Thermaltake Core V71 Review

hornybluecow - 2014-03-08 12:15:13 in Cases
Category: Cases
Reviewed by: hornybluecow   
Reviewed on: April 17, 2014
Price: $159.99

Thermaltake Core V71: Introduction

Today we take a look at the Thermaltake Core V71, which is one of the newest entries into Thermaltake's chassis lineup. Established in 1999, Thermaltake was and is the leading company for aftermarket cooling. The company is also largely involved with the e-sport community, making peripherals such as mice, keyboards, and headphones with a mission of "Delivering the perfect user experience". Being a well known brand has great rewards, as it can spend more time in research and development to really deliver that user experience. Thermaltake has already branched out into the power supply and computer accessories markets while keeping a steady supply of new chassis year after year.

Unveiled during CES 2014, I was eager to see what Thermaltake's newest chassis had to offer in the ever growing and expanding market. The Core V71 is priced at $159.99 MSRP, which puts it under the upper price range for a full-tower and in direct competition to Cooler Master's Stacker series. Without spoiling the rest, let's move on to the review.

Thermaltake Core V71: Closer Look

Looking at the pictures below, the chassis has an unified mesh from top to bottom, which is what all the Core chassis in the series look like. Thermaltake's other series like the Urban or Level 10 stand out from the crowed and it's good to see the Core continuing this trend. A quick rundown of the chassis from the images below and left to right. This chassis is like an onion and has many layers to be peeled away before it's all said and done.

Looking at the front, it has two exposed 5.25" bays covered by a metal mesh and behind that is a removable dust filter. The final layer is a great addition of two 200mm blue LED fans that by default are set up as push so that the chassis has a positive airflow setup. Continuing on, the back is as standard as it comes with a 120mm rear fan, eight expansion slots, and a bottom mount for a power supply. The left side panel includes a full size window, which shows off all the components so you better make sure the wiring is nice and clean. Finally, the right panel is solid and continues the rectangle extruded shape. It doesn't exactly "fit" the rest of the Core look, but there aren't many other options to choose from considering it's just a back panel that gets the least amount of attention.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Looking at the top of the chassis, there are a few goodies under the mesh. To start, at the front are all the I/O ports neatly lined up on each side, which is a design choice well suited for the style the chassis is going for. Below the top panel is a long dust filter that can be removed by grabbing it from the back and pulling it out. To give a tease of what is to come in the review, there is also a large amount of space for either three 120mm or two 200mm fans and everything in between. Don't worry, I'll cover the fan and water cooling support later in the review, this is just more of an overview.

 

 

The bottom also has the same type of dust filter on the top that covers the whole bottom vented section. In this case, the dust filter is spilt into two and removing it involves pushing down the clip to release and pulling on the filter lightly for it come out. In reverse, installing just requires pushing lightly and it will click into place.

 

Thermaltake Core V71: Closer Look

Taking off both the top and front panel was as easy as one could ask for and this is how they all should be, in my opinion. To remove either panel grab it from the bottom or back and lightly tug. Simple and effective, which brings me to the question of why has this been so hard to come by lately? On top of that, Thermaltake goes the extra mile and includes 200mm blue LED fans that are connected and controlled via the front I/O panel. These fans can be set to low (600 RPM) or high (800 RPM), and the blue LEDs can be turned off from a button on the I/O panel.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In the pictures below, the I/O ports are neatly aligned on both sides with the power button in the middle. As I stated before, this layout helps sell the clean and functional design the Core V71 has going for it. Now looking at the ports, the left side has the reset, fan speed, and fan light buttons, which are essential to the chassis to be effective and functional. The right side has the standard USB 2.0, USB 3.0, and audio jacks that all chassis are expected to have in 2014. Pulling off the top panel, underneath you can see two PCB boards for each side and clean wires that were assembled with care, zip-tied and everything.

 

 

With the top panel removed you can see the the PCB; raise it and the space can be used as a 5.25" bay. To keep it in place requires the bay drive to be screwed in place as there is no locking mechanism. If you were hoping to install a third 140mm fan you would be out of luck. Alternatively a modder could easily remove the PCB as it's held by screws instead of rivets. Officially the V71 does not support three 140mm fans, just to be clear.

