Thermaltake Armor A30 mATX Case

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Product: Thermaltake Armor A30 mATX Case
Provided By: Thermaltake USA
Price: Find Lowest Price Online

 

Introduction:

Thermaltake has been making cases for many years now and they have a wide range of chassis offerings that range from budget mid-tower cases to very expensive full tower designs.  Today we are looking at the shortest of their Armor series - namely the A30.  This is a "cube" case that is built for ITX and mATX motherboards.  Just because the case is small doesn't mean it is short on features.  In fact, this case packs a removable motherboard tray, support for a total of four Hard Drives, room for very large graphics cards as well as a pair of 5.25" devices.  When you combine that with standard front Audio and USB 3.0 ports, you've got the makings of a pretty sweet rig - and all in a little box that is very portable.

 

 

First Impressions:

The Thermaltake Armor A30 is a short steel chassis with touches of plastic on the top and front and it is pretty stout.  It comes with a very large 23cm fan on top for exhaust as well as a pair of 60mm fans that also act as exhaust fans.  Fresh air is introduced to the system through a single 90mm front fan that acts to cool the drives and pushes air over the entire motherboard. The styling on the left side is pretty nice with a partial window that shows just enough of the goodness inside to keep people interested.  The right side is pretty much identical and this allows a nice view into the system - so make sure your cable management is good!  There are also a few "honeycomb" areas that will naturally draw in air as there is more exhaust than intake - giving the overall cooling system negative pressure.  This is alright, but with more exhaust fans than intake fans, the case will pull in air through these areas and introduce dust into your system that would otherwise be caught in the intake filters.

Front Profile
Front Profile
Side Profile
Side Profile
   
Rear Profile
Rear Profile
A30 Case Profile
A30 Case Profile

 

The overall appearance of the A30 case is pretty clean and tidy.  The front is pretty basic and has a "mesh" look that seems to work for many people.  You can see the appearance of both 5.25" bays as well as a single external 3.5" bay.  The rear of the case is a little more interesting as it has a pair of 60mm fans, and removable PCI slot covers that can easily be replaced.  As the motherboard sits flat on the bottom of the case - the PSU has to be mounted above it - and this can cause issues for larger coolers as well as room to work inside the case.  This isn't a roomy case to begin with and when using standard PSU, it will get a little crowded later on.  In order to get USB 3.0 to the front, there is a USB 3.0 pass-through cable that's I'm not all crazy about.  You can see that Thermaltake has left a whole above the PCI slots that you can feed this cable through.  Other front I/O is taken care of internally. 

Front
Front
Rear
Rear

 

On the next page we'll take a look at the features and specifications of the Armor A30 MATX case before we take a closer look and do a system build to see how it all works out. 


Features:

The Thermaltake Armor A30 MATX case has a few interesting features as it offers front USB 3.0, eSATA, Audio, great cooling, support for large graphics cards and more.  If you want a full list of the features and such, please head on over to Thermaltake's site here, but for your convenience, we'll post an abbreviated version below.

Top View


  • Characteristic black bulletproof armor design with metal mesh elements.
  • Top and front blue LED fan creates combat ambience and excellent ventilation.
  • Front I/O with USB 3.0 SuperSpeed Connector.
  • Support Micro-ATX/Mini-ITX motherboard and high-end graphic cards up to 13” / 33 cm.
  • Compact size ideal for Lanparty event.
  • Full Modular Chassis
  • Anti-vibration design  for 3.5” HDD
  • Compatible with 2.5” HDD and SSD
  • Removable motherboard tray

 


Specifications:

Specs

 

The case is made of steel and this gives it a bit more weight that I would have expected.  It is also very sturdy and should be able to stand up to a few bumps at your favorite LAN party. There is nothing really remarkable in the specifications so we'll carry on and take a closer look inside on the next page.


 

Installation:

As we jump right into hardware installation and putting a system together we get to really get to know this case.  It is very modular and different pieces can be removed - sometimes with tools - by removing a lot of screws in order to free up the Motherboard tray, HDD Rack, and 5.25" drive rack.  Once these are removed, it is very simple and a lot easier to install hardware than when this is all in a case without removable sides.  I guess that is really one of my main complaints with this case - the sides don't come off for easier hardware access.  If you need to plug in some wires for a drive, you may have to remove some other larger components to get and the SATA ports on the board.  Not the easiest solution in the world, but one that works for sure.

Mobo Tray
Mobo Tray

 

The main hard drive rack is located in the bottom of the chassis and is held in place by a single screw.  Once this is removed, you can easily mount a couple of your favorite hard drives - then return the cage to its rightful place where it stays out of the way.  Each drive is mounted with the bottom of the drive to the outside of the cage so one drive ends up in "upside down".  They are cooled by a front 92mm fan that seems to keep everything under control.

Lone HDD in Rack
Lone HDD in Rack
HDD's in Rack
HDD's in Rack
Tray in place
HDD Rack in Place

 

Once the drives are installed in the bottom, it would be appropriate to install the motherboard, CPU, RAM and PCIe cards on the motherboard tray.  Once this is done you can slide it in place, hook up the cables and then you'll be all ready to install the 5.25" drive module - that also has space for another couple of drives.  When these items are in place, you are good to go and fire up the system.

On the last page we'll take a look at the system all installed and get it up and running as we draw a few conclusions.

 

Final Thoughts:

The Thermaltake Armor A30 MATX case is a pretty decent choice for people looking for a good quality case to pack to a LAN, but don't want to bother with a large mid-tower or full-tower beast.  It has great high-quality construction, tons of front connectivity, supports USB 3.0 is quiet with great airflow and is quite modular.  The major downside to this is the fact that it requires a lot of screws to make this happen.  Although I installed only an average system in the A30 - it took quite a while in order to keep everything tidy and routed properly.  The A30 may be simple to work with, but it is one of the most tedious cases I've used in a while.

Front Installed
Front Installed
Rear Installed
Rear Installed

 

You could see on the previous page that I installed a Radeon HD 5870 into the A30 without any issues.  There is actually room to install two of these long cards for a great CrossFireX or SLI solution into a nice tidy MATX case.  The back is nice and clean and you can see the USB 3.0 pass-through cable.  Overall, the finish is pretty slick and I'd have no shame in bringing a system built in this little box to a LAN party at all.

Light Up
Light Up

Pros:

  • Sleek little MATX Chassis
  • Room for large graphics cards
  • Supports lots of drives
  • Decent cooling setup
  • Removable Motherboard tray
  • Modular design

 

Cons:

  • Tedious to work in
  • Lots of screws to keep things rigid
  • Open holes with negative pressure will suck in dust 
  • Sides don't come off for easier access - all done through the top

 

BCCRating

 Silver

I'd like to thank Thermaltake for firing over the Armor A30 MATX Case for us to take a look at.  It's a case that will stand out and offers great convenience.  If you have any questions or comments, please post them in the forum at the "Comments" link below.