Testing Methodology

For testing Mini-ITX cases, we use the following standardized testbed in stock and overclocked configurations to get a feel for how well the case handles heat and noise. Again, note that while the A30 can technically fit a Micro-ATX motherboard, it's not tall enough to allow for our testbed's tower cooler. Because of the discrepancies that would make for in testing, we have chosen to use our mini-ITX testbed rather than going with a specialized (e.g. not something you can compare directly to our other cases) ATX build.

Mini-ITX Test Configuration
CPU Intel Core i3-2120
(65W TDP)
Motherboard Zotac Z68ITX-A-E
Graphics Card Intel HD 2000 IGP

Zotac GeForce GTS 450 Eco (dedicated)

ASUS GeForce GTX 560 Ti DCII TOP (dedicated extra)
Memory 2x2GB Crucial Ballistix Smart Tracer DDR3-1600
Drives Kingston SSDNow V+ 100 64GB SSD
Samsung 5.25" BD-ROM/DVDRW Drive
Accessories Corsair Link
CPU Cooler SilverStone NT07-1156 with Cooler Master ThermalFusion 400
Power Supply SilverStone Strider Plus 750W 80 Plus Silver

Each case is tested with just the Core i3's integrated graphics as well as with a discrete graphics card. The system is powered on and left idle for fifteen minutes, the thermal and acoustic results recorded, and then stressed by running four threads in Prime95 (in-place large FFTs) on the CPU, and OC Scanner (maximum load) is run when the dedicated GPU is installed. At the end of fiteen minutes, thermal and acoustic results are recorded. If the enclosure has a fan controller, these tests are repeated for each setting. Ambient temperature is also measured after the fifteen idle minutes but before the stress test and used to calculate the final reported results.

We try to maintain an ambient testing temperature of between 22C and 24C. Non-thermal test results aren't going to be directly comparable to the finest decimal point, but should be roughly comparable and give a broader idea of how the enclosure performs.

Thank You!

Before moving on, we'd like to thank the following vendors for providing us with the hardware used in our testbed.

  • Thank you to Puget Systems for providing us with the Intel Core i3-2120.
  • Thank you to Zotac for providing us with the Z68ITX-A-E motherboard and GeForce GTS 450 Eco.
  • Thank you to Crucial for providing us with the Ballistix Smart Tracer memory.
  • Thank you to Corsair for providing us with the Corsair Link kit.
  • Thank you to Kingston for providing us with the SSDNow V+ 100 SSD.
  • Thank you to CyberPower for providing us with the Samsung BD-ROM/DVD+/-RW drive.
  • And thank you to SilverStone for providing us with the power supply and NT07-1156 heatsink/fan combo.
Assembling the Thermaltake Armor A30 Noise and Thermal Testing, IGP
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  • Ryomitomo - Monday, September 24, 2012 - link

    I have recently built an i7-3770K + GTX680 system with the A30 case for my brother-in-law. The case is not easy to build with. Tidying the wires is very hard. The top fan is placed in a weird location, the PSU blocks over half of the fan. The GTX680 power plug jabs against the metal casing for the 5.25" bays, I had to bend the power wires 90 degrees at the plug to fit them under the metal casing.

    However, after the system was put together carefully, I have to say it is rather quiet unit and the temperature of the CPU and GTX680 is only a few degrees higher than my Thermaltake Armor Revo case build with same CPU and GTX680.
    Reply
  • piroroadkill - Monday, September 24, 2012 - link

    I think there's a reason why the Prodigy has become popular - it looks good as well as being a mini-ITX case you could actually use for a high end machine. Reply
  • Meaker10 - Monday, September 24, 2012 - link

    All those thumb screws, the drive cage and removable tray are based on the lanparty lite series they did. This is the same but with more fans which is why the basic design feels dated. You get used to it though and you can take it apart fairly quickly. Reply
  • BuffaloChuck - Monday, September 24, 2012 - link

    Cube cases still are doing this upside down. They need to put the motherboard on top, and power-supply/other drives on the bottom. The MB has 95% of all connections, requirement finger-tip time, and hosts most of the changes. And, if they'd put the HDDs in a two-stack nose-to-nose config under the MB tray, sticking the connections to the outside, they'd have plenty of room for airflow between drives AND space to add more. Cubes always do this design upside down. Reply
  • BuffaloChuck - Monday, September 24, 2012 - link

    And why can't the reviewers utilitize the space offered? Instead of proving MiniATX boards fit in MicroATX cases, why not fill 'em up and THEN do the tests? The case engineers, after all, put those drive-cages in there for a reason. USE 'EM and do REAL reviews. Reply
  • cjb110 - Monday, September 24, 2012 - link

    Because then the stats of the 3 bay case wouldn't be comparable with the 2 bay case.

    I think AnandTech does a good job of mentioning if they feel utilizing the extra features would be significant positive/negative.

    From this review its fairly obvious it would cope with the bay's being filled in terms of performance, but it would make the already difficult install even harder.
    Reply
  • 7amood - Monday, September 24, 2012 - link

    review http://www.silverstonetek.com/product.php?pid=317 pleeeeeeeeeease. Reply
  • Grok42 - Tuesday, September 25, 2012 - link

    I 2nd the motion. Also, the LIAN LI PC-Q25 and PC-Q16. Reply
  • xcomvic - Monday, September 24, 2012 - link

    Is that most don't have a handle on the top of it to easily lug it around...It wouldn't have taken an engineer to figure out how to attach one easily to the top of the thing...or the side..or back....wherever. I know there's been some good cases out there WITH handles, those are real LAN cases. Reply
  • Orvtrebor - Monday, September 24, 2012 - link

    They should have added a handle again like from their earlier cube designs.

    Without it whats the point of doing this case? A Silverstone TJ08-E or PS07 will better serve a microatx build, and if your going to run itx there is a wide range of superior/smaller cases.
    Reply

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