For old times’ sake, I am doing a written review of a chassis that I newly got. It is Thermaltake Suppressor F1 miniITX chassis that I use at office with my Ryzen-powered setup.
(This article’s fast, dirty, and bad translation is available in Turkish at my other web site)
During the last year, since the beginning of my work at AMD I have developed an interest on mini systems; mini systems that are not weak but quite strong with their high performing processors and graphics cards with enough capability to handle some 3D and video render workloads. Since AMD can squeeze 16 Zen 2 cores in a single AM4 socket now, even mini systems can exceed the expectations from an ordinary full-sized workstation. Of course, you will have some thermal constraints and ventilation hardships along with problems of fitting a larger GPU in, but you will see that it is manageable.
Another take on mini-ITX
I was not a fan of all-in-one water-cooling systems since they would sometimes produce pump and fan noise. Obviously cooling radiators create more air resistance compared to mid to high level conventional heat pipe-heatsink coolers, so they are more prone to create noise at all performance levels on a comparable heat dissipation scenarios. Of course, you can go for a bigger radiator to reduce humming at fans but this in turn would require a stronger integrated pump that might cause a little bit of noise. As I did not play much with all-in-one liquid cooling systems before I went for best silent air cooler available on the market for my home computer: Noctua NH-D15. Independent of the performance level of CPU, you cannot hear anything unless you put your ear directly at the front of the chassis where three air intake fans continuously rotate at low speeds. Noctua is not cheap, I know; but it is imperative to have such solution if you are sometimes required to leave computer on for the night.
- Read more about my home computer setup (in Turkish) here.
For my setup at office we got an Asus B350 mini-ITX motherboard, an AMD Ryzen 7 3700X, 2x16GB 3000MHz RAM, and I opted to use our tiny workstation card Radeon Pro WX4100 in a Cooler Master Elite 110. I had no drives other than a Samsung EVO Plus NVMe on the board. This chassis cannot accommodate a Wraith Prism for obvious reasons I needed to buy a Cooler Master Master Liquid 120 Lite which barely fits in to the system. It is so tight inside that if I used a full-height card, liquid cooler piping would not find space to bend around. As far as liquid cooling goes, I could not screw the fan with long screws, through chassis and holding the radiator on the other end. I managed to screw the radiator inside the front of the case, then used zipties to fix the fan into place. It was a mess, but it worked. Since there is only one intake fan on the case and no possibility of another placed for exhaust, I placed the PSU fan facing in the case and shut down its Eco mode. So it was able to move some hot air outside.
So it was tight but working. You could feel the warmth on each side by touch but system worked perfectly. So, let me carry on with the new chassis, which is still warm to the touch.
Thermaltake Suppressor F1
This case was brought me by a friend works at the company. It has the 1.5 times the volume of the previous one: A separate compartment for power supply and cables at the bottom, with little holes on the edges for cabling along with larger volume on the upper side which can host taller coolers (like our own Wraith Prism, and even taller ones) and middle-sized GPUs. I again used the water-cooling solution instead of my own Wraith Prism (I already have it so why not still use it?), with chassis’ own 200mm front fan. This case comes with that large and silent 200mm fan which provides enormous volume of fresh air, drawing air from meshed grills on the sides of front cover. If it works in full speed (around 900 RPM) it is noisy due to air pressure being generated but I managed to get it to run around 250 RPM while blowing through radiator and it is inaudible. On a stress test fan ramps up to 400+ RPM and it is still quiet. By the way I listened the sound from the chassis in night-time when office is quite silent and no ambient noise is present.
Suppressor F1 can be detached easily for system building. Only edge frames, front and back pieces, side IO panel, and motherboard frame that is bisecting the case remains. It is lightweight but becomes even lighter after removing all possible parts; even the bottom cover where feet are attached and a dust cover PSU grill is present, is detachable. I did not try this with bottom plate, but the other three side panels are interchangeable.
I did not take any photos from new graphics card side but if your GPU is drawing with a large fan, side grills can allow it to breathe fresh air. Two panels have such air grills with magnetically attached dust filter mesh and third one has a plastic window. So, if you utilize a large, top-to-bottom blowing cooler you may want to switch windowed panel with a grill panel to provide cooler with more fresh air. But, in all occasions the 11-blade 200mm fan at the front provides more than enough fresh air for your system.
There are two drive bays that could be detached if not in use. I removed these bays since I do not use any additional drives other than a single 1TB NVMe. They can be removed from chassis with a single screw that can be turned by hand. This renders the case even lighter; it becomes easier to turn it around.
