Thermaltake Armor A90 VL90001W2Z

Author
Logan King
Posted
June 23, 2010
Product Page
Armor A90
Views
105256
Thermaltake Armor A90 VL90001W2Z
The Thermaltake Armor A90 is a well-designed and well-built case with a terrific sense of style, though some may have a problem with the lack of proper cable management.

Page All: Viewing All Pages

Page 1
Introduction

Cases typically have "general" exterior designs. For example, while the »V3 Black Edition had a large amount of subtle design cues to separate it from most cases on the market, it generally looked like a typical black PC case at first glance. Taking that into consideration, Thermaltake has designed the Armor A90. Thermaltake is Intending to create a PC case that is unmistakable at first glance without sacrificing the practicality that comes from the general dimensions most PC cases on the market currently have.

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 A90 actually stands out itself. It shows the standard picture of the case powered up, but it also has a nifty background motif as well as a CGI head towards the corners. It actually reminds us a bit of the type of boxes that graphics cards come in.

Box Front


The side of the case shows off a more standard picture of the case as well as the specific product number.

Box Side


The rear of the case has all of the information about how the case works (such as the airflow) and some of the case features.

Box Rear


The case packaging is the standard pair of foam cutouts wrapped in plastic.

Packaging
Page 2
Specifications

  • Model - VL90001W2Z
  • Case Type - Mid Tower
  • Side Panel - Transparent window
  • Net Weight - 8.2 kg / 18.1 lb
  • Dimension (H*W*D) - 502.0 x 210.0 x 515.0 mm (19.8 x 8.3 x 20.3 inch)
  • Cooling System
  • Front (intake): 120 x 120 x 25 mm blue LED fan, 1000rpm, 16dBA
  • Front (intake): 120 x 120 x 25 mm blue LED fan, 1000rpm, 16dBA (optional)
  • Rear (exhaust): 120 x 120 x 25 mm Turbofan, 1000rpm, 16dBA
  • Top (exhaust): 200 x 200 x 20 mm blue LED fan, 800rpm, 15dBA
  • Drive Bays
  • 5.25" Drive Bay - 3
  • 3.5" external Drive Bay - 1
  • 3.5" internal Drive Bay - 6
  • 2.5" internal Drive Bay - 1
  • Material - SECC
  • Front Bezel Material - Plastic
  • Color - Black
  • Expansion Slots - 7
  • Motherboards Supported - Micro ATX, ATX
  • USB Connectors - 4
  • e-SATA Connectors - 1
  • Amazon Link, Newegg Link


Even though the case is a bit larger in every dimension than the V3 Black Edition, it doesn't seem to make as good use of the space it takes up compared to the V3 Black Edition. Particularly, there only being 3 optical bays seems like a drawback that may have been necessitated by the design of the exterior (though the space reserved for a second 120mm fan on the front may also be the culprit). As few people these days use more than 2 optical drives, and because the amount of hard drive bays is impressive, it isn't that big of a deal, regardless.
Page 3
Exterior

The entire case has been designed to give off vibes similar to something like a stealth fighter and most of the air vents have a nice slatted grille type of look on them. The overall design really does look fantastic and the subtle cues add to it all.

Case Front


The front of the case alternates between a mesh screen for ventilation and the slatted grill type mentioned above. If you look closely you can also see a fine screen between the vent and the fan. This helps to keep dust out. The power button is implemented neatly into the front between the two vents. The reset button, USB ports and audio ports are pushed over to the right side. The case has connections for both HD Audio and Realtek AC'97, like the V3 Black Edition.

Case Front Removed


Taking the front panel off reveals the intake fan as well as the drive bays and second fan mount. As on the V3 Black Edition, the drive bays are originally covered out of the box with punch out sheet metal (which have been removed for this picture).

Door Opened


The top vent of the front of the case is actually a door that hides the optical bays when not in use. Oddly enough, while the drive covers are of the grated design intended to allow airflow, the door itself is not actually ventilated.
Page 4
Exterior Cont.

Case Top


The top of the case continues the motif seen on the front, with the large 200mm exhaust fan being mounted in the rear underneath the slatted vents. The e-SATA connector and the other 2 USB connectors are also found on the top of the case.

Case Right Side


The right side of the case continues the angled look.

Case Left Side


The left side, however, is pretty cool. It has the same angled look as the rest, but it also implements the little viewing window into it quite nicely. The effect is very impressive, overall. The vent towards the rear also has mounts for another 120mm fan.

Case Rear


The rear of the case has the same attention to detail as the V3 Black Edition does. Thermaltake painted the entire case in the same flat black color instead of leaving the rear unpainted. Similarly, there is no annoying I/O shield to punch out and the power supply area is also mounted on the bottom of the case. Unlike the V3 Black Edition, all of the shielding for the expansion slots are vented and there are two sets of holes for a liquid cooling system.

You can also see an anti-theft ring (which, in an especially nice touch, is held within by a thumbscrew) as well as a spot for mounting a padlock on the case.
Page 5
Interior

The interior of the Armor A90 packs a lot of nice features into it that really take a great step towards justifying the overall price.

Case Interior


The first thing that grabs your attention are the drive lockers in the overlooking drive bay. While these are similar to the ones featured in the V3 Black Edition, but they are both a bit higher quality as well as integrated into the case itself. Also, barring the floppy drive, there is a drive locker for each drive bay in the case. As on the V3 Black Edition, the 2.5" drive bay is actually a little cubby space directly below the bottom drive bay that the 2.5" drive of your choice is screwed down into from the bottom of the case.

