Thermaltake Core P3 ATX Wall Mount Chassis Review

Thermaltake Core P3 ATX Wall Mount Chassis Review

Thermaltake's Core P3 wall-mountable chassis takes honors as being the highest rated case we have ever reviewed. Come and find out why.

@chad_sebring
Published Wed, Jul 20 2016 8:20 PM CDT   |   Updated Thu, Jul 30 2020 4:20 PM CDT
Rating: 100%Manufacturer: Thermaltake

Introduction, Specifications, and Pricing

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Just shy of a year ago, we got our hands-on one of the slickest designs in cases in quite some time. Not to say there were issues with the original layout, but suffice to say, the Core P5 was not exactly intended to mainstream users. Even while we loved the chassis and everything it has to offer, there were a couple of minor details that needed specific attention. For one, while the chassis was fully capable and ready to support just about any water cooling setup you could desire, without a 3D printer or some handy engineering at home, AIOs were simply not in the cards for the P5. The second issue, if you want to call it that, was that the Core P5 was enormous, and needed a lot of space on the desk or the wall to be used.

With those two things being complaints heard by Thermaltake, they took the design and reworked it for the masses. So now, anyone who needs access all the time inside of the chassis, those who tend to stick with mainstream cooling, like that of an AIO, or anyone who wants artwork on their walls in the form of PC components can do so within a smaller chassis. Even if wall hanging is off the checklist when buying an open air chassis, Thermaltake delivers the ability to use this new chassis in the horizontal and vertical orientations, just as the Core P5 offered. Taking it a bit deeper into this new layout, there are even optional brackets and orientations of components in this chassis which allow users to make their minds up on how things should be installed, dependent on the choice of parts used.

If you have been camping under a rock for the past year and have no idea what the Core P5 is all about, you are in for a real treat. As we bring forth Thermaltake's latest wall mountable ATX chassis, the Core P3, we know it may not be for everyone, but there is no denying the ingenuity, styling, simplicity, and sexiness of what you are about to lay your eyes upon. For those, who, like us, totally appreciate the benefits of open air chassis designs, we strongly suggest you pad your desktop as not to bruise your chin when it drops in awe. This latest chassis from Thermaltake is so impressive that we are putting it into service full time as one of the many test rigs we have. Only the best of the best tend to stick around in our office, and that alone should say volumes about the Core P3 ATX wall-mountable chassis you are about to see.

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The Core P3 from Thermaltake is considered a mid-tower chassis due to its size, but in reality, this is the most spacious mid-tower we have seen with much more potential than the standard designs out there today. The P3 stands 512mm tall, it is 333mm wide, and 470mm deep, and with all the parts in the box considered, it weighs up to 10.7 kg. The version sent to us is black, but there is also a snow white version, both of which have the entire left side of the chassis made from a transparent side window to admire all of your hardware. As for the rest of the chassis components, there is SPCC steel used for the majority of the design, bits made of ABS plastic and rubber, and even pieces of stainless steel that make up the Core P3.

The main components that can be installed into this chassis are quite good. While there is no room for an optical drive, storage drive options are robust. Accessible by removing the transparent window, you could install a pair of 3.5" drives to be visible, and the same can be done with up to three 2.5" drives. Keeping these options going, on the inside of the steel portion of the chassis, there are two hidden drive trays, which can house either 2.5" or 3.5" drives as well. There are eight expansion slots in the back, which can be oriented horizontally or vertically, and the Core P3 houses either an ATX, Micro-ATX, or Mini-ITX motherboard. The front I/O panel is also contained within the steel section, offering up a pair of USB 2.0 ports, a pair for USB 3.0, HD Audio jacks, as well as a large power and reset button. As to the PSU, the P3 takes on a standard PSU of any length, and dependent on the motherboard used, it hangs with the fan down with ATX motherboards, while smaller boards allow the PSU to mount with the fan facing the clear side panel.