 

 

Inside the chassis is the standard manual, bag with screws, and zip-ties. A bit surprising was the inclusion of an 8-pin CPU extension cable that Thermaltake provided. This is great if your power supply cables aren't long enough for the large chassis. It's happened to me often enough that I have a spare extension cable handy when installing in a large chassis. The common source of the problem, generally, is that power supplies tend to have shorter cables when marketing towards lower wattage. Not everyone needs a 1000 watt power supply in a full tower, sometimes 500-600 watts is enough if you're just running one video card, and this is where the extension cable shines.

The manual itself is decent enough and had all the information, along with radiator and fan support information. I would like to thank Thermaltake for taking the time to include a very detailed illustration of what can come out and what is supported for installation. This is essential for any enthusiast chassis that has the ability to transform and be customized as the users like.

Thermaltake Core V71: Closer Look

Removing the side panels presented no issues. The design is such that the panels slide into the front and acts like a hinge. This is a great design choice and makes installing and removing the panels a cinch, unlike so many other chassis that need to be aligned just right for the panel to lock in place and has always been an annoyance to deal with; these will have you wishing every chassis was setup this way. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Thermaltake tool-less design is effective and easy to figure out. The 5.25" bays have a simple lock-in mechanism, which has a latch that is pressed and held while installing the drive. The hard drive 3.5" bays have cross support for either a standard drive or a 2.5", which is becoming necessary with SSD drive sales going up as prices go down per gigabyte. The lock requires you to release the latch by pressing on the left side and releasing, then simply pulling the drive bay out. Installing a 3.5" hard drive is also simple and uses a tool-less method where the drives are held in place by plastic-pins on each side.

 

 

Behind the tray is 20mm of space with a few extra millimeters that can be added with the inclusion of the extruded side panel. This is great and after reviewing enough chassis, I believe 20mm is the magic number between not enough to fit bulky wires and wasted space. I am glad to see the V71 hit the mark by using potential real estate for other things in the chassis like larger CPU coolers or radiators on the other side.

 

With the lights off the chassis looks spectacular! Once again Thermaltake is another company that goes all in and follows through with its promises. The way the front fans are set up it allows for the window to have a nice blue glow and good lighting inside for anyone taking a peak. That said, the fans' LEDs can be turned off via the I/O panel on the top, which is a great addition and something that is a bit of a mystery considering the fans have only the standard 3-pin connection headers. I'm not an electrical technician, but I would have figured the fans would turn off if the 12v line is supplying power to both the fan motor and LEDs. Maybe someone can shed some light (pun intended) in the subject and teach me a thing or two. With all jokes aside I'm guessing the tachometer signal is replaced with something for the LEDs.

 

With everything assembled you can see the potential for an ultra clean look. Because the parts are not permanent in the review build and this chassis, I only allowed myself to lightly clean up the wires like I do for each build. If this was my main computer I would have braided power cables installed and zip-tied all the extra cables off neatly behind the tray. Even without doing that extra work the chassis still gives that clean aesthetic appeal that comes with time and discipline. As for installation issues, I had none other than the fact you have to remove the hard drive cages before installing the motherboard, but only a minor issue. Otherwise installation of the components was easy and had a good amount of space to work with.

If you look close enough you'll notice a power supply and CPU cooler also made by Thermaltake. I hope the R&D guys keep up the good work and maybe one of these day Thermaltake will make a motherboard or video card, and then we can really be rocking. Oh, and don't mind my hand print on the top of the chassis. It's really heavy to pick up, weighing around 50 pounds with everything installed. I should have looked at the pictures before dissassembling everything.

 

Thermaltake Core V71: Closer Look

Normally a chassis does not require a page dedicated to all its extra features, but this time I felt it was necessary. Thermaltake has made it very clear on its box, website, and manual that a big selling point is the assortment of water cooling and fan support. First let's start with the basics, which are the removable hard drive cages. Removing the top cage was easy enough, but it does have six thumb screws holding it from the side and the back. The hard drive cages can also be arranged in any way you please. The front bar will have to be removed for a 360mm or larger radiator to be installed on top. This can pose an issue if you have more than one bay filled because of the weight. Luckily Thermaltake already thought this one out.

