Introducing the Thermaltake Armor A30

It's pretty clear on our side of the fence that smaller enclosures and leaner builds are increasingly becoming the way to go for most users these days, with even die hard enthusiasts drawn to these smaller cases if for no other reason than to see just how much horsepower they can cram into a small form factor system. There are tradeoffs made in going small form factor, though, and if you go too small the cooling demands can produce system noise that may be too much for many users.

That's why there are slightly larger, Micro-ATX scale enclosures like the Thermaltake Armor A30. Thermaltake's case is designed to support a Micro-ATX motherboard and a substantial video card or two, and the cooling system is remarkably robust. Yet as it turned out, working with the A30 proved to be a remarkably fraught experience, with the case having split personalities. Cooling and acoustic performance were actually quite good, but the case itself is tough to recommend. So what happened?

Thermaltake is pretty well known in the industry for being especially press friendly, and given the demand for smaller, more powerful systems, we figured we'd check in with them and see what they had to offer. The Armor A30 turned out to look like a pretty exceptional option, and despite having been around for a little over a year it looked to be a fairly current and competitive offering. This was a case I specifically headhunted, as it's actually roughly the same size in volume as BitFenix's exceptionally popular Prodigy while featuring support for Micro-ATX builds as well.

Thermaltake Armor A30 Specifications
Motherboard Form Factor Micro-ATX, Mini-ITX
Drive Bays External 2x 5.25", 1x 3.5"
Internal 2x 2.5", 2x 3.5"
Cooling Front 90mm blue LED intake fan
Rear 2x 60mm exhaust fan
Top 230mm blue LED exhaust fan
Side -
Bottom -
Expansion Slots 4
I/O Port 1x USB 2.0, 1x USB 3.0, 1x eSATA, 1x Headphone, 1x Mic
Power Supply Size ATX
Clearances HSF 90mm
PSU 180mm
GPU 9.5" / 242mm
Dimensions 10.5" x 11.5" x 18"
266mm x 291mm x 456mm
Weight 14.8 lbs / 6.7 kg
Special Features USB 3.0 passthrough
Price $119

Because the A30 is about a year and a half old, I'm less inclined to ding Thermaltake for using a USB 3.0 passthrough instead of an internal header. What's surprising is the sheer weight of the enclosure. Thermaltake uses a decent amount of plastic, true, but an awful lot of steel. For an enclosure intended for LANs, the A30 is remarkably heavy and unfortunately does not include a handle. Its dimensions are appropriate to a more portable system, sure, but it starts at nearly fifteen pounds.

In and Around the Thermaltake Armor A30
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  • mattgmann - Monday, September 24, 2012 - link

    Sorry, but this case looks like it was pieced together from scraps of b-movie props and legos Reply
  • Performance Fanboi - Monday, September 24, 2012 - link

    Fugly as hell, and don't call it a LAN case if you don't put a handle on it. Reply
  • espaghetti - Tuesday, September 25, 2012 - link

    Exactly what I was thinking!
    I'm sitting next to my 900 wondering why they chopped it in half and reversed the window and fan intake on the side panel.
    Reply
  • Grok42 - Tuesday, September 25, 2012 - link

    I really appreciate any and all reviews of SFF cases. Even when they don't turn out to be the perfect case like the A30, it really helps those looking for SFF cases. Reviewing them gets more people thinking about building a SFF system and drives adoption forward. We have plenty of top notch mid-ATX cases, we need better mATX and mITX cases.

    Also, as someone who works for an electronics manufacture myself, I can tell you that reviews like these are read and can seriously change the course of future products. I know I read every review, user review and forum post on the product we make and I'm sure cases manufactures do the same.
    Reply
  • Geekgurl82 - Tuesday, September 25, 2012 - link

    I won a Thermaltake Armor A30 a couple years ago from a PDXLAN, I already had a ATX box so I was pretty excited for my new case. It was NOT easy to deal with however it is still running and going strong. It is now technically modded and pretty awesome if I do say so myself!

    Core I7 990x
    Thermaltake water 2.0
    MSI X58M mATX
    6gb DDR3 1600
    1.5 TB Standard HDD's
    Radian 6970 Crossfire
    Reply
  • infoilrator - Wednesday, September 26, 2012 - link

    The A30 does show "could be better" aspects. You always come to "the cooling works, and it fits a decent mATX rig.
    Sometimes it is "not how well it works" but that "it works at all.
    Several newer cases do not cool near as well.
    Bought one used from a reviewer, I like it.
    True, I've rebuilt industrial machinery in my day, lol.
    Reply

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