Thermaltake Armor Extreme Edition Quad FX Case Review

Admin - 2007-09-18 18:24:16 in Cases
Category: Cases
Reviewed by: Admin   
Reviewed on: September 25, 2007
Thermaltake
Thermaltake
Price: $194.99

Introduction:

With the prices of AMD FX Quad cores dropping it just might be time to upgrade your gaming rig, but then you remember that you might need a new case to house that prize. Can all cases accommodate a Quad FX? No. Most full towers might, but there is still an issue of cooling. Unlike the Intel version of the Quad Core processor, AMD (FX) uses two actual CPUs that work in conjunction with each other. So of course you will need a motherboard to accommodate the two heatsinks and a case with enough airflow to create the perfect environment.

Thermaltake is a manufacturer that produces such a case to not only house your electronic components, but it also has two channel air guides to help cool the monster within. The case is called the Armor Extreme Edition AMD Quad FX.

Thermaltake Technology Co., Ltd. was founded in 1999, and in 2000 introduced the world’s first turbine cooler, the Golden Orb. Thermaltake is a world leader in the supply of thermal management cooling solutions, as well as high end power supplies and computer cases for desktop PC’s and industrial applications. Thermaltake is also a supplier to computer manufacturers providing Intel-validated and AMD-approved CPU coolers for today’s mainstream and high frequency CPUs.

 

Closer Look:

This case is what you would consider a "Super Tower" the box that it's shipped in is gigantic. Unlike some other Thermaltake cases which show the cases inner components, this package only shows the case on both sides and product numbers on the sides.

 

 

The case is protected well for shipping and also has a tyvex cover to prevent scratches during shipment.

 

Closer Look:

 

The Case:

Starting with the front and then looking at the sides and back, it is apparent that this case is all aluminum. Unlike its close relative the Kandalf, the front bezel does not have a door but it still has nine 5.25" drive bays, one of which is a drawer to hold CDs or other items.

 

 

 

The left side panel comes with an acrylic window which houses the two channel airducts. The right side panel is solid aluminum and the top of the case has a blow hole, with a door to access the two external USB ports, Firewire and headphone I/O.

 

 

 

The two air channels are covered with a mesh screen on the outside. The channels themselves are constructed of plastic and are adjustable with foam padding around the ends. If you choose not to use them they can be removed.

 

Closer Look:

 

Working Components:

Being constructed of 100% aluminum, it's easy to get a whole bunch of fingerprints on it and also has an abundance of working parts. The motherboard tray is non-removable, and covers the whole width and length of the interior case. The external and internal drive bays are also tool-less for easy installation.

 

 

The back panel of the case contains a 120mm exhaust fan and seven expansion slots which are also tool-less. Above the stabilization bar is a removable hard drive tray, which has a fan behind it to cool the drives off, if you choose to place your hard drives up-top instead of in the front internal HD bays. The front hard drive bay is removable and will be shown in the installation section.

 

 

 

Other components of the case are the wiring to connect the external USB ports, Firewire and Audio I/O. Included in the bundle are all the screws you will need, the top blow hole fan and a PSU stabilization bar.

 

Installation:

Since the case is of tool-less design, most components will snap in, but you will need a screwdriver to attach your hard drive to the interior cage and PSU, which also has a 120mm LED fan attached to it for hard drive cooling and pulling outside air. All expansion slots are tool-less as well, for easy installation of PCI and PCI-e cards.

Installation of the power supply and the internal and external drives are not time consuming at all. The external and internal drives slide in and can be installed within 45 seconds.

 

 

 

 

There is no need to detach the front bezel it was done for demonstration purposes only. After all your drives and PSU are installed, screw the motherboard to the tray attach all the wires and you're ready to boot.

Specifications:

 

 

 

Model

Armor Extreme Edition --- VA8004SWA

Case Type
Super Tower
Side Panel
WINDOWS
Net Weight
16.2Kg
Dimension
530 x 220 x 560 mm (H*W*D)
Cooling System
2 Channel air guides
Front (intake)
120 x 120 x25 mm fan, 1300rpm, 17dBA
Rear (exhaust)

120 x 120 x25 mm fan, 1300rpm 17dBA, 90 x 90 x 25mm, 1800rpm, 19dBA

Top (exhaust)
90 x 90 x 25mm, 1800rpm, 19dBA
Drive Bays
11
Front Accessible: 4 x 5.25", 2 x 3.5"

Internal: 5 x 3.5"

Material
Chassis: 1.0mm SECC
Front Bezel: Aluminum
Color
Silver
Expansion Slots
7
Motherboards
Support up to Extend ATX & AMD Quad FX Platform

 

Features:

Testing:

When you purchase anything, most times the reason for that purchase is based on an informed decision. How informed are we though? With commercials hyping up products and manufacturers specifications right in front of you most of the time, without even digging deeper for information, we purchase a product because we believe what we are told.

Why do you purchase a computer case, fans, water-cooling systems and other components? Of course it would be to protect your components, to cool your components and to receive the maximum performance for your hard earned money. Or are you an impulse buyer? Just because something looks good and one or two friends recommend it, you make that purchase and believe you will get exactly what you expect because of that impulse.

