The versatility of the mITX platform continues its popularity with gamers and builders of all kinds. This is partly due to the availability of a functional chassis to create these stellar systems. No matter if you want a gaming rig or a low-profile HTPC there is a Thermaltake Core V1 mITX Case for the task at hand.
Thermaltake has offered a few mITX cases in the past but with some new design directions, they are at it again with the Core V1.
The Core and Urban series chassis are a large shift from the style and overall designs found in TT’s past series. With smooth, sleek , functional and simplistic designs, the Urban and Core series has captured many awards and praise. That simplistic but functional idea is carrying over to the mITX platform and may be what makes the Core v1 special.
After removing the Core V1 from the box it looks about as simple as a case could be. The curved steel front cover is completely vented and only broken up by the TT logo. When I receive the Core V1 I was expecting the exterior to have bells and whistles on display but instead, I found a muted all-black chassis with vent holes on almost every side.
As an expression of the changing times, there is no 5.25″ drive bay for your outdated but sometimes useful DVD drive. Both the left and the right vented side covers look exactly the same. The only difference comes from the left-side front bezel which contains the operation panel.
Starting from the top of the top panel, I have the Power LED, HDD LED, Power button, two USB 3.0 ports, Mic, and headphone jack. It then ends with the reset button. The op panel is mounted to the frame and does not come off when the front cover is removed.
Around the back side of the Core V1, there are two positions for 80mm fans, the I/O cutout, dual PCIe expansion slots, and a mounting opening for a standard-size PSU. All of the screws are toolless if they are not tightened down too far. Laying the Core V1 on the side reveals the top cover which contains the only windowed panel.
Four sturdy feet are located in the obvious location along with a removable PSU intake filter. The bottom cover is also removable to allow for easier PSU installs and cable management.The top, bottom, and side covers are removable and interchangeable.
This allows you to install the panels any way you see fit as I did in the picture below. Moving the bottom cover to the top doesn’t make sense but I did it only to prove a point. The Core V1 is versatile and additional windowed side panels can be purchased to reveal your build from all sides.
Stripping off the side covers reveals the frame and the two compartments that make up the Core V1.There are two drive mounting locations on the right side of the Core V1.
These are removable to aid in easy SSD or 3.5″ HDD installation. They also can be removed to allow for better cable management or advanced cooling options such as pumps and reservoirs.
The top chamber is for the board and cooling options while the bottom chamber is for the PSU and cable management. Overall this is a very simple and straightforward design that just makes sense… no frills, just functionality.
A large 200mm cooling fan is installed behind the front cover of the V1. The fan can be removed for a variety of cooling options to be installed in its place.
TT makes it very easy to understand what can and can not be installed in the core V1 by supplying diagrams and charts outlining your options.
With all of the covers removed installing the board was really simple. The Core V1 has a very large cut out allowing for quicker cooling option installations and upgrades. You will have to be mindful of which air cooling solution you pick as a max height of 140mm leaves out most of the top end air coolers.
Even with it’s large cut-out, the positioning on this particular board and cooling option did not allow for the ideal installation. The back plate had to be installed before the board because of the extended screws.
Installing this cooler was still straight-forward and did not cause any complications. I, however, ventured away from what TT suggests when installing a closed loop cooler by mounting the fan and rad to a vented cover on top.
HDD installation was as simple as removing the HDD/SSD tray, then mounting the drive using the supplied screws and anti vibration grommets. The final step is reinstalling the tray with a single screw.
I felt that we needed more light in the Core V1 which was provided by a single LED strip. The finished build proved to be a small and lightweight gaming rig that ran near silent. The large 200mm intake fan does a pretty good job of moving air into and out of the case vents.
If I had to describe the Core V1 in a few words it would have to be “Functional”, “Easy” and “Personal.” While the Thermaltake Core V1 holds true to the roots of the entire Core series lineup, there is so little to peer upon to be overly impressed on visuals alone. However, the ability to move or to obtain additional windowed panels makes it personal to the owner.
The split chambers sound good in principle and proved functionally accurate in practice. Even those with terrible cable management skills can hide the rats nest of cables in the lower chamber; quick glances will be none the wiser. Those with patience will weave cables in and out of each chamber or behind the drive trays in an effort to create art inside of the little black box.
If I had to describe the Core V1 in a few words it would have to be “Functional”, “Easy” and “Personal.” While the Core V1 holds true to the roots of the entire Core series lineup, there is so little to peer upon to be overly impressed on visuals alone.
However, the ability to move or obtain additional windowed panels makes it personal to the owner. If I had to gripe about anything it would be the limited mounting locations for closed-loop coolers and the limited size that can be used.
Some of us would like to cram high-end CPUs in small places because they need serious cooling under load. It may be a tight fit but altering the front frame to offer additional mounting configurations in future models of the V1 would be nice. Removing a 200mm fan only to mount a 120 or 140mm radiator and fan is not the best solution to keep everything cool.
Thermaltake’s newer direction in case design has been a very positive move. Trends change and it can be incredibly difficult to judge which way the tides will shift. At this particular moment, Thermaltake Core V1 mITX Case Review is hitting pretty close to the bulls-eye.
I say close because hitting a bullseye would imply perfection which, in the wonderful world of cases and custom builds, simply does not exist. Each person and project has different requirements… what is perfectly placed for me, may ruin your day. Nonetheless, the Core V1 sits pretty close to perfect because of its simplicity and solidity.