 

As I was talking about before, if you have to remove the front bar the hard drive cages may become too heavy if completely filled and break the thumb screws. While this is unlikely, if you are concerned Thermaltake allows for up to two drives on the back. Installation was a little strange and I had to look at the manual to make sure it was right. Basically there are two hooks on the bottom and a latch on top of the chassis itself. To install, put the bay down on the hooks, than press the latch down to slide the bay over and release. Oh, and don't forget to move the wires or it will be a bit of a struggle. After the first time, it became easy to install again. I suggest just looking at the manual if you are lost.

 

Here you have it! At fist glance you'll notice two 360mm radiators installed and loads of other potential arrangements. It can get a little complicated, but I put a chart below to make it easier to see what can and cannot be installed. First let me talk about what is not possible and work backwards. The V71 is a little strange on its fan setup and only allows for up to three 120mm fans or two 140mm, so when using a 420mm radiator only two can be installed. On top of this, the radiator is closer to the motherboard and may not clear the VRM heat sinks, so be aware when using a thick radiator.

The good news for Thermaltake is that both 240 and 360mm radiators are further out, which allows for thick radiators to be installed (like pictured below with an XSPC RX360). The combinations are nearly endless with the ability to install a front radiator. Installing either the front or top was easy and posed little to no problems for me. At first I thought a 460mm radiator could fit and sat staring at the chassis for a bit until I realized it listed 420mm instead. This made a bit more sense as 460mm would be insane and completely overkill no matter what configuration you had.

Lastly, I noticed Thermaltake had a few promotional images showing the radiator fans inside while leaving the 200mm fans on the outside. At first I thought it was a silly idea, but once again Thermaltake surprised me with all the possible options and with so much interior space, you can have a field day coming up with original ideas on a water cooling setup. Not everyone wants to give up the extra airflow or blue lights for a radiator and with the extra space, there is no need.

I had lots of fun trying out different arrangements and I think I'm settling on dual 320mm radiators pictured below for my next build. It's been a few years since my last water cooling setup and I'm itching to bring out the works and go all in. I'm thinking waterblocks for the motherboard, RAM, video card(s), CPU, and everything else that creates heat. On top of being great for strictly air cooling, this chassis has everything one could ask for, except maybe for a larger radiator for us extreme enthusiast

 

Radiator Compatibility:

 

 
120mm
140mm
240mm
280mm
360mm
420mm
Front
*
*
*
*
*
*
Top
*
*
*
*
*
*
Rear
*
 
 
 
 
 
Bottom
*
 
*
 
 
 

 

Thermaltake Core V71: Specifications

Case Type
Full Tower
Dimension
583(D) X 230(W) X 560(H) mm (23 x 9.1 x 22 inch)
Side Panel
Transparent Window
Color
Exterior & Interior : Black / Blue
Cooling System
Front:
1 x 120mm or 2 x 120mm or 3 x 120mm
1 x 140mm or 2 x 140mm
1 x 200mm or 2 x 200mm
2x 200mm Blue LED fan (Included)
Top:
1 x 120mm or 2 x 120mm or 3 x 120mm
1 x 140mm or 2 x 140mm
1 x 200mm or 2 x 200mm
1x 200mm Blue LED fan (Included)
Rear:
1 x 120mm or 1 x 140mm
1x 140mm fan (Included)
Bottom:
1 x 120mm or 2 x 120mm
Material
SPCC
Drive Bays
Accessible : 2 x 5.25’’
Hidden : 8 x 3.5’’
Expansion Slots
8
Motherboards
9.6” x 9.6” (Micro ATX)
12” x 9.6” (ATX)
 12” x 13” (Extend ATX)
I/O Ports
2 X USB3.0 / 2 X USB2.0 / 2 x AUDIO
PSU
Standard ATX PSU (optional)
LCS Compatibly
Front:
1 x 120mm or 1 x 240mm or 1 x 360mm
1 x 140mm or 1 x 280mm or 1 x 420mm
Top:
1 x 120mm or 1 x 240mm or 1 x 360mm
1 x 140mm or 1 x 280mm or 1 x 420mm
Rear:
1 x 120mm
Bottom:
1 x 120mm or 1 x 240mm
Other
CPU cooler height limitation: 185mm
VGA length limitation: 310mm(with HDD rack)
400mm(without HDD rack)

 

Thermaltake Core V71: Features


 

All information courtesy of Thermaltake @ https://www.thermaltakeusa.com/products-model.aspx?id=C_00002231

