Thermaltake Armor A90 Case Review
By Gabriel Torres on May 18, 2010


Introduction

Hardware Secrets Golden Award

Let’s take a look at the latest mid-tower case from Thermaltake, Armor A90. Although in the same series as Armor+ and Armor+ MX, Armor A90 carries no resemblance with these other two models. Let’s see.

The overall design of Armor A90 is very unique, which will probably please all sort of users. The left-side panel has a mesh with big holes supporting an optional 120 mm fan. This mesh doesn’t come with an air filter, but it should.

Thermaltake Armor A90 case
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Figure 1: Thermaltake Armor A90 case.

Thermaltake Armor A90 case
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Figure 2: Thermaltake Armor A90 case.

In Figure 3, you can see the front panel from Armor A90. The two big black parts look like they are meshed, but this doesn’t happen. The bottom part is vented, as you can see, with a 120 mm fan behind it. This fan glows blue when turned on, spinning at 1,000 rpm and producing a 16 dBA noise level. This fan comes with a standard peripheral power connector so you can’t install it on your motherboard to monitor its speed. An air filter is present between this fan and the front panel.

Armor A90 comes with a front door, which uses a magnetic latch. Fortunately all connectors and buttons are not placed behind this door, so you won’t need to open the door every time you want to turn on your computer or keep the door open when you have a USB device installed.

Thermaltake Armor A90 case
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Figure 3: Front panel.

With the door opened (Figure 4) we can see the three external 5.25” bays and one external 3.5” bay that are present. The 5.25” bays use meshed covers with air filters, which doesn’t make much sense since the front panel has a door that you will probably keep closed most of the time.

Thermaltake Armor A90 case
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Figure 4: Front panel with the door opened.

It is also possible to change the fan configuration from the front panel. You can add a second 120 mm fan or remove the 120 mm 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.

Thermaltake Armor A90 case
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Figure 5: Fan options on the front panel.

Introduction (Contíd)

On Figures 6 and 7 you can see all connectors that come with Armor A90. On the front panel (Figure 6) we have two USB ports (far away from each other, which is great) and the audio jacks. On the top panel (Figure 7) we have two more USB ports and an eSATA port.

Thermaltake Armor A90 case
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Figure 6: Connectors (front panel).

Thermaltake Armor A90 case
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Figure 7: Connectors (top panel).

In Figure 8, you can see the top panel, which comes with a big fan spinning at 800 rpm and producing 15 dBA noise level. Just like the front fan, this part glows blue when turned on and uses a regular peripheral power connector, meaning you can’t monitor its speed. This fan is officially a 200-mm part, but the funny thing is that we measured it and it has only 170-mm in length with 160-mm blades. Honestly someone should do something to standardize fan sizes in a honest way.

Thermaltake Armor A90 case
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Figure 8: Top panel.

In Figure 9, you can see the bottom panel. Here you can see the air filter for the power supply fan, which is accessible from outside the case.

Thermaltake Armor A90 case
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Figure 9: Bottom panel.

And finally in Figure 10 you can see the rear panel from this case. The power supply goes on the bottom part of the case and both the rear panel and the interior of this case are painted black, giving it a very professional looks. As you can see, the slot covers are vented, which may improve air flow inside the case, and there is a mesh above where the expansion cards are installed. Armor A90 comes with a 120 mm fan on its rear panel (1,000 rpm, 16 dBA), this time using a small three-pin connector allowing you to install it on your motherboard and thus monitor its speed.

There are some interesting small details here. Armor A90 has four holes for you to pass hoses from liquid cooling solutions (two on the top part and two on the bottom part), but you will need to break the metallic covers from these holes in order to use them. An anti-theft device for keyboard and mouse is present (see the loop above the top-most expansion slot), and one nice thing about this device is that it uses a thumbscrew (so you won’t need a screwdriver to use it), which is located inside the case. A place for installing a padlock or a warranty seal is also available (see it on the lower right corner from Figure 10).

Thermaltake Armor A90 case
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Figure 10: Rear panel.

Now let’s take a look inside Thermaltake Armor A90.

Inside Thermaltake Armor A90

Armor A90 uses black thumscrews to hold both side panels. In Figure 11 you have an overall view from inside the reviewed case while in Figure 12 you can see the case from behind the motherboard tray. As mentioned, the interior from this case is painted black. The motherboard tray has an opening on the area where the CPU is located, so if you want to upgrade your CPU cooler in the future with a model that comes with a different kind of back plate you won’t need to remove the motherboard from the case in order to install it. The motherboard tray, however, doesn’t have holes for you to route cables behind it. On the other hand, the hard drive bays are flushed with the left-side wall of the case instead of being flushed against the right-side wall as it usually happens. The consequence is that there is a “compartment” between the hard disk drive bays and the right-side panel for you to store cables. The motherboard tray also has some clips for you to use with zip-lock ties.

Thermaltake Armor A90 case
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Figure 11: Overall look.

Thermaltake Armor A90 case
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Figure 12: A view from behind the motherboard tray.

This case allows the installation of video cards up to 10 ¼” (26 cm) long and CPU coolers up to 7 1/8” (180 mm) tall.

Expansion cards are fastened using regular screws. We’d prefer to see thumbscrews here.

Thermaltake Armor A90 case
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Figure 13: Overall look.

In Figure 14, you can see the power supply compartment of Armor A90. One cool feature is the presence of an adjustable support bracket, which can be moved to match the power supply size. An air filter is available here.

Thermaltake Armor A90 case
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Figure 14: Power supply compartment.

The Disk Drive Bays

Armor A90 comes with three external 5.25” bays, one external 3.5” bay, six internal 3.5” bays and one internal 2.5” bay. The external 5.25” bays and the internal 3.5” bays use screwless retention mechanisms, while the external 3.5” bay and the internal 2.5” require the use of regular screws.

Thermaltake Armor A90 case
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Figure 15: Disk drive bays.

Thermaltake Armor A90 case
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Figure 16: 2.5” bay.

There is enough space for you to install a 3.5” hard disk drive on the bottom-most 3.5” bay and a storage device on the 2.5” bay at the same time.

Main Specifications

Thermaltake Armor A90 case main specs include:

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

Conclusions

Thermaltake Armor A90 is an excellent case for its price tag, providing an excellent value for users wanting a good yet affordable computer case.

Strong Points

  • Meshed 5.25” bay covers.
  • Air filters on the 5.25” bay covers.
  • Air filter for the power supply fan.
  • Air filter for the front fan.
  • Vented slot covers.
  • eSATA port.
  • Screwless mechanisms for fastening 5.25” and 3.5” devices.
  • Adjustable support bracket for the power supply.
  • Anti-theft devices for peripherals (keyboard, mouse, etc) and support for a padlock.
  • Support for 2.5” storage devices (SSDs or laptop hard drives).
  • Terrific number of hard disk drive bays (six) that will please even the most hardcore user.
  • No sharp edges where you could cut yourself while building your PC.

Weak Points

  • Holes for liquid cooling system need to be broken.
  • Could have come with an air filter on the left panel.
  • No anti-vibration mechanism for the hard disk drives.
  • No thumbscrews for holding expansion cards.

Originally at http://www.hardwaresecrets.com/article/Thermaltake-Armor-A90-Case-Review/999


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