Thermaltake Armor Revo Gene 'Snow Edition' Review
Reviewed by: formerstaff
Reviewed on: December 12, 2012
Thermaltake Armor Revo Gene 'Snow Edition' Introduction:
Back around the turn of the century we were still wrapping single strands of fine copper wire around specific pins on the underside of our Pentium and Athlons in pursuit of a precious few more Megahertz. There was comparatively little available to us enthusiasts in the way of after market cooling solutions and Thermaltake entered the scene to remedy this need in the market. Founded in Taiwan in 1999, Thermaltake has innovated and brought some of the best and most popular cooling solutions on the market. As the namesake implies, Thermaltake's products are always engineered with the idea of removing and managing heat from the equation, be it power supplies, water/air coolers, or cases. The latter is on the bench today in the form of the Thermaltake Armor Revo's little brother, the Armor Revo Gene Snow Edition.
The Thermaltake Armor Revo Gene Snow Edition is the mid-tower version of the Armor Revo Snow Edition I reviewed last June. The Armor Revo Snow Edition turned out to be a fantastic case in both form and function. Let's unbox its little brother and see if Thermaltake can avoid some of the pitfalls of downscaling a smaller and more budget oriented sequel.
The Thermaltake Armor Revo Gene arrives in a high gloss, full color box that features a large image of the Thermaltake Revo Gene Snow Edition with a fully armored knight looming in the background. The rest of the box does not give a lot of information about the case except for one side that has a brief list of features in 13 languages. The top of the box has only a small 'Armor Revo Gene' Snow Edition insignia.
The packaging consists of the now standard form fitting Styrofoam end caps and is snuggly fit into the box. I did the old empty milk carton bit when lifting it out of the box as I was expecting it to weigh more than its 17.2 pounds. Thermaltake has taken to wrapping its cases in a light black cloth bag for extra protection. It will provide you scratch protection for a season or two of LAN-party transit if you are careful with it. Once off, the Revo Gene was found to be in showroom condition despite appearing to be roughed up a bit in transit.
Out of the box and into the light. Let's see what kind of home the Thermaltake Revo Gene Snow Edition makes for your precious hardware.
Thermaltake Armor Revo Gene 'Snow Edition' Closer Look:
Here is the Armor Revo Gene in full light. The left panel displays the asymmetrical 'U' shaped window that I liked on the full tower version. The window is slightly smoked and is beveled around the opening. The plastic window is held in via twelve plastic push-pin black rivets and is rather clean looking. The 'horns' of the window wrap around the top of a holed opening for a 200mm or 140mm fan. In the upper right corner there is a place for your headset dubbed the 'Combat Headset Hanger'. The right side panel has a convex beveled step around the perimeter of about 7/16", ostensibly to stiffen up the steel panel and provide extra room for wire management. The white finish is top notch on the Gene as well. The plastic bits match the paint or powder coat well and is of consistent quality.
The front of the case is one of the Armor Revo Gene's strong points as it is a very good looking case. Up top there is the Revo insignia that provides the platform for the 'Breathe' lighting effect (more on that in a bit). There are four 5.25" bays covered with a course black mesh insert. Below the same type of insert covers are a 3.5" bay and a hidden HDD/SSD bay with a hard drive tray. The lower half of the front is the same black mesh over larger holes covering the front 200mm blue LED intake fan. The hallmark of the Armor Revo series is the two large extruded aluminum 'Armor wings' that run the length of the case. The armor wings are nicely finished in a brushed texture and while there isn't a specific function for them, I think they look great!
The wings open about 30 degrees for access to the bays. It would have been easy to make them part of a gaudy looking theme, but they reined it in and came up with a very good looking implementation and execution. The extruded aluminum armor is not a flimsy gimmick either. It measures in at 0.1875" or 3/16" thick and will take quite a kick without showing any signs of abuse. The back of the case reveals seven PCIe expansion plates and a universal securing plate for all seven expansion slots that makes the screws easier to get at if you have large hands like I do. Above the 120mm exhaust fan opening are three 1-1/2" grommeted openings for water cooling lines.