Thermaltake Core V71: Testing

Testing a chassis requires the computer to stay at idle and load for one hour. Doing so will give you an idea of what your computer may be like under stress. Normally your computer will not be running this hot, but we do not all live in cold weather or do similar things. Therefore, a full stress test can give people the idea of what it can handle and whether or not heat gets trapped over time. The case is left with stock features to give you an idea of the temperatures without the need for extra fans. It's almost guaranteed to have a slight drop in temperature when more fans are added, but that will not be covered unless noted. I will be using Prime95 "small FFTs" for the CPU load and 3DMark Vantage "Extreme preset" for GPU for one hour. After an hour the temperatures are recorded using HWMonitor in Celsius (°C).

* All tests are conducted at 73 °F /23 °C ambient room temperature.

Setup:

Compared Cases:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The results are in! Thermaltake nearly tops all the charts with low temperatures thanks to those included 200mm fans. This makes the V71 a great chassis for anyone looking to get the best results and keep the noise level down. On high the fans aren't loud, but you can tell they are on and running. The test themselves were done with fans set to high to simulate the average experience. Don't forget the ability to add two more 120mm fans on the bottom and a 200mm on top.

This chassis is suited for any need, whether it's multiple hot video cards or an overclocked processor; this can do it all. With the included fans and the good temperatures, the price on the chassis can be justified even if you're not taking advantage of the water cooling support. Just make sure you have lots of components to fill it, or it's going to look very empty inside.

Thermaltake Core V71: Conclusion

Let us recap my reasoning and scoring method before diving into my final words. First I look at what the company is saying it offers. For example, say the company states the case supports large / long graphics cards or ten quiet fans. In this example, I examine what is advertised versus what is actually offered. Most of this becomes uncovered as I take pictures to document the product. If the company does not stay true to its word, then it loses points because no one ever wants to be sold on false advertisement. Next I look at what the product is marketed for and put it into perspective. An example of this could be trying to overclock a CPU in a Mini-ITX case and expecting a low temperature. This would contradict its target market and something I try to catch so it does not affect the score. The last bit is my own interjection. What could the case offer in its price range, and what do other companies offer. This category may include an extra fan, cable management, different color paint, or support for larger video cards. This list is endless so let's move on to the conclusion.

Thermaltake has put a great amount of effort into making something that can stand out from the average chassis. The Core V71 is a prime example that you never know what's around the corner when you thought there was nothing new to bring to the market. Now i'm getting ahead of myself of the praises and if you looked down the page already you'll see I didn't list anything negative about the chassis. This is because I honestly couldn't find anything. It's like Thermaltake looked at everything on the market last year and decided to combine everything good and make sure no rock was left unturned. I often feel companies do not make a prototype before mass production or they would see the flaws that can be resolved before production. Instead the companies rely on sales and wait for the year to make revisions. Even the price is reasonable for what is included for the V71. I mean, yes it's expensive, but Thermaltake didn't skimp and made it worth its value, even if you are only going to air cool it.

Enough with the praising and on to the Pros. Instead of just saying how great this chassis is i'll explain why. First let me cover everything the average user wants and needs, starting with a good manual. Is it exceptionally better than others? Not particularly, but it does detail everything that this chassis has to offer (in 12 languages!) and the variety of setups it has the potential for.

To continue, the chassis has great support for either large aftermarket CPU coolers or video cards, which is always welcome, and a huge amount of airflow for nearly any setup. Next, the inclusion of an 8-pin extension cable was a great idea from Thermaltake, because once again not everyone has the same setup and I have personally ran into similar problems where the power supply cables are just too short. It's just extremely frustrating to run cables over the motherboard or order an extension cable because they nearly make it, but just not long enough.

Lastly, the water cooling support is top notch! I What can I say, wow Thermaltake, great job! The options are endless and it's great to see whatever direction you go, you couldn't ask for much better within a reasonable price range.

To conclude, this chassis is everything I have been looking for without knowing it and in short is Thermaltake's answer to Cooler Master's Stacker series. While both the Stacker 935 and the Core V71 are priced the same, they are different beasts. I think it's easy to see where Cooler Master was heading, but fumbled, and Thermaltake picked up the ball and ran with it. I'm eager to see what Cooler Master's revision is like or if Thermaltake can top itself next year.

 

Pros:

 

Cons: