Thermaltake Armor A30i Speed Edition Gaming Cube Chassis Review

Thermaltake Armor A30i Speed Edition Gaming Cube Chassis Review

Have a look at the Thermaltake A30i Speed Edition chassis. It is compact, well designed, and we all know red makes it go faster.

@chad_sebring
Published Tue, Jan 7 2014 9:02 PM CST   |   Updated Tue, Apr 7 2020 12:32 PM CDT
Rating: 91%Manufacturer: Thermaltake

Introduction

Thermaltake Armor A30i Speed Edition Gaming Cube Chassis Review 99 | TweakTown.com
VIEW GALLERY - 38 IMAGES

As the trend has taken us to smaller and smaller chassis designs, Thermaltake (a company that needs no real introduction) has taken an older design back to the drawing board to revolutionize it and bring it up to snuff for today's buyers. It has been almost two years since the last inception of this design hit our labs. Back then, Thermaltake delivered us the A30 chassis for testing, and since then the market has moved leaps and bounds from what was incorporated into that older design.

The funny thing about this is that while we are dealing with a new color scheme, there is very little that has changed in this design since that time. It has similar aesthetics (well spot on to the older design actually), offers the same modularity and features, and it keeps the same hardware. It's almost as if they just changed the name to try to take on the market again now that SFF chassis are more of a rage than when the original A30 was released.

Today, we will be looking at the Armor A30i Speed Edition Gaming Cube from Thermaltake to see if there are in fact some changes made that at a glance aren't so apparent. We will also see if the new A30i is more worthy of your attention today than it was in the original form two years ago when it took our Editor's Choice award.

Right up front, the color is much bolder, and may hit the hearts of a lot of theme builders out there. The original black was sort of plain, and did not attract attention on the table at a LAN event, but this bright red version you are about to gaze upon will definitely stick out amongst most other cases that show up at a LAN event.

Specifications, Availability and Pricing

Thermaltake Armor A30i Speed Edition Gaming Cube Chassis Review 01 | TweakTown.com

Following the chart, we can see that the A30i is denoted as a mini case. It is only 266mm tall, 291mm wide, 456mm in length, and this steel and plastic chassis weighs in at 5.7 kilograms. The exterior of this chassis is bright red, but modular pieces, and the removable motherboard tray, are all painted black. There are windows in this design; not just one, but one window on each side of the chassis to look inside of it.

Inside of the chassis, you are given two 90mm LED fans in the front, two 60mm LED fans in the back, and a 200mm LED fan in the roof of the chassis, to keep things as cool as possible inside. There is a modular cage for storage drives, a modular cage for the single 3.5" bay and two 5.25" bays that are visible through the front bezel. Even the PSU has a removable bracket to make life easier when building inside of this chassis.

The A30i also offers four expansion slots for cards up to 330mm in length, and it offers USB 3.0 and HD Audio. The last thing to cover is that since the PSU sits over the motherboard, there is only 90mm of room for CPU coolers to fit.

There are a few locations that stock this chassis, and it seems the MSRP is the exact same as the original, which is set at $119 U.S. dollars. However, I was a bit shocked to see was an Amazon listing for this chassis at $95.24, marked down from $109.99. Amazon also shows that they have 26 others of that chassis in stock for as low at $90.

Considering we are now looking at $30 off MSRP pricing, I do feel that this chassis may very well be worthy of your time.

Packaging

Thermaltake Armor A30i Speed Edition Gaming Cube Chassis Review 02 | TweakTown.com

Packaging is what we typically get from Thermaltake: a black box, red accents, and a blue medieval backdrop to the A30i shown on the left.

Thermaltake Armor A30i Speed Edition Gaming Cube Chassis Review 03 | TweakTown.com

As the red stripe continues around the side, we see features like its bulletproof design (although I would not test that), the oversized fan, internal USB 3.0, LED lighting, and that it supports high-end video cards. This is then repeated to cover the many markets that Thermaltake is in.

Thermaltake Armor A30i Speed Edition Gaming Cube Chassis Review 04 | TweakTown.com

The back of the packaging is identical to the front, except for the fact that this side has the tab to allow the top of the box to be opened to access the chassis inside of it.

