let’s now take a look inside the Thermaltake Armor A60.
Both side panels are fastened to the case using black thumbscrews, which is great to see. In Figure 9, you have an overall look at the inside of the A60. The main difference between the A60 and the A90 is on the hard drive bays, as we will explain in the next page.
The motherboard tray has a big hole around the area where the CPU is installed, allowing access to the backplate of the CPU cooler, so you can replace the cooler without having to remove the motherboard. The motherboard tray doesn’t have holes for you to route cables behind it, however the motherboard tray doesn’t go all the way to the front panel, meaning that there is a communication between the area behind the disk drive bays and the back of the motherboard tray, allowing you to easily route and hide cables behind the motherboard tray. The motherboard tray also has three metallic clips for you to fasten cables using cable ties.
Because of the new hard drive bays that take up less space, the new A60 allows you to install video cards up to 12” (305 mm) – the A90 supports video cards up to 10.2” (260 mm). Both cases support CPU coolers up to 7.1” (180 mm) tall.
In Figure 11 you have another overall look inside the case. Expansion cards are fastened using regular screws. We’d prefer to see thumbscrews here.
Note that the power supply can be installed with either its bottom fan facing up or facing down. A mesh with an air filter is available on the bottom panel, if you decide to install the power supply with its fan facing down. A support bracket for the power supply is available and it can be moved to better match the size of your power supply. A place for installing a 120 mm fan is available on the bottom panel.
The Thermaltake Armor A60 comes with three external 5.25” bays, one external 3.5” bay and six internal 3.5” bays, all supporting 2.5” devices. The 5.25” bays use screwless installation mechanisms, but the 3.5” external bay requires the use of regular screw.
One of the main differences between the new Armor A60 and the A90 is on the internal 3.5” bays. In the A60 the internal bays were rotated 90°. This not only makes drive installation easy, but also increased the space available inside the case, making the A60 to support longer video cards.
Each internal 3.5” bay is located inside a little drawer, shown in Figure 14. The installation of 3.5” hard drives can be made without the use of screws, since the drawers have small pins that fits the holes available on hard drives. You can, if you want, add regular screws. The drawers are compatible with 2.5” devices but the installation must be done using regular screws.
The top-most internal bay has hot swap connectors, since this is the bay that is accessible from outside the case.
The main specs for the Thermaltake Armor A60 case include:
Even though the new Thermaltake Armor A60 is based on the Armor A90, it has a set of features that makes it better than its predecessor. In fact, this is the first time that we see a product with a “lower” model number being better than a product with a “higher” model number. The A90 was originally quoted at USD 90, but since Thermaltake also released the A60 at USD 90, they dropped the price of the A90 to USD 80. We think the new A60 provides a terrific cost/benefit ratio for users that have USD 90 to spend on a computer case.