There are a lot of plusses that the Thermaltake Urban T221 offers. The front of the chassis is sleek looking, and the aluminum panel does add a touch of elegance. Outwardly, while compact, this chassis could go anywhere from the office, to a LAN, even to the living room in an HTPC environment - the subtle classy look will blend in anywhere. While the interior may be a bit on the old school side of its layout, there is something to say for that. Wiring is kept simple, there are tool-free clips, essentially you need a screwdriver for the motherboard, the video card, and the PSU, the rest of the build is pretty much plug-and-play. For those in the market for a case you could do a build in blindly, this is it, and with the smaller side window and optional fan locations, you can cool this chassis to your heart's content, and see only just a hint of what is inside, leaving a bit of intrigue to the design when friends come over and see this system.
There are some downsides to this design, though, too. If you have issues knowing cabling is just making it to connection points, and will be obvious as soon as you open the door that there is little to no options to maintain the cables in a chassis, you may want to keep on looking. Also the thickness of the steel is a bit lacking, and the panels flex easily, as does the chassis once the panels are off. On the flip side of this, once the PSU and motherboard were installed, along with the video card, the case does get much more rigid using these components to strengthen the overall structural integrity.
There are a bunch of locations for fans, but other that a single radiator AIO, you would be hard pressed to install much along the lines of a custom loop. This is why they offer the holes and grommets, as the majority of a loop would have to be external.
The build process was simple and speedy, everything works, the wiring is long enough to get where they need to be, with the tool-free clips and limited time with a screwdriver in our hand, we found this basic design to do exactly what it needs to without much more to offer. As appealing as the exterior is, an extra fan, and an aluminum fascia does not warrant the $69.99 MSRP in my opinion.
There are plenty of $40 to $70 offerings on the market that offer much richer feature sets, are just as easy to build inside of, and some are even as aesthetically pleasing, just in their own ways. If you happen to catch this chassis on sale, by all means consider it, but for the asking price, I just think there is money better spent on other offerings already flooding a lower priced segment of the mid-tower case market.
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