ReviewsPC CaseThermaltake H550 Review: Is It Worth It?

Thermaltake H550 Review: Is It Worth It?

We have put the Thermaltake H550 through its paces after its testing its hands-on thermal performance, along with installation challenges and overall design analysis.

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Review Summary

The Thermaltake H550 is a compact mid-tower chassis notable for its sleek design, integrating a 2mm diamond-cut brushed aluminum front panel with an ARGB lighting strip. It supports standard ATX-size motherboards and offers ample cooling options, including up to a 360mm radiator in the front and a 240mm radiator on top. While it excels in aesthetics and component compatibility, the chassis is somewhat limited in front-side air intake and comes with only one pre-installed rear fan.

Hours Tested:  8-10
Tech4Gamers Recommended Award

Overall
8/10
8/10
  • Performance - 7/10
    7/10
  • Design - 9/10
    9/10
  • Features - 8/10
    8/10
  • Value - 8/10
    8/10

Pros

  • Sleek and Aesthetic Design
  • Versatile Motherboard Compatibility
  • Ample Cooling Options
  • Effective Dust Management
  • Integrated ARGB Lighting

Cons

  • No Front-Mounted Fans
  • No Fan Speed Control for Rear Fan
  • Potential Space Constraints for Vertical GPU

Today we will be taking a look at the Thermaltake H550. This is a compact mid-tower chassis with support up to standard ATX size motherboards. It has a 2mm diamond-cut brushed aluminum front panel which packs an ARGB lighting strip on the side to create one heck of a good show. The chassis has ample support for cooling gear with a maximum of 360mm radiator up front and/or 240mm radiator up top. Let’s discuss more as we get into the review.


Key Takeaways

  • The chassis is good for ATX-sized motherboard users seeking sleek design, ample space for components, and integrated ARGB lighting.
  • This chassis is not for those requiring front-mounted fans or extensive front-side air intake due to design limitations impacting thermal performance.
  • Stand-out features include a bold brushed aluminum front panel, efficient cable management with a spacious shroud, and an integrated RGB switchboard for lighting control.

Let’s start with the specifications.

Thermaltake H550 Specifications
Specifications

Also, pictured below is the complete listing of fan and radiator support.

Thermaltake h550 fan support list
Radiator and fan support list 

Packaging and Unboxing

The Thermaltake H550 Review is shipped inside a standard brown color cardboard box.

Box Contents

Let’s see what’s inside the box.

Hw h550 review contents
Accessories (Image by Tech4Gamers)

Closer Look

The Thermaltake H550 Review is a mid-tower having a dimension of 441x225x472mm. This chassis is from the H series which is famous for integrated lighting strip on the front panels. Its mainframe is made of SPCC material and it features one TG panel as well as diamond-cut brushed aluminum and plastic. The exterior and interior is finished in black color. 

Front Panel

The front side of the Thermaltake H550 TG ARGB is a killer show. It has a 2mm thick brushed aluminum panel with diamond-cut angles around it creating one spectacular view and premium feel to it. There is an ARGB lighting strip incorporated in a white translucent diffuser installed on the side of the front panel.

This lighting combined with the elegance of brushed aluminum is giving this chassis a unique edge over the competition. The front cover is solid and airflow is restricted from this side.

The bottom side of the front panel has cutouts. These are there to provide a good contrast to the design while providing some space for air intake.

The user can take off the front panel by pulling it out. Take care as the ARGB cable is connected and putting too much pressure while pulling the panel out may damage the connectors though there is sufficient length of the cable to avoid it. The fan mounting rail (not removable) is sturdy. It has a provision for the following:

  • 120, 140, 240, 280, and 360mm radiator
  • 3x 120mm, 2x140mm, 2x200mm fans

As can be seen, there is ample space for the cooling gear on the front side. For a better cooling performance, I would suggest installing the fans on the backside (the inner side) of the fan mounting rail. There are cutouts to pass the fans’ cable through. There is no pre-installed fan on the front while I was expecting 1-2 fans here.

Looking at the inner side of the front panel, the translucent white color diffuser is visible on the right side. It is running across the length of the brushed aluminum plate. The panel is made of plastic and 2mm brushed aluminum.

The front panel has a vented area on one side. This is the main area for the air intake in this chassis. There is a dust filter running across the length of the vented area. While it is a good design aspect to provide dust filtration, the very narrow area for air intake coupled is further restricted by the dust filter.

There is a 4-pin header on the front panel for ARGB lighting.

Rear Panel

Let’s take a look at the rear side of the Thermaltake H550 TG ARGB.

There is a large size cutout for the motherboard’s rear I/O shield. On its right side, we have a vented portion for the 120mm size fan (pre-installed). In the middle, we have 7 PCIe slots with vented covers. Area to its next has 2 more PCIe slots in a vertical layout with vented covers.

At the bottom, we have a standard ATX PSU mount. As can be seen, both side panels are secured using screws that are not thumbscrews but have bulky heads and are not captive either. The middle side of these panels suggests that they are to be slided out.

We can adjust the 120mm fan’s height but not the 140mm one at the rear of the chassis. To mount a 140mm fan, use the included flat head screws or those from the 120mm fan due to some covered mounting holes by the TG panel’s frame.

h550 case 2x vertical PCIe slot covers
PCIe slot covers (Image by Tech4Gamers)

Removing the 2x vertical PCIe slot covers is as simple as taking off the two screws.

Top Side

Let’s take a look at the top side of the Thermaltake H550.

The top side of the Thermaltake H550 Review has an I/O panel on its leftmost side. There is a magnetic dust filter covering the 120/140mm fan mounts.

PRO TIP: Regularly clean the case filters and components to prevent dust buildup. This helps maintain optimal airflow and keeps your components running cooler.

The image on the right shows the top with the magnetic dust filter removed. The fans can be adjusted as Thermaltake has provided rail system to slide the fans for flexible mounting.

hw h550 top I/O panel
Top I/O Panel (Image by Tech4Gamers)

The top I/O panel includes the regular 2x 3.5mm jacks as well as three USB ports. Other than that, we have an RGB switch, LED indicator, a Reset button and a Power button. The Thermaltake brand logo and name are printed in white color on the top.

Bottom Side

We can spot 4 circular large size feet of the chassis at the bottom with the rubber mounts at their end to avoid scratching the surface on which the chassis will be placed.

These feet provide a roughly 20mm of spacing to the chassis from the bottom of the surface. There is a non-magnetic dust filter covering the entire length of the bottom section.

The non-magnetic dust filter has two tabs on the far end which are inserted in a dedicated portion of the chassis frame to lock the filter. In order to remove the filter, press it down from the tip and slide out.

h550 case dust filter removed
Bottom without dust filter (Image by Tech4Gamers)

The above picture shows the dust filter removed. The vented PSU mount is now fully exposed as well as the portion under the HDD cage. The HDD cage has a useful feature in which the user can adjust the position of the cage to either make a room for thick radiator/fan on the front or to make room for more length of PSU.

The far-right side at the bottom of the chassis has a large cutout which is another air intake side for the front. This is also where you will place your fingers of the hand to have some grip while removing the front panel.

Side (Glass Panel)

The side panel features a 4mm thick tempered glass. It is installed using two screws at the rear side of the chassis. The top and bottom frames of the chassis are bit protruded to rest the panel in between them.

The panel does not fall as soon as screws are removed but one can’t be too careful while handling the TG panels! The glass has a dark tint. Lighting would be needed inside the chassis to showcase the build. There is a blue sticker is warning about the presence of the TG panel. 

WARNING: Always handle TG panels with extra care as the tampered glass can easily be shattered by impact.

The Thermaltake H550 TG ARGB is has ample space to work around. We have a solid motherboard tray with no flex. There is a large cutout on the motherboard tray for ease of CPU cooler installation. There is a total of 6 cutouts on the tray for the cables management.

All of these don’t have rubber grommets. 9x standoffs are pre-installed in standard ATX configuration. The chassis has a PSU shroud which runs to the entire length of the chassis. There is a cutout on the left side of this shroud to show the PSU side.

The PSU shroud has a vented top portion. There are three small size cutouts facing the motherboard tray which is a wise placement as it will better help the cable passing at key points for connectivity on the motherboard. There is a GPU riser cable bracket on the top of the PSU shroud as well.

The Thermaltake H550 TG ARGB lets us vertically mount the GPU, but remember: the riser cable isn’t included. You’ll need to buy that separately. Also, be cautious about the graphics card height when vertically setting up. I couldn’t install the XFX RX 5500XT Thicc Pro due to space constraints caused by the CPU Air Cooler. With AIO cooler there is no such limitation. There is a cutout next to the bracket to pass the power cable for the graphics card.

The PCIe slot covers are vented and re-usable which is a handy feature. There are not thumbscrews on the slot covers.

The Thermaltake H550 TG ARGB includes a single 120mm ARGB fan at the rear. A 120mm radiator can also be installed here, though it seems best suited for a slim one. The fan features nine translucent white blades with ARGB LEDs likely positioned at its center. It utilizes Thermaltake’s proprietary connector linked to the chassis’s switchboard, and users cannot control the fan speed. 

The above picture shows the spacious layout of the motherboard tray. The maximum length supported on the graphics card is 300mm and the CPU cooler of maximum 165mm height is supported. The supported motherboard size is mini-ITX, microATX, and ATX.

There is a displacement of approximately 30mm from the top of the chassis to the top of the motherboard. The maximum supported height of the RAM is 40mm for use with AIO.

Thermaltake h550 cutout on the front side of the PSU shroud
PSU shroud front side (Image by Tech4Gamers)

There is a cutout on the front side of the PSU shroud. With HDD cage installed in the default position, there is a gap of 60mm from the back of the fan mounting rail to the PSU shroud which is good enough clearance for radiator and fan combination.

You can install the fan on either side of the mounting rail, but I suggest putting it on the backside. The right side’s airflow is restricted, especially with the dust filter, which might choke front-mounted fans.We can see the front panel’s cables are visible at the top.

The user can install up to 2x 120mm or 140mm fans on the top though only 240mm radiator is supported on the top.

Side (Solid Panel)

Let’s take a look at the chassis from the backside.

The right side panel is a solid body except that there is a vented portion on the left side. This is the air intake side. The dimension of this vented portion is 350x26mm.

The dual-chamber design is more obvious here. There is a total of 12 cable tie points. There are two 2.5” drive brackets right below the CPU cutout hole behind the motherboard tray. The RGB switchboard is installed on the left side of these brackets. This board is not hindering any cutout which is a wise move.

PRO TIP: Take advantage of the H550’s cable management features. Utilize the provided cable routing channels and tie-down points to keep cables organized for better airflow and aesthetics.

The bottom chamber houses an HDD cage on the left side whereas there is a provision for the PSU housing on the right side. The drive cage is tool-less and is secured using a thumbscrew.

The drive caddy is made of plastic and finished in the black color. We can adjust the drive cage’s position. The user can make room for more length PSU and cables or more room for the front-mounted fans/radiator. Removing the drive cage as a whole is also possible. Without a drive cage, there is a clearance of up to 65mm for the front-mounted radiator/fan.

Without the drive cage, we have about 370mm of space available for the PSU and cables, disregarding the front fan/radiators. With a front-mounted radiator/fan, this space decreases to around 305mm for the PSU and cables. Shifting the drive cage towards the front of the chassis leaves us approximately 216mm for the PSU.