Cooling can be handled with just fans, either three 120mm or three 140mm fans, but it is more for looks, as the only thing you would potentially cool with them would be storage drives. The real reason for those fan locations is to support water cooling, custom or an AIO. So in this same area where the fans go, you could also install radiators up to 360mm and 420mm versions. Thermaltake also lists limitations to individual parts. Here we see that CPU air coolers can be 180mm tall and still clear the side panel. Video cards can be blocked with the use of a reservoir and radiator, leaving a minimum of 180mm, but without those in play, there is a maximum of 450mm of room for them. They do mention a PSU limitation of just 200mm, which does cover a ton of power supplies out there, but is limited only because of the location of the wire management hole provided to hide the wiring.

What will make many our readers jump at this chassis is the pricing. While availability is somewhat limited this early in the release of the Core P3, we were still able to find it. Currently, the best deal to be had is at Newegg, where we found the Core P3 in black, listed at $119.99. There is also an additional $10.99 involved for shipping cost and no mention of free shipping to Premier members. This pricing is well within the realm of average mid-tower chassis pricing for "normal" designs, but once you see what this Core P3 ATX wall-mountable chassis from Thermaltake is all about, it will not be long before you too appreciate the impressively low cost of obtaining something of this caliber.

Chad's Chassis Test System Specifications

Packaging

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At the top is the Thermaltake name along with the tagline "Cool All Your Life" followed just below it with the Core P3 name. There is a rendering of the Core P3 that eats up most of the front panel, showing it in one of many configurations, and we see that this design is Tt LCS certified as well.

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With the Core P3 requiring a bit of assembly, the box is much thinner than usually found with mid-tower cases, but they still found the room here to provide us with the specifications chart.

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The back of the box is near identical to the front just that this time we are presented with an exploded diagram of the Core P3. In this rendering, you can also see some of the optional parts which change the layout, look, and orientation of the chassis entirely.

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The remaining side of the packaging covers a few of the features. Here Thermaltake lists the front I/O panel connectivity, the modular expansion, and its support of an ATX PSU and DIY liquid cooling. This is then repeated in 13 languages as to cover their global market.

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On the inside of the cardboard box, we find the chassis and all of its bits encased in Styrofoam, all taped together. On the inside, there are layers of cardboard to separate the larger components, everything is wrapped in plastic, and the smaller parts of the chassis are nestled into compartments in the back section of foam. All of this attention to survival was worth it, as our Core P3 showed at our door in perfect condition.

Thermaltake Core P3 ATX Wall Mountable Mid-Tower Chassis

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After a bit of assembly, this is one of the ways the Core P3 can be built. From the front, we see a thick wall of steel to the right as the main body of this design, which includes the front I/O panel and a Tt logo. To the left of that, we find a view right through the chassis, blocked only by stainless steel bars, expansion slots, and PSU bracket.

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The front I/O panel starts with LEDs for system power and HDD activity with a large power button just below them. There are USB 3.0 ports, USB 2.0 ports, and HD Audio jacks as we move down the panel, ending with the medium-sized reset button at the bottom.

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Looking at the P3 from the left side offers an unimpeded view of the inside of the chassis since the entire panel is made of clear acrylic. Aside from the large clear panel, there are the caps for the support rods, which are also stainless steel, and delivers a clean look to the panel's installation.

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From the back of the P3, we see the eight expansion slots, which we have opted to install perpendicular to the motherboard tray. We can also see the rear support bracket for the PSU, and since we intend to use an ATX motherboard, it needs to be in this orientation for our needs.

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The right side of this chassis is a vast expanse of textured steel. Six thumbscrews hold the panel in place, the left side is used for ventilation and offers a dust filter, and of course, there are 12 holes for various wall mounting brackets. Since there not a traditional bottom for this chassis, we should mention we did install the large feet to allow the P3 to stand vertically for our build.

Inside the Core P3

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The motherboard tray area of the Core P3 is topped with a white Thermaltake logo above the large backplate access hole. It is drilled for Mini-ITX, Micro-ATX, and ATX motherboards, and delivers six holes to allow the wiring to be routed through.

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Below the motherboard tray, we installed the GPU support system. This module includes a bracket to support the expansions slots, which is also where the riser cable is connected. Of course, the expansion slots can be installed in a standard orientation, and there are two sets of holes to mount this assembly, for use with Micro-ATX motherboards.

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Below the video card is where the PSU is to be installed. We opted for this pair of brackets to suit the ATX motherboard installation, and unlike in the P5 where the GPU assembly would flex under some weight, the P3 offers a support rod at the right to keep everything stable.

