Thermaltake Urban T81 Case Review
OverviewHardware: Cases & PSU
WHAT WE LIKED:Price, Spacious, Modular HDD cage, Large Window, Solid Door to cover bays, Huge included fans, Water Cooling Support, Cable Management
WHAT WE DISLIKED:no noise dampening material
It has been a while since Thermaltake presented a chassis that was thought out as well as the Urban T81. Think of the Level 10 chassis, it was visually eccentric but everything was very intelligent and purposeful. That is something I found in the T81 as well but without the visual “What the hell is that?” factor found in the Level 10. Water cooling enthusiasts were obviously the driving force behind the design but it also allows for some of the best and biggest air cooling options around. All of this is made easier by having a modular drive cage system, large tray cut out and integrated fan controller.
The double doors are something we don’t see in case designs today but I hope it remains in future ThermalTake designs. The large removable window allows you to view the visually pleasing section of your system while the solid door obscures HDD cages, pumps and radiators. I would like to see an optional PSU cover offered with the T81 or future cases based on this design. The amount and locations of the cable management options present in the T81 should be the standard going forward. The grommets and tie down points did wonders for keeping everything nice and organized. The rear cover is raised a bit to give you a bit more room for cabling; however, just a tad more would have gone a long way when it was time to put the rear cover back on. This system did require a lot of cabling but that should be expected when you design a monster chassis like the Urban T81.
When all is said and done, Thermaltake did not disappoint in what can be considered their first new outing or a reintroduction into enthusiast class custom water cooling cases. There is a huge distinction between a compatible case compared to one explicitly designed for that purpose and we are starting to see more focus on features like tool-less removable cages, overall height and length for radiator support, integrated 10 fan controller, alternative drive mounts, pump/reservoir mounts or stands and 140mm fan support.
Classic air cooling is not going away anytime soon but with the advent of sealed loop coolers and custom water cooling getting easier, ThermalTake needs to keep focusing on the future of case design along with their recently announced water cooling parts ambitions to stay ahead of the curve. The T81 is just one of the many steps Thermaltake has planned for the enthusiast market, and a big step it was. Competitive pricing of $169.99 adds the final piece to earn the Urban T81 the PureOverclock Editor’s Choice Award.