On the top we find a control panel with a nice feature. The hot-swap Dock-X station is nicely laid out and has a separate two-part, spring activated door that only allows access for the type of drive you are inserting. This ensures that if you have a SSD installed, it will not be able to be bent over during installation or by being bumped. The Dock-X has a nice positive engagement feel when you insert the HDD/SSD. To the right are four USB ports (two USB 2.0 and two USB 3.0). On the left are the power button, HDD activity light, the reset button, and the audio jacks. The layout is very clean and finished looking, and the buttons have a nice feel to them.
The top of the Revo Gene shows the top docking station and the filtered opening for a 200mm fan or a 240mm radiator. The H-100 bolted up easily and cleanly with no hassles. The front top is a separate plastic unit that houses the buttons and the hot-swap Dock-X circuit PCB. I am impressed with how well the plastic front control panel and hot-swap Dock-X matched the white finish of the rest of the unit.
The bottom of the Revo Gene has a large, removable, fine-grade filter for both the PSU intake and the optional 120mm intake fan.The Revo Gene also has legs that rotate 360 degrees for both aesthetics and function. They can be tucked completely under the case for space saving or out at a 90 or 45 degree angle for more stability.
The legs have a cam-like stop system and click into place every 45 degrees to prevent them from randomly moving about. In the image below I Photoshopped one of the rear legs to show all of the positions they can be set to. The legs are also 1-1/2" tall, which gives them good height if the case is set on a carpeted surface. These are a few of the features that demonstrate the forethought of design put into the Armor Revo series.
Overall the looks of the Revo Gene are very similar to its full tower counterpart, and that is a good thing.
Let's go on and see how the interior is laid out.
Thermaltake Armor Revo Gene 'Snow Edition' Closer Look:
Removing the four thumbscrews of the side panels and we get a look at the big picture. The Armor Revo Gene accepts mATX and standard ATX form factor motherboards, has five 5.25" bays with spring activated tool-less holds, four HDD/SSD trays, and a large 5" x 9" tray cutout that should work for a vast majority of CPU heat sinks available up to a height of 175mm. Four oblong 3" wiring grommets are well placed and fit tightly in the openings. The finish is of very good quality and the interior edges are well rounded. I did not find a sharp edge anywhere on the inside.
Turning to the backside we get an idea of how the wiring management shapes up. There is a 7/8" space for wires and the additional 7/16" afforded by the raised bevel in the panel itself. Thermaltake has also incorporated 'Cable Clear' into the Armor Revo Gene, which amounts to an additional space behind the hard drive and 5.25" device bays. This ensures there is enough room for the connectors to not interfere with the right side panel's installation after assembly. I don't know about you, but I am not a fan of bulging side panels. The shot with the tape measure is representative of the interior finish: well done and consistent throughout.
Turning to the inside front of the Revo Gene we get a look at the storage capabilities. Four 5.25" bays with the Thermaltake version of tool-less mounting system, which is amongst the best in the industry. Below are four hard drive trays that also accept SSDs. The design is unique, as you push in spring loaded tabs from the side. They are extremely beefy and durable. In between the HDD trays and the 5.25" bays is a 'hidden HDD tray' that that can be pulled out from the front when the 200mmm front fan is removed or accessed from inside the case.
Taking the facade off the front of the case is a simple and tool-less task. A firm tug from the bottom releases the bottom two expanding press pins and the front assembly is removed. Once removed it reveals the large 200mm fan that serves as the intake for the case. The fan blows air over the hard drive cage and, thanks to holes punched out on the sides of the chassis, ensures that a bit of airflow gets behind the motherboard helping to cool the backside of the CPU socket. A portion of the airflow from the 200mm fan also gets to the hidden drive above the lone 3.5" bay. Looking at the back of the facade shows a removable filter for incoming air. Pulling back on a couple of the plastic built-in clips releases the filter for a quick rinse. Both the 5.25" and the 3.5" bay covers also have built-in foam filters as well, making the Revo Gene filtered all the way around.
