Introduction

Thermaltake Technology Inc. was founded in 1999 with the vision of building Thermaltake Technology into “a cultural brand for the enjoyment of entertainment, e-Sports, technology, and lifestyle”. Thermaltake Technology is focused on delivering the perfect user experience. Their products range from Power Supply Units, PC Chassis, Complete Custom Loop solutions, CPU Coolers, Fans to the range of the peripherals like keyboards, mouse, mouse mat, headphones, and even gaming chairs. The very essence of the Thermaltake DNA is based on Courage, Passion, and Perseverance. They are diversified in brands like TteSPORTS, Luxa to bring consumer-focused products from respective domains.

Today we will be taking a look at the Thermaltake H550 TG ARGB PC Chassis. This is a compact mid-tower chassis with support up to standard ATX size motherboards. It has 7+2 PCIe slot covers with a maximum graphics card supported length of 300mm without a radiator on the front side. The graphics card can also be installed in a vertical position for which the supporting bracket comes pre-installed. The CPU cooler’s height clearance is 165mm. PSU length clearance is 200mm without an HDD cage. The most compelling feature is 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. One 120mm ARGB fan is installed on the rear. The ARGB lighting is controlled using a dedicated PCB board controller installed on the backside of the chassis. There is an RGB button on the front panel for lighting control. The Thermaltake H550 TG ARGB has a PSU shroud which has a vented design on the top. In terms of the storage capacity, the user can install up to 4x 2.5” or 2x 3.5” and 2x 2.5” drives in a combination. There is a 4mm thick TG panel on the front and the side panel is also 4mm thick. The chassis has ample support for cooling gear with a maximum of 360mm radiator up front and/or 240mm radiator up top.

  • Product:               H550 TG ARGB
  • Manufacturer:      Thermaltake
  • Price:                    Rs.16,200/- [At the time of the review]

Specifications

Packaging and Unboxing

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

The front and the back sides are identical in layout. Thermaltake brand name and logo are printed on the top left. There is an illustrative picture of the chassis in the center followed by the model name. The chassis has a built-in 120mm ARGB fan.

The specifications of the chassis are printed in the tabular format here. A serial no sticker is pasted on the bottom. The part number and related info bar codes are printed on the bottom right.

An illustrative picture of the chassis is printed in the middle with the model name of it at the bottom.

The chassis has 1x tempered glass panel and the same has been highlighted on the top section of the packing box.

Open the box and get treated by the brushed aluminum side facing upward.

Contents

These include:

  • Various screws to install motherboard, PSU, storage drives, fan
  • User Guide
  • Cable Ties
  • 2x Lighting Sync Cables
  • Speaker

Closer Look

The Thermaltake H550 TG ARGB is a mid-tower having a dimension of 441x225x472mm with a net weight of 7.56KG. 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. Before digging into the design elements of the chassis, let’s take a look at what Thermaltake is saying about it. “The H550 Tempered Glass ARGB Edition mid-tower chassis is a new design from the H Series, a series that is famous for its eye-catching RGB light strip incorporated at the front. Its dedicated diamond-cut angles around the 2mm aluminum front panel make the H550 TG ARGB unique and incomparable. The preinstalled front ARGB light strip and rear 120mm ARGB fan can be controlled via motherboard synchronization software or the RGB switch on the top I/O port. Other outstanding features include a 4mm tempered glass panel, a riser GPU support bracket, and removable magnetic filters for overall exceptional pc performance which is the ideal pc case for both gamers and enthusiasts.”

Let’s start with the front side.

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.

Taking a look 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.

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.

The user can adjust the height of the 120mm fan on the rear side of the chassis. The user can install the 120mm or 140mm fan on the rear. There is no provision to adjust the height of the 140mm fan and one would need a flat head screws (included in the accessories or use the one on the 120mm fan) for the 140mm fan mount as the certain portion of the right side mounting holes for 140mm sizing are covered by the TG panel’s frame.

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

Let’s take a look at the top side of the Thermaltake Level 20 MT ARGB

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

The above picture shows the top side with a magnetic dust filter removed. The fans can be adjusted as Thermaltake has provided rail system to slide the fans for flexible mounting.

Let’s take a look at the bottom side of the Thermaltake Level 20 MT ARGB:

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.

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.

Let’s take a look at both side panels of the chassis from the exterior.

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. Handle with care!

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 vented portion is on the front panel. It has a dust filter from the inside as mentioned above. The dimension of this vented portion is 350x26mm.

The top I/O panel includes:

  • RGB Switch
  • Headphone jack
  • Microphone jack
  • 2x USB 2.0 ports
  • 1x USB 3.0 port
  • Reset button
  • LED Indicator
  • Power button

The Thermaltake brand logo and name are printed in white color on the top. Now that we have discussed the exterior of the Thermaltake H550 TG ARGB, it is time to take a look at the interior and see what bells and whistles it has.

