Thermaltake Armor Revo Snow Edition Review

formerstaff - 2012-05-07 10:22:44 in Cases
Category: Cases
Reviewed by: formerstaff   
Reviewed on: June 4, 2012
Price: $179.99

Introduction:

When you have been around the block a few times like I have (that's my choice of euphemism for getting old), you get to see how most everything is cyclical. I have ties whose width has gone in and out of fashion three times. My first car is now only seen once in a great while on the streets, and then only with collectors' plates attached. The Vikings are also about due to win another...well there is the exception that proves the rule. It was a scant twenty years ago that personal computers for most of us were like Ford Model 'T's – available in any color....as long as it was black , and in the case of PC enclosures, white. It was called "computer white" and was somewhere between champagne and eggshell. It was an off white that was the result of recycling milk jugs, blister packs, and just about any body part of the Pontiac Feiro if memory serves. When case manufactures started putting out more exotic colored cases, people abandoned the white case in droves with great enthusiasm. Well...now the white is back in force. Folks are clamoring for snow white versions of their favorite case and even if you cannot find one now, you probably will in a week. Such is the case with the Thermaltake enclosure I have sitting on my bench this week. The thing I have found with white color schemes is that it can have the effect of making a decent case look gimmicky. Recently, Thermaltake has turned out a 'Snow Edition' version of their Armor Revo case and has been on a roll with their case offerings. Let's see if they have designed another winner here, or if it's good Knight Revo (that's a pun you will get in a minute).

Closer Look:

The Armor Revo arrives in a very colorful high-gloss box and we quickly discover that this is a themed enclosure. The front of the box has a full size image of the case with a fully-armored and highly polished knight hoisting a Claymore over his left shoulder. The back of the box is laid out nicely and tells us quite a bit about the features of the case using diagrammed images showing airflow through both air cooling and liquid cooling. We also get the low-down on a few internal and external features of the case, including the top HDD/SSD vertical docking station and the heavy duty aluminum 'Armor' bezel that adorn either side of the case. The sides of the box have a smaller image of the case on one side and a list of features in twelve languages on the other.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The top of the box offers nothing new – only a small logo with the Armor insignia and 'Armor Revo'. Popping open the top, we see the first glimpse of the face of the Armor Revo. Through the protective plastic bag, I had the impression that the small black honeycomb overlaying the large white honeycomb is designed to emulate the feel of chain maille. Normally, I am not a fan of "themed" cases or components – chipset coolers that look like weaponry tend to trip my gag reflex. As a matter of fact, I may throw a party when the last 'Transformer' embossed component leaves the assembly line. This, though, looks like it might be a fun case.

 

 

Nothing special packaging-wise – the case is well protected with full length foam caps on each side and a plastic bag to protect from scratching. I think Thermaltake vacuum-packed this sucker, though – it did not want to come out and play. Once I managed to wrestle it out, it was in pristine condition.

 

 

Let's get this thing out of its travel wear and see if it's a renaissance case or if it is hoist on its own petard. Just kidding – that was the last one, promise.

Closer Look:

Once the Armor Revo is stripped of its packaging and your eyes begin to survey the case, you get the impression that Thermaltake wanted to do everything just a bit differently. The first and most notable feature about the Revo is the two large, very heavy gauge brushed aluminum wings or 'Armor plates' that run the length of each side of the case. They are not lightweight either, measuring in at 1/8" to 3/16" in thickness depending on where you measure. What are they there for? Well, they’re mostly aesthetics, as far as I can tell, though upon further review, they could provide a couple of functions beyond looks. They are stout enough to take a hell of a kick and other abuse if you place your computer on the floor and also provide a great interior channel for LED or CC lighting that would give a great back-lighting effect while completely concealing the apparatus. They also open up about 1-1/2" to give full access to the drive bays. Other than that, the bright brushed aluminum looks great against the white semi-gloss paint of the Armor Revo.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Turning to the side panels, we find that both sides have quite a bit of character and texture to them. The left side has a nice asymmetrical beveled window to show off your choice of goodies inside. Below the window is a large round honeycomb cut-out that is a filtered home for an included TT 2030 200 mm black fan with notched blades that claims to reduce vibration and noise. This is another aspect of the Revo that I like that seems to become less and less common with cases – the inclusion of more than the compulsory front intake and rear exhaust fans. Too many cases these days seem to be in desperate need of 'fanning up” out of the box, before they are at acceptable levels of cooling and airflow. Both side panels of the Armor Revo have raised and beveled patterns that add an asymmetrical design and rigidity that, to me, resemble or may have been inspired by PCB tracers. Whatever the origin or intent, they are very pleasing to the eye and are topped off with a top notch semi-glossy paintjob that is also fingerprint resistant.