A look at the other three sides of the interior has a 200mm fan pre-installed in the filtered roof. You can also install a 120mm or 240mm radiator here. The rear of the interior comes with a 120mm 'prop' style exhaust fan and a bottom mount for the PSU. The floor of the interior has mounts for a single 120mm fan. All fanned up the Revo Gene should have exceptional airflow like its bigger full tower brother. We will see if that's the case in a page or two.
The accessories are on the lean side with the Revo Gene. You get an install guide, warranty card, a system speaker, fan screws, and standoffs, along with a few zip ties.
Assembly with the Revo Gene is fast and easy. All of the machining is spot on with no alignment issues. The grommets are tight fitting and stay put when pushing through the large connectors with good placement, so you don't have to take a sudden turn after the cable is on the other side. With 7/8" of space afforded plus the additional 7/16" from the bevel on the side panel, there was ample room for the wires and the side panel to sit flat once attached. Fitting the largest graphics cards on the market is not a problem, with plenty of room to spare between the end of the card and the HDD cage. The tool-less devices work flawlessly. You simply push your optical drive back and listen for the click.
Thanks to the use of low RPM 200mm fans, the Revo Gene is one of the quietest cases I have reviewed or used. In the second image you can see an HDD installed in the 'hidden tray' underneath the 3.5" bay. The front fan emits a soft blue glow that is not blinding even in a dark room. The light from the fan also spills out from the bottom of the facade leaving a puddle of blue light on the surface you have it sitting on. The front 'breathe' light is a soft tone as well, pulsing on and off in about five second intervals with a fade in and fade out.
The Armor Revo Gene also has the 'breathe' feature on the front logo. It'll glow and pulse at regular intervals with a slow fade in fade out in a soft blue light. Press play on the video below and have a look at the movie masterpiece I have dubbed "Blue Logo Breathe pulse thingy."
Closer Look: Detail and Textures
I would like to welcome you to my detail and texture section. I like to add this section to my case reviews in recognition that most cases are purchased online from photos depicted in the best light and from flattering angles. Not everyone has a Micro Center down the road to go "kick the tires" before laying down hard-earned money. Details can make or break a case, and here I hope to give you a better feel for the details and textures of the case, and a better idea of what to expect from the case emerging from that box. I hope you enjoy it and find it helpful in evaluating the Thermaltake Armor Revo Gene.
Detail Pictures from top left: Combat Headgear Hanger, side window bevel, drive bay covers, Thermaltake logo, tool-less mechanism, front LED fan, right side panel bevel, 3.5" bay cover.
Turn the page and have a look at the specifications and features and then we'll see just how cool the Revo Gene keeps your hardware.
Thermaltake Armor Revo Gene 'Snow Edition' Specifications:
ARMOR REVO GENE Snow Edition
P / N
510 x 252 x 550 mm
(20 x 9.9 x 21.6 inch)
7.8 kg / 17.2 lb
Front (intake) :
200 x 200 x 20 mm Blue LED fan x 1 (600rpm, 13dBA)
Rear (exhaust) :
120 x 120 x 25 mm Turbo fan (1000rpm,16dBA)
Top (exhaust) :
200 x 200 x 30 mm fan x 1 (600rpm, 13dBA)
Side (intake) : (optional)
200 x 200 x 30 mm fan or 140 x 140 x 25 mm fan x 1
Bottom (Intake) : (optional)
120 x 120 x 25 mm
- HDD Docking
4 x 5.25", 1 x 3.5"
5 x 3.5" or 2.5"
1 x 3.5" or 2.5"
9.6” x 9.6” (Micro ATX), 12” x 9.6” (ATX)
USB 3.0 x 2, USB 2.0 x 2, HD Audio x 1
Standard PS2 PSU
Supports 1/2”?3/8”?1/4” water tube
CPU cooler height limitation: 175mm
VGA Other length limitation: 315mm
Thermaltake Armor Revo Gene 'Snow Edition' Features:
- Wing Shape Aluminum Front Bezel
- Breath Lighting effect
- USB3.0 superspeed
- Top-mounted HDD hot swap Docking Station
- VGA TripleMax 31cm
- CableClear cable management
- Liquid cooling ready
- Innovative 5.25" & 3.5" tool-free design
- Combat Headset Holder
- Heightened footstand enhances intake airflow
All information provided courtesy of http://www.thermaltakeusa.com/Product.aspx
Thermaltake Armor Revo Gene 'Snow Edition' Testing:
I will be testing the idle and load temperatures of the system CPU, GPU, and chipset using Prime95 after running the small FFT test for 30 minutes. The idle temperature will be taken after 30 minutes of idle activity. The GPU temperatures will be tested by running 3DMark Vantage for 30 minutes and then a return to idle activity after 30 minutes. The room temperature during testing was maintained at 72°F (22°C) and all cases were running only the fans with which they shipped.
