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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  • 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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