|by AkG | June 13, 2008|
Thermaltake Armor+ MX Mid Tower Case Review
Thermaltake Armor+ MX Mid Tower Case Review
Manufactures Product Page: Armor+ MX
Product ID: VH8000BWS
Price: Click Here to Check Prices
Warranty: 3 Years
In many ways, the computer case is one of the most researched yet under appreciated pieces of equipment one can buy for their new system. Sure, most people take the time to research how it looks and whether or not it has a window or even if it is a good choice for their niche group (LAN party/ HTPC / etc), but very few people actually take the time to think about what a computer case’s job really is.
The lowly computer case plays a multitude of roles in your personal computing experience. Yes the most obvious one is protection and most people get this, after all it’s what stands between an errantly thrown football and your precious computer; and the same goes for daily life’s assortment of bumps, bangs and bruises. Some people even get that the size and style of the case can directly affect what kind of computer one can have. For example no one would try cramming a pair of 9800GX2 video cards into a Thermaltake DH10; or better yet, try cramming a video server with dozen RAID 10’ed hard drives into a Thermaltake Lanbox Lite!
Unfortunately, very few people look at a computer case and see a highly refined cooling system. Let’s face it, the majority of people (and the majority of equipment for that matter) use air circulation (aka air cooling) to keep their computers from overheating. Since there are multiple hot running pieces of kit in a given system, alot of R&D has to be put into engineering proper air flow patterns inside a case. To make matters worse, Joe & Jane Six Pack may not know their computer has air flow patterns but they’ll instantly know if it is too loud. Thus, the engineers can't just cram a bunch of droning / vacuum cleaner fans into a case and call it a day; they have to be miserly with the number of fans used and even the amount of air said fans move has to be carefully balanced against noise levels. All in all designing a good computer case is tough, arduous work.
While some people do understand, with computer cases at least, form has to follow function; the sad fact is, not everyone does and in fact most people have not even heard of HTPCs or LAN boxes. All they know is their case has to be “cool looking”, yet “not too big” and above all else it can never be an “ugly beige box”. From a manufacturer's point of view this is probably the hardest group to design for, and while it may be the largest segment of the computer case market, it presents a unique challenge. In the end, the computer enclosure has to be large enough to take a wide array of configurations, with everything from multiple hard drives (usually less than four) to multiple burners (cd, dvd, blu-ray), break out boxes (front bay speakers, card readers, audio connectors, etc) and still have room left over for adequate cooling.
This is where Thermaltake and their massive amount of experience enters the equation. Just about everyone who has built or even just improved upon a computer system knows the name Thermaltake. They are world renowned and their reputation is well deserved. Heck, the most apt description of them we have heard was likening them to a Chevy truck. Yes, you could get persnickety exotics which are way more fancy but at then end of the day when dependability is paramount you want something that works every time; and this is the very essence of a Thermaltake case. Apple might have trade marked “It Just Works” but this term fits Thermaltake’s cases a whole lot better we find.
When these masters of case design released the original Armor case, it became an instant classic. It had loads of room, was easy to use and it even came with those funky (yet oh so practical) protective wings on the front. Anyone who has used one knows they are the average joe's Stacker 830; as the Armor may have been just as configurable as the CM Stacker 830 but it cost only about half the price. This combination of flexibility with a reasonable price may have made it a classic but the only problem with it was that it was as large as a freakin’ house!
As with all great companies Thermaltake listened to their customers and has now released a new iteration on the Armor line. The Armor+ MX is a mid sized case which continues the tradition of having too many options to list just like its bigger brother, yet is in a more manageable and user friendly size. This case is available from retailers and e-tailers throughout the country and goes for about $150. The biggest question is whether or not this downsized version is just as good as the original Armor, just in a smaller package; or will it suffer the fate of many down sized cases and end up being jack of all trades yet master of none?
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