Thermaltake Core X9 Stackable E-ATX Chassis Review

by - 4 years ago

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Introduction


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Mini-ITX, Micro-ATX and heck, even ATX chassis are great, but they’re just too small, at least for some builds. What do you do when you need to fit an absolutely ridiculous amount of hardware into a single build? What if you have the biggest graphics cards money can buy, gigantic water cooling radiators, huge amounts of storage, multiple PSUs and more that you want to fit into your chassis? You get an absolutely freaking huge chassis, that’s what you do!

Thermaltake are known to make quite a few monster-sized chassis and one of their latest efforts, the Core X9 is certainly one of the biggest. Not only is this chassis big to start with, but it comes with a rather cool feature that allows you to take two or more of them, bolt them together and make it even bigger. This means it’s possible to have one system which spans both chassis, or even simply stack multiple systems, the choice is yours.

The specs are not for the faint of heart, with room for E-ATX motherboards, a huge amount of storage drives and a dizzying array of cooling configurations.

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In terms of air cooling, you’ll find extensive room for 120mm, 140mm and 200mm fans in an extremely versatile range of configurations.

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Water cooling isn’t exactly lacking in options either, with radiators of up to a staggering 480mm being supported in the top and/or bottom, but even more crazy is that you can get 420mm, 480mm and even 540mm in the front when you use two of these chassis in a stacked configuration. Basically, this chassis can hold more radiators than most people’s in-home central heating.

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To help wrap you head around some of the aspects of this chassis, which I think may be lost in pictures alone, please check out this handy product animation courtesy of Thermaltake.

The left side of this chassis features a massive side panel window. This is perfect for showing off your fancy build and to make it even more versatile, the left and right side panels are interchangeable, so you can have the window on the other side if you really want to.
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Also on the left side, the main I/O which comes equipped with the usual power and LED hardware, as well as four USB 3.0 ports and HD audio jacks.

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The right side panel features two huge ventilated section, each backed with a magnetic washable dust filter for easy maintenance.

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On the right front edge, there’s a plastic cover, this can be removed and you can move the entire I/O panel to the right side of the chassis if you so desire.

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The front panel really puts this chassis into perspective, as the three 5.25″ drive bays sitting in the middle look tiny when compared to the rest of the panel. There’s extensive ventilation here too, which dust filters on the interior, giving you lots of airflow for any front mounted cooling.

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Overall, a pretty bold looking unit, assuming you have the space to situate it on, under or even next to your desk.

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Around the back, you’ll find a 120/140mm fan mount with elongated screw holes to allow for height adjustments, two huge routing grommets, as well as some extra ventilation at the bottom. What’s really important here is that you can see how the motherboard is orientated; it’s not every day you see an E-ATX motherboard being supported with a horizontal mount!

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Why have one PSU when you can have two? By default, only one is open on the rear left, but you can quickly remove the cover/fan mount in the bottom right to install another should you need it; like more useful for those using two of these chassis stacked together.

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Each of the expansion slots come fitted with reusable ventilated covers, as well as a screw guard. Hilariously, there’s also a Kensington lock fitting on the back of this chassis, not that anyone could make a fast getaway with this behemoth.

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The top panel has even more ventilation, and just like the right side panel it also has two large magnetic dust filters on the interior for quick and easy maintenance.

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On the base of the chassis, you’ll find four large feet that provide good ground clearance for any base mounted cooling; there are two clip-in mesh filters here too. The base of the chassis has a large removable section, allowing you to bolt it to the top of another Core X9 and let radiators run right up the front panels of each.

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–~~~~~~~~~~~~–

Interior


On the interior, you’ll find enough room for a master bedroom, swimming pool, garage and with the huge amount of space left over, a lot of PC hardware too.

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In the top, we’ve got a multitude of fan mounting solutions, if you can buy it, it will fit, it’s that comprehensive.

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The motherboard lays flat and you’ll find room for anything from mini-ITX right up to E-ATX. All the motherboard stand-offs you’ll need are pre-installed, and there’s a super wide CPU cooler mounting cut-out and three large cable routing grommets on the tray.

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There are three 5.25″ drive bays in the front, each is mounted to the chassis individually, meaning you can remove, one, two or all three of them as you wish; you’ll certainly need to do this if you want massive radiators in the front of the chassis.

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All cables from the front panel pass through a rubber grommet, helping keep things neat and tidy. As a nice bonus, there is a powerful 200mm fan pre-installed in the front of the chassis.

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There’s a total of six hard drive bays in the base of the chassis, split across two bays of three.

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The trays slide out for easy installation/removal of your drives.

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3.5″ drives can be installed tool-free, although there are enough screws included to fit SSDs if you need them.

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The drive bays are fitted with two thumb screws at the front, remove these and you can life the whole bay out.

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Removing these bays frees up more of the fan and radiator mounts in the base of the chassis, as well as gives you the option to move the bays left or right within the chassis to allow room for other components.

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Or remove them completely, and if that’s not enough, you can quickly remove the entire cooling bracket too, giving you more ways to mount your hardware or modify the layout of the build.

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All interior cables are of a high-quality, with black cables and black headsets, so the should blend in with the build quite nicely.

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There’s a single 120mm fan mounted in the back. You’ll notice there are only two fans on this chassis (pre-installed), but that’s a hint at the nature of this chassis, as most builders will be installing a custom setup anyway and likely not use the stock cooling.

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With the right side panel removed, we get a lot of space to get hardware installed with relative ease.

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There’s room in the base for even the longest PSUs on the market. You can also see a large rubber grommet at the back to help with cable routing.

