Stands Out in a Crowded Market
It has become clear to us that the Thermaltake Core P5 is a computer case for enthusiasts looking to dabble in the art of liquid-cooling. Building an air-cooled system with the Core P5 would result in an enormous waste of space and frankly the empty case looks pretty rubbish.
Likewise, the Core P5 really requires the user to go beyond basic AIO liquid cooling options. For us the massive Pacific radiator, block, pump and reservoir were the perfect combo for the Core P5. The Core P5 might not be as high quality as the Lian Li PC-O7S, but it also costs under half as much. The Core P5 really is an incredible buy at $150, especially for someone looking at creating a unique build they can show off.
That said, keep in mind that the liquid-cooling setup we used for this review costs $350 to buy all the parts. Even pre-packaged setups such as the Thermaltake Pacific CL-W063-CA00BL-A are $300 and that one only has a dual 140mm radiator. So while the case itself is quite affordable, the cooling setup that we feel is essential isn't nearly so.
Having the ability to wall mount the Core P5 is what makes this case special, though it also looks great standing on the supplied feet or lying flat on the rubber standoffs. The modular design of the Core P5 is great and we appreciate the added flexibility to change the orientation of the expansion cards. Speaking of which, if you want to mount additional cards you'll need more riser cables and Thermaltake will be selling those shortly.
For the price, the case's build quality is excellent. Its design is solid for the most part and we thoroughly enjoyed building a few systems in the Core P5. It's easy to create a clean build.
If you've read past case reviews and browsed the photos you'll see we don't go to great lengths to create tidy builds as they get torn down once the review is complete. With the Core P5 we completed a rather sharp looking build in under an hour.
The downside to the Core P5's open air design is obviously dust build up, though that shouldn't be a huge issue and certainly not difficult to clean with a little compressed air. It's also worth reminding you that the case is extremely large which may or may not be an issue depending on your situation -- you'll definitely want a heavy duty wall mount if that's the route you're taking.
Noise wasn't an issue for our build. The three 140mm fans didn't have to work hard to keep the system cool and the graphics card/power supply had no trouble finding fresh air. That said, with no case fans to speak of, airflow over the motherboard's power circuitry could be an issue, so be careful which board you buy as it will need adequate cooling.
Overall, the Thermaltake Core P5 is a great case that manages to stand out in a crowded market. Its price and design put it in a class of its own with the only alternative being the arguably better looking Lian Li PC-O7S, but at $400 that's an irrelevant product for most.
Pros: The Core P5's flexible modular design allows for horizontal and vertical builds. Its open air design and broad liquid cooling support will give you a handle on heat, and it costs less than half the Lian Li PC-O7S.
Cons: Liquid cooling seems necessary for the aesthetics alone and that's not cheap. Hard to reach the rear CPU cutout. Made of steel instead of aluminum with a plastic window instead of glass, but at least it's thick.