- Processor: AMD A8 3870 @ 3.7 GHz
- CPU Cooling: Corsair Hydro Series H100
- Motherboards: Gigabyte GA-A75-UD4H
- Memory: AMD Performance Edition 12800 1600 MHz 8-9-8-24
- Video card: XFX HD 7970 Black Edition
- Power supply: Corsair HX650
- Hard Drive: 1 x Seagate 1TB SATA
- SSD: Corsair Force GT 240GB
- Optical drive: Sony Optiarc
- Case: Thermaltake Armor Revo Gene Snow Edition
- Operating System: Windows 7 Professional 64-bit
- Corsair Obsidian 650D
- AZZA Fusion 3000
- NZXT Switch 810
- Thermaltake Level 10 Snow Edition
- Thermaltake Armor Revo Snow Edition
Like its full tower counterpart, the Revo Gene produces very good cooling numbers. The results may be even better with the addition of the optional 200mm fan on the side intake and the 120mm intake on the floor of the Gene.
Thermaltake Armor Revo Gene 'Snow Edition' Conclusion:
The biggest challenge for case manufacturers when releasing a smaller more budget friendly version of an excellent case is to downscale the case without disappointing the public. Yes it's more affordable and they know that they can't have the same product with all of the features and ergonomics. Unfortunately they have seen the original and you can't un-ring that bell; perceptions are the reality. It is rare then that a case manufacturer scales down a hallmark case without rendering it a flimsy, half-hearted copy. I have said before that when a manufacturer sets out to make a less expensive counterpart, you can usually tell where it ran out of budget and began to cheap out or drop features or functionality.
This is not the case with the Armor Revo Gene. The side panels are a bit thinner and you are minus a fan, but the Gene retains the essence of what makes the Thermaltake Armor Revo the great case it is. From the exterior you are hard pressed to tell the difference between them. To begin with, the Revo Gene retains the width and depth of the full tower version while giving back only three inches in height (one bay worth). This means that the Revo Gene will be able to house the largest of graphics cards for an all-out gaming build. Thermaltake has also kept the nifty top hot-swap Dock-X system, the hidden HDD bay, and even the cool looking 'breathe' lighting effect.
Inside there are differences, however I would classify most of them as more lateral than downgrades. The tool-less system is spring loaded and works great. The HDD/SSD trays are as good as the full tower with a heavy duty feel that mimics a server-type pullout. The base of the Gene has the same spring-n-stop system allowing many different configurations, from extra stability to space saving compactness. The use of two large 200mm fans makes for one of the quietest cases I have reviewed. Thermaltake even retained the filtering at every opening as well as lowering your compressed air budget.
The asymmetrical beveled window that provides an unique peek at the hardware within has made its way into the Gene as well. One of the few criticisms of the Gene is that the wire bundle from the front panel connectors could be a bit longer. The HD audio connector barely made it to the corresponding port on the motherboard we used for testing. If the style of the Armor Revo Gene is something that catches your eye and you prefer the more manageable mid tower, this case should be on your short list to check out for, say, your next gaming build.
- Good looks
- Retains major elements of Armor Revo
- Accepts 240mm radiator in roof
- HDD/SSD tray system
- Top hot-swap Dock-X
- Adjustable 1-1/2" legs
- All intakes filtered
- Excellent finish inside and out
- Unique side window
- Cable Clear Feature
- Good hardware temps
- Front panel connectors a bit short