Thermaltake Armor A60 Mid Tower

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armor a60The A60 offers features that even it's A90 big brother does not have, but we will only be talking about the A60 in this review. With external drive connectivity fast becoming a must-have amongst  the vast majority of individuals (instead of using a standard HDD dock like Cooler master has done with the CM 690 Advance), Thermaltake integrated a hot-swap bay into the A60. Even more unique is the location that Thermaltake chose, building the bay into the side of the case.

Introduction to the Thermaltake Armor A60

Just a short time ago Thermaltake re-invented their Armor series with the A90. Since it's re-introduction the A90 has been getting some pretty good reviews, thanks in part to it's unique styling and ease of assembly. Not being a big fan of cases with doors, even I like the A90 and what it had to offer. But now Thermaltake has added another case to the Armor series in the form of the A60.

The A60 offers features that even it's A90 big brother does not have, but we will only be talking about the A60 in this review. With external drive connectivity fast becoming a must-have amongst  the vast majority of individuals (instead of using a standard HDD dock like Cooler master has done with the CM 690 Advance), Thermaltake integrated a hot-swap bay into the A60. Even more unique is the location that Thermaltake chose, building the bay into the side of the case.


Specifications

Case Type    Mid Tower
Material    SECC
Front Bezel Material    Mesh
Color    Black
Side Panel    Window
Motherboard Support    Micro ATX
Standard ATX
Motherboard Tray    No
5.25" Drive Bay    3
Ext. 3.5" Drive Bay    1
Int. 3.5" Drive Bay    5 and 1 x 2.5" SSD/ HDD
Expansion Slots    7
Front I/O Ports    USB3.0(SuperSpeed) x 1
USB2.0 x 1
e-SATA x 1
HD Audio x 1 (Support AC 97)
Cooling System    -Front (intake):
120 x 120 x 25 mm Blue LED fan, 1000rpm 16dBA
120 x 120 x 25 mm / 200 x 200 x 20 mm (Optional)
-Rear (Exhaust):
120 x 120 x 25 mm TurboFan, 1000rpm 16dBA
-Top (Exhaust):
200 x 200 x 20 mm Blue LED fan, 800rpm 15 dBA
2 x 120 x 120 x 25 mm (Optional)
-Bottom (Intake):
120 x 120 x 25 mm (Optional)
-Side (Intake):
120 x 120 x 25 mm (Optional)
Liquid Cooling Capable    Yes
Liquid Cooling Embedded    No
Power Supply Supported    ATX PSII
Power Supply Included    No
Dimension (H*W*D)    18.9 x 8.3 x 19.7 Inch
480 x 210 x 500 mm
Net Weight    15.7 lb
7.1 kg
Security Lock     
Application     
Warranty   

Features

 

The world’s first SideClick EasySwap design for 3.5” HDD

  Built-in latest USB 3.0 SuperSpeed connector
  Supports up to 7 fans for optimized air flow
 

Convenient drive installation with 90° rotated cage

 

Top and front blue LED-fan for the ultimate combat ambience


Closer look at the exterior
When I saw the front of the A60 for the first time I had to say that it does have a unique look about it, even if it does share the mesh fascia that many of today's cases do. The top half is where we will say the A60 looks quite a bit like the others but that is where it stops. Because the lower half, once again with mesh present, has a thought out design so you won’t always be looking at simply a blended mesh case.

The A60 is aimed at not only the gamers, but the professional user as well, since the A60's looks by many would qualify to be a sleek looking case. As for the gamer in us, we like a case that does have a unique sense about itself either to show off at a LAN or just be proud to sit next to at home, and this new case does just that!

The A60 stands a mere 19” tall, which many would consider a mid-tower, and weighs in at 16 pounds. To me it is not over-sized and seems like should have no trouble fitting under most desks or in smaller spaced areas. For colors however, the A60 only comes in the ever popular black.

As previously mentioned the front is made up mostly of mesh, with almost the only solid portion surrounding the three 5.25" drive bays. To their right are the I/O ports, which consist of one USB 2.0, one 3.5mm Microphone jack, one 3.5mm Headphone jack, and one USB 3.0. Also it is that very USB 3.0 port that makes the A60 one of the least expensive cases with a front mounted USB 3.0 port. Below that is a single 3.5" bay, either for an archaic floppy drive or a multi-card reader, and directly to it's right is the Reset button, an eSATA port and below it you will find the Power switch.

There are a couple of mesh triangle panels that make up the bottom half and is one of the areas of the A60 where it lives up to it's Armor nomenclature, as one could compare it to the sloped armor you find on almost every modern tank. As a result of these features it keeps the A60 from looking plain and ordinary.