There are 5 drilled holes where the drive cage can be screwed in. There are 3 sets of latches on the left side and 2 sets of latches on the right side to catch the cage.

There are 4 raised feet, with each having a rubber pad pasted on it. The PSU is placed on these. Take care while installing the PSU as the rubber pads can come off easily.

Thermaltake h550 switch board
Switch board (Image by Tech4Gamers)

The switchboard accommodates up to 3 ARGB LED devices, with two headers in play—one for the front panel’s ARGB LED lighting strip and another for the rear fan’s ARGB LEDs. It’s crucial to note that the switchboard follows a specific sequence in its programming.

The first header, labeled as Fan1, plays a pivotal role; if no ARGB device is connected to it, the rest of the ARGB devices on other headers won’t illuminate. The 5V switchboard boasts a black color PCB with three 6-pin connectors, each combining fan power and LED power cables.

Additionally, there’s a 3-pin fan header for connecting the rear fan’s power cable, though our sample doesn’t have this fan connected to the header. Power is drawn through the SATA connector, and there’s a white connector at the bottom labeled as LED out.

Use the bundled ARGB sync cable on the white LED out connector, connecting its other end to your motherboard’s 5V lighting header like Asus’ AURA Sync. This setup, compatible with Asus AURA Sync, ASRock Polychrome, Gigabyte RGB Fusion, and MSI Mystic Light Sync, includes a 4-pin lighting sync cable for Gigabyte motherboards. To shift control, hold the RGB switch on the top I/O panel after connecting the lighting sync cable.

Thermaltake h550 front panel's cables
Front panel cables (Image by Tech4Gamers)

The front panel’s cables include a USB 3.0 cable, a USB 2.0 cable, a front panel HD audio cable and the system panel cables.

RGB Lighting

With the chassis design discussed at length, it is time to take a look at the RGB lighting solution. The ARGB lighting is controlled using a dedicated button on the front panel. It is pertinent to mention that the lighting can be turned off all-together, which is actually one of the modes now.

ARGB lighting is compatible with the following:

Long press the RGB button for 3 seconds. This will double flash/blink the lighting on the fan and the front panel. Now the user can control the lighting from the motherboard’s respective lighting software. Long press the RGB button for 3 seconds and the lighting control will be returned to the switchboard on the backside of the chassis.

Here are some pics for your eye pleasure.

Test Build and Experience

The following configuration has been used for the test build:

My experience with the Thermaltake H550 Review was smooth overall, except for installing the graphics card vertically. The air cooler blocked the 14.5cm tall graphics card, making it impossible to fit. An AIO cooler or a shorter graphics card would have worked better.

Installing the motherboard went without a hitch. I placed the cooler and RAM outside the chassis, but they’re easily installed after the motherboard. Then came the PSU.

It’s crucial to install the PSU first before sorting out the system panel cables. The fully modular PSU allowed us to use only the necessary cables (24-pin ATX, 8+8-pin PEG, 8-pin EPS, and SATA). The PSU shroud’s cutouts made bottom-side cabling a non-issue in the Thermaltake H550 TG ARGB. The cable management space behind was about 16mm.

One needs to carefully plan the cable routing on the backside.

Here are some of the pictures that I have taken of the build:

Thermal Testing

Next up is the thermal testing using the same configuration as mentioned above. Here are some key points regarding the testing:

  • There is no user control over the speed of the rear fan.
  • There is no pre-installed front fan.
  • In first run of the test, no fan was installed on the front side to ensure the testing of the chassis in stock configuration.
  • 2x NoiseBlocker NB-BlackSilentPro PL fans were installed on the front side in the second test. These fans are rated for 1500 RPM speed and they were set to run at 100% PWM cycle.
  • AIDA64 was used to stress the CPU and the Graphics Card at a time.
  • A stress test was run for 30 minutes before taking temperature readings.
  • A minimum of 30 minutes of idling time was ensured between both testings.
  • The thermal testing is conducted with and without the front panel to see how much airflow restricted this design.
  • Since both tests were run at a different time the ambient Temperature was different for both times which is why delta temperature is being used on the graphs.
  • The ambient temperature for the stock configuration test was in the range of 18.5°C to 19°
  • The ambient temperature for the second configuration test was in the range of 16.8°C to 17.2°
  • Intel i7 8700k was boosting to 4.7GHz with Asus Enhancement mode on.
  • Average of all cores’ maximum temperature readings was taken for the graph.

