ThermalTake Armor Case VA8003BWS

Author
Aron Schatz
Posted
April 4, 2008
Views
44641
ThermalTake Armor Case VA8003BWS
Cases aren't built like they used to be unless you get the Armor case from Thermaltake. This full size case lives up to its name and then some.

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Page 1
Intro:

What happens when you need a full size case for a new build? Maybe you want the extra space for additional cooling or hardware support. Look no futher than the Thermaltake Armor VA8003BWS. We already know that Thermaltake is a big player in the cases and modding market. This case certainly fits its name. It is big, heavy, and tough.

Packaging:

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When the box arrived, I didn't realize that I requested to review a full size case. Imagine my surprise when the UPS guy almost broke his back coming to my door. The shipping weight is 40 pounds and it is pretty much all case.

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The case inside was well packed and even if it wasn't, it would survive the trip just by being built so tough. They don't call it Armor for nothing.

Parts:

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Needless to say you also get the case. These parts pictured above are the things apart from the case. You get some plastic standoffs, a dust rag (finally!), a huge amount of screws/mounts, the top exhaust fan, and a PSU support bracket. Keys are included to lock the side of the case.

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To give you an idea of what this case is made of, these are the thumbscrews that await when you work with this case. These are more than twice as large as the normal piddly thumbscrews given by other cases.

Specs:

  • Model Armor --- VA8003BWS
  • Case Type Super Tower
  • Side Panel Transparent side panel
  • Net Weight 15.78Kg
  • Dimension 530 x 220 x 560 mm (H*W*D)
  • Cooling System
  • Front (intake)
    120x120x25 mm, Blue LED Fan, 1300rpm, 17dBA
  • Side (Intake)
    250 x 250 x 30 mm fan, 600rpm, 15dBA
  • Rear (exhaust)
    120 x 120 x25 mm blue LED fan, 1300rpm, 17dBA
    90 x 90 x 25mm, 1800rpm, 19dBA
  • Top (exhaust)
    90 x 90 x 25mm, 1800rpm, 19dBA
  • Drive Bays 11
  • Front Accessible 10 x 5.25", 2 x 3.5"
  • Internal 6 x3.5"
  • Color Black
  • Expansion Slots 7
  • Motherboards Micro ATX, ATX, Extend ATX, BTX (BTX Upgrade Kits SRM / Rear plate) (optional)
  • Drive Bay Kits
    Relocate-able HDD & FDD rack
    3 x 3.5" HDD module with 12cm LED fan


If you didn't read the specs, this case includes a 25cm (that's 250mm) fan!

Exterior:

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As I say, first impressions are important. When looking at this case for the first time, a sense of largeness overwhelms you and for good reason. It has been a very long time since I've worked or even seen a full size case. I believe it was around the time when AT was still around that I saw cases that were built to withstand punishment. This case just looks tough and the name works so well. Armor, your computer is shielded by this piece of metal and nothing is getting through. The case is black with a matte finish with some glossy accents on the front trim. There is a silver model, but black looks much better.

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The front of the case reminds me of the »Antec Nine Hundred I reviewed earlier this month. It has a fully grilled face for each 5.25" plate. Each blank has its own mesh filter to keep dust out, but dust gets in from everywhere anyway. The side panels open to actually get to the drives and such. They serve little purpose but they do protect the front of the case from getting hit by protruding out so far. The top 5.25" bay holds the power and status LEDs. That is a fairly novel design to place it right in a bay. The lowest bay contains a slide out holder for items like CDs. The top left contains the Armor logo and the bottom right has the Thermaltake logo.

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Moving on to the windowed side, we can clearly see the huge 250mm fan that is attached to the side. This case is truly built for airflow. I know I said it before, but this case takes it all and then some. Aside from the large fan, the window has a branded Thermaltake insignia which I disdain. I like a nice and clear window, personally. The window is in three sections that cover almost the entire case including the drive bay area. This side also also includes the side panel locks. Really, this case is a blast from the past.

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The back of the case has some interesting features. The first is that the power supply is turned on its side instead of being mounted horizontally. The back is actually fully removable and modular. You can buy a BTX kit to convert this entire back to a BTX system. Very nice design. There are two rear exhaust fans that are visible in this shot.

