Thermaltake Core X1 ITX Case Review
The PC industry doesn’t suffer from a lack of case manufacturers, however, there are case manufactures and then there are companies blessed to have engineering excellence. Every now and then I am blown away by the depth of insight and excellence of a product. Sometimes it happens often enough with a particular company that I know someone behind the scenes really knows their stuff. To get it right often enough shows real talent, and its important that you as the consumers realize what a big part that should be in your buying decision. Thermaltake is a name I have known for years as I watched the company grow from small heatsinks and peripherals to the PC powerhouse they are today. I am the Editor in Chief at TechwareLabs.com and on my desk today Im pleased to have the new Core X1 ITX case. Take note, your going to hear a lot about this awesome enclosure and the talent it takes to make a case this good. Oh did I mention the price . . . the Core X1 is only $99.
For starters the Thermaltake Core X1 sports a perfect sleek black finish both inside and out clear of any flaws. One side of the case has a large window big enough to fully show the interior, perfect for watercooling enthusiasts, modders, and anyone who likes to add a bit of light, color, or flash. A quick inspection shows pre-grommeted large access ports both inside and out made especially with watercooling in mind. Moving along we find the Core X1 has been designed with excellent airflow with 5 of its six sides allowing for the free flow of air. On this note the plastic rubberized feet are elevated more than found on most cases, this will greatly aid in the ability for any bottom mounted fans to pull in air and avoid cavitation. It becomes further clear that thought was given to every aspect of this case. I can’t wait to see what I find inside.
Even more features are revealed when you glance at the rear of the case and find that you can remove ALL SIX SIDES of the Core X1. This means you have complete and total access to every last angle and part of the case when installing your rig. Say goodbye to cramped fingers and impossible to reach ports. A look at the front panel uncovers two USB 3.0 rated ports, your power, reset, microphone, and headphone jacks. two full 5.25″ drive bays are included in the front panel but otherwise the face remains homogeneous and unbrokn except for a nicely machined Thermaltake logo. We haven’t even opened this case yet.
Popping open the window side panel and I find more feature than I have seen on any case to come across my desk in over ten years. What is the pricetag again on this case? It’s worth every penny. Immediately noticable is the removable motherboard tray, and spots for a wider range of fans of all sizes and positions. I will never again have to create a fan bracket to target a hotspot in my case as this case gives you the ability to target every corner and crevice. On the next page I list the specifications and you can see just how many optional fan placements there are. But for now take a look at the graphic below:
Really at some point it starts to get absurd.
In terms of airflow and cooling there has been a great deal of thought put into the chambered design of the Core X1. The chambered design keeps hot and cool air separated with the upper chamber designed for maximizing airflow and efficiency and the bottom chamber dedicated to your storage and PSU. The large opening adjacent to the motherboard tray allows cool air to flow from the floor vents up to the motherboard chamber, pick up heat, and be carried away through the rear or top of the case.
Now lets say you are not into airflow as much as you are watercooling. Again Thermaltake has you covered, for pretty much every option.”But Jason I want to cool all my components separately”, I hear you, and it seems so does Thermaltake, just take a look at all the potential configurations.
Of course feel free to mix and match to your hearts desire, which really brings us to the message I’m getting with the Core x1. It’s really the first case that let’s me build my way. I can have my rig, anyway I want, without sacrificing ease of install, because damnit I want my cake and I want to eat it too. Oh and I want it cheap. Now with all these ports and fans you might expect the Core X1 will easily become a dust attractor, wrong the Core X1 comes standard with removable magnetically attached mesh filters for two of its sides while the front and bottom include removable slide out mesh filters. This case will not only keep your rig cool but also dust free with all sides being filtered and removable for easy cleaning.