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Near the front of the chassis, we find a multi-use section of holes, slots, and a wide gap between them. This can be used to mount fans, 3.5" HDDs, 2.5" drives in the middle, or radiators. At the bottom is a line of holes, and is to be used with a pump/reservoir support bracket, which we have opted not to use in our build.

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Removing the right side panel from the central section of the P3 offers more options and a ton of space. The wiring is tied together and routed along the top, and this is how you access installation of whatever it is you plan to hang near the front of the chassis.

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At the top of the right side, Thermaltake supplies the Core P3 with a pair of plastic drive trays. A thumbscrew secures them at the top, and they slide into tabs in the steel plate at the bottom. These trays allow for either a 3.5" drive or a 2.5" drive to be hidden inside of the frame.

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Below the hidden drive bays, we find the VESA mounting plate. Just like the panel alluded to, there are three sizes of brackets that can be used, 75mm square, 100mm square, or one that is 200mm by 100mm, and all of the holes are threaded with M6 X1 pitch. If you do have plans to mount the P3 on a wall, you need to purchase the bracket.

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We do find the wiring is all black and hides well when routed to your build. The front panel switch and LED wiring is a flat ribbon cable, the HD Audio, and USB 2.0 wiring is thin and round, and the native USB 3.0 wires are fat. All of the wiring has enough length to fit any build with no need for long exposed runs on the front.

Hardware & Documentation

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At the top left, we find a handful of screws to mount the PSU, PSU bracket, and the VGA module. This is followed by the standoffs and socket to secure them, Thumbscrews to install the VGA riser card brackets, and M3 screws to mount the motherboard. The next row offers screws for the rubber feet and the pump bracket, screws for the large plastic and steel feet, 2.5" drive screws for the plastic drive trays, and M3 screws for SSD mounting to the steel. The bottom row shows the 3.5" drive screws, the support bar for the VGA module, foam washers to be used with it, and the screws to mount it.

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Ten plastic zip-ties are given to help manage the wiring inside of the main section of the chassis. Thermaltake also offers rubber washers to use with 3.5" drives mounted to the steel plate, four rubber feet so that the chassis can be used in the horizontal like a test bench, and a motherboard POST speaker.

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These are optional brackets we did not use for our build. On the left is the pump and reservoir bracket, followed by the second VGA bracket to use with the module we did install. To the right, we have a PSU support bracket to allow the fan to face the clear panel when using smaller motherboards, and a two-slot expansion bracket to use with Mini-ITX motherboards.

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Thermaltake sends along a flexible PCIe riser cable which allows the fan side of the video cards to be in full view through the side panel. This is also a later revision of cable then what we saw in the Core P5, which did have some issues with power hungry cards. The black covering the cables is not just for looks, it is also metal backed and is used for shielding purposes as well.

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The manual starts with a full parts list naming what everything goes to, in an effort to simplify the build process. It then continues with an explanation of how to remove the right side panel, what parts can go where, the various orientations of components, and should be enough to get most users through the build process without much hassle. There is also a pamphlet about the two-year warranty the P3 comes with and explains what is covered for this term.

Case Build & Finished Product

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Being completely open from the front, we have no issues seeing the AIO we chose to use, and we can also see the end of the video card off to the left, with the PSU visible at the bottom.

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This view, however, is the money shot for the Core P3. Every part we installed is in full view through the clear side panel. There are wires visible as they are routed to the closest opening in the motherboard tray, but due to the locations of them, what you can see is very limited.

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At the back of the Core P3, there is no place for a dust shield at the top. We had no issues installing the video card, but if we wanted a multi-card setup, we would either need to grab another riser, or flip the expansion slots into a normal orientation. The PSU easily installs at the bottom, screwed into the bracket, and supported with an additional bracket near the front.

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Wire management is not the easiest thing to do inside of the Core P3, but with a solid side panel, it matters very little. Considering you can install 3.5" drives in here, on top of a thick mounting bracket, there is tons of room to stuff wiring in just about anywhere. We do wish there were more tie points, but we realize it would have detracted from the clean look found on the other side of the motherboard tray.

