Thermaltake VH6000BWS Armor+ Review

ajmatson - 2008-04-10 19:34:49 in Cases
Category: Cases
Reviewed by: ajmatson   
Reviewed on: May 27, 2008
Price: $199.99

Introduction:

With the speeds that enthusiasts are reaching on their hardware these days, a lot more heat is being generated than in the past. To handle all of that heat, you need a case with great airflow and lots room to work in. The old beige cases of the past are no longer up to the task, and are giving way to cooling beasts of the future. I remember when the only case fan I had was an aftermarket 120mm exhaust fan that sat right above the PCI slots; if I didn't have that, the power supply would have been my only air extractor. Now, choosing the best fans and their placement is as critical as the components in the computer.

Enter the Thermaltake Armor+ - this is the big daddy of Thermaltake's long-running Armor series. The Armor+ is a full tower case that comes in two colors and variants - Thermaltake offers the Armor+ in a black or silver, and with or without their integrated Liquid Cooling System (LCS). We are going to be taking a look at the VH6000BWS, which is the black tower without the LCS.

 

Closer Look:

The Armor+ being a full tower case, the packaging was huge and heavy. The box sports a picture of the case, and some of the case's features are outlined on the side. Also included on the box is the World Cyber Games logo, as the Armor+ was the official case of the 2007 Games.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When the case arrived, I took a look at the packaging and got scared - it looks as if the box had been through the washing machine. I was slow and careful unpacking it, which was a difficult task, considering the size and weight of the case. However, to my surprise, the cargo was perfectly intact - Thermaltake took extra care to properly secure the case in the box, so that no damage would occur in transit. This is something I like to see from a manufacturer, going the extra mile for their customers.

 

Now that we have the beast out of its shell, let's move on and take a better look at the case.

Closer Look:

When you get the Armor+ out of its box, you can see what a monster it really is; this is not a case for the weak. It demands respect, and will accent any computer components placed in it. The Armor+ stands a whopping 23.6 inches tall, and weighs in at 37 pounds - making it what Thermaltake calls a "Super Tower". The Armor+ comes with a see-through window on the side to show off all of your goodies, and has enough space to house any component your heart desires.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The top of the tower features a very large ventilation area to pull hot air out, and keep the components cooler. Towards the front of the case, there is a sliding hatch that has an accessory bay inside, so you can store screws, tools, and anything else you don't want to lose. This is also where the LCS unit would be filled.

 

 

The Armor+ has all of the necessary ports you will need for your system. Included are four USB 2.0 ports, a FireWire port, the audio jacks, and an eSATA port for external drives. The eSATA port connects to a standard SATA port on the motherboard, so if your motherboard does not have eSATA already, this gives you the capability. There is also a power switch, a reset switch, and the hard drive, and power LED's. On the side panel, there is a very large 230mm fan which serves as a cool air intake - necessary for lower case temperatures.

 

 

The front of the case has two small door doors which need to be opened to access the optical drives; they can be removed using the two latches found on each door. There are dust filters covering each of the drive bays, and the top seven can be removed to install drives or other accessories. Just reach in and pull on the dust filter to release the latching mechanism; the cover pulls away and can be stored for use in the future.

 

 

Closer Look:

Looking to the innards of the Thermaltake Armor+, there are a whopping seven 5.25" bays to house all of your optical drives and fan controllers. The top two bays are where the Liquid Cooling System is stored, if you buy the LCS version. Below the 5.25" bays there are five 3.5" hard drive bays. All of the 5.25" bays have a tool-less design for adding and removing devices. The hard drives are stored in a removable hard drive cage, which makes it easy to add and swap drives. The plastic cages also cut down on vibration from the hard drives rattling against the metal parts of the case. In addition to the five hard drive bays in the front of the case, there are two more bays at the bottom of the case for additional drive placement. These two bays can also be removed and replaced by two 120mm or 140mm fans, or even a liquid cooling radiator.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Looking towards the back of the case, there are 10 PCI slots, all with a screw-less design for adding expansion cards or USB and/or eSATA brackets. This tool-less design works great, but it does take some time to make things secure. Above the expansion slots is a 120mm Thermaltake exhaust fan that draws hot air from your components and pushes it out the back. The power supply bay for the Armor+ is in the traditional top/rear spot. Thermaltake knows that current power supplies are getting longer and heavier, so they have included an adjustable PSU support brace to help keep the power supply in place.