Evidently you are not an impulse buyer and you must want to be informed before you make a purchase, or you wouldn’t be reading this review. With this in mind, let’s go over a few details. So far I’ve shown you what the case looks like, what components it comes with, and even its specifications and features. Just like any other review, you are now in anticipation about how the case will test out. Why? Considering this is a liquid cooled system, you’ll be focused on temperatures, specifically the temperatures of your CPU, maybe system temperature and why not throw in video card and hard drive temps too? For the rest, you will probably rely on the specifications and features you just read.

Is this enough? Maybe. I have written many reviews and have purchased a multitude of products and have always taken for granted that if a manufacturer or commercial leads me to believe a product can do what it states, then I should believe it. Today, we at OCC will be introducing another type of testing to the arsenal: Airflow! The volume of air passing through an area for a given period of time is the airflow. This is commonly calculated by multiplying the air velocity by the cross sectional area through which the air is passing. We all want the maximum airflow around our components to cool them and to maintain a proper balance of air exchange.

So how is this measured? We look at specifications and believe that if a fan says it puts out 113 Cubic Feet per Minute (CFM), then it does what it says. Sure, maybe in a perfect environment under controlled conditions it will, but how about in the real world? OCC will now test to see if these fans are actually performing at, or close to specified range. When dealing with a case we will also measure what the wind chill (the cooling effect of combined wind and temperature) factor is inside that case, just to see if the air flowing around our components is actually performing as intended.

Nielsen Kellerman has provided OCC with their Kestrel 4100 Pocket Air Flow Tracker to conduct these tests.

Nielsen-Kellerman Company designs, manufactures and distributes waterproof instruments for active lifestyles and technical applications, including Kestrel® Pocket Weather Meters, Interval® Timing Systems and NK Electronics for Rowing and Paddling.

 

Testing:

 

Testing Setup:


Temperatures:

The temperatures below will reflect the temperatures measured at idle and 100% load, at both stock speed and with an overclock of 225 X 13. All measurements will be taken in Celcius. The top graphs will be at stock speeds and the bottom graphs will be at overclocked speeds.

 

Hard Drive:

Hard Drive temperatures were taken with the hard drive in both the front hard drive bay and the top hard drive bay. There were no variations in temperatures between stock and overclocked speeds.

 

 

Hard Drive temps are actually lower in the Armor Extreme case than they were when I reviewed the Kandalf LCS, which except for the front Bezel is the same chassis.

Testing:

 

 

Motherboard:

 

 

 

CPU:

 

 

In order to achieve 100% load on the CPU, I utilized the Prime 95 version for multiple processors and ran it for one hour. These temperatures reflect the highest achieved and are not an average.

Testing:

Just to see how well the Kestrel 4100 measures temperatures I used it to measure the temperatures inside the case and as an added bonus, I'll throw in the wind chill factor also. The measurements will be in Celsius, the ambient room temperature was climate controlled @ 25 degrees Celsius.

 

 

 

Yes, there really is a wind chill factor inside a case.

Testing:

 

Air Flow:

Fans:

 

All fans were tested for maximum and average CFM, The 120mm fans and 90mm fans all max/min averaged within one CFM  when tested individually so I will use only one graph for each fan measurement to show the results. All fans were measured for five minutes.

 

 

 

The top blow hole is covered by some grating and the external USB, Firewire, Sound I/O. I will give a measurement of the total output through the top of the case.

 

 

Amazing how the air flow is cut down when it has to go through something, the top blow hole lost almost half of its output.

Testing:

Inside Air Flow:

To test the air flow inside the case I hung my Kestrel 4100 by a string down to the center of the case, I will be testing CFM, and Air Velocity (FPM) (the speed of air measured in feet per minute).

 

 

 

WIth the 120 mm fan and the two CPU fans running, the inside airflow CFM equaled a total of 141. Adding together the exaust fans, a total of 124 CFM is taken out. If I were to include the fan on the PSU exaust, which is 27 CFM, the total exaust becomes 151 CFM. With this type of airflow I don't feel that there should be any dead space for trapped warm air to sit and heat up the components.

Conclusion:

Compared to the Kandalf LCS that I reviewed, this case weighs about half as much, so there is no need to worry about breaking your back trying to move it; a good estimate, fully loaded, would be about 40 pounds. I’m not too impressed with the noise level; although the case is not extremely loud, the two air channels produce a loud hum. I did move the cones farther away from the heatsinks, but it did not seem to deaden the noise. Don’t worry though; it’s not half as loud as a Vantec Tornado.

Installation was simple and the tool-less insertion cut my time to install all my drives to about 45 seconds (I do this stuff a lot).  As I mentioned earlier, the Kandalf and the Armor are the exact same chassis, the only difference being the Armor Case does not have a front door which allows it to pull more air in through the mesh drive bays. Depending on the size of your PSU, you may not be able to use the retention bracket that is supplied. It is made to be used with a standard-sized PSU and this is why, for installation purposes, I used the OCZ PSU instead of the Mushkin, so I could show the bracket. Even without the bracket the PSU is stable once it is screwed in. If you are using a non standard size PSU, you will need to unscrew the External USB/Firewire header in order to install it. You might be asking what the finished product looks like. Look below and enjoy!

 

 

Pros:

 

Cons: