Review and Build inside the ThermalTake Core X31 PC Case

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It’s hard to know what a good case is by a simple picture, and so many cases may look nice but once you get them it’s nothing like what you had imagined.  I have reviewed quite a few cases, and even one from ThermalTake in the past and I was pleased when I had the opportunity to review this one, the ThermalTake Core X31.

Let’s first take a look at the features and spec’s of this one.

ThermalTake Core X31

  • Motherboard Support: Mini-ITX, Micro-ATX, ATX (but actually it will support a little larger, stay tuned to find out what I mean)
  • Mid Tower
  • Maximum GPU Length without HDD Cage: 16.5 inches / 420mm
  • Maximum GPU Length with HDD Cage: 10.9 inches / 278mm
  • Maximum PSU Length without bottom fan: 8.66 inches / 220mm
  • Maximum PSU Length with one bottom Fan: 7.09 inches / 180mm
  • Windowed Side panel
  • 8 Expansion slots
  • Drive Bays:
    • 3 x 3.5in or 2.5in HD Cage
    • 3 x 3.5in or 2.5in behind motherboard tray
    • 2 x 2.5in on Power Supply Cover
    • 2 x 5.25in
      • 25in drive bays can be used for 2 x SSD’s each bay or 1 additional 3.5in drive in each bay
    • External Connections
      • 2 x USB 3.0
      • 2 x USB 2.0
      • 1 x Headphone Port
      • 1 x Microphone Port
    • Fan Mount Location and Sizes
      • Front:
        • 1 x 200mm or 2 x 140mm (1 x Included) or 2 x 120mm
      • Top:
        • 3 x 140mm or 3 x 120mm or 2 x 200mm
      • Rear:
        • 1 x 140mm (Included) or 2 x 120mm
      • Bottom:
        • 2 x 120mm or 2 x 240mm
      • Radiator Support
        • Front:
          • 1 x 360mm or 1 x 280mm
        • Top:
          • 360mm or 1 x 280mm
        • Rear:
          • 1 x 140mm or 1 x 120mm
        • Bottom:
          • 1 x 140mm or 1 x 120mm
        • 3 Year Warranty
        • Weight: 18.70lbs
        • Dimensions: H:20.10″ x W:9.80″ x D:19.50″

OK, enough with those, they might be a good reference to come back to later, but let’s see what comes inside of the box.

It has tons of options for HD’s, fans and radiators and I will go into that a little later in the review.  Let’s explore what was in the box to make sure it has everything you need for a build.

To start off with, it does come with the user’s manual which goes over what is included in the box, warranty information and some basics on how to build a PC with it, very basic of course.


And the warranty policy, which of course goes over the warranty.


Aside from those, came a bag that contained all of screws and accessories, I will break them down individually as well.


22 x Motherboard or 2.5”HDD screws


2 x Stand-Offs and 1 x Nut Setter.  The Nut Setter is such a great little tool and I will explain a little later on what it does and how handy it is.


Adhesive rubber washers for mechanical hard drives (noise reduction)


5 x Cable Ties


4 x Case fan screws


12 x 3.5HDD Screws


4 x Power Supply screws


1 x PC Speaker


That’s about it for the included accessories; now let’s get to the case itself.

[nextpage title=”Case Layout and Details”]

Now on the case, here is the case in all of its glory with the huge windowed side panel on.  The large panel provides almost a complete view of the inside of the case.  I love to look inside of my computer from time to time to gaze at my work.


This picture is the case with its side panel off.  Out of the box, you can see that even though this is not a full case it offers plenty of room for just about anything.  There are also quite a few of hidden features that of course we will cover in this review.


Spinning the case to the front panel, we can see that this case is very well ventilated from great cooling.  Also, you will notice there are 2 x 5.25 bays; yes those are for opticals but they server for a few more options in case you are not interested in optical drives.

I will mention that many people prefer a smooth clean front panel but while nicer looking those panels rob the case of optimal cooling.  Some cases employ vents along the sides, or along the bottom under the case but this ventilated front provides the best options both for standard 120mm or 140mm fans and for liquid cooling units.  Yes, you can also install a liquid cooling unit along the front of the case and even the bottom.


Aside from the outline, they are pretty hidden.


The back of the unit shows that they have a large opening to allow you to easily install a CPU back plate for either liquid cooling units or CPU Fans that require a back plate.  You will also notice 5 rubber mounted cutouts for easy and clean wiring.

Along the front (bottom left hand corner), you can see on the bottom the drive cage and towards the top you can also find the 5.25’ bays.  These openings also allow for cables to be routed through them but server a better purpose.  Along the back you can also install either 3 x 3.5’ drives or 3 x 2.5’ drives or a combination of the 2.