The Thermaltake H550 TG ARGB is a compact mid-tower but with 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 supports vertical mount for the graphics card. Please, keep in mind that the riser cable is not included in the box and one has to buy that separately. There is also a limitation on the graphics card height in the vertical layout as I was not able to install the XFX RX 5500XT Thicc Pro as it was constrained 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 comes with one 120mm ARGB fan at the rear. The rear fan has 9 blades which are in white color and are translucent. The ARGB LEDs are probably in the center of the fan. The fan is using Thermaltake’s proprietary connector which is connected to the switchboard on the backside of the chassis. The user has no option to control the speed of the fan. The user can install a 120mm radiator on the rear though it seems like only a slim rad would fit.

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 30mm approximately 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.

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.

The user can install the fan either on the front side of the mounting rail or on the backside though my recommendation is to install them on the backside as the right side’s air intake is limited and it is further restricted by the dust filter. This would choke the front-mounted fans. The front panel’s cables can be seen coming out on 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.

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

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.

Let’s take a look at the bottom chamber.

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 the plastic and finished in the black color.

The drive cage’s position can be adjusted. The user can make room for more length PSU and cables or more room for the front-mounted fans/radiator. The user can also remove the drive cage. Without a drive cage, there is a clearance of up to 65mm for the front-mounted radiator/fan. Similarly, without a drive cage, there is an ample space of 370mm for the PSU and cables (excluding the front fan/radiators). With front-mounted radiator/fan, there is a space of 305mm for the PSU and cables (without the drive cage). If we move the drive cage towards the front side of the chassis, then there is a provision of 216mm approximately 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 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.

The switchboard can house up to 3 ARGB LED devices. Two headers are in use; one for the front panel’s ARGB LED lighting strip and the other for the rear fan’s ARGB LEDs. Please, keep in mind that the switchboard is programmed such as the sequence is important. If there is no ARGB device connected to the first header labeled as Fan1 then the rest of the connected ARGB devices to the other headers will not light up. The 5V switchboard has black color PCB with three 6-pin connectors. Each connector has fan power and LED power cable combined into a single unit. There is also a 3-pin fan header to which the rear fan’s power cable can be connected as our sample does not have the rear fan connected to this header. This board uses the SATA connector to take power. There is a white color connector at the bottom labeled as LED out. This is where the either of two bundled ARGB sync cables is to be connected while the cable’s other end will be connected to the motherboard’s 5V lighting header like AURA Sync header on the Asus motherboard. Since the Gigabyte motherboards use a 4-pin style interface, Thermaltake has bundled 4-pin lighting sync cable as well. The lighting solution is compatible with Asus AURA Sync, ASRock Polychrome, Gigabyte RGB Fusion, and MSI Mystic Light Sync. To convert the control to the motherboard, press and hold the RGB switch on the top I/O panel for a few seconds after connecting the lighting sync cable.

The front panel’s cables include:

  • 1x USB 3.0 Cable
  • 1x USB 2.0 Cable
  • 1x Front Panel HD Audio Cable
  • System Panel Cables

Here is the complete listing of fan and radiator support as can be seen in the picture below.

Test Build and Experience

The following configuration has been used for the test build:

  • Intel i7 8700k
  • Asus Strix Z390E Gaming
  • CORSAIR Vengeance RGB 16GB @ 3200MHz DDR4
  • Thermaltake UX200 ARGB
  • XFX RX 5500XT THICC II Pro 8G
  • Thermaltake TP RGB 750W PSU
  • Samsung PM961 250GB SSD

My overall build experience in the Thermaltake H550 TG ARGB has been smooth and hassle-free except for the graphics card installation in vertical layout which could not be done as the air cooler was restricting the 14.5cm height graphics card. This would not have been the case with an AIO cooler or the graphics card with a lower height.

I started with the motherboard installation and did not face any issue regarding the motherboard installation. The cooler and RAM were installed outside of the chassis though they can be easily installed after the motherboard’s installation. Next, the PSU was installed. It is important to install the PSU first before routing the system panel cables. Since the PSU is fully modular, only the needed cables were used (24-pin ATX, 8+8-pin PEG, 8-pin EPS, and SATA). Thanks to the cutouts on the PSU shroud the cabling at the bottom side of the motherboard is of no concern in the Thermaltake H550 TG ARGB. The cable management space on the backside is roughly 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:

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 1500RPM 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:

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. There is a difference of 5.77°C. Overall the CPU temperature under load has improved with two 120mm fans on the front panel but in this configuration high static pressure fans would be handy as the air intake is restricted on the front. Plus, I would recommend installing the fans on the backside of the front rail.

