Thermaltake Armor A60 VM20001W2Z

Author
Logan King
Editor
Aron Schatz
Posted
September 20, 2010
Manufacturer
Thermaltake
Product Page
Armor A60
Views
187895
Thermaltake Armor A60 VM20001W2Z
The Thermaltake Armor A60 is quite an oddity in the Thermaltake product range. It is a good case when taken by itself, and it does boast some more advanced features over the more conservative Armor A90. However, for the price of entry, the Armor A60 simply doesn't seem worth it. It doesn't feel like it is worth $40 more than the V3 Black Edition, nor does the $10 saved over the Armor A90 seem worth the quality you give up.

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Page 1
Introduction

USB 3.0 is upon us. The advancements made in the standard over USB 2.0 has made its proliferation into motherboards rapid. Rapid enough, at least, that it has caught many case manufacturers off guard, with many recent cases in development seemingly having been switched to support USB 3.0 at the last minute. Now that quite a few months have passed by since the standard was made available to consumers, more and more cases should be arriving soon that were designed around USB 3.0 support. With that in mind, HardwareLogic has the Thermaltake Armor A60 mid-tower case in our stable. The A60 is the newest case in Thermaltake's Armor line of enthusiast cases, and it was designed to be a bit more forward thinking than the older A90 was. It integrates some more recent case design ideas inside including USB 3.0 support.

About Thermaltake

Quote

Since the beginning of Thermaltake in 1999, it has been at the forefront of creating new and exciting products at a time where most computer users were provided little to no choices for components that may seem irrelevant, but in reality crucial to the performance of a PC.

Thermaltake Server Series solutions, with years of thermal experience and industry leadership, sets its goal on reforming total thermal management in server segment by formulating the perfect mixture of versatility, efficiency and thermal management with each respective server product category: Rackmount Chassis, Server Fixed & Redundant Power Supply and Server CPU Cooling Management Solutions.

With its comprehensive line of products available, it enables Thermaltake's core customers to enjoy a one-stop-shop experience, reduce product design-in evaluation period and most important of all, flawless integration process. Each of Thermaltake's strengths enables its customer to focus on their core business while taking advantage of the skills and efficiency of a single thermal management solution partner.

http://www.thermaltakeusa.com/About.aspx


Packaging

The box for the Armor A60 is similar to the one for the Armor A90. The front of the box has a picture of the case on it when it is lit up, and to the right of the case picture it mentions the integrated USB 3.0 support and the swappable 3.5" drive bay. It also has a pretty cool render of a guy in medieval armor swinging a sword which ties in pretty well with the Armor name (though the A60, like the A90, is styled more like a stealth jet than anything else). Something else different from the Armor A90 case is the WGC logo, as Thermaltake was the official hardware sponsor of this year's games.

Box Front


The rear of the box showcases the standard airflow diagram as well as some close-up photos of some of the case features and a generalized specifications list.

Box Rear


The left side of the box has a smaller version of the profile view on the front of the box as well as the product model number.

Box Side


Opening up the box reveals the product manual front and center.

Box Opened


The case is packaged with molded foam and wrapped in a bag. This is similar to most cases.

Case Packaging


Not pictured is the left side of the box. This is basically just the specifications feature on the rear of the box in 12 other languages.
Page 2
Specifications

