Thermaltake Armor Jr: Excellent for any kind of PC

Post by Maxime Rousseau

I bought this case for a custom rig that I am building for myself, and from the time I received it in the mail, I knew that this was an ideal case for my build. At first I wanted the much bigger Armor full tower version, but because of price, weight and space issues, I decided that a mid-tower case was probably better for someone like me who lugs his computer around everywhere. Apart from being a very renown product, with many positive reviews like this one everywhere on the internet, it also comes from Thermaltake, an authority in everything that concerns cases and cooling. So lets take a look that this beauty.

Packaging

The store from which I bought this case from shipped it in it's original box with no extra padding, so I was of course a bit worried that it could have caused some damage to my new toy. Turns out that the boxes that Thermaltake packs their cases in are pretty well built. The case's special features are all covered up (side flaps foamed and taped, side window covered in plastic), to then be placed in a cloth-like scratch resistant sleeve, another sleeve, plastic this time, then packed in foam blocks, positioned in a solid egg carton kind of material, then packed in a good old glossy cardboard box. Mine came in without even a dent in the cardboard, suggesting that with the addition padding, it could withstand even the most merciless of postal handlers.

Box Contents

-1 Case
-2 case keys
-1 Power button/Activity LED panel
-1 120mm high flow blue LED case fan (mounted on front, sucks air in)
-1 120mm high flow black and orange case fan (mounted on back)
-1 owners manual
-Necessary Mylar motherboard panels
-Key 3 case sticker
-A case bracket which I never found a use for
-Tool-less drive bay mounts
-Generic motherboard I/O port shield
-A biga*s pack of case screws, tie wraps ,and other accessories.

Aesthetics

The overall case looks great. The front aluminum flaps are a very nice touch, and so are the grillings over the drive bays. The window too is awesome, with the Thermaltake engraving in the lower part, and the original cut which makes it pleasingly different from the cheaper cases which only sport a boring square window. The paint job on mine was perfect, with no irregularities anywhere, as where the logos painted on the bezel. Not a scratch to be seen in the window either.

Components

The frame of this case is entirely made of steel, hence very resistant, but also a tad heavier than other cases.

The front bezel is made out of plastic, with the little flaps being all brushed aluminum. The mesh on the drive bays and fan appear to be aluminum too, although I am no metallurgist.

The side window is made out of acrylic, with the vent hole made out of the same material as the front drive mesh, held with plastic pressure pegs.

Features

The interior of the bezel is entirely filtered by foamy filters on the drive bays, and the front 120 mm fan is filtered with a tight nylon mesh, which allows for more that reasonable airflow while still doing it's job. All the air filters are removable for easy cleaning. Anybody who has worked in an old PC knows how much dust can clog up in there, and how hot those stuffy, dusty cases get, so filtering is really a plus. Although it isn't to everyone's taste, the front bezel looks mean, and in general feels sturdy enough. However, since the front part's hinges allow the bezel to be removed entirely, there is a tiny bit of slack on the hinge side.

As I said before the window is very stylish and of great construction quality, and it fits flush with the edge around it, which adds to it's coolness. It can also be locked, which is useful for safely storing stuff in your case like all LAN gamers do. On the side is a vent hole which is covered by mesh, and that is a perfect fit for 92 (or 90) mm fans. I have seen some confusion on some reviews about this, but trust me, this a 92 mm slot, and not an 80 mm. For enhanced airflow and because 9 cm LED fans are incredibly hard to find, I decided to buy a 90 to 120 mm fan adaptor and mount a bigger fan in there. The slot is nicely positioned over where most motherboards mount their processors, so an additional fan will give an additional performance boost to your CPU cooler which already has LOTS of place to breath.

The drive bays and PCI slots are all tool-less, practical for tinkerers or for a quick swap of drives to say, lend a DVD drive to a friend. Note that the drives cannot be removed unless the front bezel is unlocked, which prevents theft at LAN parties and such.

The drive bay, which can hold up to four 3.5 inch hard drives, is removable, but to my disappointment is not tool-less. In the end, I guess normal people don't swap hard drives enough times per weeks to justify this.

This case, as many other Thermaltakes, is equipped with a small panel at the top which allows for easy access to firewire, 2x USB and audio in and out ports. The panel is made of somewhat cheap plastic, but still looks fine and does the job well. Some people find it pretty awkwardly placed too.

The underside of the case is also equipped with retractable feet, which in my book should be standard in every case. When retracted, the case is as steady as if it were placed on it's side.

Performance

Do not be worried about the airflow in this case. Although I does not have as much venting as it's bigger brother the Armor full tower, it still packs a pretty good punch. The two fans respectively push and pull a 50-something CFM airflow, and cooling is further enhanced with the side vent and possibility of adding a third fan.

Rants

-The key that is used to lock both front bezel and side window are generic keys that can be VERY easily imitated and access is then very easy. For security freaks, although I have not tested it yet, I think that a cabinet lock of the same dimension could be swapped for the original one.
-As stylish as they are, the flaps have no way of closing properly, and therefor open at will. There are some magnets, but they really don't do much. Stronger

Conclusion

For the gamer which brings his box to 3 LANs per month, the enthusiast that wants more that his ugly whitebox case, or for just anybody who wants a case that looks cool and pumps some massive air without shelling out for those bigger full towers, this case is for you. Skeptics be assured, this is plenty of space for your elite gaming rig, even if you plan on building a system with huge components such as the 8800 series video cards: compatibility is almost assured, to the exception of the larger Asus GTX versions which need a bit of trimming on the hard drive bay to fit. It's visually appealing, efficient at a cooling, and silent... want some fries with that?

Links

-Official Thermaltake page
-My personal unboxing photoset
-3DGameMan Reviews the Armor Jr

Originally published on Epinions.