THERMALTAKE HAD SEVERAL evolutionary cases, fans and docks at Computex, along with one really good new idea. If Thermaltake is a design trendsetter, and they usually are, look forward to cases with lots of HD docking bays. About time.
The new line of cases is called Armor, and it comes in three sizes, the large A90 is a full tower, A60 is a mini-tower, and the A30 is a mini-ITX/HTPC sized box. All have a look that reminds me a lot of chunks of slate laid out as a garden path, triangular and not quite flush.
Armor A90 in resplendent red
It is hard to see in pictures when the case is all black, so this one is a special edition AMD ‘Leo’ themed A90 with red accents to show the contours of the case. The Armor line looks better in person than in pictures, and the theme seems to work best on the smaller A30, but I still prefer the Dragon and Spider cases. Just like the Level 10, some people love it, some hate it.
Sideclick meets bad photography
That brings us to the next topic, docking stations. The A60 has a feature, likely optional called Sideclick. Armor cases have side mounted drive bays, and Sideclick is just a hole in the side of the case with a hot plug drive bay in it. There are two handles that you grab and squeeze together so you can pull the drive out. Easy, cheap and innovative.
The best new idea in docking bays is simple, USB3. The Thermaltake BlackX line of USB HD docks now has 5G appended to it, both the single and Duet dual bay versions. Having bought one of the older USB2 versions, I can say that no geek should be without one of these, it makes life easier in every way, and has become an indispensable tool for fixing other people’s broken PCs. Until MS decides to take security seriously, the BlackX docks save huge amounts of time.
If you recall the older V9 cases, they have been updated to the V9 BlacX by the addition of 2 HD docks on the top of the case. Drop a HD in, and it just automounts, amazingly handy for backing up PCs. 1TB HDs are much cheaper than tapes so it makes sense to have a BlacX or two on your PC or server.
One followup is about the Element V Nvidia edition case we told you about at CeBIT. Now that the cards are out, we can say that the case does work well, and does drop temps on three GTX470s and GTX480s quite a bit. The down side is that the airflow required to keep these from cooking is ludicrous, and the noise from that is obvious. When I say obvious, I mean obvious to the point where you can hear them over the din of a trade show. If you are planning on getting one, make sure you hear one running in person before you do, it just might drive you mad. Until you lose your hearing. We hear the fans might be changed before it is released, an idea we heartily support.
Getting back to fans, Thermaltake has a cut down version of their Frio fan for the home user. The Frio could cool about 220W, enough for most insane overclockers who haven’t discovered liquid, be it water or nitrogen. If you are thinking that it is a slightly cheaper version of the Frio with lower limits, that is about right.
Jing is not Frio, but it is green
The first thing you notice about the Jing is the color, it is white and a washed out neon green. The second thing is that it comes with a lot of accessories, all nicely packaged in expensive feeling foam trays. Last is that it has a universal mounting plate, one bracket that works with AMD AM2/2+/3 and the nigh-infinite, for now, Intel sockets out there. I hope this spreads to all the future Thermaltake products.S|A