Thermaltake Armor A30i Speed Edition Gaming Cube Chassis Review 05 | TweakTown.com

This last side of the packaging offers the shipping label, and we can see by the green sticker that we got the Other Color version of the VM700; the A3W2N version, not the all black A1W2N.

Thermaltake Armor A30i Speed Edition Gaming Cube Chassis Review 06 | TweakTown.com

Of course I realize the chassis is on its side in this image, but the point is to show the plastic inner liner, and the Styrofoam end caps that support and protect the chassis during transit. As for what is used here, it proves the KISS mantra; the A30i inside arrived in tip-top condition.

Thermaltake Armor A30i Speed Edition Gaming Cube

Thermaltake Armor A30i Speed Edition Gaming Cube Chassis Review 07 | TweakTown.com

The front bezel of this A30i offers a 3.5" bay to the left, some mesh next to it, and the pair of 5.25" bays to the right. The lower section offers USB 3.0 ports, 3.5mm jacks for audio, a mesh area for intake with the name and logo on it, and the power and reset buttons to the far right.

Thermaltake Armor A30i Speed Edition Gaming Cube Chassis Review 08 | TweakTown.com

The top of the chassis has angular lines that start at the front, and work back to the 200mm fan at the back. This fan is covered in that same mesh that is found at the front of the chassis.

Thermaltake Armor A30i Speed Edition Gaming Cube Chassis Review 09 | TweakTown.com

The left side of the chassis offers a large window in comparison to the size of the panel, which is held in place with plastic push-pins. Near the front are large hexagonal shaped holes that allow air to flow right into the side with little to stop it, not even a dust filter.

Thermaltake Armor A30i Speed Edition Gaming Cube Chassis Review 10 | TweakTown.com

At the back of the chassis, there are eleven thumb screws to remove the various sections. Inside of the red frame, there is room for the PSU next to a section of venting, two 60mm fans above the rear I/O, and four expansion slots at the bottom right to finish things out.

Thermaltake Armor A30i Speed Edition Gaming Cube Chassis Review 11 | TweakTown.com

The right side of the chassis is a mirror image of what we saw at the left. The window is the same, as is the venting at the front, and again, there is no dust filter to clean the intake of air.

Thermaltake Armor A30i Speed Edition Gaming Cube Chassis Review 12 | TweakTown.com

Under the chassis there are four round plastic feet with rubber pads to support the A30i and make sure it stays in one place. There are cutaways for the motherboard tray supports, the tray stop point, and the HDD rack that sits on the floor.

Inside the Armor A30i Speed Edition Gaming Cube

Thermaltake Armor A30i Speed Edition Gaming Cube Chassis Review 13 | TweakTown.com

You access the interior through the top of the chassis. After removing two thumbscrews, the top slides back a bit, then lifts off of the chassis to expose the guts. You can now also see the 200mm clear fan in the top, which is powered with a 4-pin Molex connection.

Thermaltake Armor A30i Speed Edition Gaming Cube Chassis Review 14 | TweakTown.com

After removing a lot more screws, the rear of the chassis slides out with the motherboard tray, and allows more access inside of the chassis, which makes life easier when installing the motherboard. Both of the 60mm fans in the back are also found to use 4-pin Molex connection to power them.

Thermaltake Armor A30i Speed Edition Gaming Cube Chassis Review 15 | TweakTown.com

Removing six screws from the top edges of the sides, the PSU support rack comes off the top of the chassis. Putting the PSU into the frame is easier, and it also gives access to the motherboard tray when completing the build.

Thermaltake Armor A30i Speed Edition Gaming Cube Chassis Review 16 | TweakTown.com

At the front is another cage for the ODD bays, and a 3.5" bay that sits on its side. On the top (which is the bottom in this image) there are also spots for two 2.5" drives to mount.

Thermaltake Armor A30i Speed Edition Gaming Cube Chassis Review 17 | TweakTown.com

The last thing that is easily removed is the dual bay HDD rack. There are rubber grommets to allow mounting from the bottoms of the drives. The sides do not touch, and the vibrations are isolated when you send the screws through the grommets.

