Thermaltake Urban S21 Elegant Mid Tower Review

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We have studied many cases from Thermaltake in the past and a large majority of them have been all out gaming cases. A couple has been what many would consider "simplistic enclosures". But none could really be considered elegant. A word that is often associated with a few other manufacturers. One major difference is this one case is affordable. The Thermaltake Urban S21 is a very elegant case that would definitely fit the needs of many from a gamer to a typical office worker and everything in between.

 

 

Thermaltake Urban S21 Elegant Mid Tower Review

Introduction

We were not able to attend CES this past year. We had to use other means for you to see what new goodies we are going to show you this 2013. I am sure this was the case for many of you as well. Scanning some of the sites that were able to attend CES, we made a list of some of the things we would like to review for you, our readers. Looking at the Thermaltake coverage, we were able to generate the longest list we have from one company alone.

Chances are we will not be able to get all the things on the list but we were able to get one. That one product would be the Thermaltake Urban S21 chassis, which is a smaller version of the S71 and is another item on our list. Are you curious to know what either of these cases has to offer? Well, we are going to talk about the Urban S21 today and just imagine a larger version with more features when wondering about the S71.

We have studied many cases from Thermaltake in the past and a large majority of them have been all out gaming cases. A couple has been what many would consider "simplistic enclosures". But none could really be considered elegant. A word that is often associated with a few other manufacturers. One major difference is this one case is affordable. The Thermaltake Urban S21 is a very elegant case that would definitely fit the needs of many from a gamer to a typical office worker and everything in between.

Thermaltake’s Take on the Urban S21

Thermaltake, an industry leader in computer chassis, thermal solution, and power supply unit recently reveals Urban S21 mainstream mid-tower, one of the members of Thermaltake newest chassis series – Urban Series. The entire series has a simple and elegant aesthetic look; designed for users who look for powerful performance and high expandability but a flamboyantly appearance or more simple and sophisticated look.

Urban S21 built with metal brushed front door panel to mask the extrusive drive devices ( 3 ODD and 6 HDD drive bays), not only unify the appearance, but also provide a simple yet elegant aesthetic; the sophisticated look can also be part of decoration at home to enhance living quality. The Front-top panel has implemented two of latest data transfer SuperSpeed USB 3.0, a HD microphone and headset jacks, to grand direct access when needed, and a side window opening panel to take an instant glance of the interior.

There are two preinstalled 120mm fans to optimize system ventilation in Urban S21. Plus pre-mounted hole for more ventilation options, users still can build up system ventilation by their preference. The latest tool-less innovation with 5.25” & 3.5” tool-free drive bay design minimized the hassles of installing ODD and HDD devices.

Pre-mounting holes enable user to support motherboards up to standard ATX and CPU cooler installation, the extra-long graphic card as well as rubber grommet holes for Advanced Cable Management and Liquid Cooling System.


Specifications

Case Type

Mid Tower

Dimension

438 x 185 x 497 mm
(17.2 x 7.3 x 19.6 inch)

Side Panel

Transparent Window

Color

Exterior & Interior : Black

Cooling System

Front (intake) :
120 x 120 x 25 mm Turbo fan (1000rpm,16dBA)
Rear (exhaust) :
120 x 120 x 25 mm Turbo fan (1000rpm,16dBA)
Top (exhaust) :(optional)
120 x 120 x 25 mm
Side (intake) : (optional)
120 x 120 x 25 mm
Bottom (intake) : (optional)
120 x 120 x 25 mm

Material

SECC

Drive Bays

- Accessible : 3 x 5.25’’, 1 x 3.5’’
- Hidden : 5 x 3.5’’ , 1 x 2.5’’

Expansion Slots

7

Motherboards

9.6” x 9.6” (Micro ATX), 12” x 9.6” (ATX)

I/O Ports

USB 3.0 x 2, HD Audio x 1

PSU

Standard PS2 PSU (optional)

LCS Upgradable

Supports 1/2”、3/8”、1/4” water tube

Other

CPU cooler height limitation: 155mm
VGA length limitation: 320mm

Features

Thermaltake Urban S21 mid-tower chassis
Urban S21 mainstream mid-tower, one of the members of Thermaltake newest chassis series with simple and elegant aesthetic; designed for users who looks for everything but a flamboyantly appearance.

Simple Design
Using metal brushed front door panel to mask the extrusive drive devices, not only unify the appearance, but also provide a simple yet elegant aesthetic.

Handy I/O ports
The Front-top panel has implemented two of latest data transfer SuperSpeed USB 3.0 ports, a HD microphone and headset jacks, to grand direct access when needed.

Ventilation Optimize
Preinstalled two 120mm fans to optimize system ventilation. Plus pre-mounted hole for more ventilation options

Tool-free Innovation
Innovative 5.25” & 3.5” tool-free drive bay design minimized the hassles of installing ODD and HDD devices.

Convenient Support
Pre-mounting holes to support motherboards up to standard ATX and CPU cooler installation, extra-long graphic card also supported as well as rubber grommeted holes for Advanced Cable Management and Liquid Cooling System.


Closer Look at the Exterior

It should only take you a matter of seconds after looking at the front cover of the Urban S21 to realize why they call it the elegance chassis. A majority of the front is a single door that looks like made of brushed aluminum but in reality is smooth plastic. This type of appearance is what has become known as ‘elegant’ and rightfully so.

Above the door is the I/O panel which consists of two USB 3.0 ports and your typical audio jack ports. The only branding here is the small Tt logo in the lower right corner of the door.

Opening the door, we see there are four drive bay panels that are easy to remove from the outside with one being a 3.5” bay.

And below it is a detachable dust filter cover for the 120mm fan inside.

Thermaltake did manage to keep the design simple all the way around and this includes the top. Up forward are the power LED indicator and power and reset switches. Just aft of the buttons is a small mesh area for the top mounted fan. The vented section does have a dust filter which can be removed via four small plastic pins.

The left side panel consists of a small rectangular window and a vented area for mounting a 120/140mm cooling fan.

The right side panel has a large dimple molded into it to allow for better cable management.

The case sits on four large feet that allows cool air to be brought in underneath and into the chassis. Most of the bottom is vented with dust filters for the power supply and optional 120mm fan.

The rear of the chassis is of a standard layout. A rear 120mm fan is added for exhaust and two inlets for water-cooling tubing. The expansion slots are slotted for extra ventilation.


Closer Look at the Interior

The interior is like the external as both are treated with a black paint job. The overall layout of the Urban S21 is simple and reminds us much of many other budget cases as there are no modular HDD cages, installation racks of hard drives and other features you would see in the higher model Urban series cases. But there is plenty of room for your components including graphic cards as long as 12.6” and coolers as tall as 6.1”.

The motherboard tray has an extra-large opening for the CPU cooler but lacks openings for cable management. This isn’t quite a bad thing as the tray is short enough that cables can be run around the edge and to the rear.

For the first time in a while we are seeing a tower where the 3.5” drives are mounted in going towards the front of the case. Good thing here about the bays including the 5.25” ones are tool-less.

At the bottom of the case is where the power supply would be mounted. The PSU would actually sit on three small rubber cushions.

At the rear, we have the vented slot covers and 120mm cooling can.

The top of the case from the inside.


Build Images


Conclusion

For a long time I have waited for Thermaltake to release a case what could be classified as elegant and sleek. Well, my wish has come true with the Urban series. This is my first look into the series and hopefully not my last as there are larger versions is the Urban S21. The Urban S21 is the smallest of the group but still portray the looks that anyone would be looking for in a classy case. Visually, the entire exterior surface is smooth and worthy of being displayed in any room of a typical house including the living room where people tend to be a little more discriminatory.

Yes, the Urban S21 is a refined case but if is still capable of servicing those that are looking for a modest gaming rig. There is plenty of room for multiple long video cards and plenty of space for a decent amount of mechanical storage devices and we know many gamers and enthusiasts are into water-cooling. With the S21, you can take advantage of the many 120mm mountable all-in-one coolers like the Thermaltake Water 2.0 Performer and Pro. Not into water? Well, there is plenty of width in the case to support some large air-coolers like the Thermaltake Frio series.

Air ventilation is one of the biggest factors to consider when it comes to buying a case and the Urban is no slouch on this area. There are five internal mounting options to place 120mm cooling fans. Ideally, if you were to fill all five spots, there would be three intake fans with one blowing over the GPU and two exhaust fans. That is plenty enough to keep those electronic components inside running properly.

When it comes to the negatives of this case, I have two but one is not as bad as the other. First, is the lack of room directly behind the motherboard tray. If you are a neat freak, all your extra cables will have to be hidden behind the HDD cage because that's where any room is. Granted with the side panels attached, nobody will see it but you will know it is there.

The second small concern would be the sturdiness of the Urban S21 case. It was far inferior to some of the cases we tested even in the same price range. The solid structure and support is lacking in the frame of the chassis and also in the side panels. We found them to be a little flimsy. Not a deal broker but still an aspect of the case.

Overall, I can see myself building some systems with the Urban S21. The looks and features are ideal for many and the price is right as well. Using Google Shopping we found the case going for $70 around the country.

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