Thermaltake has unveiled a new SD101 enclosure designed for Mini-ITX systems. Despite its compact 10.4" x 4.7" x 10.3" dimensions, the case doesn't skimp on features. It has a pair of USB 3.0 ports up front, numerous vented panels, and the ability to accept 5.25", 3.5", and 2.5" drives. There's a PSU included, too, but the 80 Plus Bronze-certified unit offers only 180W of output power. That's the first hint the chassis is more suitable to a low-power desktop or HTPC than a pimped-out LAN gaming rig.
The second clue is the lack of support for full-height expansion cards. Only half-height cards can be squeezed into the case, and then only if they're less than 6.8" long. Thermaltake points out that the dual expansion slot covers at the rear will work with double-wide graphics coolers. However, beefy heatsinks aren't exactly common among half-height cards, which typically use low-end GPUs.
Using the CPU's integrated graphics is always an option, of course, but you'll need to be careful about your choice of CPU cooler. The SD101 leaves just 1.8" of vertical clearance above the motherboard, limiting the number of compatible heatsinks. At least there's an 80-mm fan on the side panel next to the socket.
Thermaltake's press release doesn't mention the price, but I'd expect the SD101 to be relatively inexpensive. The case reminds me a lot of Thermaltake's Element Q, which costs only $65. That's pretty affordable for a Mini-ITX enclosure that comes with its own PSU. Alternatives like Silverstone's SG05 cost nearly twice that much (but are considerably more flexible).
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|10. SecretSquirrel - $125|
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