  • Model - VM20001W2Z
  • Case Type - Mid Tower
  • Side Panel - Transparent window
  • Net Weight - 7.1 kg / 15.7 lb
  • Dimension (H*W*D) - 480.0 x 210.0 x 500.0 mm (18.9 x 8.3 x 19.7 inch)
  • Cooling System
  • Front (intake): 120 x 120 x 25 mm blue LED fan, 1000rpm, 16dBA
  • Front (intake): 120 x 120 x 25 mm (optional, 200 x 200 x 20 mm supported)
  • Rear (exhaust): 120 x 120 x 25 mm Turbofan, 1000rpm, 16dBA
  • Top (exhaust): 200 x 200 x 20 mm blue LED fan, 800rpm, 15dBA (120 x 120 x 25 mm supported)
  • Top (exhaust): 120 x 120 x 25 mm (optional)
  • Side (intake): 120 x 120 x 25 mm (optional)
  • Bottom (intake): 120 x 120 x 25 mm (optional)
  • Drive Bays
  • 5.25" Drive Bay - 3
  • 3.5" external Drive Bay - 1
  • 3.5"/2.5" internal Drive Bay -
  • Material - SECC
  • Front Bezel Material - Plastic
  • Color - Black
  • Expansion Slots - 7
  • Motherboards Supported - Micro ATX, ATX
  • USB 2.0 Connectors - 1
  • USB 3.0 Connectors - 1
  • e-SATA Connectors - 1
  • Amazon Link, Newegg Link


The thing that sticks out the most is that the case has a lot of fan mounts. It has a couple more than what the Armor A90 had, despite being a physically smaller case.

Marketing Summary

Quote

Introducing the world’s first SideClick EasySwap design for 3.5” HDD. The Armor A60 features 1 x 3.5” SideClick EasySwap bay for easy data transfer without the need for installing the drives or adding an external dock. It also offers built-in support for USB 3.0 SuperSpeed.
Page 3
Armor A60 Exterior

Similar to the Armor A90, the entire case has been designed to give off the effect of a stealth fighter to make it stand out from your typical case without straying too far from typical case dimensions. Each panel is made of up raised angled portions that fit together to give off the look. However, the design of the Armor A60 just doesn't carry as well as the one on the A90 did. That isn't to say there aren't some nice design touches, but there simply isn't any cohesion to them.

For example, the front of the case has several really nifty design ideas. Our favorite is the double honeycomb grill with the smaller black grill being in front of a silver large grill. However, it just doesn't look like something that was designed for this case. It seems too busy for its own good. The lack of a door for the optical bays like on the Armor A90 also hurts the design quite a bit because everything on the front shroud above the power button looks so anonymous that it might as well be from a different case. That being said, optical bay doors aren't for everyone regardless of what they contribute to the design.

Case Front


Moving the the left side of the case, you can see small door for the swappable hard drive bay. Further back and up a bit is the raised window section, which gives you a good view of the CPU. Below that is the 120mm fan mount and is roughly over where the GPU would be mounted. Similar to the front of the case, the side of the case lacks cohesion to the design. The stampings and parts don't seem like they are supposed to go together and the overall effect makes everything look a little weird. This side panel doesn't really look like it even goes to the same case as the front panel does since it is made up of right angles and squares rather than triangles.

Case Left Side


The right side of the case is basically the left side rotated 180 degrees but without the window or vents. Once you notice that, it not only sticks out for the same reasons as the left side does, but it also comes off as feeling a bit cheap.

Case Right Side


Another thing to note is that none of the panels have the solidity of construction that they do in the Armor A90. While they don't feel like tin or anything to the effect, they just don't have the same "feel" of quality that they did on the Armor A90.
Page 4
Armor A60 Exterior Continued

The top of the case also has its own set design oddities. The small portion immediately in front of the fan mounts is one of the more impressive looking design elements of the case with a nifty triangle/diamond motif that is transferred over to the front-most fan mount.

Case Front Top View


However, the rest of the front fan mount, as well as the rear fan mount, have a couple of really weird design choices integrated into them. Rather than continue the raised portion of the front vent to the back of the case, which would have the bonus side effect of allowing more room inside the case itself, there is an abrupt drop down to the height of the rest of the case just before the fan mount proper. While the front case as the fan screw holes neatly integrated in with the honeycomb vent design, the rear fan mount has obvious areas for screws to go in. All in all, the design of the top comes off as a bit weird.

Case Left Side Top View


Other than being a little smaller in height, the back of the case is pretty much identical to the Armor A90. You can see the bottom-mounted power supply, the built-in security lock, and the vented expansion slot plugs. To the right is a large passive exhaust vent with a honeycomb design, and above that is the 120mm exhaust fan. Like the A90, the A60 features 2 pairs of liquid cooling holes, two of them helpfully already punched out.