 

 

One thing I always look for in a case is a removable motherboard tray, since I am constantly switching components; Thermaltake has included this feature, proving they know how important it is to enthusiasts. In the Armor+, the whole tray slides out for easy installation of components, and then slides right back in. Thermaltake has also included cutouts on the motherboard tray, so you can better route your cables, improve airflow, and keep your system tidy.

 

 

Also included with the Thermaltake Armor+ are a 5.25" to 3.5" bay converter for floppy drives or other small drives, a handy tool storage compartment which is housed in one of the 5.25" bays, a swappable fan bracket that attaches to the side of the hard drive cage to provide additional cooling for video cards, and the hardware needed for installation and cable management.

 

 

Specifications:

 

Model
VH6000BWS
Case Type
Super Tower
Dimension (H*W*D)
600 x 245 x 625 mm (23.6 x 9.6 x 24.6 inches)
Net Weight
16.8kg (37.0lbs)
Side Panel
Transparent Window
Removable Motherboard Tray
Yes
Cable Management
Yes
Sliding Hood
Yes
Adjustable PSU Bridge
Yes
Material
Front Door: Aluminum / Chases: 1.0mm SECC
Color
Black
Cooling System
Front (intake) :
140 x 140 x 25mm blue LED fan, 1000rpm, 16dBA or
120 x 120 x 25mm fan
Rear (exhaust) :
120 x 120 x25 mm TurboFan, 1300rpm, 17dBA
Side (intake) :
230 x 230 x 20mm blue LED fan, 800rpm, 15dBA
Bottom (intake) :
Two 140 x 140 mm fans (optional) or
Two 120 x 120mm fans (optional)
VGA (intake) :
140 x 140 x 25mm fan (optional)
or 120 x 120 x 25mm fan (optional)
Motherboard Support
9.6” x 9.6” (Micro ATX), 12” x 9.6” (ATX), 12” x 13” (Extend ATX)
Drive Bays
5.25” Drive Bay: 7
3.5” Drive Bay: 1(Converted from one 5.25” drive bay)
3.5” Drive Bay(Hidden): 7
Front I/O
e-SATA connector x 1, USB2.0 x 4, IEEE 1394 FireWire x 1, HD Audio
Expansion Slots
10

 

 

Features:

- All information taken from Thermaltake's website.

 

Testing:

Now for what we have all been waiting for - the testing phase! To test the Thermaltake Armor+, I am going to record the operating temperatures while idle and at load for the CPU, Chipset, Hard drive, and Video Card. To create a full load I used OCCT to push the CPU, chipset, and the memory, 3DMark06 for the Video Card and HDTune for the hard drive. To measure the temperatures I used CoreTemp, SpeedFan and HDTune's hard drive temperature reading. I also want to see how the Armor+ stands up to other cases on the market, so I will be comparing its test results to those of the Enermax Uber Chakra, and the Sigma Unicorn - all with the same hardware setup.

 

Comparison Cases:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Overall, the temperatures in each case were very close to one another. The chipset was a little toastier in the Armor+, but the graphics card was cooler, thanks to the optional fan for the PCI cards and the huge 230mm intake fan.

 

Conclusion:

Temperatures were about average in the Thermaltake Armor+, with the exception of the video card - which was helped by the 230mm intake fan and the optional PCI card fan. The case has enough room for any system builder, and is certified for NVIDIA's Tri-SLI, so there will be no cramping here. The removable motherboard tray is great feature, and should be standard in all computer cases. If removed, the two hard drive cages at the bottom of the Armor+ leave enough room to install a two-fan liquid cooling radiator, so you are not stuck with the LCS if you choose to go with an aftermarket liquid cooling setup. The number of 5.25" bays lets you expand your hardware to your hearts' content, as long as your motherboard can handle it. The case is quite heavy, so you might not be toting it to LAN parties. However, the included tool boxes are great places to stow away important screws or other items. If you are looking for a full tower case, you will not be disappointed with the Thermaltake Armor+. The in-case temperatures were average, but features are abundant and this roomy case makes installation and maintenance a snap.

 

Pros:

 

Cons: