Thermaltake have a long standing name in PC Chassis, cooling, fans and eSports gear so when they asked us to take a look at the new Core V71 chassis, there was no way we were going to let the opportunity go.
When the Thermaltake Core V71 arrived, the box was bigger than I had been expecting - then I moved it to the lab and unpacked it to see that this really is a big unit. It's heavy to move and uncompromising in its appearance. The design is one of robustness and versatility but also one of practicality.
As you can see from the promo shots, it has some very clean lines, large flat surfaces and a vast mesh that wraps along the front and top of the case. The window is also one of the biggest I've seen and will keep system builders honest in terms of cable management because if you have a bird's nest of cables in your rig, it will be there for all to see.
There is a lot to like about the Core V71 and I'd like to kick the review off with an acknowledgement that this case won't be for everyone due to its sheer size. For those who are happy to have a beastly case with great airflow sitting beside their desk, this offering from Thermaltake could be what you are seeking.
The first things I noticed when unboxing the Core V71 were:
- The case feet - they raise the 'base' of the case 40mm from the floor which is great for air intake. (There is also an easy to remove lower dust filter for those with carpet, pets or a slack house keeper)
- The 70mm top/head on the chassis - with headroom like that, you know it's got potential for a serious radiator.
- One of the biggest side windows I've seen - it shows off everything from the PSU to the drive bays and the whole motherboard
- All of the IO ports are neatly on the top which is a clear indication that the case is meant to go next to your desk, not under it.
There are also a lot of "One Percenters" in the design that make system building that little bit easier or neater - I'll get to those later when we take a look at a practical build in this case.
Thermaltake's specifications are listed below and it's worth noting the fan and radiator options. The case comes fitted with 3x200mm Blue LED fans and a single 140mm rear exhaust fan. The 200mm fans are connected to the built in fan controller out of the box and are pretty quiet on the low speed whilst still providing a decent amount of airflow.
At a little over 13kg empty, the Core V71 is heavy so once you load it up with the beastly rig it deserves, you won't want to move it very often.
|Case Type||Full Tower|
|Dimension (HxWxD)||583 x 230 x 560 mm
(23 x 9.1 x 22 inch)
Exterior & Interior : Black
Front (intake) : 200 x 200 x 30 mm Blue LED fan (600~800rpm, 13~15dBA) x 2
|Drive Bays||-Accessible : 2 x 5.25''
-Hidden : 8 x 3.5'' or 8 x 2.5''
|Motherboards||9.6" x 9.6" (Micro ATX), 12" x 9.6" (ATX), 12" x 13" (Extend ATX)|
|I/O Ports||USB 3.0 x 2,USB 2.0 x 2, HD Audio x 1|
|PSU||Standard PS2 PSU (optional)|
|LCS Upgradeable||Supports 1/2"、3/8"、1/4" water tube|
1 x 120mm or 2 x 120mm or 3 x 120mm
1 x 140mm or 2 x 140mm
1 x 200mm or 2 x 200mm
1 x 120mm or 2 x 120mm or 3 x 120mm
1 x 140mm or 2 x 140mm
1 x 200mm or 2 x 200mm
1 x 120mm or 1 x 140mm
1 x 120mm or 2 x 120mm
1 x 120mm or 1 x 240mm or 1 x 360mm
1 x 140mm or 1 x 280mm or 1 x 420mm
1 x 120mm or 1 x 240mm or 1 x 360mm 1 x 140mm or 1 x 280mm or 1 x 420mm
1 x 120mm
1 x 120mm or 1 x 240mm
|Other||CPU cooler height limitation: 185mm
VGA length limitation: 310mm(with HDD rack) 400mm(without HDD rack)
The accessories included are relatively standard.
- Mini Speaker for your motherboard
- 8pin CPU power extension cable
- Zip ties for cable management
- Various screws for system building
- Motherboard standoffs
- Philips Head/thumbscrew type socket for fitting the standoffs (these are great, I still remember the days when these were not around)
- User Manual
The Core V71 has 2 solid side panels and although the left panel does have a window, it isn't ventilated. The front and top panels are a nice mesh with all the necessary mounting holes and 3 included 200mm Blue LED fans. There is also the standard rear fan (a 140mm in this case) for exhaust as well as provision to install a fan in the floor of the case as well.
When it comes to airflow, Thermaltake has made the case highly versatile with a range of compatibility options for 120mm, 140mm and 200mm fan options - the standard out of the box configuration of 3x200mm and 1x140mm seems fine and I didn't have any thermal issues at all when testing the practical build in the Core V71.
There is a built in fan controller that operates in high or low mode, controlling the 200mm fans. The acoustic difference is noticeable with the stock fans bordering on 'loud' when set to full speed and a soft 'audible' on the low setting. Even at low speed, the fans seem to move a decent amount of air.
The fan support matrix is extensive and we have included both a table and Thermaltake's schematic below
Thermaltake weren't kidding when they said the Core V71 was fully modular - the 8 internal hard drive bays are split across 3 cages, 2x 3 drives and 1x 2 drives. The cages can be removed and shuffled to fit either a radiator at the front or just to allow increased unobstructed airflow to the graphics card(s).
Not only can you take out all 8 3.5" drive bays but you can take out the cages, the internal strut and still hang 2 of the drive caddies on the right hand side of the case which is great for those who want to use the whole front of the case for a big radiator with push/pull fans.
The drive caddies are tool-less for 3.5" hard drives but you will need to use mounting screws for Solid State Drives to keep them in place. The 3.5" locking system is the easiest that I've used and it took seconds to load a drive. at the back of the cage it's worth mentioning that we found it best to use 180 degree or straight through SATA connectors as the 90 degree headers were more awkward to fit. The 90 degree headers do fit but you have to run the cable on the inside of the cage which takes more effort - the result does look better but it can be fiddly.
It is impressive to see the number of radiator options Thermaltake managed to include in the design of the Core V71. The table below and diagram illustrate what you can do without modding the case and it should suit most watercooling enthusiast's needs.
Although Thermaltake don't specify a 240mm radiator in the top or front on their schematic, having had a good look at the case, the mounting holes for 240mm are there. I expect that the 240mm radiator wasn't included in the diagram because the 360mm is shown and typically, it you can fit a 360 then you can fit a 240.
The build quality of the Core V71 review sample we received was flawless. All elements of the case felt sturdy and even the side panels were surprisingly rigid despite their span and the massive window.
The acrylic window arrived protected by plastic film on the inside and outside of the panel - when the protective film was removed I was impressed with the view inside the case. The clear plastic is highly reflective but once lit up inside, you can see everything clearly.
The drive cages are held in tight with thumb screws and the drive caddies are made of durable plastic - I didn't notice any hard drive vibration even when copying my steam library across to the 7200 rpm drive. The drive trays themselves slide and clip into place easily as you close the latch. Some of the drive trays were firmer than others but all trays were sturdy and functional.
The black finish inside and out was perfect and all the panels lined up without any gaps or uneven join lines - I couldn't fault it.
The One Percenters
- There is also a 'security' feature on the rear of the case where you can route your peripheral cables through a clip than is secured from within the case via a thumbscrew. It won't stop someone from stealing your keyboard and mouse but it will make it pretty obvious when they have to pop a side panel to release the clip.
- Pads and a moveable support keep the PSU supported and isolated from vibrating in the case
- Taking modular drive bays to the next level by being able to 'hang' 2 drive trays down the right side of the case only took a couple of fittings but is bound to come in handy for a few system builders or water enthusiasts who want to clear out the drive cages all together.
- I appreciated the 8 PIN power extension cable even though I didn't need it. If you don't have one and your PSU cable is too short, it can put an immediate stop to your build and ruin a weekend.
- Zip Tie points are in abundance
- LED on / off switch allows the case to be dark in the event that you want to leave it on overnight in your room while you download that latest steam or Origin title.
- There is a gap under the bottom internal drive bay that can be used for excess cables which reduces the cables that need to be managed behind the motherboard tray.
- The top panel comes completely off without any wires attached - all of the headers are on the chassis underneath, not connected to the upper cover.
In order to test the Thermaltake Core V71 properly, I moved our ASUS Maximus VI Gene test bench into it and it look less than 45 minutes to go from an empty case to a fully working gaming demon. If I wasn't taking notes along the way, it would have been even faster - there is a lot of elbow room in the Core V71 and the head room available makes routing the top 8pin CPU power connector easy.
Ideally I'd have used a standard sized ATX motherboard but I didn't have one handy and the ASUS Maximus VI Gene is what we use for our test bench.
