Introduction, Specifications, and Pricing
With huge success from their Core Series cases, Thermaltake does not seem to have any intentions of slowing their roll anytime soon. This series has brought the mainstream market cases with above average structural integrity, excellent liquid cooling capability, all wrapped up in a sleek and tidy package. No matter which from this series we are discussing, these three things ring true in every one of them. This review marks the ninth chassis from the Core Series, and not once have we been disappointed with what Thermaltake has sent.
Thermaltake sent us one of their latest designs in the land of well-appointed mid-tower chassis designs, but there are two versions of it. Both cases offer the same bits, down to one exception, the cooling. In the version we have today, it comes with two black Turbo fans, one low in the front, and another in the back. However, there is an RGB variant that sports three 120mm Riing fans. Outside of the cooling, the main idea with this design is to deliver full modularity for storage and cooling. This chassis still provides plenty of room for huge, dual-tower CPU air coolers, and the longest of video cards and power supplies. A lot is going on inside of this mid-tower chassis; we are just scratching the surface so far.
As many Core Series cases as we have seen, and the fact that we know what to expect to some extent, but it is always interesting to see what Thermaltake is doing with the inside of cases these days. To be blunt, Thermaltake is one of maybe three companies that we find are trying to maximize potential in every design. Many companies will waste extra space, or give half-hearted attempts to hide storage drives; only a select few take it to the extent Thermaltake delivers. This all holds true in their latest chassis we were sent, the Core X31, and we are sure you will want to have a look at this affordable, highly modular and water cooling capable, mid-tower chassis has to offer.
The Core X31 mid-tower chassis is an SPCC steel based design with trim made of ABS plastic. It measures in at 490mm tall, 250mm in width, it is 511mm deep, weighs in just less than nineteen pounds, and comes in any color you want, as long as that choice is black. There is a large transparent window on the left side of the chassis in this design, and it affords a view of the whole inside of the chassis. The Core X31 delivers a pair of 5.25" bays that are removable, a cage of three plastic trays for 3.5" or 2.5" drives, and another pair of metal trays for 2.5" drives only. As a bonus, if you should want to remove the HDD rack, the plastic trays inside it can be hung behind the motherboard tray. ATX, Micro-ATX, and Mini-ITX motherboards can be used inside of it, with eight expansion slots to fill, and the front I/O panel offers USB 2.0, USB 3.0, and HD Audio.
The cooling provided in this chassis consists of a pair of 120mm, black, Turbo fans, which provides no CFM rating, but we are told they are 16 dBA and can spin at 1000 RPM. Most will likely discard these in a chassis such as this, though, and the options here are wide open. The front of the chassis offers room for a pair of 120mm fans, a pair of 140mm fans, or you can opt for a 200mm fan to push air into this tower. The top of the chassis raises what the front offered by one, giving you room for three 120mm fans, three 140mm fans, or the option for a pair of 200mm fans. The back of the chassis has slots that will house either a 120mm fan or a 140mm fan, and at the bottom of the Core X31, dependent on the PSU choice, you can install either a pair of 120mm fans or 140mm fans there as well. As for water cooling, the X31 still has it covered. The front can house a 240mm or 280mm radiator, the top can house a 360mm or 280mm radiator, and the rear and bottom both have room for a single 120mm or 140mm radiator.
Thermaltake also offers a clearance section with their chart, and this is all great information to have before buying this chassis. First, we see that if you opt to cool the CPU with an air cooler, you are given 180mm of room for one. Video cards can be blocked by the HDD rack, as it can be moved up the inside of the chassis, and it can restrict cards to 278mm in length. With it removed, you then are offered 420mm of length for them. PSU length is of some concern, only if you want fans on the floor, that is. With one fan in, they show a limit of 180mm and a 220mm limit without fans.
We mentioned earlier that the Core X31 was an affordable design, and looking around for availability and pricing information, we are happy to see this chassis priced where it is. No matter where we looked at the time of writing this, the pricing is the same across the board. No matter if you go to Amazon or Newegg, both locations are offering the same deal currently. We found the Core X31 you are looking at today was priced at just $99.99. Pricing does change a bit if you are looking for the RGB version, though. While Amazon lists the Core X31 RGB at $129.99, you can save $10 if you shop at Newegg. Either variant you do decide to go with, the Core X31 is so feature-rich and aesthetically appealing that you will find it hard to resist the temptation to purchase one.
Chad's Chassis Test System Specifications
- Motherboard: GIGABYTE GA-Z68X-UD4-B3
- CPU: Intel Core i7 2600K (buy from Amazon)
- Cooler: Corsair H80i GT (buy from Amazon)
- Memory: G.Skill Ripjaws F3-12800CL6D-4GBXH
- Video Card: ZOTAC GeForce GTX 970 AMP. Extreme Edition (buy from Amazon)
- Storage: SuperSpeed 128GB SSD
- Power Supply: SilverStone SST-ST85F-G (buy from Amazon)
- OS: Microsoft Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit (buy from Amazon)
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