Thermaltake Armor A90 Reviewairman - May 31, 2010
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The Armor A90 is finished with a matte black paint job that feels very durable to the touch. The case has a good amount of weight to it, thanks to the hearty SECC construction. The mesh accents are very attractive the vents in the front of the case look as if they will provide good cooling capabilities to the case. Although inconspicuous, the top half of the front panel is a door that hides the optical drives. The front I/O ports include two USB ports, a headphone port, and a microphone port. The HDD activity and power LEDs are below those ports, and under these LEDs is the reset switch.
The left side of the case contains a very small, triangle shaped window surrounded by some other shapes "pushed" into the panel, which adds a unique depth to the case. Looking to the rear of the case, it can be seen that the Armor A90 uses a bottom mounted PSU configuration. To the right of the expansion slots is a section of venting, which is becoming very popular in these "enthusiast" cases. Even the expansion slot covers have a small amount of venting in them. At the top of the rear, the external liquid cooling holes can be seen. These must be torn out, and replaced with the provided grommets. The right side of the case is plain, but has a similar pattern pressed into the panel as the left side.
Opening the front door will expose the three external 5.25" bays. The covers themselves are mesh plastic with a foam insert inside of it. The foam helps with noise dampening as well as acting as a dust filter. The front bezel is removed by three pop rivets on each side. With a little bit of convincing, it comes off cleanly with no wires attached to it. This adds a little bit of comfort to the user as there are no wires to to pull lose or break apart when removing the bezel. Under the bezel there is the 120mm blue LED fan and a big hole above it, for solid performance with the use of the optional 120mm fan.
The top of the case has a plastic piece attached to the top, which sits on top of the fan and has two extra USB ports and an eSATA port. I've always liked I/O ports on the tops of cases since a lot of cases sit on the floor in our homes. Ports on the front or the side may require a user to bend over to reach, while ports on the top are much easier to access. Thermaltake has provided some of each. The bottom of the case has four feet that raise the case by about one half of an inch. The four recessed holes in the bottom accommodate a solid state drive. I've seen this become more popular with the huge market in the solid state market. Under the power supply is a large vent complete with a dust filter. This is almost necessary for bottom mount cases since the intake of the power supply is usually on the bottom. Without this vent, the power supply would have additional resistance to airflow on the intake side.
The plastic top of the case is removable - it is removed by unfastening six plastic clips similar to the front bezels of any regular case. Removing this top piece is necessary to access the screws that hold in the top 120mm fan. As an important note, the I/O ports are screwed to the top piece. While removing the top, I lifted from the back and was not watching the front. There was enough slack in the USB cables to come out easily, but not in the eSATA cable. The bare contacts on the eSATA connector pulled out of its housing without giving much resistance, rendering it inoperable. I've never used eSATA, so it didn't bother me. I did want to mention this for those who did, as a reminder to make sure that there is enough slack in the eSATA cable before lifting the top piece off.
There are two things on this case in a form that I have not seen before. One of these additions is a cable clamp, which is to be for keyboard and mouse cables. A thumbscrew on the inside of the case releases the small clip and the hinge allows it to swing outward. The other addition is a pair of loops that act as a place for a small lock, which prevents the side panel from being removed when the lock is in place. I probably wouldn't use these, but they are definitely not in the way. It's nice to know that Thermaltake thinks and caters to small need, in a subtle fashion.
After sharing as much as I can with the exterior of the case, it's now time to move onto the insides and working components, as well as assemble the computer.