Here is the result:

Thermal Performance – CPU

H550 Testing
CPU thermal performance (Image by Tech4Gamers)

In the stock configuration, there was only a 120mm ARGB fan which comes pre-installed on the rear. The first run of the test was made with the front panel installed and the second run was done without the front panel.

There is a difference of 4.67°C and in both instances, the CPU was maintaining its boost clocks. Clearly, in stock configuration (even without front fans) the front panel is not paying a significant role in the overall thermal performance.

For the second test configuration, two Noise Blocker fans were installed on the backside of the front-mounted rail. Two runs were made; one with the front panel removed and other with front panel installed.

We noticed a 5.77°C CPU temperature improvement under load by adding two 120mm front panel fans. To optimize airflow, high static pressure fans are recommended for the restricted front air intake. Installing fans on the backside of the front rail is advised.

Thermal Performance – GPU

H550 Testing configuration
GPU thermal performance (Image by Tech4Gamers)

In the original setup, the graphics card’s temperature barely changed with or without the front panel. Even with two 120mm fans added to the front, there was still minimal impact on the card’s temperature. Unexpectedly, this second setup saw a 1.8°C rise in the graphics card’s overall temperature.

Should You Buy It?

Now that we have tested the Thermaltake H550 TG ARGB, should you buy it?

Buy It If:

✅You Seek a Visually Appealing chassis: The Thermaltake H550 TG ARGB offers a sleek design with a diamond-cut brushed aluminum front panel, tempered glass side panel, and integrated ARGB lighting, making it an ideal choice for those who prioritize aesthetics.

✅You’re Looking for Versatile Compatibility: If you have various motherboard sizes (ITX, micro-ATX, or standard ATX) and need flexibility in component choices, this chassis supports different configurations, including vertical GPU mounting, various fan and radiator options, and multiple drive installations.

✅You Give Attention to Dust Management: For users who prioritize cleanliness, the chassis provides effective dust management with filters on every possible air intake side, including a magnetic dust filter on the top side and a full bottom filter.

Don’t Buy It If:

❌You Have Front-Focused Cooling Needs: If your priority is front-mounted fans or enhanced air intake from the front, the Thermaltake H550 TG ARGB might not be the best choice, as it comes with only one pre-installed rear fan and limited air intake on the front side.

❌You Need for Fan Speed Control: If you prefer controlling the speed of your rear fan, this case might not meet your expectations, as the user can’t control the speed of the pre-installed rear fan due to its connection to the RGB switchboard.

Final Words

The Thermaltake H550, part of the renowned H series, dazzles with its integrated front panel RGB lighting and a sleek 2mm brushed aluminum panel. It features SPCC material, a tempered glass panel, and a black finish both inside and out.

The build experience was smooth and hassle-free. It supports various fan configurations and radiator sizes on the front, rear, and top, with filtration for all air intake points. Despite lacking front-mounted fans and limited front air intake, the chassis impresses with its sturdy build, efficient cable management options, and an eye-catching ARGB display, making it a compelling choice at $99.99.

The two possible cons of the chassis are the lack of front-mounted fans and restricted air intake on the front side.

We are thankful to Thermaltake for giving us the opportunity to review their H550 TG ARGB PC Chassis.

Recent Updates


  • December 24, 2023: A few text changes to improve readability. Also added image galleries.
 

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