Thermaltake Core X1 ITX Case: Specifications
|Form factor||ITX Cube Case|
|Dimensions||426 x 280 x 471 mm
(16.8 x 11 x 18.5 inch)
|Weight||9 kg / 19.9 lb|
|Side Panel||Transparent Window|
|Finish||Exterior & Interior : Black|
|Included Fans||Front (intake) :
120 x 120 x 25 mm Turbo fan (1000rpm, 16dBA)
Rear (exhaust) :
120 x 120 x 25 mm Turbo fan (1000rpm, 16dBA)
|Bays||-Accessible : 2 x 5.25’’
-Hidden : 3 x 3.5’’ or 2.5’’ (HDD Cage), 1 x 2.5’’ (M/B Tray)
|Motherboard Tray||6.7” x 6.7” (Mini ITX)|
|I/ O||USB 3.0 x 2, HD Audio x 1|
|Power Supply||Standard PS2 PSU (optional)|
|WC Tube Support||Supports 1/2”、3/8”、1/4” water tube|
|Optional Fan Placements||Front:
3 x 120mm
2 x 140mm
1 x 200mm
3 x 120mm
2 x 140mm
2 x 200mm
1 x 120mm or 1 x 140mm
1 x 120mm
|Optional Radiator Placements||Front:
1 x 120mm or 1 x 240mm
1 x 140mm or 1 x 280mm
1 x 120mm or 1 x 240mm or 1 x 360mm
1 x 140mm or 1 x 280mm
1 x 120mm or or 1 x 140mm
|CPU cooler height limitation:
VGA length limitation:
280mm(with ODD Cage)
400mm(without ODD Cage)
PSU length limitation:
220mm (With Bottom Fan)
I won’t delve again into the sheer staggering number of potential radiator and fan configurations possible with the Core X1, instead on a more practical note, the Core X1 supports 3 PCI slots for your graphics cards up to 400MM in length, and up to 200MM tall CPU coolers. Storage wise you can have up to six drives in the X1 at the same time, and if you really need more the Core X1 is STACKABLE!
As a fully modular case each of your storage and peripheral brackets is removable and is nearly tool less. A full breakdown of the included brackets and bays is blow:
Keeping in line with the fully modular concept the case window and I/O front panel are also interchangeable.
Thermaltake Core X1: System Installation
If there is a drawback to the Core X1 it is that it’s currently limited to ITX boards, I wouldn’t be surprised to find that changing in the future though. With that in mind installation was a breeze. The case is a dream to work on from an installers point of view, and for the cable management minded the Core X1 is awesome to work with. There are numerous ways to route and tire off cables out of sight and yet efficiently reach multiple destinations. Internal cabling had been done in a flat black tone so as to further reduce the chance of unsightly cables coming into view. Thermaltake includes a few cable ties in with the box and even the included fans are full black to round out the look.
From a modding and customization standpoint enthusiasts may well have found their next perfect case. Simply slide in an ITX board and you have an amazing platform on which to make an awesome gaming, stealth, or media box. In actual use I managed to install an entire system with a single Phillips head screwdriver. One tool to rule install them all, and one case to unite them. Really I cant find a single reason why at $99 the Thermaltake Core X1 shouldn’t be on your MUST BUY list for a next build. What you have here is a perfect example of a great company backing a really intelligent and well though out design that clearly shows cues of enthusiasts input all along the way. From the feet to the last rivet the Core X1 is built to last, make your job easy, and do its job well.
This brings me back to why it should be important to you as a consumer to buy from a company like Thermaltake. It’s clear that they value their consumers and are offering products with excellent features at a great price which coveys value, but beyond that their recent products show that the engineers and designers in place are of high quality and that the management is listening and developing products that really make a difference. This is the kind of company that you should back and the kind of products you want to buy. The core X1 is just the latest in a string of excellent products from Thermaltake and I really hope they keep it up. The team over there designing and building their cases are really doing superb work and I can’t wait to check out their products at CES.
The Core X1 will be part of a new lineup of cases by Thermaltake that will be announced and on display at CES 2015. Stay tuned for TechwareLabs coverage there where we will bring you first hand coverage of the new cases and reveal even more secrets and cool tech on its way to you from Thermaltake.
I am pleased to give the Thermaltake Core X1 the Editors Choice Award!