Along the back we find an adjustable rear fan, either 120mm or 140mm that can also be used for liquid cooling.  We also find 8 PCI slots, will you use them all?  To the right of the PCI slot we can see a rubber covered cutout that can have many purposes, liquid cooling tubes as well.  To the left we can see that the back of the case, where the motherboard tray sits is a little wide and serves a great purpose as I mentioned previous about the drives and cabling.  Lastly, we find at the bottom a cutout for the power supply.


It looks like the power supply is not in its cave right now, but it is a deep and dark cave.  They provide plenty of space for larger power supplies in length.  If you run out of room, you can see the drive cage there; it can be removed either for a larger power supply or for a liquid cooling unit.  The power supply cover can also be removed.

If you notice around the top left hand corner there is a cable poking through the cover, this allows you to route cables a little cleaner.


Looking at the power supply cover from inside the case we can see where the cable was being fed though, but there is another opening.  The other rubber covered opening depending on your use can be used for the 24Pin cable to connect to the motherboard, PCI-E cables, and more.

To the left of that we find that the top of this power supply cover has 2 drive cages.  Each case can hold 1 x 2.5in HDD or SSD drive.


To the right of the power supply cover we find the drive cage.  The main drive cage can hold 3 x 2.5” drives or 3 x 3.5” drives or any combination in between but is also completely removable to either make room for a fan of either 120mm or 140mm or a liquid cooling unit on the bottom of the case.



Just an example of the drive cage and base removed from the case.


Just above the drive cage, we find the 5.25” bays.  You can of course use these for opticals, but they can also be home to 2 x 2.5” drives per bay or 1 x 3.5” drive or any combination of drive and optical’s in between.


Here is just an example of how the drive bays would house 2 x 2.5” the drives.  They have screw holes on the tray that align with the screw holes on SSD’s and Mechanical Hard Drives.


Moving along the top of the case, we find a greater portion of it covered in a mesh filter.  On the front we find 2 x 3.5mm jacks, one for headphones and the other for a microphone.  Next to the Mic jack, we find the reset button which is actually a nice size and not recessed where you would have to use your pinky nail, a pen or a screw driver to push down, then a power button and next to the 2 x USB 3.0 plugs and 2 x USB 2.0 plugs.




And here it is when the PC is on, I love blue LED’s.



Let’s go back to the mesh, which brings us to liquid cooling and fan capabilities of this case.

[nextpage title=”Liquid Cooling and Fan Capabilities”]

On the top of this case, if we peel back the mesh filter like a banana we find a bunch of little vents or holes.  This is so that you install a combination of either 3 x 140mm fans or 3 x 120mm fans or 2 x 200mm fans.  If you would prefer to use a liquid cooling you unit, you can chose a 360mm radiator or 280mm radiator.  You can kind of mix and match that combination.


Along the front of the case, we can install another liquid cooling unit as well.  Removing the front panel (which is not needed for liquid cooling) shows the single lonely 120mm fan, but it shows just how much room you have to work with.


The front can house a 280mm radiator or a 360mm radiator though you will need to remove the drive cage to fit them in and in some cases depending on the size, the 5.25” bays as well.  If you are not a fan of liquid cooling, or just don’t want one in the front, you can also install either 2 x 120mm fans or 2 x 140mm fans or 1 large 200mm fan.

If you notice on the front panel I removed, there is a filter as well.  This case has many filters; each can be removed and washed. This one at first I thought was not removable but actually it is.



Yup even the 5.25” bay covers can be removed and washed.


Coming around the bottom of the case, we see that it has a huge one, filter I mean.


Yup, it is also removable and washable.


You will notice there is on this picture already a power supply installed, it did not come with one installed, though I had forgotten to take a picture of it during my unboxing and discovery, so I put one in afterwards.

The filter on the bottom, aside for being for the power supply, provides a filter for a potential liquid cooling unit along the bottom of the case, towards the front as well.

The bottom of this case can take a liquid cooling unit that is 120mm or 140mm, or if you prefer fans can either take 2 x 120mm or 2 x 140mm fans.

I was going to come up with a diagram for you of how the radiators fit, but it turns out Thermaltake has already done this, so rather than reinventing the wheel, here you go.


They also created one for the fans as well


Just in case you prefer to go with their recommend radiators and fans listed in the diagrams, I will list them below so that you can check them out on Amazon.

Liquid Cooling Units

  • Thermaltake Water 3.0 Ultimate 360mm

  • Thermaltake Water 3.0 Extreme S 240mm

  • Thermaltake Water 3.0 Performer C 120mm

  • Thermaltake Water 3.0 Extreme 240mm


  • Pure Series

  • Odin Series

On the bottom, some of you might thing that you will not have enough room to properly ventilate your system with fans on the bottom or even for the power supply but actually there is more than enough room.  The case comes with some pretty tall feet.


So all this talk of the case but how well will it work on a build.

[nextpage title=”How to build inside of the case”]

In this section, I completely focus on how to build inside of the Thermaltake Core X31.

