Introduction, Specifications and Pricing
Thermaltake has always been a bit adventurous when it comes to thinking outside of the box when designing products. They were the first to bring AIOs mainstream, long before the Asetek and CoolIT lifetime we all recognize today. Thermaltake was, and still is, very adventurous in their CPU air cooler designs, and when it comes to their cases, it is really tough to compete with Thermaltake. Over the years, Thermaltake has been known for over the top case designs like the Sword M, on through the Level 10, and Level 10GT. In the last year or two, Thermaltake has become a major player in the standard case market with all of the new features and modularity that their cases are now offering.
The Urban series as a whole has done very well for Thermaltake, and ushered in a bit of sleek elegance that Thermaltake was not really well known for over their many years of case designs, and based on all of the samples we see, we think this is currently a huge trend in cases. Most cases that are super sleek and elegant don't typically offer the best compatibility, and many offer very little in the form of modularity in comparison to what Thermaltake is now bringing forth in this full-tower design.
While we are knowingly building some excitement and anticipation for what you are about to see, we feel that the Thermaltake Urban T81 is worth every bit of this attention. It is really rare that we get this excited so soon into a review. If our excitement alone does not tell you that Thermaltake is onto something really good in this latest sample, then by the time we are done covering what they have brought to the table, you will have to agree that while Thermaltake may have been ahead of their time in many aspects, time, effort, customer needs, and a great product have all lined up at once this time. The Urban T81 is very worthy of your time to have a look at.
With the Urban T81 we are given a SECC steel frame that is painted inside and out with an application of textured black paint. Of course, they use ABS plastic to cast sections like the feet, the front bezel and its door, and the top of the case, but here we get a mixture of textured surfaces to contrast shiny piano black sections in this design. This is a large full-tower chassis that measures almost twenty-four inches tall, is nearly as deep at twenty-three inches, and is slightly wider than nine inches. One major thing to consider in a chassis such as this is the weight, and this Urban T81 weighs in at over thirty pounds dry.
Lastly, we want to cover the window in the left side panel, but that also offers the chance to get into the two-door left side. In this design, where the side would typically have one solid panel, that is not the case here. This T81 offers a large panel to the left, on hinges that house the window, and this section can lift off the hinges to be completely removed. Additionally, over the bay section near the front of the chassis, there is yet another panel that opens toward the front of the chassis.
In this chassis, Thermaltake packs in two 200mm fans in the front of the case to blow air in, while a 140mm is used in the back, and a 200mm is used as exhaust at the top, leaving this chassis with a slightly positive pressure design out of the box.
Just behind the front fans there are two 5.25" bays with eight 3.5" drive trays in three racks below it. While there are also brackets for adapting a 5.25" drive to a 3.5" drive, the real kicker here is that all of the drive bays can be completely removed, including the 5.25" bays. This leaves a ton of room for water cooling options, and at the bottom of the chart it describes all of the fan and radiator placement options in this design.
A few bits will tie up loose ends on what the chart has provided. This design offers eight expansion slots, and the screws have been moved outside to increase room inside. This is done because it can house Micro-ATX and ATX motherboards, but it is also fully ready for an E-ATX motherboard as well. There is plenty of connectivity in the front I/O panel, and just about any PSU will work, as long as there are no plans for an extra fan there. Of course, the case is LCS ready, but the diameter of tubing is shown in reference to the holes in the back of the chassis for external cooling solutions. The last bits to be aware of are the 180mm CPU height restriction, which really isn't any sort of a restriction, and you can fit up to 400mm of video card in this chassis if the bays are removed in the front.
As we typically do, we checked for availability by hitting all of the local haunts and retailers to find the products in the wild, and we found the Thermaltake Urban T81 just about everywhere we looked. As far as pricing is concerned, you will have to dig a bit deeper than average to obtain this chassis at a good price. If we were to buy directly from Thermaltake, it is listed for $189.99. Of course, most retailers on the interwebs price the chassis much closer to the $175 U.S. dollar mark, which at a glance, is slightly more expensive that the typical $100 to $150 full-towers we are used to. However, we really do think that the price is very on point for what this Urban T81 offers, as you will come to find out as we discuss the features of the Urban T81 more fully.
PRICING: You can find the THERMALTAKE URBAN T81 for sale below. The prices listed are valid at the time of writing, but can change at any time. Click the link to see the very latest pricing for the best deal.
United States: The THERMALTAKE URBAN T81 retails for $172.24 at Amazon.
Canada: The THERMALTAKE URBAN T81 retails for CDN$218.88 at Amazon Canada.