 

 

 

Moving up top to the control panel of the Revo, we find good accessibility and a well-organized contoured layout. There are power and reset buttons on the right, fan controls on the left, and 1 x mic jack, 1 x headset jack, 2 x USB 3.0/2.0, and 2 x USB 2.2/1.1 in the center. The fan buttons allow you to turn on or off the fans’ LED's, while also controlling fan speed via high/low buttons.

 

 

Key to the features of the Armor Revo is the top vertical HDD/SSD Dock-X station. When not in use, it is covered by a spring-loaded door that has a tidy SSD cut-out in the upper left corner to keep the drive from excessive torque should it be bumped or should you accidentally try to pull it out at an angle too far off 90 degrees.

 

 

At the top and bottom of the Revo, we find filtered openings. The top makes room for a large and included 200 mm LED fan and either a 140 mm or 120 mm optional fan. The top pattern is also set up for installing a 240 mm radiator for optional liquid cooling. At the bottom of the case, we find a large removable filtered area for the PSU and an optional 120 mm intake fan. The base footings are raised by 1-1/2' for air clearance and better air flow. They are also adjustable to just about any position you want, as I illustrated with the back footings and a few Photoshop layers.

 

 

Around back, we find a pretty standard setup – a total of 8 expansion slots for the graphically OCD challenged and a bottom mount power supply layout. The black honeycomb venting is continued back here as well. Along the top are three 1" grommet holes for water-cooling.

 

 

The accessory kit is very complete for the Armor Revo – among the standard screws and standoffs, you get a front bay and HDD tray 5.25” to 3.5” conversion kit. You also get a braided 8-pin CPU power extension cable, a system speaker, and an ample supply of zip ties for tidying things up. Also included is a comprehensive user manual and warranty policy information.

 

 

Onward and inward; time to see what the internals of this armored white-out has to offer in the way of functionality.

Closer Look:

Delving into the interior, I was curious to see if this was one of those cases that you could tell where development ran out of funding, from otherwise spending on the cool looking exterior. Removing the bezel of the Revo gives a look at the huge 200 mm blue LED fan behind the honeycomb cut-outs, the four 5.25" drive bays, and the removable front filter. The front comes off with a solid tug, detaching six evenly spaced roller clips which have a solid feel to them while being put back on. The filter is removed by simply pushing two plastic clips to the left. The filter seems to be solidly constructed and easily cleaned. The 5.25" drive bay covers are filtered with 1/8" black foam, wrapped with steel black honeycomb found elsewhere throughout the case. One thing I like about Thermaltake’s white edition cases is how closely the plastic parts match the painted metal panels.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Removing the panels on the Armor Revo reveals a contrasting black interior with various sky-blue accents reminiscent of the blue used on Gigabyte motherboards. The blue accents are used on the tool-less system and the HDD trays. A large 8" x 6" cut-out for CPU heat-sink mounting should be ample for most of the coolers on the market. Oddly, I could not find the maximum heatsink/cooler height listed anywhere for the Revo – my own measurements show that the enclosure will accept a maximum height of 175 mm (rounded down from 177 mm), so most any of the monster air coolers will work . The Revo is a bit stingy by today’s standard with 3/4" clearance behind the motherboard area – there is a bit over an inch behind the 5.25" bays and HDD tray area which is nice, but any power connectors that need to end up behind the motherboard could fight with you a bit when putting the right panel back on. The Revo is not littered with grommeted cut-outs like some cases I have used, but I found the routing to be ample, and as always, I look for grommets that do not leave their post every time you pull a cable through them, so it’s nice that the Revo's stayed put rather nicely.