The USB 3.0 functionality actually presents another problem with the design. The USB pass through cord for the front panel uses up one of the liquid cooling ports. It isn't Thermaltake's fault that the USB 3.0 functionality is enabled through a pass through as the motherboard jumpers for USB 3.0 functionality still haven't been finalized. However, it seems odd to have to choose between USB 3.0 functionality and liquid cooling because there is no slot stamped out of the case strictly for the USB 3.0 pass-through cable.

Case Rear


It may seem a bit odd to quibble on and on over something as subjective as case design, but the supposed main attraction for the Armor series is how different it is supposed to look compared to your typical PC case without sacrificing practicality. In that respect, the Armor A90 simply commands more presence, feels like a more expensive product, and we at HardwareLogic think it actually looks quite a lot better than the Armor A60 does. The Armor A60 looks more like a V3 Black Edition that someone haphazardly threw some Armor A90 design touches on and the result isn't really impressive.
Page 5
Armor A60 Interior

The exterior of the case is kind of a bust, but how does the interior stand up? Quite a bit better, actually. This is the area where the Armor A60 outshines the Armor A90 in a few ways. The first thing that should be noted before anything else is that the A60 is a bit more cramped than the A90, even more so than the exterior dimensions suggest it would be. Regardless, the interior still exudes the same feelings that the Armor A90 does. The matte-black interior is once again painted to match the exterior. It also once again continues to impress in this case just as much as it did in the Armor A90.

Armor A60 Interior


Looking at the PSU area, we can see that it has basically the same design as the one in the A90. It has the same type of removable filter mounted to the outside of the case, the same type of movable floor mount and the same type horizontal piece of metal extended from the motherboard tray put in place to prevent vertical motion on the part of the PSU. One difference between the two is that the Armor A60 has a mount for a 120mm intake fan directly in front of the PSU mount, similar to the V3 Black Edition.

Power Supply Area


Moving up, you can see the two exhaust fans installed on the case by default. There is also a rather large spot for a CPU cooler, but because of the way the USB 3.0 cable is wired, you might not be able to make use of it.

Exhaust Fan Area
Page 6
Armor A60 Interior Continued

Moving to the front of the case, you can see the bays for the optical drive installation. These are basically identical in design and function to the ones on the Armor A90. They all have the same type of tool-less drive lockers as the one on the Armor A90 as well.

Optical Bay Area


As on the Armor A90, to install optical bays you first need to remove the front shroud from the chassis. Also, similar to the V3 Black Edition, to install more than one drive optical drive you need to remove the steel plugs behind the regular plugs.

Case Front Shroud Removed


The final portion of the Armor A60 interior is the hard drive bays and this is the one area where the Armor A60 really outshines the Armor A90. Similar to the »NZXT Phantom we reviewed earlier this week, the Armor A60 features transverse removable hard drive bays all with 2.5" and 3.5" support. The Armor A60 even manages to have a leg up on the Phantom because the 2.5" drives are mounted in the center rather than along the edge. The very top drive bay also has a built-in SATA mount since it is the easily-swappable drive that corresponds to the door on the exterior of the case.

Hard Drive Bay Area


That isn't to say that the drive bays are perfect. They really don't have the same quality feel as the drive bays on the Phantom. They have a thinner construction, they flex considerably more, and they don't seem like they would last very long if they were repeatedly inserted and removed.

Hard Drive Bay
Page 7
Installation

As the hard drive installation is the biggest deviation from the Armor A90, it will be covered first. While the installation of 3.5" is technically tool-less, it is questionable how stable a drive would be if the bays were used as such. This is because, unlike the bays on the Phantom, the bays on the Armor A60 only grip 3.5" hard drives on one side of the drive (the other side has screw holes instead). This makes installation easier than on the Phantom, but only holding the drive on a single side when combined with how prone to flexing the drive bays already are makes it seem like the drives would just fall out of the bay. That is why the drive used in the test system was screwed in rather than simply left tool-less.

