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Best Of The Best, Part 2: Who Makes The Most Elite PC Case?

Thermaltake Urban T81

Just when we began to question whether $180 was too low a starting point for a premium case comparison, Thermaltake stepped up with its sharp-looking Urban T81 at exactly that price. Can the T81's actual quality and feature set match its apparent value for such a conservative sum?

We do, after all, get black-anodized face and port panel inserts, even if a majority of the case is medium-thickness steel. And the face panel is double-walled plastic to reduce noise.

The front panel section is actually up top, featuring four USB 2.0 ports, along with a pair of USB 3.0 ports, audio I/O, and a two-speed fan controller.

The rear even has an eighth expansion slot to allow users of ATX motherboards and double-slot graphics cards to mount a third or fourth GPU in the platform's bottom slot. Also seen above, the right side panel is extended outward to make more room for cables, and the top panel is mesh-covered for improved ventilation.

The removable front door hides two 5.25” external bays, a 3.5” external bay adapter cover, and two fan covers. All of those features, including the door hinges, have easy-to-use release tabs.

The bottom panel also features a filter that slides out from the rear, though reaching it requires lifting the case and reaching under the back. This is slightly less convenient than Corsair’s similar design, but still easier to use than the optional screw-on or stick-on filters that CaseLabs sells separately.

Thomas Soderstrom is a Senior Staff Editor at Tom's Hardware US. He tests and reviews cases, cooling, memory and motherboards.