The side panels are beveled slightly, once again adding to the Armor ‘look’ in which it gets it's name from. The left side panel not only is beveled, but consists of a small window and a 120mm fan opening. What really makes the A60 unique is that hot-swappable bay we mentioned, which Thermaltake has labeled the SideClick EasySwap. This is an easy way to retrieve data from a 3.5” drive without having to open the tower to install it or having to go out and buy an enclosure.

Even the top of the A60 is comprised of beveled panels. Two of the panels are openings for fans; one for the pre-installed 200mm and the other for an optional 120mm fan.

Ending the exterior portion of the review we go to the rear of the A60. There isn’t too much out of the norm here. We have a reverse-mounted 120mm fan for exhaust, along with a couple of thoughtfully placed water-cooling holes. Out of one of these holes is a blue cable that is used to activate the front mount USB 3.0 port, which we will explain futher a bit later. There may be small issue if you decide to use this cable and an external water-cooling setup.


Closer look at the interior

Removing the side panel from the case reveals a matching black interior, which is fast becoming the new standard in PC enclosures, which we prefer in out opinion. If you are a neat freak and/or love to color coordinate, its the black interior that will fit right in with all the different color schemes of motherboards, power supplies and video cards being produced these days. The interior space of the A60 is about as wide open as you can get in a mid-tower and is well divided.

To the front there is plenty of room for optical, mechanical and exceedingly popular SSD drives. Each of the drives are installed in a quick and tool-less manner making it painless for the builder. A simple slide bar secures the optical drives in place, but Thermaltake went the extra mile when it came to the mounting of hard drives in the system. That same retention mechanism is used for not only the internal drives, but the hot-swappable side bay as well. And while these drive holders are not made from the strongest plastic I have ever seen, it will take a lot installation and removals to wear them out.

In the rear you will not find anything really amazing as there are certain ATX guidelines it must conform to, but it is nice to see them use vented slot covers as it really does aid in good air circulation. On that note there is a high performance rear facing 120mm cooling to help with just that. As for that blue cable we had mentioned for the front mounted USB 3.0 port, it connects to one of your rear USB 3.0 ports, as most motherboards do not come with an internal USB 3.0 header. If you do not happen to have a USB 3.0 equipped motherboard the cable does appear to be sufficiently long enough to reach an expansion card, provided it is not installed too far down.

At the top of the A60 is a clear 200mm exhaust fan (with 120mm mount provisions), and Thermaltake has also included a mounting spot for an additional 120mm fan to be added at your discretion. The bottom of the case is where you will mount the powersupply, which that "Reverse ATX" design is becoming quite popular.


Images of build up

 

 


Conclusion

Whether a case is good looking or not is completely up to each individual's preferences and taste. Many of us have our opinions of what makes a sweet looking case; doors, plastic, aluminum, weight, etc all play a part in these opinions. Personally I like the styling of the Thermaltake A60, maybe more than I did the A90, which is in essence the bigger brother. My fondness comes from the fact that the A60 has the same armor look of the A90, but smaller and no door. I am a big fan of the door-less case and it is good that Thermaltake gave the consumer a choice.

Thermaltake keeps giving the buyer what they want and in this instance is a black interior. While many companies may also offer a black interior, many of them simply do not offer it in their lower price cases. We have seen Thermaltake do just this with their budget V3, V4 and V5.

One of the many features of the Armor A60 is the removable hard drive tray on the side of the case. This feature is great if you have the case sitting on top of your desk making it easilly accessible, but if the case is sitting on the floor it makes it an awkward reach from your sitting position at the desk. Or worse yet if you happen to have it placed where the left side is up against a flat surface effectively rendering the bay useless for it's intended purpose.

Thermaltake is constantly surprising me with the usage of large fans in there cases. This particular case has a 200mm fan sitting at the top with space for an additional 120mm fan. In total the case comes with three fans and room for four more. Yet if you plan to go the water cooling route then you have the option to replacee the 200mm with say a dual fan radiator.

USB 3.0? Thermaltake has you covered! Thermaltake ups the ante with one port in the front of the case. When USB 3.0 was introduced it seemed that it was met with a lackluster integration into PC cases. Mostly, this is mostly due to the lack of a header on the motherboard to connect additional ports. Even if there was a said header it would require the board maker to include the required hardware since USB 3.0 utilizes three more pins then it's 2.0 and 1.0 siblings. The idea of using the cable to link to the rear ports is a great way to give us the connection up front now.

Last we tackle the hard drive mounting hardware. The hard drive trays that Thermaltake uses in the A60 is a great idea, but they do feel a little weak at first, especially when no drive is in them; however, once a drive is fitted into the tray it seems more than sturdy.

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