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After all of that work, we replaced the right side panel of the chassis without any fuss involved. Even if you do not have the width to set the chassis up for a full view all of the time, with the open air design, from just about any angle, you can still appreciate the hardware installed within.

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Once we powered the Core P3, there is a constant blue LED on the front denoting system power, with the occasional flicker of a red LED when the drive is accessed. Of course, the noise can be heard from the parts you install into the chassis since only the clear side panel redirects any of the noise, but the Core P3 itself is silent, and sound depends on what it is you installed into the chassis.

Final Thoughts

When we first laid eyes on our Core P5, we loved everything it had to offer, but we did not keep it as a test rig for just one reason - it was too big. Right after that review we asked if there were plans for a mid-tower version, and were simply told it could not be discussed. To us that meant it was already in the works, we just had to sit and wait a bit for Thermaltake to get things together and finalize everything to a standard that anyone would appreciate. The wait was so worth it. The Core P3 is exactly what we wanted, and fits our needs exactly. It is sleek yet stylish, the view of the installed components is unbeatable, and the quality of all of the components and accessories are well thought out and made to handle the rigors of weight which these elements bring to a chassis.

Even though we did not opt to use a few of the options for our specific needs, we love that there are so many options offered. Motherboard compatibility is not such a huge deal for us, as just about any mid-tower design house these three motherboard form factors, it is the way everything is handled that impressed us. You have the option to orient the video cards perpendicular or parallel to the motherboard, and when it comes to Micro-ATX, the module can be moved up to fit, and for those wanting a Mini-ITX motherboard, there is a different expansion slot bracket to use for those. Since the Core P3 is not as enormous at the P5, the PSU orientation changed for ATX motherboard users, but can be installed with the fan facing the clear side panel with smaller motherboards.

On top of these two components having all of the options, Thermaltake even offers a support bar which solidifies both the PSU support as well as the VGA module. Then, of course, we have the chassis orientation to talk about. For our needs, having the Core P3 standing vertically suited us best, but Thermaltake kept the options coming here too. You still have the choice to use the rubber feet, screwed into the right side panel, to lay the chassis vertically, and for those who want to clear desk space, you can hang the Core P3 on the wall.

Cooling ability is top tier. If you choose to go with air cooling, there is nothing to impede the air flow to these coolers, no mesh, no dust filters, no components blocking the way, just a vast open expanse. The Core P3 has a 0 dB rating for noise, at least until we installed our gear. Since what you install makes all the difference as to what level of noise you do end up with, we cannot fault Thermaltake for the noise we hear from our AIO, which happens to be the loudest component in our build. We also did not have much use for the dust filter as we have air blowing from left to right, but we do like that it is there for those who want to reverse the air flow from the way we have it. Outside of all of these things we have made mention of liking so much in this design, there is nothing that stands out as an issue, no matter what parts of the Core P3 you chose to use.

Even if you are not a fan of open air cases, you will be hard pressed to deny the Core P3 in any way. It is solid, it has tons of options, and while it is the little brother to the Core P5, the Core P3 will fit more user needs in our opinion. One of the largest reasons for this is that now AIOs are in fair play with the Core P3, where the P5 was a bit too wide to accomplish this without modding the chassis. The pricing is downright amazing. For just $119.99, you too can enjoy everything you have seen here today, and as long as you don't have curious pets, and do not mind the occasional dusting of the interior, we see no reason to pass this chassis by. As we said earlier, the Core P3 ATX wall mountable mid-tower chassis is so nice that we put it to use in our testing, and is now the home for our dual-channel DDR4 test rig. This puts the Thermaltake Core P3 with the likes of the InWin D-Frame, and the Temjin TJ11, cases that are just too good to let slip through our fingers. The only thing we have left to do is to go out and buy a couple more of the Core P3s so we can move other builds around the mouse into these impressive, solid, full-featured cases that have enough options to make your head spin.

Chad's Chassis Test System Specifications

TweakTown award
Performance100%
Quality including Design and Build99%
General Features100%
Bundle and Packaging100%
Value for Money100%
Overall100%

The Bottom Line: Never have we rated a chassis so high! The Thermaltake Core P3 is a dream chassis. Full open design, so many options and features, and this chassis puts everything on full display. With a minimal investment involved, the Core P3 makes it into our top three cases of all time!

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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.

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