Thermaltake Armor A30i Speed Edition Gaming Cube Chassis Review 18 | TweakTown.com

With everything now out of the chassis, we can finally get a look at the inside of the front of this A30i. Tabs hold the bezel in place, and it does need to be removed to get the bay covers off. It is easy to see that the 90mm fan in the front has no dust filter either.

Thermaltake Armor A30i Speed Edition Gaming Cube Chassis Review 19 | TweakTown.com

The wiring from the front I/O panel runs all the way past the end of the chassis. This allows plenty of length to get all of them connected, and also allows you to slide the tray out a bit to disconnect them after, rather than having to pull the PSU for access.

Accessories and Documentation

Thermaltake Armor A30i Speed Edition Gaming Cube Chassis Review 20 | TweakTown.com

Part of the hardware is the motherboard speaker, small adjustable wire ties, two larger adjustable wire ties, two plastic clips to help mount 2.5" drives, and a plastic plug of some sort; the last of which we have found no use for.

Thermaltake Armor A30i Speed Edition Gaming Cube Chassis Review 21 | TweakTown.com

The screws all come in separate bags. There are eight HDD screws, ten ODD and SSD screws, an extra thumbscrew, four fan screws, and a handful of PSU, motherboard, and expansion slot screws.

Thermaltake Armor A30i Speed Edition Gaming Cube Chassis Review 22 | TweakTown.com

Found outside of the chassis (but inside of the plastic liner) there was another bag containing the paperwork. There you will locate the A30i user manual, and the warranty information regarding the two-year warranty that Thermaltake provides this chassis with.

Thermaltake Armor A30i Speed Edition Gaming Cube Chassis Review 23 | TweakTown.com

In case you missed this earlier, one of the first things covered in the manual are the restrictions. Again, it shows that the CPU cooler cannot be taller than 90mm, and any VGA you plan to use needs to be no longer than 330mm.

Thermaltake Armor A30i Speed Edition Gaming Cube Chassis Review 24 | TweakTown.com

As for the rest of the manual, you see steps such as this, where how to remove parts is explained. If the images are not enough, there are step-by-step instructions given. And, just like on the box, this is done in many languages to cover their markets.

The Build and Finished Product

Thermaltake Armor A30i Speed Edition Gaming Cube Chassis Review 25 | TweakTown.com

The first thing we did for the build was to put our Micro-ATX motherboard on the tray, and it will also house a Mini-ITX board. There was a bit of flex that needed to be overcome to sink the screws, but we got it in there. Also, we have the CPU fan installed in reverse since the PSU intake sits right above this.

Thermaltake Armor A30i Speed Edition Gaming Cube Chassis Review 26 | TweakTown.com

We also took our standard Silverstone PSU, and added it into the PSU frame. Here, the screws line up well, and there are no issues to speak of.

Thermaltake Armor A30i Speed Edition Gaming Cube Chassis Review 27 | TweakTown.com

We also dropped a 3.5" hard drive into the rack that slides into the floor. For this review we will not be using an ODD, or fan controller, so we can leave the front rack sitting in the box for now, and add it later if there is the need for it.

Thermaltake Armor A30i Speed Edition Gaming Cube Chassis Review 28 | TweakTown.com

Adding things back into the chassis should be done in stages to simplify the build. Here we have the motherboard in the case, the VGA installed, the wiring is done, and we even got the HDD rack back in with the SATA cable connected.

Thermaltake Armor A30i Speed Edition Gaming Cube Chassis Review 29 | TweakTown.com

Since our PSU is modular and offered a short cable kit, it was perfect for this chassis, and I highly recommend a modular PSU in this chassis. So, we wired everything to the board, card, and the drive, but have yet to tend to the fan power connections.

Thermaltake Armor A30i Speed Edition Gaming Cube Chassis Review 30 | TweakTown.com

We found it very easy to drop in the PSU and support frame, and then connect all of the cables. With the short cable kit, there is little leftover wiring, and it does not disturb the air flow all that much.

The Build and Finished Product Continued

Thermaltake Armor A30i Speed Edition Gaming Cube Chassis Review 31 | TweakTown.com

After closing up shop, we take another spin around the A30i. I thought the front looked too good to break it all up with an optical drive, and since the fans are Molex connected, a fan controller is pointless unless you are swapping out all of the fans in the chassis.