Front fan has 11 blades. Blades have different mouth shapes that tear through the air, maybe to generate less turbulence and noise? I am not sure about that, but it is obvious that this fan is not intended for high-RPM operation. If this fan hits around 600 RPM begins to create a severe humming. I always aim for silence before heat dissipation so 300 RPM and around is okay for my water-cooling system to work efficiently.
The only thing that stays on chassis when you remove everything is front connectors, which are located at left side at the front. Fan is shown on the pictures but to fix the radiator in place I had to dismount it first. After removing everything except front panel cables, case becomes kind of weightless as you begin building the system.
The first step to placing parts should begin with the motherboard. But I began with the watercooler’s radiator. Since motherboard is tiny the hardest piece to get in place is obviously all-in-one water cooler since no cable in the system is stiff compared to fixed water pipes of the cooler. In the picture below I spun the fan manually to show how 120mm radiator is placed. Rails on the front (just behind the fan) should allow you to easily install 240mm radiator which benefits from the case’s own giant fan. Even that I am not sure if fan is an air flow optimized or a static pressure one, is still enough for small liquid cooler to operate with feasible performance.
For motherboard, it should be obvious that it must be a mini-ITX form factor motherboard. They only have four screws to hold them in place. Suppressor F1 has tiny permanent wedges to mount the motherboard in place, not that tiny yellow mounts. Pipes of the cooler coils a little to one side, but it fits fine leaving a large volume for cable management and air flow. I packed away water cooling system’s own fan since there is no place that I can use it properly. One single 200mm would do.
After mounting the motherboard and cooler on top of it, I turned the case upside down to screw power supply into place. This is a fully modular Xigmatek Hera that has an option for an eco-mode, when set to on will turn the fan off if it is unnecessary. In my system, it works almost like a PSU fan kill switch since I cannot load the PSU enough to have the fan turn for additional cooling. Please connect removable power cables you plan to use for your modular PSU BEFORE you screw the PSU in place. Otherwise you will have hard time connecting them to the back of the PSU, even with small hands will have trouble. Avoid it. In the end you are dealing with a small form factor chassis here.
After doing all the cabling, all systems are ready for a go. Note the full size Radeon RX 550 at the back. It performs better in some scenarios compared to Radeon Pro WX4100 but my aim was to get rid of noisy cooler of the Radeon Pro. I did not use too much zip tie since I will be removing and replacing parts occasionally.
It would have been nice to populate the rear exhaust fans, but they are 80mm fan slots and 80mm quality fans are hard to come by. On the other hand, also mini-ITX motherboards generally do not have much fan headers; mine has one CPU (200mm is connected here), one chassis (empty), and one chassis/pump hybrid (water cooler pump) headers. By the way, my water cooler system’s fan is in the spare box right now. It is a nice “static pressure” fan with almost no noise but I had no way to install it anywhere.
Even the rear slots are left empty they provide an air escape enough to assist the cooling since all the air from the large front fan create adequate pressure inside. I guess it would have been nice to have a 120-140mm fan mount on one of the grill sides.
After building the system and firing it up for the first time I entered BIOS/UEFI settings to recalibrate the front fan speed. After it was done CPU stayed below 50 degrees with fan spinning at 250RPM during idle. I loaded system with 16-core workload with 7-Zip benchmark tool (great CPU torture!) where fan hit to 465RPM and CPU maxed at 91 degrees. I love my computer like my home in winter; warm but silent.
Thermaltake Suppressor F1 is a great housing for a mini-ITX based system. It can host AMD Radeon RX 5700-sized cards at its limits, which makes this case a viable option for 1440p gaming setups up to a point. Please bear in mind that most of Radeon RX 5700XTs are longer than 25cm and is not suitable for this chassis. If you would like to use this case for a office computer like me (with a powerful CPU but not a GPU at extreme gaming line-up) I suggest you go for it. You can build a silent and expandable yet low-volume system for many work-related scenarios.
When I got the case it was not yet listed on r/etail web sites. I am nor sure when it will go into sale. Do not forget that you will need to purchase the PSU separately. I recommend you pick a semi-modular or a full modular one since in a mini-ITX system you will not need most of the fixed cables.
If I was a hardware editor at one of the previous media outlets that I worked at, I’d give Thermaltake Suppressor F1 4.5 out of 5. I would have taken away 0.5 points for not providing an USB-C front panel connection, missing a second 120/140mm (read, standard) fan mount anywhere, and being only a few centimetres short for hosting most of the lower-high-end GPUs (or their full-sized editions, at least).
I cannot take price into account since it is not yet on sale in Turkey. I will provide a price comparison and re-evaluate the points if it is necessary.
Thank you for reading. If you like this, I am going to do written reviews whenever I buy things or get my hands on stuff. No promises but I like to write, obviously.
Until next time!