Power Supply Screen


Another difference between this case and the cheaper V3 Black Edition is the approach to the PSU area. Instead of a space for a PSU and a mount for an intake fan in front of it, the Armor A90 dedicated the entire bottom to the PSU. The Armor A90 also has a filter for PSU with fan like most higher-end PC cases and the way it has been designed allows easier cleaning than the similar design seen in the V3 Black Edition. Specifically, the filter is located on the outside of the case held in place by some tabs. Because of this, you can actually clean it without having to remove the PSU.

The PSU is also mounted differently in the Armor A90. In the V3 Black Edition, there was a removable spacer with several different mounting points on the bottom of the case designed to help keep the PSU in place. On the Armor A90, the motherboard tray has an extension that holds the PSU in place. While in practice neither method seems to work better than the other, the Armor A90 gives off a bit more of a quality feel to it and is a bit less cumbersome in installation.

200mm Fan


As the Armor A90 is a premium case, it should be no surprise that it comes out of the box with some premium fans. Taking center stage is the monster top exhaust fan, which runs pretty slowly but pushes some decent air out. It is also pretty quiet when running. Of note, it is mentioned as being a 200mm fan, but it is actually more like 170mm, implying some sort of proprietary design.

The other fans included are both standard 120mm fans, with the rear exhaust fan being a 9-blade Turbofan. The front fan is the same 7-blade fan with blue LEDs that came standard with the V3 Black Edition, but this version is powered by a Molex connector rather than a 3-pin motherboard connector. While this default setup would lead to being more exhaust than intake, at least most of the exhaust is situated around the hottest parts.
Page 6
Installation

One area where the Armor A90 really shines is in the installation. While it doesn't have some of the feature of the really high end cases like built-in wire management, there are places to at least tuck the wires connected to the case out of the way. One should be wary of trying to simply tuck them into the hard drive area, though, as the intake fan in the front doesn't have anything in the way of a guard to prevent things from getting caught in it.

Something that cannot be understated is how far the drive lockers go towards making installation, in general, easier. In order to get a good idea of the user-friendliness, they were tested with various parts of various vintages to see just how usable they really were. The things tested ranged from IDE hard drives to turn-of-the-century DVD drives and even an old-school Trios manual hard drive selector, which is something that the drive lockers on the V3 Black Edition weren't compatible with, and there were no problems with any of equipment tested. The lockers are well built and seem to be made out of higher quality materials than the ones found on the V3 Black Edition. For people still holding onto floppy drives, you should note that there aren't any drive lockers for the floppy drive bay, but there are far more than enough screws included to serve you well regardless.

Another step up, at least in comparison to the V3 Black Edition, is the ease of installing or removing optical drives. As mentioned at length in that review, the method for removing the drive bay covers installing new drives on that case involves a rather tedious removal of some hard to reach screws, which can be difficult if you don't have a screwdriver with a handle of the right length. The Armor A90, on the other hand, is pretty straightforward; Simply pull at the bottom of the front panel with some force and lift up. Touches like this tell you where the extra money went in design.

All in all, perhaps the best way to sum up how easy it is to install components can be seen in the thumbscrews that open up the case. The inclusion of these means that, outside of the PSU and motherboard installation, you could theoretically install all of the drives you could want without any tools at all. A great plus to those who don't like worrying about stripped screws and stuff like that. It really shows an attention to detail that a lot of no-name cases lack. That being said, anyone planning to change stuff like graphics and sound cards should note that all expansion cards still require old-fashioned screws.

As said, while there isn't anything in the way of dedicated wire management in the case, generally there is enough space to tuck everything out of the way to keep airflow around components from being blocked.

Case Post-Installation


Conclusion

The Thermaltake Armor A90 is quite a standout case in a pretty saturated market. While the price (Amazon Link, Newegg Link) and feature set designate it as more of a middle-range performer, the ease of hardware installation, high quality components and really snazzy design easily make the case well worth the money over the typical entry-level computer enclosure. As the saying goes, you get what you pay for. Thermaltake has certainly taken great strides to make sure it rings true in this situation. While a dedicated wire management system would make this great case even better, the included features and high build quality are more than enough for us at HardwareLogic to highly recommend the Thermaltake Armor A90.

Thanks to Thermaltake for making this review possible.
images/siteimages/upload/2010/06/04/3886liu.jpg Door Opened images/siteimages/upload/2010/06/04/3887m7d.jpg Case Front images/siteimages/upload/2010/06/04/3888m83.jpg Case Top images/siteimages/upload/2010/06/04/3889l3k.jpg Case Interior images/siteimages/upload/2010/06/04/3890m2d.jpg Case Rear images/siteimages/upload/2010/06/04/3891lyp.jpg Case Left Side images/siteimages/upload/2010/06/04/3892l6f.jpg Case Right Side images/siteimages/upload/2010/06/04/3893m83.jpg Case Front Removed images/siteimages/upload/2010/06/04/3894l0k.jpg Packaging images/siteimages/upload/2010/06/04/3895luf.jpg Box Front images/siteimages/upload/2010/06/04/3896l1p.jpg Box Rear images/siteimages/upload/2010/06/04/3897lmu.jpg Box Side images/siteimages/upload/2010/06/16/3915m6n.jpg 200mm Fan images/siteimages/upload/2010/06/16/3916lhf.jpg Power Supply Screen images/siteimages/upload/2010/06/21/3917lu5.jpg Case Post-Installation

Title

Medium Image View Large