Review: Thermaltake F1 Suppressor Mini-ITX Computer Case

2 weeks ago Jack 0

Small form factor computers enjoy a significant following of folks looking to keep their computer size down. Products like the Intel NUC allow a person to keep a tiny PC in an almost pocketable chassis. To get a full size PC power into a smaller container though, the only practical way is the ITX form factor. Many manufacturers still don’t seem sure of where they want to spend the options that a small motherboard present. Some are just producing shorter versions of the same old PC case. Others are throwing out the options to make the PC as tiny as possible. The Thermaltake F1 Suppressor strikes a solid balance between innovation, size, and value that make it a winner in my book.

Rather than go over every little bit of this case, I’ll leave you to look over the gallery and the spec sheet for most of that information. What you should gain by this review is just how any options this case gives you.

It’s Pretty Great

Out of all the ITX cases that I tried, none of them made it as easy to build in and select parts for as the Thermaltake F1 Suppressor. The bottom section of this case leaves room to tuck and rout cables in plenty while still housing a full-sized ATX power supply. The front panel has a versatile mounting system that supports an included 200mm fan or allows users to mount a 120mm fan or 120mm fan/radiator combo. The two 3.5″ and two 2.5″ drive mounts give enough storage for most folk.

Want more? Ok. The system can handle longer GPU’s that many ITX cases because of the overall size and the front panel cutout. Still some GPU’s that have grown exceedingly long or fat (more than 2 PCI slots thick) won’t work. Heck, you even get dust filters for the sides of the case and the PSU.

Want more? Ok. All four side panels have the same dimensions to they are all potentially interchangeable. The case leaves so much space above the CPU that some larger heat sinks even fit inside. I’ve built an Intel LGA1151 system in here with a Cryorig H7 heatsink!

Thermaltake almost managed to give you a complete case in a small package. They barely had to cut any options to do it.

I know, I’m all over the place talking about how nice this little case is. Now let me give you some of the downsides.

But Not All Great

Materials: The screws they give you are cheap. That goes especially for the thumbscrews that hold the side panels on. Almost all of the sheet metal is thin, making vibration a potential issue if your parts aren’t tightened down well enough. They don’t do much to dampen sound either. The PCI slot screws have a cheap feeling plastic cover on the back that looks easily breakable.

Features: Thermaltake cut out any sign of an optical bay.  They left you with only two 80mm fan mounts on the rear to function as exhaust ports.

Ease of Build: Routing cables near the drive trays requires some planning. Tying cables can be difficult because of the placement of tie-down points and the directions cables naturally run in the case.

Quibbles, Nit-Pics, Problems, Etc: The USB 3.0 header cables are stiff and the connector is large. That makes plugging into tight spots around large CPU coolers and crowded boards a pain. You may need an adapter like this one:

I never used this exact extension cable and have no review data for you on that product.

Also, some devices didn’t like to stay connected to the USB 3.0 ports in the front panel. I had the same issue with a board in my Fractal R5, so I think it has more to do with the boards than the case, but I haven’t pinned that down yet.

Other Notes

This case shares a platform with the Thermaltake V1. That case comes in black or white and has a mesh rounded front. The V1 does not come with dust filters for the sides. The front grill of the V1 tends to collect dust. Also, the button and port placement on the front(side?) panel has been improved on the F1 over the V1. Minor differences here. These might be outweighed by aesthetic concerns for some folk.

Conclusion

The thing I appreciate most about this case is that, although it’s almost just a boring cube, they didn’t make a case that’s just a smaller tower. It takes advantage of the ITX form factor and gives users creative leeway in placing their computer. This is my go-to option when I think about building an ITX PC. I recommend considering it for your next ITX PC, but please, don’t pay more than the retail price for it. I often see them available with strong rebates and discounts. If you’re in a hurry, I don’t think $60 is a terrible value, but we’re not in the business of paying full retail here at cheapstuffreviews.com.

 

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