Thermaltake Armor A30i Speed Edition Gaming Cube Chassis Review 32 | TweakTown.com

From the left, we can now see the HD7950 very easily through the side window. You can also see there is plenty of room left for longer cards, as the longer than stock card I use is still not visible through the mesh near the front.

Thermaltake Armor A30i Speed Edition Gaming Cube Chassis Review 33 | TweakTown.com

The back of the chassis goes together well, and there were not any issues with the chassis warping when the tray is pulled out or slid back in. When it came time to replace all the thumbscrews, the holes were all lined up.

Thermaltake Armor A30i Speed Edition Gaming Cube Chassis Review 34 | TweakTown.com

The right side of the chassis offers a view of the CPU cooler from this angle, but as you move around, you can also see the memory, the motherboard, and even the top of the VGA installed on the other side of the chassis.

Thermaltake Armor A30i Speed Edition Gaming Cube Chassis Review 35 | TweakTown.com

Once the chassis is powered, there is an audible level of noise that gave a 38dB reading on our meter. As for the 200mm fan, when it is powered it will flood the interior with a bright blue glow.

Thermaltake Armor A30i Speed Edition Gaming Cube Chassis Review 36 | TweakTown.com

From the front of the chassis, you can see the top fan through the mesh in the ODD bays. The 90mm fan in the front is also illuminated blue. I did miss the red HDD activity LED, but the power indicator light matches the fans with the blue LED under the reset button.

Final Thoughts

Up front, the A30i Speed Edition is a great looking chassis that will stick out in the crowd. While not much has changed in two years, the frame is rigid when the components are removed, the simplicity in the way the modular sections are installed and removed makes it a pleasure to install in, and even with some tiny fans at play in this design, the noise level is tolerable for a gaming rig. However, I would not suggest using this for an HTPC setup; it is just too loud for that environment. The play of black trim on the bright red color of this chassis also makes this an easy choice for themed builds, especially with all of the black and red products that are flooding the market.

The things I did not care for are pretty straight forward. The lack of dust filters in a chassis these days is pretty lame. I mean, even the cheapest of the cheap $40 cases try to offer these for intakes. Although this does promote better air flow than cases that offer them, you also have to deal with the aftermath, of tearing everything apart to clean, rather than simply pulling a filter and running it under the sink. As for the design and features, it is still relevant to today's market, but I would have expected more changes to give a reason for the "i" at the end of the name. In reality, this is more of a rerelease of the same product with a bit of extra flair to it.

I feel that if you can locate this chassis in the realm of $90 U.S. dollars (like the listings I had found); the Armor A30i Speed Edition Gaming Cube is an original looking design that will definitely get you noticed at a LAN event. As for those who plan to use this day in and day out, keep in mind that you will need to address the dust in some fashion, and you may even want to swap out the blue LED fans all together. Not only would red fans look better, but I do also think you could get this chassis near silent with the right choice of fans to place in here.

In the end, I do like this chassis, but I think Thermaltake could have done better with two years of time between chassis and the Armor A30 we saw then.

What do TweakTown.com awards mean? Click for details!

PRICING: You can find products similar to this one for sale below.

USUnited States: Find other tech and computer products like this over at Amazon.com

UKUnited Kingdom: Find other tech and computer products like this over at Amazon.co.uk

AUAustralia: Find other tech and computer products like this over at Amazon.com.au

CACanada: Find other tech and computer products like this over at Amazon.ca

DEDeutschland: Finde andere Technik- und Computerprodukte wie dieses auf Amazon.de

After a year of gaming, Chad caught the OC bug. With overclocking comes the need for better cooling, and Chad has had many air and water setups. With a few years of abusing computer parts, he decided to take his chances and try to get a review job. As an avid overclocker, Chad is always looking for the next leg up in RAM, cooling, as well as peripherals.

We openly invite the companies who provide us with review samples / who are mentioned or discussed to express their opinion. If any company representative wishes to respond, we will publish the response here. Please contact us if you wish to respond.

Related Tags

Newsletter Subscription

Latest News

View More News

Latest Reviews

View More Reviews

Latest Articles

View More Articles