Here is the list of parts I used in this build

In this first video I teach you how to build a PC inside this case, though it is a universal lesson.  If you don’t know how to build a PC you may want to check it out, and if you do you might learn something or maybe throw some advice my way.

In that video, I went over the complete build, showing you how to install a CPU, the Intel Core i7 5930K onto the EVGA X99 Classified motherboard.  I also go on to show you how to install 16Gigs of Kingston HyperX Predator 3000Mhz DDR4 RAM HX430C15PB2K4 then installing all of this into the case along with the Sapphire Nitro R9 390 8Gig video card then installing the Samsung 850 500GB SSD and the Patriot Ignite 480GB SSD a Hitachi mechanical drive and the Cooler Master Silent Pro Gold 1200Watt.  I even installed the LG Bluray burner.

If you noticed in this video I also went over how to remove the drive cage and its base.  Later in the video I also show you how to use the drive trays in that cage to install 3 drives on the back of the motherboard tray.

Now on to the 2nd part of the build.

In this video I continue installing the SSD’s and the Arctic Freezer Liquid 240mm CPU Liquid Cooler using some Thermal Grizzly Kryonaut thermal paste for the CPU.

One thing I found is while I was able to install it the liquid cooling unit, I was not able to install it how Thermaltake recommended.


The reason for this can easily be found by looking at their certified liquid cooling units, they are all 2 fan units and the Arctic was a 4 fan unit.  Again it fit and cools extremely well, but it was off to the left sitting on top of the memory.  Another thing that occurred is since the Arctic Liquid Freezer 240mm comes with rounded screws, the top mesh filter bulges out a tiny bit, nothing bad, but I notice.  If your liquid cooling unit comes with rounded screws, you may want to go to your local hardware shop and see if you can get flat head ones.


Looking inside the case, up where the liquid cooling unit is attached where we can see how it sits right on top of the memory.  If you use a radiator that has less fans, or is thinner it would fit as they preferred, but I really do like the Arctic Freezer Liquid 240mm, so I made sure it fit.


So aside from the build, I also made a video on how to cable it.

If you remember, I installed hard drives and SSD’ s on the back of the cable, to add to that a mess of cables, but Thermaltake though of that too.


They provide almost an inch and a half of space on the back of the case.  Remember I mentioned earlier in the review that the left of the case was a bit wide, well that’s the reason they did that.

Another thing I mentioned in the video, that I need to call out that I found great was the fact the rear of the case, where you screw PCI-E cards in.  Almost every case (I only say almost, because I am not totally sure if I have seen this before) I have ever built in has the frame of the case coming from the top to the bottom, with no regard to the fact that people will use a screw driver to screw in the cards.  Thermaltake even though of that and offered a angled section so you can use a screw driver there.  Genius, pure genius in my opinion.


I know I ended the video saying that I did not want to bore you with how I made everything neat, but I did want to show you the fully built system, check it out.

[nextpage title=”Final Thoughs”]

It is evident that Thermaltake took their time with this design, thinking everything through making things work where they should not.  This is a Mid-Tower Chassis that supports at most an ATX board, but I was able to fit an E-ATX board.  The reason they don’t list E-ATX or SSI EEB is because E-ATX is not exactly what gamer’s think it is or most PC builders for that matter.  E-ATX’s measurement is actually 12” x 13” and the EVGA X99 Classified is actually 12” x 10.38”, just under E-ATX standards.  Gaming board’s definition for the E in E-ATX is Enthusiast not Extended.  While the EVGA X99 Classified and its dimensions fit, surely a 12” x 13” board will not.

Along with that forward thinking, they allow for a ton of drive options and even support the mostly forgotten optical drive.


  • Amazingly affordable
  • Intelligent use of space inside and outside of the case
    • Drives on top of the PSU cover
    • Drives on the backside of the case
    • Space for drives and cables on the back
  • Allows for many drives
  • Allows for many different Liquid cooling options and placements
  • Allows for many different air cooling options and placements
  • Includes all the accessories needed
  • Offers a very large windowed side panel
  • Generous grove for screwing in cards is very welcomed.
  • 25” are multi-function and allow for Opticals, and/or 2.5” drive and/or 3.5” drives or to entirely remove 5.25” bays
  • Very well ventilated
  • More than you will expect from a Mid Tower Case


  • Does not include lighted fans (though you can buy the RGB version instead: or you can buy other lighted fans
  • Allows for 3 drives in the drive cage and 3 in the back, but not at the same time. Should include extra trays or at least an option to purchase them.
  • Cable ties are pretty bad, can barely be called cable ties.

While there are cons, they are not con enough to detract from the final score of 5 Stars, high recommended.  This case fits just about anything and everything larger cases fit for a fraction of the cost and size.  Amazing job Thermaltake.


We are influencers and brand affiliates.  This post contains affiliate links, most which go to Amazon and are Geo-Affiliate links to nearest Amazon store.