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Thermaltake Core X9 Review


Thermaltake Core X9 Closer Look: Working Components

Here is the front panel again, looking from the inside. It easily pops off. No screws or wiring harnesses to get in the way. And now you can see the included 200mm front fan. The front can also be configured to hold three 120mm fans, or two 140mm fans, or a second 200mm fan so you should be able to move plenty of air into the case from the front. The front I/O panel actually faces the side of the case, but it can be moved to the opposite side and here is where the internal modularity begins.



The I/O panel has the standard power and reset buttons, and power and HDD lights, with the power light being a blue LED and the HDD activity light being a red LED. I have seen cases with both LEDs being white, and I really prefer the red and blue LEDs. Back to the panel - there are mic and headphone jacks and four USB 3.0 ports. The ports are split between two cables that go back to your motherboard and not all motherboards have two USB 3.0 headers, so you may have to get a USB 3.0 to USB 2.0 adapter (not included) to use all four ports, which would give you two 3.0 and two 2.0 ports. The I/O panel is retained with two screws, so swapping it with the blank plate on the other side is easy - well, you do have to fish the cables through to the other side of the case, but that is no big deal, and fortunately, Thermaltake supplies you with sufficiently long I/O cables.



Here we have a close up look at the cable ends. The ribbon cable for the motherboard controls are on the left, followed by the audio cable, then the 3-pin front fan cable, and finally the two USB 3.0 cables.


Now we venture into the case. From the side, you can see the vast expanse where the motherboard will live. Below that are two HDD cages. Toward the top right there are three tool-free optical drive trays. Following along with the modular theme, the HDD and optical drive trays can all easily be removed.  The thumb screws that retain the optical drive trays are accessible when the front panel is removed.



Looking down from the top of the case (with the top panel removed) we see that there are two frames that are setup to hold fans or radiators, or both. Each of these frames can be removed independent of the other. Just remove the four thumb screws and the frame lifts out. You can even position a single frame in the center if you like. When these frames are out, case access during your build or maintenance and cleaning is greatly improved.



Another nice feature is a removable motherboard tray. This goes a long way toward making the system assembly easier. Below the tray is a mount for a single 3.5" HDD or two 2.5" HDDs. This mount can also be removed if you choose for quick access to the bottom of the motherboard when installing a socket support bracket for a CPU cooler. Notice the three rubber grommets for clean cable routing.



This is a better view of the underside of the motherboard tray. The HDD mount is easier to see. The plastic mount for the 3.5" drive easily snaps off and back on.



There are two removable HDD cages. Both sit on top of a fan mount bracket, which can be used to mount fans or radiators on the sides of the case. The HDD cages and fan mounts are all retained with thumb screws for quick removal and installation. The two HDD cages also hold three 3.5" or three 2.5" drives each. On the right is one of two fan mounts. You can install fans in these and they can be left in the factory installed location to pull air in from the floor of the case, or they can mount vertically so you can install fans or radiators in the sides of the case. You can see how this is done in the sample pages from the manual below.



There is quite an array of brackets, frames and mounts that are all removable from the chassis. I put them all together so you can see just how many there are. The hardware bag is full of a variety of screws to cover just about any system build you can throw at the Core X9. There are plenty of zip ties and even a motherboard speaker. The rectangular plate on the far left bridges the gap left when you remove the optical drive trays if you decide to mount an additional fan behind the front panel.



Here are the warranty and instruction manuals. The instruction manual is thorough and does a great job of showing all the potential radiator and fan locations. I pulled a couple pages out of the manual so you can see the detail. The number of fan and radiator combinations is truly mind-numbing. You can pack enough fans in there that all the lights in your neighborhood would dim whenever you turn your computer on.



With everything removed, you have full access to the case from any angle. To me, Thermaltake has given real meaning to the word modular. This allows you to build a system based on your needs, and not so much on what the manufacturer allows.



The motherboard tray is out and and ready for assembly. This really makes the motherboard assembly and prep much easier, particularly when you have a large, bulky cooler. Do you need to trouble shoot your motherboard? Swap one out? This will definitely make like easier. So now we have the MSI GD-65 motherboard ready to go with the Noctua D14 and GTX 770. Let's finish the build and see how the assembly looks in the case.



The motherboard tray resides at the back of the case and even the full assembly looks sort of small in the X9. Clearly, there is enough room for a full custom water cooled system, complete with dual or even triple water cooled GPUs, and you would still have room to work in there. The D14 visually dominates most of the cases I have tested. That D14 doesn't look so big now.



I recently finished up the review for the Thermaltake Water 3.0 Ultimate so let's see what it looks like in the Core X9.  Of course, it looks right at home. The Water 3.0 Ultimate uses a 360mm radiator and there is plenty of room in the Core X9. If I remove the top optical drive, there is room for a second set of radiator fans for a push / pull configuration. I have the radiator mounted in the top of the case, but you can even install the Water 3.0 Ultimate on the side of the case.



And finally, from the Thermaltake website, we have a picture of how things "stack" up. Since I only have one case, I figured it would be easier to just show you rather then try to describe it. The instruction manual walks you through the steps required to connect the cases and you end up with an impressive beast with so much space, that you would probably need a GPS to find your way around in it. And in case you were wondering, when you stack two together you can fit a 600mm radiator in the front. That is almost a 2ft. long radiator.

  1. Thermaltake Core X9: Introduction & Closer Look
  2. Thermaltake Core X9 Closer Look: The Case
  3. Thermaltake Core X9 Closer Look: Working Components
  4. Thermaltake Core X9: Specifications & Features
  5. Thermaltake Core X9 Testing: Setup & Results
  6. Thermaltake Core X9: Conclusion
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