Drive Bay 3.5" Drive Installed


This isn't an issue with 2.5" drives because you need to screw them into the removable drive bays.

Drive Bay 2.5" Drive Installed


Other than hard drive installation, component installation in the Armor A60 is basically identical to component installation in the Armor A90, with a couple of caveats. To install or remove optical bay plugs, you lift the bottom of the front shroud out and up until it pops off. The the plugs are held in place the same was as they are in the Armor A90. Power supply installation is also done in the same manner as on the A90.

One of the areas of component installation that is different is in regards installing the motherboard. While the actual process is still the same, one always has to be mindful of where the USB 3.0 cable is since it has a nasty habit of getting in the way when it is least helpful.
The other area where the installation is different is wire management. While the Armor A90 didn't have dedicated wire management areas, there was more easily enough space to tuck wires out of the way of airflow. There was also generally enough space under the motherboard tray to run some wires behind it if you wanted to. Neither of these things are really true for the Armor A60. The space behind the motherboard tray is just a bit too tight to really run anything under it. Furthermore, the interior of the case is cramped enough that there isn't much in the way of space for running excess wire lengths so, if you have a lot of components like our test system did, you are going to end up with a huge mess of wires no matter what you do.

Armor A60 Components Installed


Conclusion

The Thermaltake Armor A60 ends up creating quite a problem for us when it comes to recommendations. Strictly speaking, although we didn't like the styling of it, the Armor A60 isn't a bad case. It just isn't as good as the Armor A90 by a notable margin despite boasting a few forward-thinking features that the Armor A90 doesn't have. If the case cost $70-75, we would be able to recommend it for those on a budget who still want USB 3.0 and removable HDD bay functionality that the cheaper V3 Black Edition doesn't offer. However, with the actual street price being about $90 (Amazon Link, Newegg Link), even though it lacks some of the newer features you would be far better off spending the extra $10 and getting the Armor A90 instead. Because of that, HardwareLogic cannot recommend the Thermaltake Armor A60 PC case. Do yourself a favor and pick up the A90 instead.

HardwareLogic would like to thank Thermaltake for making this review possible.

Comments

images/siteimages/upload/2010/09/10/4197m2d.jpg Box Front images/siteimages/upload/2010/09/10/4198mln.jpg Box Rear images/siteimages/upload/2010/09/10/4199mvn.jpg Box Side images/siteimages/upload/2010/09/10/4200mqn.jpg Box Opened images/siteimages/upload/2010/09/10/4201m4i.jpg Case Packaging images/siteimages/upload/2010/09/10/4202mrd.jpg Case Front images/siteimages/upload/2010/09/10/4204md3.jpg Case Left Side images/siteimages/upload/2010/09/10/4205mrd.jpg Case Right Side images/siteimages/upload/2010/09/10/4206m4i.jpg Case Rear images/siteimages/upload/2010/09/10/4207l50.jpg Case Front Top View images/siteimages/upload/2010/09/10/4208moi.jpg Case Left Side Top View images/siteimages/upload/2010/09/10/4209m9i.jpg Armor A60 Interior images/siteimages/upload/2010/09/10/4210max.jpg Power Supply Area images/siteimages/upload/2010/09/10/4211mf8.jpg Exhaust Fan Area images/siteimages/upload/2010/09/10/4212m1n.jpg Optical Bay Area images/siteimages/upload/2010/09/10/4216mji.jpg Drive Bay 3.5" Drive Installed images/siteimages/upload/2010/09/10/4214m08.jpg Case Front Shroud Removed images/siteimages/upload/2010/09/10/4215mp8.jpg Hard Drive Bay Area images/siteimages/upload/2010/09/10/4217m2d.jpg Drive Bay 2.5" Drive Installed images/siteimages/upload/2010/09/10/4218mns.jpg Armor A60 Components Installed images/siteimages/upload/2010/09/10/4219l3u.jpg Preview Picture images/siteimages/upload/2010/09/10/4220m8s.jpg Hard Drive Bay

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