 

 

 

Thermaltake utilizes a method for power delivery to the large side fan that, while not unique, I would like to see on more cases for enthusiasts who are frequently inside their case. A small PCB with contact points is mounted to the edge of the case and another PCB with spring-loaded contacts is mounted to the side panel. When the side goes on, so does the fan – a very nice addition to the Armor Revo. Behind the 200 mm side fan, you will find the hexagonal-shaped removable filter which is easily removed via four screws from the outside of the panel.

 

 

The tool-less design incorporates a spring lever on one end that pushes the pins into the sides of the optical drive bays. It’s a completely different spin on tool-less mounting versus the Level 10, though just as effective. The HDD/SSD trays are of a unique design with their powder blue diamond centered style and rail design. The release is unique as well – you push a spring-loaded tab on the left side to release and swing open the front of the tray. Vibration dampening rubber grommeted pin sets hold the HDD in place while the SSD requires screws from the bottom of the tray. Unlike many of the HDD trays found in other cases that are almost to the point of being rubber and relying on the HDD for structural integrity, the HDD trays in the Revo are very rigid and sturdy in function as well as form. Not a big deal by any means – just another difference I noticed.

 

 

 

On the roof of the Revo you will find a coarsely-filtered opening with a 200 mm blue LED fan installed. Should you opt for liquid cooling, you can install a 240 mm radiator here. The floor of the case is filtered by a single 5" x 13” framed filter for both the PSU and optional 120/140 mm intake fan. There is also an adjustable bracket that will accommodate the largest PSUs on the market.  On the back panel, you can get a better look at the 140 mm 'Turbo-prop' exhaust fan.

 

 

Time to get some components in here and see whether the Armor Revo is user-friendly and easy to work with.

Closer Look:

Working with the Armor Revo was an enjoyable experience – everything went into place quickly and smoothly. The interior has a quality paint job and all edges that my big paws came in contact with were nicely rounded over or bull-nosed. As usual, I always look for grommets by the cable management holes that do not leave their post when you pull a cable through and I had no issue here whatsoever. The extra room behind the drive bays and HDD trays is always great to work with. The motherboard tray has several punched out loops that make tidying up with zip ties very easy and convenient. I did have a bit of an issue with the LED fan control on this case. I was sent a replacement resistor block to replace it and you can see the extent to which the case lights up immediately below. I have worked with many Thermaltake cases and believe this was an extremely isolated event, but as always you can be the judge on this. The case also features an LED lighting effect that Thermaltake calls the 'Breathe' effect. The Revo's Armor moniker at the top front of the case is lit up from behind with a blue LED and cycles in and out softly in about 15 second intervals. A better look at this feature can be had a bit farther down the page.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A few more installed looks at the Revo with an SSD occupying the top Docking station. Note the raised footings are in a couple of the many available positions. The irregular shaped side panel window offers an interesting look into the side of the case from the rear exhaust fan, and just reveals the corner of the top blue accented HDD tray.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The irregularly-shaped side window straddles the 200 mm fan and does a good job showing off your hardware. The window is finished very well, as it is beveled into the panel cut-out. On the same side as the window in the upper right is the headgear hanger. Also present on the Level 10, Thermaltake dubs this the 'Combat Headset Holder' for you LAN party-goers. The top Armor Revo logo on the front incorporates the Thermaltake lighting 'Breathe' effect and cycles a soft blue glow through the back side of the bezel every 15 seconds in the form of a soft fade in and fade out.

 

 

 

 

Here is a video look at the Armor Revo 'Breathe' lighting effect:

 

 

Closer Look: Detail and Texture:

While I am sure you are all reeling from the excitement of 60 seconds of "Breathe" – an edgy new film from Greg Wald productions – 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 of the case and a better idea of what to expect from the case emerging from that box. I hope you enjoy it.

 

Clockwise: Window detail, 5.25" bay cover, Top wing detail, Top honeycomb

 

 

 

 

 

 

Clockwise: Front panel detail, Left panel, Logo front, 5.25" bay covers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Clockwise: Aluminum wing finish, Front panel closeup, front wing stops, Tool-less mechanism.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Armor Revo has quite a bit of architecture and texture detail to it. In working with it, I noticed that it is one of those enclosures that looks good from just about any angle you view it. On the next page, you can view the specs and feature set. Then, I will heat this thing up and see if those giant fans do their job properly.

