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Thermaltake The Tower 100 Review: Affordable ITX Weirdness

Why is there a GPU in my fishtank?

Thermaltake The Tower 100
(Image: © Tom's Hardware)

Our Verdict

Although Thermaltake’s The Tower 100 isn’t the most practical case, it’s joyfully weird and doesn’t cost much.

For

  • + Unique new case design
  • + Showpiece from all angles
  • + Easily accessible top IO
  • + Reasonable thermal performance
  • + Affordable

Against

  • - Cheap build quality
  • - Lacking cable management
  • - Impractical build process
  • - Limited cooling potential

Thermaltake’s The Tower 100 is a new ITX chassis that comes with a totally different design from what we’re used to. It places the motherboard along the back wall of the chassis, GPU directly into the PCIe slot, rear IO at the top under a cover, and a large ATX power supply in the basement. It’s bigger than most ITX cases, but it’s got a unique design that may appeal to those who want to show off their hardware, thanks to the glass on three sides.

But although it’s a small showcase, it does limit practicality somewhat by favoring form over function. Without further ado, let’s dig a bit deeper and find out if the case is good enough for a spot on our Best PC Cases list.

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

Specifications

TypeMini-ITX
Motherboard SupportMini-ITX
Dimensions (HxWxD)18.2 x 10.5 x 10.5 inches (462.8 x 266 x 266 mm)
Max GPU Length13.0 inches (330 mm)
CPU Cooler Height7.5 inches (190 mm)
Max PSU SizeATX, up to 7.1 inches (180 mm)
External Bays
Internal Bays2x 2.5-inch
Expansion Slots2x
Front I/O2x USB 3.0, USB-C, Headphone, Mic
Other
Front Fans
Rear Fans1x 120mm
Top Fans1x 120mm
Bottom Fans
Side Fans
RGBNo
DampingNo

Features

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Thermaltake The Tower 100

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)
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Thermaltake The Tower 100

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)
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Thermaltake The Tower 100

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

Touring around the outside of the chassis, two things that are immediately clear are the lavish amount of glass that’s included for an ITX case, and the ventilation. Glass doesn’t do many favors for cooling, but ventilation does, and from the looks of it, there’s plenty to be found here.

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

The materials quality isn’t the most stunning, but given that this chassis carries an MSRP of just $109, it’s nothing to be upset about and more than adequate. Only the shroud around the top of the chassis is made from cheap plastic, though it is color-matched quite well to the rest of the case.

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Thermaltake The Tower 100

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)
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Thermaltake The Tower 100

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

Front IO comprises two USB 3.0 ports, a USB Type-C port, dedicated microphone and headphone jacks, and of course power and reset switches. This is all very complete, and much appreciated at the case’s price.

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

Meanwhile, air filters are also provided on all possible air intake locations. All the side and front vents have filters. The top and rear exhaust have filters, and the bottom PSU intake has an air filter. Of course, that’s a good thing, but there’s a good reason for it: With no dedicated spots for fan-assisted air intake, every corner better have filtration or you’ll end up with significant dust buildup.

Opening Up the Tower 100

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

Opening up The Tower 100 is a bit of a tedious process, but let's start with the teardown to reveal the case’s internals. First, you pop off the top cover by pressing down the back to click it out, revealing access to the top-mounted rear IO location. You’ll also spot an exhaust fan here, along with all the cabling for the front IO.

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

Then, you have to remove five screws to remove the plastic shroud. It then comes right off, and you can remove the glass panels.

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Thermaltake The Tower 100

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)
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Thermaltake The Tower 100

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

Then, we remain with the bottom vents, which are removed by unscrewing them from below. The thumbscrews here are quite tight, so you’ll need a screwdriver to get them off. Personally, I would have preferred to see the front and sides as a single panel and the top shroud stuck on with clips. As designed, it’s quite a bit of work to get the side panels off – a lot more than most ATX cases.

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

The rear panel comes off by removing four thumbscrews, again bring your screwdriver.

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

And with that, we have the chassis stripped down to its bare essentials.

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

The only remaining thing to mention about the internals of the chassis is the dual SSD brackets on the right side, where you can mount your 2.5-inch drives somewhat on display.

A Word on Hardware Compatibility

This chassis is primarily aimed at offering a lot of GPU space and compatibility. As such, fitting large GPUs up to 13 inches (330mm) is a breeze, but you won’t get a lot of CPU cooling potential. The biggest AIO that fits in here is a 120mm unit, which isn’t much. For gaming, this will be fine, but if you’re also running a very powerful Intel CPU and doing a lot of CPU-intensive tasks, you may want to look elsewhere.

  • thepersonwithaface45
    Honestly I love how that looks, would be neat to see some better quality versions of this come out.
    Reply
  • cknobman
    Love how this looks!
    This jumps right to the very top of case choices on my next build.
    Reply
  • LaminarFlow
    I bought the NZXT H1 last summer before the fire hazard problem became public.
    There is no excuse in the poor handling of the issue from NZXT's front, but having said that I still haven't been able to find a worthy alternative to the H1, this case included.
    At least it's nice to see several ITX cases that adopt the tall-n-slim design. Personally I much prefer this to the short ones that take up a very large footprint.
    Reply
  • 80-watt Hamster
    The design says "popcorn machine" to me more than "fish tank".

    I almost want to buy it simply to reward a manufacturer for releasing a new design with a disk activity LED. Shame about the PLED, though.
    Reply
  • IrocD
    I absolutely love this case. Took some time to get things how I wanted them but it came out fantastic. I agreed with the review about the cooling, and I have an EK clc 120 with 2 coolermaster fans on the rad in push/pull, and even this can be insufficient for my i7-10700, but that more on me for my CPU and cooling choices. The chimney design works great, though there's obviously room in this case for a custom loop if you wanted to. But I'm really happy with it how it is, except for the GPU :mad: but that will be upgraded eventually.

    a/qWIEXA2View: https://imgur.com/a/qWIEXA2
    Reply