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The bottom of the case has the feet. These aren't your standard rubber feet. These are monster feet that can turn into place. These feet give the base more width so the chance of the case tipping over is almost nothing. This is truly a home server case to me.

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The top of the case has the external connections for audio, USB, and Firewire. This is the only part of the case that feels a bit cheap since it is plastic. The top of the case is grilled for extra ventilation.
Page 2
Interior:

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How about a close up of that 250mm fan... It is just big, but that's the working word for this case. Like I say, bigger fans are better since they can pump more air at a lower speed. That means that it ensures a quiet operation with good airflow.

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And here is the inside of the case. Notice all the screw holes. This is due to the sheer versatility of the case being able to accommodate many different styles of motherboards include ATX, Extended ATX, and even BTX. Cases haven't done something like that since AT and ATX were both fighting each other. As you can see, there is plenty of room to work in this case.

pcifan.jpg


The back of the case holds the PCI brackets and the 120mm exhaust fan as well as the I/O shield (behind the fan in this picture). The PCI brackets and I/O shields are removable and are sturdy metal instead of the flimsy break away type which I can't stand. This case does it right by having proper blanks. The screwless design for these PCI slots are the best I've used so far.

hddtop.jpg


There is a removable hard drive cage on the top back of the case which an 90mm exhaust fan directly behind it. I think this was a great design feature that allows for better cooling keeping with the 250mm central intake fan. The power supply gets mounted behind this cage so you need to remove it. Don't put the top exhaust fan in until you install the power supply. I made that mistake.

drivearea.jpg


The drive area is pretty much standard. This case has 10 front accessible bays. Like the »Nine Hundred, the Armor comes with a front hard drive cage with a 120mm lighted fan If you have more than three drives, you can use this front mounted cage. I would stick with the back one, though. There is a 3.5 adapter in another bay and the power and LED status bay can also house a 3.5 drive.

hddfront.jpg


For the price of two 5.25" bays you get three 3.5" hard drives with cooling all in one neat package. You need to screw the drives in to the caddy unlike the 5.25" drives which have screwless mounts.

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There are connections for all the basics and more. This even includes a speaker and a case intrusion switch. Thermaltake went all the way to make this case really stand out. The wires are all long enough to reach anywhere in the case.

Use:

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I made a mess with all the wires for a reason. Even with my horrible cable job, there is still plenty of room for more stuff. I could load the entire case up with parts and still have room. This is an Asus P5B Deluxe motherboard which is a standard ATX motherboard. As you can see, it is dwarfed by the case. The screwless design of the 5.25" bays are very well done. They are hinged and you squeeze them to remove and place them on. The one problem I had was the power supply support bracket wouldn't work with my Antec Truepower Duo due to the cabling being in the way. I don't see a reason to use this bracket, but if you are able to, it doesn't hurt to give the case more protection. Remember, Armor is the name.

builtwin.jpg


I would have made the window a bit smaller so I could hide the wires better. If I was using a modular power supply, this wouldn't be an issue. With all these fans, you may think that the case would be loud. This is simply not true. The case is extremely quiet for the amount of airflow due to the use of large fans and slow speed smaller fans. The airflow is excellent even being so quiet. It isn't silent, but the normal CPU fan is louder than the steady whoosh of this case.

running.jpg


The case is fairly well lit with the standard lighting that comes with the case. The 120mm exhaust and 120mm intake fans are both blue LED lit. This gives the base case a nice look. Pay no attention to the purple ASUS light from the P5B Deluxe.

runningfront.jpg


The front shows the insanely bright blue power LED as well as the front intake fan. You can also see the Armor logo in this picture somehow. All in all, this case is one tough act to break. Thermaltake exceeded even my expectations.

Conclusion:

The Armor with the 25cm fan costs $150 at the time of this review. This is an excellent price for such a versatile and tough case. I haven't been this impressed with a case in a long time and Thermaltake really delivers with the Armor. It is perfect for the server market, even more-so than the gamers. The Armor keeps to its name being tough and sturdy. Buy this case and you won't be disappointed.



I'm please to announce that we have a new rating system feature Ian from »Safe Mode. I'm more than happy to begin the new rating system with this review.

I'd like to thank Ramsom from Thermaltake for providing this case for review.
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