Though most might not notice it, the A90's box is a departure from Thermaltake's typical chassis packaging. Their cases usually come in boxes that though well decorated, have always lacked the “gaming” graphics found on aftermarket hardware packaging from most manufacturers.
Though the graphics may be a little different, as with all Thermaltake cases, the case is well protected in the box.
Though I will probably end up mentioning the Thermaltake V9 mid tower a lot in this review for comparison purposes, cosmetically there is little in common between the A90 and the V9. The V9 is a well-ventilated but more straight forward mid, designed for placement on the floor with its controls/ports on the top of the case. The blowhole fan is not only clearly seen but displayed.
The Armor A90 is of a more futuristic design with uneven lines, angular raised panels, and stealthed front bezel. Oh, not a radical departure that you might expect from NZXT, but definitely something a little different from Thermaltake, and not at all like the V9.
The controls are on the front of the case. The I/O button is stealthed as a triangle shape on the bezel.
The bezel itself is an interesting combination of modder's meshed panels and ribbed venting. The upper angular shape is actually a stealth door hiding three OD bays. The hinges do not feel cheap or fragile, and the door is held closed by magnets rather than some kind of locking mechanism.
In addition to the pair of USB ports on the front of the case, there is another pair on the top of the case, along with an eSATA port. I'd definitely consider this case for a LAN party case with all of these easily accessed USB ports.
Note that the 200mm blowhole fan is well stealthed. The V90's 230mm blowhole fan is covered with modder's mesh, and though it looks nice, I found it to be a little fragile, easily bent to touch the fan underneath.
The side panel follows the same basic pattern as the rest of the case. I like the small side window, large windows are so… uhh… old fashioned. Note the large honeycomb venting in the video card area, with all of the exhaust ventilation there should be a good breeze entering the case here. If you feel there isn't enough, a 120mm fan can be installed behind the honeycomb to give some serious cooling to an SLI or CrossfireX setup.
Note the area beneath the side panel, it is covered by a ridged panel designed to match the venting on the lower part of the bezel. It is totally non-functional, but does add to the looks of the case.
As the V9, the Armor A90 has the power supply mounted on the floor of the case, though with some distinct differences.
The first difference is the venting on the bottom of the case. The V9 has a roughly 120mm vent, covered in a fiber material that is a little hard to clean. The Armor A90 has a large modder's meshed area that should be much less restrictive if you forget to clean the venting.
The A90 has a set of feet that appear very rugged. They are a little taller than average case feet, obviously to give a little more clearance for PSU ventilation, another departure from the V9.