Thermaltake Armor A90 Steel Midtower Gaming Case
Author: Frank Stroupe
Editor: Shawn Knight
Date: 06-27-2010
Provided by: Thermaltake
A Look Inside

Remove the bezel and you will see some examples of a well designed case (the bezel is easily removed without removing either side panel). The controls are connected to the main chassis rather than the bezel itself. The fan is totally open rather than behind holes punched in the chassis, and you have the option of either 1 x 120mm fan, 2 x 120mm fans, or 1 x 200mm fan.

The inside of the bezel is covered in a fine mesh. Rather than netting it is actually fairly rigid like modder's mesh, and should be easy to clean. I use a regular air compressor with the pressure turned down to about 40psi.

The Armor A90 is I think the first case I have owned with the interior painted a color other than gray-colored primer or other neutral colored paint. It is completely covered in a matte black finish. I definitely like it.

The first things that jumped out at me when opening the case were the 200mm blowhole fan and the opening in the motherboard tray. Though the motherboard tray is not removable, a feature that I seldom actually use, there is an opening behind the motherboard's CPU area to allow removal of the CPU cooler without removing the motherboard. Oh how many times could I have used this previous. Besides being able to change CPU coolers for review without disassembling the rig, many times I have removed the CPU cooler immediately after installation to check for bubbles, voids, or other problems when troubleshooting poor CPU cooling. This is a feature that is starting to appear in cases, the A90 is the first one I have actually seen in person. I definitely like it.

There are lots of drive bays here, as you expect with Thermaltake. There are three ODD bays, one 3.5” external bay, six 3.5” HDD bays, and actually a 2.5” HDD bay. This is the first case I've owned with the latter… of course it is a very simple affair, a space at the bottom of the bays where you screw in the drive on the right side of the case. I've not yet owned a SSD, so I haven't given any concern where you place them in an average case.

The V90's HDD bays were designed so that you could stealth the cables on the right side, away from the left side window. A good idea, but it caused a few problems. First, it was pretty tough to fit a full sized video card due to the solid sides of the bay facing the rear of the case. Second, though the intentions were for cable management, the position of the HDD bay made it harder to hide the extra PSU cables. A rear-facing bay greatly aids both problems. There is also ample room behind the bay for cable stowage, so much that stowing cables inside of the HDD bay isn't necessary at all.

Thermaltake has designed yet another drive locking system. I liked the locking system on the V9, which is the same as on their full towers, with long pins that give positive locking of the drive but I'd prefer something that isn't removed from the case. These are a compromise between the two ideas, shorter pins but not as short as some, and the locks stay on the case. The HDD locks are a smaller version of the ODD locks.

Finally the power supply mounting. n the V9, the PSU mounted pretty much on the bottom of the case, leaving very little space between the case PSU fan opening and the PSU itself. This definitely would cause air starvation if you forget to clean the filter and makes placing the case on a carpeted floor a definite no-no. In the Armor A90, the PSU is mounted about ˝” above the case floor. The standoff has stops to fit the PSU tightly in place and it is movable for different sized power supplies.

It still isn't a great idea to set the case on carpet, and the mesh on the bottom of the case should be cleaned regularly, but at least the PSU isn't completely starved of air in either situation.

I guess the final departure from Thermaltake's typical cases is the lack of accessories. Usually you get enough offsets, different styles of zip ties, various screws, and other hardware with a Tt case that I use them on numerous cases. With the Armor A90 you get a fair amount of screws, some offsets, and supports for mounting a 200mm fan in the intake position.

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