Thermaltake Armor A30 £74.99
22nd Sep 2011 | 15:01
A tiny PC gaming chassis big on impressive features
The Thermaltake Armor A30 is a small PC case. While huge PC chassis – such as the Cooler Master CM Storm Enforcer – have a lot going for them, smaller cases also have many good points too.
The Thermaltake Armor A30 is a small chassis that's been designed to house some of the best gaming components money can buy, while maintaining a size that is small enough to carry around to LAN parties.
Even if you're not into professional gaming, the Thermaltake Armor A30, as well as other small chassis such as the CyberPower Game Cube can be a compelling buy, because they take up far less room than some of the behemoths we've seen.
The small stature doesn't mean compromises have to be made either – Micro-ATX and Mini-ITX motherboards can hold most of the latest technology without a problem.
Sure, multiple GPU arrays are out of the question. There's also no denying that cramming the components in an upgrading isn't as simple as with the Thermaltake Armor A30's more spacious siblings, such as the Armor A90.
But when a compact gaming chassis gets it right, it can be an excellent addition to your gaming arsenal, and a great choice for housing your rig. But does the Thermaltake Armor A30 succeed where others have failed?
Straight away we could tell that the Thermaltake Armor A30 is a PC chassis that has been designed to be as visually striking as possible.
As soon as you get it out of box you understand the "Armor" part of the name. It might be short and stocky compared to cases such as the Corsair 600T White Special Edition, but it's still been designed to intimidate other gamers with perhaps just a touch of short man syndrome.
The looks have been designed to appeal to gamers, but they'll probably put other users off. Put simply, the Thermaltake Armor A30 is going to look out of place as a media centre or office PC.
If you can get past the divisive looks, you'll find a small chassis that packs a lot of punch. To begin with, its length enabled us to fit a full-length graphics card.
Considering the power of new Mini-ITX motherboards that are capable of handling Core i7 processors, such as the Gigabyte H55N-USB3, there really aren't that many compromises to make if you choose the Thermaltake Armor A30 to build a gaming PC.
While space is still at a premium – no surprise for a case sized just 267 x 292 x 457mm (10.5 x 11.5 x 18.0inch) – building and upgrading inside it is made much easier due to the modular design of the case. This enables you to take out parts of the case, such as the hard drive enclosure, so you can install components in their housings outside of the case – avoiding some potentially infuriating fiddly installations.
Installation takes a bit more time than with bigger cases, but the Thermaltake Armor A30 avoids a lot of pitfalls that come with small form factor chassis.
Even though the Thermaltake Armor A30 case is very small, we were still able to fit some good components in. Input and output ports such as USB 2.0, USB 3.0 and SATA are conveniently placed at the front of the case for easy access. And the modular design makes installation and upgrading easier than trying to work in the small space.
There's no getting away from the fact that installing a motherboard and components takes longer with the Thermaltake Armor A30 than with a larger cases, with the modular design requiring more screwing and unscrewing than usual. The distinctive look might not be to everyone's tastes either.
The Thermaltake Armor A30 is a decent small-size gaming chassis that's clearly aimed at gamers, if that's what you're after.
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