Thermaltake Armor+ MX Chassis - Closer Look Inside and Installation

Article Index
Thermaltake Armor+ MX Chassis
Features, Specs and Closer Look
Closer Look Inside and Installation
Summary and Final Thoughts

Closer Look - Inside:

After removing the side panel a quick peek inside revealed that this case was quite roomy for a mid-tower chassis.  There is ample room for a full-size ATX motherboard and several full-length VGA cards without causing any issues with the Hard Drives.  Many older cases had issues with long cards interfering with drives, but this is remedies with a slightly longer case body and with the HDDs mounting perpendicular to the motherboard.

Open Side
Open Side

 

One thing to keep in mind when deciding on whether or not you want this case is the cooling solution you plan to use on your CPU.  The side fan is rather large and will take up at least 1" of room inside the case so you want to make sure your tall HSF or watercooling setup will not interfere with this fan.

 Side Fan - Close
  Side Fan - Close
 PCI Slots
PCI Slots
Front Bays Inside
Front Bays Inside

 

Tool-less is the name of the game with the Armor+ MX and Thermaltake has done a decent job with their revamped PCI slot retention brackets.  The original Armor case was not compatible with large 2-slot coolers and many cards and required the entire bracket to be removed to install a large VGA card.  The Armor+ MX has fixed this with independent brackets and this is no longer an issue.  The front ODD and HDD bays are also tool-less and they work very well for quick, easy and secure drive installation.

System Installation:

As pretty as a case looks and as good as the ideas are behind the design, unless you try it out by using it and installing a system inside, you only know a little about the case.  We put together a basic system consisting of an ATX motherboard, CPU, VGA Card, HSF, two HDDs, an ODD, as 3.5" Bay HDD rack and a few other odds and ends to see how easy this case is to use in a typical situation.

Motherboard installation is simple and while the Armor+ MX doesn't feature a removable motherboard tray, there is plenty of room to install the motherboard.  To install a PSU, there is a support rail that must be removed if you already have the motherboard installed.  This is an improvement over some earlier Thermaltake cases that required the motherboard to be removed if you wanted to install or replace your PSU.

HDD installation is a little different in the Armor+ MX and different is good.  There is a pair of screws that help secure the HDD rack in place.  Once these are removed, there are still a couple of thumb-tabs that keep the rack in place.  Once these are pressed, the rack slides smoothly out of the case and you can remove any of the four individual drive racks for HDD installation.

 HDD Rack
HDD Rack
HDD Rails
HDD Rails

 

When the HDD is placed in the HDD tray, it can either be secured using screws or by the snap-in retention system included from Thermaltake.  Using these little clips, the HDD can be mounted in a matter of seconds and it is held securely in place.

One of my personal biggest frustrations can be mounting 5.25" devices in a new case.  Often, removing the "blanks" on the 5.25" bays can be challenging and at time can only be accomplished by removing the entire front bezel on the case.  Other times, the user has to reach inside the case and push the blanks out.  This can be difficult if you already have a drive or two installed.  Thermaltake has come up with a great mechanism for securing the blanks in place that also makes it a snap to remove.

 Front Bay Removal
Front Bay Removal
Front Bay Removal
Front Bay Removal

 

On the right-hand side of the blank is a recessed area that allows you to pull and release the meshed section of the cover.  Once the meshed section is disengaged, it in turn releases the left side of the cover and allows you to remove the entire bay cover without fuss or effort.  It's a beautiful thing that Thermaltake should use on all of its cases in order to keep their customers happy.

Once the cover is removed, an optical drive is installed by simply sliding it into the empty bay.  Once it reaches the proper place, the side tabs on the bay snap it into place and hold it securely.  If you are using a non-standard 5.25" bay device, there are screw holes available to secure the drive if required.  That being said, both the 5.25" ODD and the 3.5" HDD rack for the 2.5" drive installed perfectly without tools.

 Drive Installation
Drive Installation
Gear Installed - Front
Gear Installed - Front

 

Although I failed to get a picture of the bundle of cable management clips and ties, Thermaltake has thrown in a bunch of stuff to help you keep your cables out of the way and tidy.  The design of the case promotes this as well - especially the HDD section.  With the drives mounting in "backwards" all of the SATA and power cables are kept out of sight behind the drives and can be accessed by removing the off-side panel.

 Cable Management
Cable Management
System Installed
System Installed

 

On the last page we'll briefly summarize the Armor+ MX and draw some conclusions.