Thermaltake Core X1 Review

Manufacturer: Thermaltake
UK price (as reviewed): £79.99 (inc VAT)
US price (as reviewed): $99.99 (ex TAX)

Two things struck us when we first saw the Core X1. Firstly, oh my god that’s the biggest mini-ITX case we’ve ever seen. Also, oh my god that’s the perfect case for a mini-ITX water-cooled PC. So, the chances are you’re also thinking one of those two things. Maybe both. Thermaltake’s certainly been busy revamping its cases and the new Core series, which do remind us a little of CaseLabs’ offerings, are designed for one thing. Packing in as much water-cooling gear as possible.

Thermaltake Core X1 Review Thermaltake Core X1 Review
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The Core X1 is indeed enormous for a mini-ITX case. At 471mm deep and 426mm high, it makes BitFenix’s Prodigy look small, and we know there are plenty of you that thought the Prodigy itself was big for this form factor. As if the Core X1 wasn't big enough already, you can stack them in modular fashion too. At £80, it’s reasonably priced, though, given the Prodigy itself retails for around £10-15 less. So what exactly does it offer over and above the Prodigy, which is already a pretty good case for a mini-ITX water-cooled PC? For starters it offers a fully adjustable fan/radiator mount in the roof. This builds upon those we’ve seen in a few cases recently, such as Corsair’s Carbide Air 240 - here you can literally move the entire fan mounts backwards and forwards.

Thermaltake Core X1 Review Thermaltake Core X1 Review
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Thermaltake Core X1 Review Thermaltake Core X1 Review
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You’re also able to move things left and right as well, as the screw mounts are elongated. The expanse of the case in pretty much all directions does make you question the dimensions - this is a mini-ITX case after all. However, a quick glance at the manual's exploded diagrams reveals the extent of the water-cooling support thanks to the added space.

Thermaltake Core X1 Review Thermaltake Core X1 Review
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The front panel can house one double 120/140mm-fan radiator or a 180mm radiator and you still have access to the external 5.25in bays. The rear can be a home for a 120/140 mm radiator and the roof can play host to either a triple 120mm-fan radiator, a double 140mm-fan radiator or even a monstrous double 180mm/200mm-fan radiator. We think it's safe to say that no other mini-ITX case offers this kind of water-cooling support.

Thermaltake Core X1 Review Thermaltake Core X1 Review
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Of course, there's oodles of room to mount pumps and radiators too, although there's nowhere specific provided, which is a little odd given that many other case manufacturers such as Phanteks offer pump mounts and the like. This issue aside, even if you use a full-height radiator in the front, there's still going to be room to mount a pump on the floor and you have the 5.25in bays too.

Perhaps the biggest water-cooling feature, though, and where the Core X1 stands head and shoulders above cases such as the Prodigy, is that huge side window. You get a fantastic view of your hardware and while using hardline acrylic tubing is kind of pointless in most other mini-ITX cases as you simply can't see enough of the inside, it's absolutely worth doing in the Core X1.

Thermaltake Core X1 Review Thermaltake Core X1 Review
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In raw fan mount terms, the front panel tallies up with the radiator support with a trio of 120mm mounts, two 140mm mounts and a single 200mm mount - one set at a time of course. The roof is identical except it has space for an additional 200mm fan, the rear one 120mm or 140mm fan and the base provides an additional 120mm fan mount. As standard, though you only get two 120mm fans - one in the front and one in the rear and these are pretty lowly at 1,000rpm a piece.

Specifications

  • Dimensions (mm) 280 x 471 x 426 (W x D x H)
  • Material Steel, plastic
  • Available colours Black
  • Weight 9kg
  • Front panel Power, reset, 2 x USB 3, microphone
  • Drive bays 2 x external 5.25in, 3 x internal 3.5in/2.5in , 1 x internal 2.5in
  • Form factor(s) Mini-ITX
  • Cooling 1 x 120/140/180/200mm front fan mount (120mm fan included), 1 x 120mm bottom fan mount (fan not included) 1 x 120/140mm rear fan mount (120mm fan included), 3 x 120/2 x 140/2 x 200mm top fan mounts (fan not included).
  • CPU cooler clearance 200mm
  • Maximum graphics card length 280mm (400mm without 5.25in cage
  • Extras Dust filters, removable motherboard tray

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