In stock configuration, there was hardly any difference in the temperature of the graphics card with and without the front panel. The same is the case with the second configuration with two 120mm fans on the front side. Surprisingly, in the second configuration, the overall temperature of the graphics card has increased up to 1.8°C difference.

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. We have a total 27 illumination modes:

  • Mode 1: Wave Mode
  • Mode 2: Flow Mode
  • Mode 3: RGB Lighting Single Color
  • Mode 4~10: Radar Mode with Red, Yellow, Green, Cyan, Blue, White, Purple colors
  • Mode 11~18: Breathe Mode with Red, Yellow, Green, Cyan, Blue, White, Purple colors
  • Mode 19: Full lighted Mode
  • Mode 20~26: Single Color with Red, Yellow, Green, Cyan, Blue, White, Purple colors
  • Mode 27: Light Off

Please, note that Thermaltake is using the 6-pin proprietary connector on these fans. Hence, the user has no control over the speed of these fans.

ARGB lighting is compatible with the following:

  • ASUS AURA Sync
  • ASRock Polychrome
  • MSI Mystic Lighting
  • GIGABYTE RGB Fusion 2

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.

 

Conclusion

The Thermaltake H550 TG ARGB is from their famous H series of the chassis which are known for integrated RGB lighting strip on the front panel. The ARGB lighting show is on the money which is further augmented using a diamond-cut brushed aluminum panel (2mm) on the front side. The overall design is sleek and in symmetry. It has a dimension of 441x225x472mm with a net weight of 7.56KG. The 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.

The chassis has 7+2 PCIe slot covers where 2x slots are in vertical layout as this chassis supports vertical mount for the graphics card. There is a riser cable bracket pre-installed on the PSU shroud. The user has to buy a riser cable as it is not included in the accessories. The chassis has a clearance of CPU cooler with a maximum height of 165mm. The maximum length of a graphics card is 300mm. In a vertical layout, the 45mm width is supported for the graphics card. The maximum supported height of the RAM is 40mm with top-mounted AIO. This restriction is only for the AIO on the top. The user can install 2x 2.5/3.5” drives in the drive cage and 2x 2.5” drives on the brackets behind the motherboard tray. The drive caddy is tool-less and the drive cage can be adjusted to make room for PSU with cables or thicker radiator on the front. PSU of length 160mm is supported by the drive cage. Without the drive cage, the 200mm length of the PSU is supported.

The user can install 120mm or 140mm on the rear. 120mm radiator is supported on the rear. The user can install 2x 120mm or 140mm fans on the top. A 240mm radiator is supported on the top. The user can install 3x 120mm or 2x 140mm or 2x 200mm fans on the front. The 120mm, 140mm, 240mm, 280, and 360mm radiators are supported on the front. The chassis has only one pre-installed which is at the rear. The radiator of maximum thickness of 65mm is supported on the front for which the drive cage needs to be moved towards the PSU area in the bottom chamber. Also, the fans would need to be installed on the front side of the mounting bracket for the 65mm thick radiator.

The Thermaltake H550 TG ARGB supports ITX, micro-ATX, and standard ATX size motherboards. 9x black color standoffs are pre-installed. The selling features of the Thermaltake H550 TG ARGB are the diamond-cut 2mm brushed aluminum front panel, 4mm thick Tempered Glass Side panel and 120mm ARGB fan on the rear. Every possible air intake side is filtered in this chassis. The top side has a magnetic dust filter. The side air intake on the front panel has a dust filter. There is a single large size dust filter covering the entire bottom (underneath) of the chassis.

The overall build quality is good. The motherboard tray has no flex. There are proper cutouts on the motherboard tray for the cable routing though they don’t have rubber grommets. The PSU shroud runs on the entire length of the chassis and has a cutout on the front side to make room for thick radiators. The shroud has a vented portion on the top and has proper cutouts for cable routing. The backside of the chassis has approximately 16mm space for cable management. There are plenty of cable tie points on the back. There is an RGB switchboard installed on the left side of the 2.5” brackets behind the motherboard tray. The rear fan and the front panel’s ARGB lighting are connected to this board using Thermaltake proprietary connectors. The user can’t control the speed of the rear fan. The board draws power using the SATA cable. The I/O panel on the top has 2x audio jacks, 2x USB 3.0 ports, power, reset and RGB buttons as well as an LED indicator.

The Thermaltake H550 TG ARGB is listed at Rs.16,200/- at Shing [at the time of the review]. My overall impression of the chassis is quite good. The build experience was smooth and hassle-free. The ARGB light show is on the money and the brushed aluminum panel gives one heck of the bold and killer looks to the chassis. The two possible Cons are the lack of front-mounted fans and restricted air intake on the front side. For more details on thermal testing and build experience, please refer to the concern sections above.

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

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