Thermaltake Urban S21 Reviewhornybluecow - May 8, 2013
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Thermaltake Urban S21 Closer Look:
Removing the side panels only required taking off two thumb screws on each side. Other than the mishap of the screw that I explained earlier, these come out without much effort but firmly enough to not fall out or leave the door loose. This case is a mid-tower, and the motherboard tray seems standard. I will note that they tray does not come out like some cases offer. I wasn't expecting it to nor do I ever use the feature, but it's worth mentioning. Looking at the bare bones here you only have three 5.25" bays available as the top one is occupied by USB ports, sound, and buttons. Below that, one slot is reserved for a floppy (err 3.5" exposed) bay. Nowadays, exposed bays are often used for multi-card readers. Moving down some more, you get five 3.5" bays for your hard drives. With that being said, the whole case is set up to be tool-less, which has become the standard . Thermaltake didn't rock the boat on this one, and they came out easy enough. A big feature in this case design is space for 12" graphic cards. Considering I haven't ever seen anything over 11" , it is safe to say the case is future proof in that aspect. In the end, you may have to make a trade-off between a long card and 3.5" bays. Once you put in a HDD and all the wires, the gap between the two is very little.
Here is a close up of the tool-less design; you have five 3.5" bays and a sixth exposed. The right picture shows the assortment of cables you get: audio, USB 3.0, power, reset, and hard drive pins. Down below, you have a space for a 120mm fan that will sit right next to your power supply if it is small enough. I will also note once again that there is mesh as a dust filter, but it cannot be removed.
Here is a close-up of what I was talking about when I said you lose the top 5.25" bay. I will also note that those cables cannot be routed around the back, they must hang down over the DVD drive. Cable management is something I will be talking about in more detail here shortly.
The case comes with two 120mm fans. The back one is snug with little room to spare; if you are thinking about using one of those closed-loop coolers, the tight space might be a problem. In my original attempt, neither the Corsair H60 and Antec 620 that I had on hand cleared it. Since the radiator is just a tad larger than the fan it sits on, it hit the top metal to which the side panel connects. I was nearly convinced, but I jumped on to Thermaltake website, and sure enough a picture of a liquid closed loop cooler clearing the top. Then I went back and tried different methods until I found that installing the inside screws first pushed the cooler against the fan so it wasn't hanging off which gave the clearance needed. If the case had 1 cm more width it would have cleared easily, but It will fit with patience. This conundrum also had me thinking about whether or not an aftermarket air cooler would fit. My past experience by just looking at it says no, but do not take my word for it because I didn't have the means to test it. I did measure 16.5cm from the board to the side panel. Take away 1-2cm to account for the CPU socket being raised, and you have 15.24cm clearance. Interestingly enough, Thermaltake's official number is 155mm or 15.5cm so my math was fairly accurate. The Noctua NH-D14 has a height of 158mm. In short, not all aftermarket coolers will fit; you will want to count before you buy.
This case is not meant to hide wires or run them behind the tray and is in fact completely closed. You have a little bit of clearance for the 3.5" bays, and I was able to shove (*cough hide cough*) the motherboard 24-pin connector, but doing so took up all the space.
Inside the case tied to the side you will find a manual, a bag of screws containing zip ties, a speaker, and an assortment of screws. These pieces are standard in any computer case.
The computer is assembled! Here is where I have major issues with this case. As you can see in the picture. the jumble of wires creates a distracting mess that takes away from the aesthetics of the case. I tried to hide them, and believe me, it was worse the first time. I took everything out and tried again. Because there is zero space behind the motherboard tray, I could not run the 8-pin power connector like I normally do and instead had to wrap it around a 10.5" video card. Another large issue is that the PSU fits so snugly to the fan grill that I could not get it flipped; it now draws or blows it owns air outside the case. In a previous picture, you can see a metal bar that holds the PSU in as well as little pads to stop vibration. Unfortunately, the problem is that the fan grill presses against the pads lifting it just enough so it cannot slide into place. I have more gripes but you get the idea. It's more of my personal letdown because of the amazing potential this case has, only to be held back by wires. It is worth mentioning that I did not get cut once while installing this box, and that is rare. I could not find one sharp thing made by Thermaltake.