Introduction, Specifications, and Pricing
Once again Thermaltake is at it with development on a new idea in case design. While there may be others on the market that may offer some of the features you are about to see, this is the first of our knowledge to take the idea of an open air chassis to all new levels. Of course, an open air chassis is not everyone's cup of tea so to speak, but this chassis crosses boundaries. It is one of those designs that if you bought into it, you could find a use for this chassis for many years to come in one of its three modes of operation.
Being loosely based on the original Level 10 chassis, we are given a solid plane to mount everything to, with all the accouterments like grommets, wire management, and CPU cooler that we are all used to, just not inside panels closing off access to all the components this time. Rather than a closed frame, this design uses steel bars to support a Lexan panel that will help keep fingers out of fans if that sort of thing is a concern. What sets this apart though, outside of it being open air, is that this chassis can stand on a pair of feet, much like how the Level 10 was presented. The thing is we still have two other options yet. One of them is to use solid rubber feet that can be mounted on the back panel so that it lays on its back as a test bench. Lastly, users also have the option to wall mount it via any VESA mount, but this needs to be purchased separately.
For those of you who want something out of the ordinary, and like it when cases offer more modularity than just in what parts can go inside of the chassis, Thermaltake has what you are looking for in the new Core P5 "chassis". While we did cover some aspects of this design, we are only getting started. There is so much going on with this design, and even when you think you have it all figured out, there is even more to look at and address. So, strap in and enjoy the ride as we have a ton to show you as we cover this unique design and deliver our opinion on just how cool and universal this streamlined chassis design is.
Thermaltake is classifying the Core P5 open air chassis as a mid-tower design, and that is likely due to the measurements. The chassis is 22.4 inches from front to back, it is 13.1 inches in width, and all assembled, it stands only 23.9 inches in height. The left side of the chassis does indeed offer a transparent "window" as they call it, but the reality is the entire panel is made of a solid transparent panel. The right side of the chassis and the many add-on brackets that come in the assortment of accessories are made of steel and painted with a textured black finish. There is also a set of four support bars for this chassis that are also steel but are left natural in their finish.
We cannot say that all of this can be found "inside" this design, as most of what happens here happens on the outside of the "case". There is room for three 3.5 or 2.5" drives inside of the steel frame behind the motherboard tray, and an optional location just to the right of the top of the motherboard on the front of the tray. There are eight expansion slots, but with this design, they can be oriented horizontally and vertically regardless of the chassis orientation. We also see that this chassis has standoff holes in the motherboard tray for Mini-ITX, Micro-ATX, and ATX motherboards. It can accommodate larger boards as well, but it does cut into wire management options. Lastly, the front I/O connectivity includes a pair each of USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 ports as well as HD audio jacks. And that this design takes a standard PS2 PSU, and the length is not much of a concern here either.
Even though this is an open air design, there is a section of the motherboard tray that is specifically designed for cooling needs. While they do show that you can install fans in this location, unless you are planning to add airflow to cool the hard drives, fans alone in this location will do little to cool anything in the system. This location is intended for water cooling where everything is laid flat and easy to see. There is room for a quad 120mm radiator or a triple 140mm radiator at its maximum capacity, but if you have (for example) an AIO and a new AMD video card with an AIO also, you can install both into this design, or go full custom with the loop and makes this a real show stopper to sit on your desk. At the bottom, we do see some limitations listed, but we feel that 180mm for the CPU cooler, 280mm for the video card with the pump bracket in play and 320mm without, and 200mm for the PSU are hardly what we would say are "restrictions".
There is a bit of construction that needs to be done to take full advantage of this chassis out of the box. It comes shipped in a compressed fashion, not only to save on packaging and shipping, but to better protect the components and offer the end-user a much nicer chassis in the end, rather than cracking panels and bending bits in the rigors of transit. Since this review is hitting you as the NDA is lifted, we cannot provide you with any comparative pricing that we found, but we were given the MSRP of this chassis. Amazingly, the Core P5 is set at only $149.99.
Chad's Chassis Test System Specifications
- Motherboard: GIGABYTE GA-Z68X-UD4-B3 (buy from Amazon)
- CPU: Intel Core i7 2600K (buy from Amazon)
- Cooler: Corsair H80i GT (buy from Amazon)
- Memory: G.Skill Ripjaws F3-12800CL6D-4GBXH (buy from Amazon)
- Video Card: HIS HD7950 IceQ (buy from Amazon)
- Storage: SuperSpeed 128GB (buy from Amazon)
- Power Supply: SilverStone SST-ST85F-G (buy from Amazon)
- OS: Microsoft Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit (buy from Amazon)
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