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There’s also another grommet on the other side of the front panel for helping with cooling cables and more.

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Still need an easier way to build the system? Just spin off two more thumb screws and the entire motherboard tray lifts right out.

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Flip it over and you’ll find more drive bays tucked away under the motherboard; this chassis really is showing some Tardis-like qualities.

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With the tray removed, you can better route cables and PSU hardware in the base of the chassis, as well as freeing up room to work on any custom water cooling hardware.

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Behind the front panel, you’ll find the thumb screws to remove the 5.25″ drive bays, a 200mm fan, room for another 200mm fan, as well as the fittings for any other front mounted cooling hardware (see the extensive cooling support list on the first page for details).

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Two more thumb screws and you can lift off the top panel, making it super easy to clean those filters.

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It also means you can access the fittings for the top cooling.

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Like everything else in this chassis, you’re a couple of thumb screws away from fully removing the mounts. This is very cool, as it means you’ll be able to easily install fans or radiators without trying to find elbow room inside the chassis.

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Complete System


I’m almost embarrassed to show off the build for this chassis, it’s so wildly understated compared to what this chassis is cable of. I must admit, I’m not chassis modding expert and only with a whole month and an unlimited budget could I ever do this chassis justice. I can show you what is possible, but it would take an insane amount of time to actually test every aspect of what the Core X9 can do. We’ve installed an ATX motherboard with two massive Sapphire R9 270X Tri-X Toxic graphics card and there’s still a laughably huge amount of space left to work with.

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The hard drive bays and really nice, and they’re very easy to work with, although it seems like a waste only having one 2.5″ drive per massive tray and you could have easily tweaked the design to screw two SSDs to the base of each.

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There’s seemingly infinite space in the front of the chassis, you’re not going to have any issues with radiator thickness here, with room to spare for reservoirs, pumps and anything else you might need.

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GPU width isn’t an issue either, obviously, as there’s plenty of clearance from the top of the chassis. Even with the thickest radiators you can find, and push/pull fans, you’ll no problems at all.

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From the back, you can see that a full ATX system really only takes up half of the length of the chassis, perhaps a keen modder can fit another motherboard parallel to this one?

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The cable routing is right where you want it and the GPUs do a good job keeping it all out of sight from the side panel window (should that panel be on the left of course).

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There’s a lot of space above the PSU, which could easily be used to store excess cables if required.

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There’s even more space here, perfect for mounting fan hubs, pumps and other cooling hardware.

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All panels back in place and this monster of a chassis certainly catches the eye. The side panel is great for showing off your hardware. Given that you can easily fit any high-end hardware in this chassis, you’re certainly going to want to show it all off.

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Final Thoughts


Pricing

This is a big chassis, that much I think we’ve established, but what I think might surprise you is that the price isn’t as heavily loaded as the product. The Thermaltake Core X9 is a very reasonable £117.37 from CCL and readers in the US can find it on Amazon for just $160, which is an absolute bargain. Of course, that’s not counting the massive cost of actually filling a chassis like this.

Overview

I’m seriously in love with the Thermaltake Core X9, it’s just too bonkers not to want one. Of course, there is a catch, as I have literally no idea where I could put the darn thing! It’s too wide to fit next to my desk, it’s deeper than my desk too, so it wouldn’t be ideal to put it under the desk, certainly not on top of it. It couldn’t go next to my TV as a HTPC, that would be silly. A chassis like this needs a desk all to its self, or at the very least, a suitably massive desk in general to accommodate it.

Without a doubt this chassis is overkill for most builds, even our test system looks laughable inside it. However, if you’re looking to go for the extreme end of the hardware market, with huge amounts of water cooling, quad graphics cards, pumps, reservoirs, more fans than I care to count, a huge amount of storage and god only knows what else, then you’ll be able to fit every single bit of it in the Core X9. If you run out of space, or you want the biggest commercial water cooling radiators on the market, then buy two X9’s and stack them for double the fun/trouble.

Build quality is rock solid throughout, everything is reinforced and durable, while also being amazingly easy to work with. Every major component is fitted with easily accessible thumb screws, allowing you to remove side panels, hard drive trays, cooling brackets, the motherboard tray and more. This means you can install your hardware onto the brackets, then re-insert the bracket, making it very easy to work with such a big chassis. Cable management is everywhere you would need it and there’s a good amount of hiding space for extra cables too.

Little innovations such as the movable I/O panel on the front, as well as interchangeable side panels are also nice to have, as they’ll help you orientate the chassis to suit your needs. Being able to install dual power supplies is great too, as this can help you reach your enthusiast aspirations with ease.

Pros

  • Excellent build quality
  • Endless capabilities (in terms of hardware)
  • Crazy levels of water cooling support
  • Competitive price
  • Reversible side panels
  • Reversible I/O panel
  • Dual PSU support
  • Stackable design
  • Dust filters
  • Removable hard drives
  • Removable motherboard tray
  • Movable cooling brackets

Cons

  • Too big to fit on, under or around most desks

“The Thermaltake Core X9 is big, bold and completely bonkers. It’s not for everyone given the amount of space it requires, or the amount of hardware it can hold, but if you’re looking to house an extreme rig, the X9 will manage it with ease.”

Thermaltake Core X9 Stackable E-ATX Chassis Review

Thermaltake Core X9 Stackable E-ATX Chassis Review

Thank you Thermaltake for providing us with this sample.

Article Index

  1. Introduction
  2. Interior
  3. Complete System
  4. Final Thoughts
  5. View All

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