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Thermaltake Urban SD1 MicroATX Case Review

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Building in the Urban SD1

All of the removable chassis parts are out and ready to have some components installed – let’s start with the motherboard and CPU as usual.

TtSD1_MoboInstall

Removable motherboard trays seem to be a rare find – when done right, they definitely make it easier to install the motherboard, CPU and RAM (as well as attach the front panel connectors and power cables).  The Urban SD1’s removable motherboard tray will allow you to install graphics cards at this point as well, then slide the entire assembly back into the main chassis.  Make sure you attach the front panel connectors to the motherboard first, otherwise it may be tough to squeeze your hand in there later.

TtSD1_MoboInstall2

Since all of the included fans use 4-pin Molex connectors for power, I just daisy-chained them together for easy access later.  There’s a bit of room alongside the motherboard for routing cables, but some attachment points or cable routing channels along the side of the case would be absolutely helpful; alas, there isn’t a way to manage these without using twist-ties through the round hole mesh.  It gets a little interesting keeping cables out of the way when sliding the tray back in, and I haven’t even gotten to the power supply yet… TtSD1_MoboInstall3 The front panel cables are long enough to attach before the motherboard tray is reinserted, but only just so (the front panel audio cable will probably need to be attached later).  Again, tie-down points would be helpful in routing some of these cables around the front fan and other components, but there are none to be found. TtSD1_PSUInstall The power supply installs in its own removable bracket, and is placed over the motherboard.  I wasn’t comfortable with using the PSU fan to exhaust the heated air from the processor and graphics card, so I opted to use the open vents on top to isolate the PSU from the rest of the system (and keep it running cooler) – this is probably the intended installation anyway.  There’s adequate ventilation for both orientations, so you could use the power supply as an additional case fan if your components would allow everything to stay cool. Due to the way the six mounting points on top of the PSU bracket attach to the main chassis, you won’t be able to simply slide the PSU on with the motherboard tray.  Most cables will be long enough to attach before fastening down the PSU bracket though, so wiring everything up is a breeze. TtSD1_PSUCable3 However, keeping those cables out of spinning fans isn’t as easy.  Since the power supply hangs right above the CPU cooling fan, you’ll have to spend a little extra time making sure the overhanging cables won’t get tangled in any moving parts.  Again, a few tie down points would do wonders here. TtSD1_GPUClearance The last modular component to be installed is the external drive/device bracket.   Depending on your motherboard and graphics cards, you may have a bit of a tight fit here.  While an R9 290 graphics card is a little overkill for this enclosure, it will fit (if only just).  The stock external device bracket will result in some pretty tight clearances as seen above (you’ll have to plug in the PCI-E power cables first!).  Look closely at that 3.5″ external bay too – if you have a micro-ATX motherboard that has the PCI-E x16 slot starting at slot two, you won’t clear this bracket with many dual-slot graphics cards. TtSD1_DriveCages Thankfully, Thermaltake includes an additional drive bracket that has a mounting point for a single 120/140mm fan.   It is much more streamlined, and should remove any GPU clearance issues you may have with the first drive cage.  A single 2.5″ drive mount is available, making this bracket an obvious choice for a GPU-heavy gaming oriented build (typically with a HDD+SSD configuration). TtSD1_SSDInstall1 The 2.5″ mounting point on either bracket is tool-less; simply slide the included plastic clip’s pegs into the screw holes on the side of the drive (with the other side already in the metal bracket clips), and pivot it down until it clicks into place.  An extra tool-less clip is shown in the picture above, sitting on the “X” on the left – only one is needed per drive, two are included.  I thought this was a great feature – many chassis still rely on screws for SSDs, it is nice to see some tool-less provisions made for something other than 3.5″ and 5.25″ devices. TtSD1_SSDInstall2 Along with the tool-less SSD mounts, this bracket is ideal for mounting an AIO CPU cooler’s radiator.  If you ignore the bundle of cables and remove the HDD cage underneath, a double-thick radiator in a push/pull fan configuration should fit (such as the H80i, Tundra TD03 or Thermaltake’s own Water 3.0 Pro), but a normal 25mm-thick radiator would probably be the best option for all-around compatibility.  This water cooling bracket is reversible too, so you can flip it around… TtSD1_OptFan …and use it to supply cool air directly to the graphics cards with an additional fan.  With blower-style GPUs especially, this would be an ideal configuration.  Curiously, the screw holes were too small for normal fan screws (probably because this bracket is designed for the 6×32 screws for liquid cooling hardware – it is the “radiator bracket” after all), but a few of the included reusable ties worked just fine.  The manual isn’t very helpful here – four screws are included for an additional fan, but they didn’t fit either.


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1 comment

  1. David Ramsey

    After building a lot of small form factor systems in the last couple of years, I’ve become a big fan of SFX power supplies. One, specifically: the Silverstone ST45SF-G. With short, modular cables it’s much easier to fit into a mITX or mATX case than a standard power supply, and at 450W it’s enough for a relatively beefy system, although a high-end SLI or CrossFireX system will probably require something larger.

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