This chassis does appear to be a true blank canvas for a enthusiast builders imagination. With everything that can be pulled off, or moved around, or installed in multiple positions and orientations, it is incredibly modular and we're already starting to see some very unique builds coming out if it.
To me, it seems like they created the Urban T81 with the desire to provide a case with the ability to support DIY watercooling builds and instead of building this chassis from scratch they took the layout from the Level 10 GT and just moved some things around. The Urban case series does provide a sleek modern exterior, but also brings with it an inherent lack of cooling given the solid front panel and lack of venting around the sides. Sure, there are vents but they appear small and unable to handle a 200mm fan, much less two of them, at full tilt. Of course you can open the door and get plenty of airflow but, that kinda defeats the purpose.
The Urban T81 comes equipped with eight expansion slots and the room enough to support even the largest of enthuisast grade motherboards up to 13 inches. Any modern video card will fit in this case, along with some we don't wish to talk on, so go wild when planning your GPU allowance. Likewise, if you have a fetish for storage, eight internal drive bays should help you sleep at night.
Keeping this chassis cooled starts with the multitude of preinstalled fans, including a trio of 200mm monsters, all wired up to a 10-fan speed controller. Along with air power, the T81 has multiple radiator locations both externally and internally. The options are too numerous to mention so we'll go ahead and suggest you check the Thermaltake website for the complete list.
The primary side panel felt a little thin after a good amount of it was removed for the side window. This comes as a stark contrast to the Level 10 GT which was quite solid mostly due to the fan box and various other plastic appendages. From a construction standpoint you will find that the secondary door that covers the drive bays was clearly an afterthought given that it is permanently attached to the frame while the larger can be removed. Together, the doors operate well, but take awhile to get closed.
One of the big features of the Urban T81 is support for a variety of different cooling methods from nine 120mm fans to radiator support up to 420mm. While lavish cooling methods are possible you do lose a good amount of expandability. As we illustrated fitting a 240mm radiator up front required all of the drive bays to be removed, and our 360mm radiator didn't fit without smashing into the top 5.25" drive bays. Even though a 240mm radiator isn't listed on their charts it is still quite small and "should" fit without issue.
Overall, the Urban T81 is still a nice case, and in a market saturated with inflexible pre-modded case designs, we are glad to see that there are still some cases with modding potential.
Sturdy Steel Frame
Modular Open Case Design
Plenty of Room Behind Motherboard Tray
Multiple Radiator Locations
Filters on All Intakes
200mm Fans Included
Weak parts detract from the overall sturdiness of the chassis (drive cages, and side door)
Poor Venting for 200mm intake fans
Some radiators just don't fit, and should
Continued use of the external expansion card screws and cover plate assembly