Specifications:

Case Type   
Full Tower
Material   
SECC
Front Bezel Material   
Combination of plastic and high air flow mesh
Color   
 
Interior: Black
Exterior: White
Side Panel         
Swivel Door with Transparent Window
Motherboard Support   
9.6” x 9.6” (Micro ATX)
12” x 9.6” (ATX)
Motherboard Tray   
No
5.25" Drive Bay   
4
Ext. 3.5" Drive Bay   
By using 5.25" to 3.5" Converter
Int. 3.5" Drive Bay   
6
Expansion Slots   
8
Front I/O Ports   
USB 3.0 x 2
USB 2.0 x 2
eSATA connector x 1
Mic & Speaker
Supports AC’97 & HD Audio
Cooling System
Front (Intake):
200 x 200 x 30 mm Blue LED fan x 1 (600-800 rpm,13-15 dBA) or 120 x 120 x 25 mm x 2 (optional)
 
Rear (Exhaust):
140 x 140 x 25 mm TurboFan, 1000 rpm, 16 dBA or 120 x 120 x 25 mm x 1 (optional)
 
Top (Exhaust):
200 x 200 x 30 mm Blue LED fan x 1 (600-800 rpm, 13-15 dBA); 200 x 200 x 30 mm x 1 (optional) or 140 x 140 x 25 mm x 2 (optional) or 120 x 120 x 25 mm x 2 (optional)
 
Bottom (Intake):
120 x 120 x 25 mm x 1 (optional)
 
Side (Intake):
200 x 200 x 30 mm x 1
 
Liquid Cooling Capable   
Yes
Liquid Cooling Embedded   
No
Power Supply Supported   
Standard ATX PSII Power Supply
Power Supply Included   
No
Dimension (H*W*D)
586 x 254.0 x 552 mm
23.1 x 10 x 21.7 inches
Net Weight
11.5 kg
25.35 lb
Security Lock   
for peripherals only
Application   
Suitable for gaming, enthusiast, DIY and modding

 

 

Features:


 

All information provided courtesy of Thermaltake Technology Co @ http://www.thermaltakeusa.com/Product.aspx?S=1410&ID=2102#Tab0

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.

Test Setup:

Comparison Cases:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Results:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For the most part, the Thermaltake Armor Revo, juiced up with 200 mm wind tunnel fans, turns in big-boy temps on the heels of the Switch 810. Remember, there are options for a few more 120/140 mm fans that can be added to the Revo.

Conclusion:

The most interesting aspect of the Revo is that it is an extremely successful sum of its parts. The inside of the Armor Revo is not revolutionary, but the selection of different parts, how they are constructed, and assembled in one case, makes this a very interesting and enjoyable enclosure to work with. There was obviously much thought put into the ergonomics of this case. It shows up in the smooth feel of things that are meant to lock and unlock, plug in and unplug. With three 200 mm fans doing the cooling, the case is also near silent. The loudest fan included in the case tops out at 16 dBA – I think anyone who has ever listened to more than two AC/DC songs probably has ringing in their ears that exceeds that. The Armor Revo is outfitted with just a bit of bling that does not push it over the top into a tacky level, but will most likely draw an inquiry or two. As far as amenities, we can start off with the elevated foot-stands, which can not only keep good clearance off a carpeted floor, but can be rotated 360 degrees to any position you like, such for conserving space. The plug-and-play side fan is terrific and eliminates another wire connection that is usually a pain when entering your machine. The take on the tool-less 5.25" bays are another successful version for Thermaltake and rock solid. The addition of the 'Armored wings' is undeniably more form than function, but that is not to say that they are only for aesthetics. These very heavy extruded aluminum wings are beautifully finished in brushed fashion and not only look great against the Snow white finish, but actually do protect the front of the enclosure from kicks received from sitting on the floor. I also discovered that the channels inside make a roomy and stealthy place to set LED strips for some great looking LED back-lighting I mentioned earlier. What we have here, then, is an enclosure that takes a bunch of smaller well-executed ideas and has melded them into one smooth great-looking enclosure. I have made a game of guessing the type of case that those who walk in to my shop will select and have gotten rather good at it. I see this case being had by folks who are a bit adventurous and unassuming. If you like a home for your hand-picked hardware that has interesting lines to match its performance, you may want to give the Armor Revo the once over twice...one of these knights.

 

Pros:

 

Cons: