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Here at WePC, we’ve had the pleasure of putting several of Thermaltake’s PC cases through their paces over the last couple of weeks – most noticeably the Thermaltake View 71. Thermaltake is really starting to increase the quality of its case lineup, giving consumers a ton of new additions that are seriously worth consideration. With that in mind, today we’ve decided to put one of their smaller cases to the test to see how it stacks up in build quality, thermals, noise levels, and assembly.
The case we’ll be looking at today is the polar opposite of the Thermaltake View 71, literally. It’s a 10th of the size, and almost equally as cheap in pricing when compared to the Thermaltake Core V1. This is one of the older Mini-ITX cases still being sold today, however, don’t let that fool you. This case still holds a firm place in today’s market thanks to some interesting design features which we’ll touch upon later.
Before we go into any further detail regarding the Core V1, let’s start off by taking a closer look at the specs and some of the cooling variations that are available.
- Large enough to fit full-length GPUs
- Decent amount of design features
- Every panel is interchangeable
- Nice aesthetics
- Large 200mm intake fan on the front
- Limited internal space
- Only two expansion slots
- Build quality could be better
|Case Type||Mini Case|
|Dimensions (mm)||276 x 260 x 316 (L x W x H)|
|Available Colours||Black |
|Weight||3.2Kg (including box)|
|Front I/O panel||USB 3.0 x 2, audio x 1, microphone jack x 1|
|Drive Bays||2 x 3.5" |
2 x 2.5"
|Cooling (Front/Rear)||1 x 120mm or 1 x 140mm or 1 x 200mm |
2 x 80mm
|Maximum GPU length||255mm (inner chassis) |
285mm (outer chassis)
What’s In The Box
The Thermaltake Core V1 came in a small brown cardboard box accompanied by two styrofoam protectors. The box had very little to offer, having said that, the case arrived undamaged and that is all that matters. Inside we found the following:
- Thermaltake Core V1
- Accessory Box
- User Manual
So, looking at the design, this case doesn’t really offer much in the way of aesthetic appeal. I mean, it’s a small cube. Exciting, right? Well, that depends on your personal taste in small form factor cases, I suppose. This one comes to shelves with an all-black theme, with the only distinction being the Thermaltake logo (found on the bottom of the front panel) and the acrylic roof panel. The front does offer a mesh-like finish to allow that huge 200mm fan to draw sufficient airflow, whilst the sides are mainly solid steel with a small area for air intake at the bottom.
Overall, the design of this case is fairly basic. But, I suppose that’s what you get from a case of this price point. I’d much rather the manufacturer spent their efforts increasing features internally – for an easier build assembly. So, ultimately, it’s not the best-looking case in the world, granted, but it’s certainly not the worst either.
As mentioned above, the front of the Thermaltake Core V1 is a classic of the Core series from Thermaltake. The steel mesh that we’ve come to know from this range is made of small holes which helps provide ample airflow to the 200mm fan. The logo can be seen on the front panel at the bottom, and the I/O ports are located on the left-hand side. The top and bottom edges of the front panel have been rounded off in true Core style, giving it a bit of a design feature if nothing else.
The back of the chassis definitely offers the most functionality as far as the panels are concerned. All the thumbscrews can be found for each of the side panels at the back of the case. They all feel relatively cheap, but that’s to be expected from a case of this price point. At the top of the back panel, you can clearly see two mounting areas for a couple of 80mm fans. Now, that sounds like a great idea initially, extra airflow. However, in hindsight, unless you get extremely quiet fans, this is only going to add a ton of noise to this case. So, just keep that in mind.
Underneath the fan mounts, you’ll see the cut-out for the I/O shield next to the two expansion slots this case comes equipped with. Moving down, you’ll see the PSU cut-out which does play host to a standard size PSU. A great feature when you consider many of the SFF cases won’t provide this compatibility. Finally, underneath it all is a small tab that can be pulled to remove the PSU dust filter.
Looking at this case from the left-hand side, you’ll be able to see the I/O ports towards the front. This case offers 2 x USB 3.0 ports, a headphone and microphone jack, and standard power/rest buttons as well. One nice design feature of the side panels is that they both come with a large honeycomb mesh section included. This means when you install your GPU, it’ll have sufficient access to air when needed. The opposite side panel is identical to this, except for the I/O ports, and is fully interchangeable if you want to experiment.
The top of this case offers the most stylish look of any of the panels on this case. It comes equipped with a rather large acrylic viewing window – when you consider the entire size of the case that is. This is implemented purely for design reasons and gives you the option of showing off your hardware if you wish to do so. Apart from that, the top really doesn’t have anything to offer. No fans can be mounted here, and there are no stand-out features to note.
So, to the inside. Now, even though this case hasn’t got a great deal of space to work with when compared against a mid-tower case, it’s actually considered fairly roomy when comparing to other small form factor cases.
Starting at the front, to gain access to the 200mm fan and the I/O port connection, you can simply remove the front panel. Do this by sliding the top panel backward slightly, and using the lip to edge the front panel away. Once inside, you’ll have easy access to remove the 200mm fan if you wish to do so. Users have the option of reinstalling a single 120mm fan or 140mm fan in its place. During installation, we found that removing the 200mm fan from the front, gave us a tonne more room to access cabling and such. This is a definite recommendation if you plan on purchasing this case.
Looking at the Core V1 from the left-hand side, with the front panel facing to the right, you can see the internal design of the case pretty well. Thermaltake has created a layered system where the motherboard sits on its side above the PSU. This is a great way of positioning the components as it makes cable management a hell of a lot easier. It also means you won’t be stretching too far for any particular component. You’ll probably notice that the PSU section is extremely tight. Sliding the PSU in is not an option. Having said that, you can simply remove the bottom panel, flip the case upside down and install the PSU that way. Easy.
The back of the case offers little features and no pre-installed exhaust fans. Having said that, it does have room to mount 2 x 80mm fans above the I/O port cut-out. The expansion slots can be accessed by removing the plastic protector that clips into the back of the case. Apart from that, there is very little to report. But that’s to be expected from a mini-ITX case.
The final side of the case is the right side panel. Once the panel has been removed you expose the two hard drive trays which can be removed if you wish. They support both 3.5″ and 2.5″ drives and are attached by a single thumbscrew found on the motherboard tray.
Now that we’ve taken a look at the exterior and interior from a design point of view, let’s take a closer look at some of the more subtle features that may not jump out initially.
Design – Now, even though I may have played down the design earlier, from an aesthetic point-of-view anyway, the Core V1 definitely sits highly when it comes to features from a build assembly aspect. Because this is a small case, and room is fairly limited, it was handy to be able to remove all the panels in order to get at the components and the cabling. As mentioned above, removing the front fan is pretty handy when linking everything up to the PSU.
Furthermore, there is a definite cooling aspect that can be explored when interchanging the side panels. Some people have found moving one of the side panels to the roof makes the airflow more efficient. A great feature in what is considered a very budget case.
Fans – Next up we have the fans. Now, you’re probably thinking to yourself, there’s only room for 3 fans, big deal? Well, it’s more than just that. Even though the front fan is huge and creates a decent amount of airflow, it kind of blocks the way for a larger GPU. So, if you wish to remove it and install a 120mm/140mm in its place, you give yourself a bunch more room for full-length GPUs. This is something you are less likely to see on cases of this price point. You also have the additional rear fans that will certainly provide a better overall cooling solution. So big thumbs up for the fan setup.
So, we finally come to the conclusion of the Core V1 from Thermaltake. This is where we answer some of the big questions surrounding this case, such as; does this case display good value for money? Is this case easy to build in or should I just get a mid-tower? And is this case worth my money?
Well, let’s start at the top. As for value, this case currently retails at around $45 and has been that way since its arrival. Now, when you consider that against some of the other mini-ITX cases out there, I feel this one showcases excellent value for money. It comes with a 200mm pre-installed intake fan, a decent amount of room for building and customization, and design features that allow interchangeable side panels in any orientation. That not only makes this great value for money, but it also makes building in this PC case a very user-friendly thing to do – when comparing to mini-ITX cases of this size anyway.
On the flip side, the Core V1 does have a couple of downsides. It isn’t the smallest case in the world and that might put people off as size is the number one factor in a mini-ITX case. Furthermore, it comes with limited cooling options. If you do plan on building a fairly powerful PC in this case, you might struggle to keep those internal temps low.
Ultimately, if you’re looking for a mini-ITX case on a budget, but still want an enjoyable build process and some decent features, I’d highly recommend checking this out for your next project. It might be exactly what you’re looking for.