The test components used are listed below
|CPU Cooler||Noctua NH-U12S|
|Memory||16GB Corsair Vengeance Low Profile - Black (4x4GB)|
Seagate Barracuda 750GB & Samsung EVO 250GB SSD
Thermaltake Toughpower (Cable Management) 1200W
MSI GTX 760 HAWK Overclocked
Logitech G430 Gaming headset
Direct connection to the cable modem &
|Optical||Samsung USB external DVD drive|
The Build Experience
As expected, all the standoff holes were in exactly the right places as were the grommets which are thin and easy to work with but not flimsy and likely to fall out easily. Usually grommets are either firm and sturdy or thin and prone to coming out during a build but the Core V71 grommets seemed to be nicely balanced in between. Installing the motherboard standoffs was quick and easy thanks to the socket fitting that Thermaltake include in the bag of screws. The motherboard I/O shield went in without incident and fit snugly.
The fan controller worked as expected and remembered the last used setting (as did the LED on/off switch) - the only exception is when the case is powered off at the wall after which it defaults to high speed and LEDs on.
Initially I tested the fans for noise by connecting up the fan controller Molex plug to the Thermaltake Toughpower PSU and using a female 24 pin ATX plug that connects the Ground and Power Supply on connections. This meant that I didn't have any hard drive, CPU cooler or Graphics card noise to worry about. The 140mm fan is a really quiet, 3 pin, 140mm fan without any LEDs - for build testing, we ran it off the chassis fan on our motherboard. The trio of 200mm 3pin fans were all run off the built in 2 speed fan controller
As you can see from the early shots in the gallery above, the holes for radiators and fans are extensive and allow for more flexibility than a lot of other cases. The top panel coming clean off around the I/O connections is a great feature and something I really appreciate when building. Although the motherboard I used was a micro-ATX, the head room is the same for a standard ATX board and there is plenty.
Although I didn't need to, it would have been easy to remove 2 of the drive cages to aid air intake from the front fans. I left the drive cages in place as I was contemplating installing 6 hard drives to do some RAID testing but ran out of time. In the Core V71, there is so much room that it still feels spacious with the removable drive bays fitted - the case really is that big inside. I used SATA plugs with 180 degree or flat connectors on the hard drive and SSD as the 90 degree heads weren't able to fit from outside the drive cage. If I'd pulled out the lower drive trays and routed all the SATA connections up through the back on the inside of the cage, it might have worked better and looked quite neat but it would also be fiddly and probably not something most system builders would do. In any case, there is plenty of room for the straight through connectors but keep this in mind if you are building in the Core V71 and check at the start.
Lighting & THAT Window
When the build was all done, cables tidied up and ready to power on for some testing, the lighting and window was really impressive to look at. That window is huge - you can see your rig as a whole, the drive bays, the PSU, the motherboard and the top fans. The visibility inside the Core V71 is incredible. The blue drive trays look good and when you have the ambient light either out or really low, the blue glow from the 200mm fans really works well. I also had the subtle blue LEDs in the MSI GTX 760 HAWK adding to the mix but even then I wouldn't call the lighting over the top or too bright. If you don't like the lighting, you can always turn them off - Thermaltake have made it as easy as pressing one button.
Whilst there is room for a fourth 200mm fan at the top, I'd only add one if I wanted the aesthetics - the three included are more than enough.
I'm surprised that the front bays are separated by a 15mm gap. This means that I couldn't use a dual bay reservoir for water cooling in a case with so many radiator options. Having said that, the inside of the case is spacious, the drive cages and support is removable and it would not be hard at all to fit one (or more) internal reservoirs for some serious water cooling.
The dust covers are easy to access and clean - thumbs up to Thermaltake here.
The street price for the Thermaltake Core V71 is $199 so it isn't cheap but it's aimed at a certain section of the market and is a specialist case. For what you get in the box and the versatility of the design, the price is about right
I enjoyed how easily the test build went together and the ease of cable management. The window, lighting and airflow are impressive and if you are neat with your cables, even the most basic components should look good in the Core V71.
Although this is one big PC case, there really is a lot of room inside and it's open space that you can access and actually use - the case makes a statement and if you want to own one, just make sure that you have room for it.
It's a solid option for anyone looking for a large case and wanting the flexibility to do some custom cooling without needing to pull out a Dremel.
|Thermaltake Core V71|
Highly configurable for radiators and fans
The front drive bays are separated which limits dual bay devices or reservoirs