Introduction, Specifications and Pricing
There are all sorts of Mini-ITX and Micro-ATX chassis designs on the market designed to take up the least amount of space as possible. Thermaltake is about to change your perception a bit. Where most of these designs are all about the overall size, trying to get smaller and smaller, there are inherent issues with doing such a thing. Most importantly are the thermal results of packing in a bunch of high tech gear inside such a confined space. Taking that a step further, most of these have the PSU over the CPU cooler, and in general, most low-profile coolers do not perform well enough for high-end systems. The last thing to consider in a fair amount of these cases is the VGA planned for the build. A few companies have made efforts for ITX sized cards, but in the current generation of video cards, that leaves you with only four or five options to choose from.
This is where Thermaltake saw a hole in the market and decided they had a solid remedy to these issues. While the height is similar to most of the SFF chassis we have seen before, the width has been increased to allow for Micro-ATX motherboards and Mini-ITX. The case offers plenty of room for full length VGAs and even comes somewhat ready to add an AIO with no fuss at all. While the overall size is larger than those bragging about having the smallest footprint or the least space inside of the chassis, Thermaltake took the approach that sometimes bigger is better, even when discussing SFF chassis designs.
So, what separates this from all the rest? Well for starters, this is from the Urban Series, which means clean exterior lines and plenty of aluminum touches to dress up the design. They also looked into optional parts as well as making every bit of the interior components removable so that the user can completely customize this chassis to their specific needs and not have a bunch of empty racks taking up space and complicating things. On the flip side, Thermaltake also offers all of the amenities one would expect in any chassis, like plenty of room in the 5.25-inch bays for an ODD as well as a fan controller while still also offering users a 3.5-inch exposed bay. While storage drive placements are more limited due to the design, even here there are options, even when the main drive rack is removed. From what we saw, and after a quick conversation about something with the engineers of this design, we find that thoughts went much deeper in this design than we initially thought.
With that in mind, we need to cruise through the specifications, pricing, and packaging, but the wait is really worth it to get to see what the Urban SD1 Micro Chassis has in store.
The provided chart is very thorough and offers up most of the information needed to make an educated decision about this design. It starts out with the Urban SD1 and part number below it, and then jumps right into the 9.4-inch height, 11-inch width, and 17.9-inch depth. Empty, this chassis weighs in at 12.8 pounds. It states there are no windows, but those sections are ventilated to allow the most passive airflow possible in this design. They also state that this chassis is black inside and out, and is comprised mostly of steel, has aluminum used on the front bezel, but there is no mention of the ABS plastic used as its frame.
As we continue down the chart, we find that there is a 90mm fan in the front of the chassis to introduce most of the air into this design. At the rear of the chassis, used as exhaust, there is a pair of 60mm fans used there. Jumping down the list a bit, we also see that there can be a conversion made where the drive racks are removed and swapped out with another panel that offers room for a 120mm or 140mm AIO to be at the top of this design. Along with the four expansion slots offered, and the USB 3.0 and HD Audio offered in the front I/O panel, we also see the limitations of 90mm for CPU cooler height and 350mm for overall VGA length.
From what we can gather, obtaining the Urban SD1 from any retailer or e-tailer is very easy, as all the places we hunt showed stock currently. As for the pricing, it may be a touch high for some with a listed price exceeding the $100 US dollar mark, but this is not your ordinary SFF chassis either. Considering what we just saw from Cooler Master in the Elite 110 and 130, we had issue with parts compatibility, and only in one of them was an AIO even feasible. Is this the best SFF chassis that can house both a Micro-ATX motherboard and an AIO without working some form of magic during the build process? Well, that is entirely up to you, but as you continue on, you will see that we are fond of it, even at this cost. We find the pricing is on point with other cases of its caliber--it just depends on your personal tastes in aesthetics--but even there the Urban SD1 is no slouch, and it will make your decision tougher when looking for a new chassis like this. We can guarantee that.
PRICING: You can find the Thermaltake Urban SD1 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 SD1 retails for $119.72 at Amazon.
New Zealand: The Thermaltake Urban SD1 retails for $229.99 NZD at Mighty Ape NZ.