Thermaltake’s Versa N21 will set you back just $60, making it the least expensive chassis on test. The construction quality, while not awful, is the least impressive of the bunch, though, with lots of glossy and reflective plastic used on the bulky top and front, which feels cheap and easily picks up marks. It’s translucent, so LED fans should look good through it at least.
Whereas most cases here have dual USB 3 ports as standard, the Versa N21 is limited to one, but that’s still better than zero with the price in mind. The rear 120mm fan mount is the only one that’s filled as well, leaving four more empty, and there’s understandably no fan controller either. What you do get, thankfully, is full dust filter coverage. The filters are only flimsy bits of material, and getting them on and off the case can be fiddly, but it’s better than a dusty PC.
Meanwhile, the side panels are attached with thumbscrews, notches and rails, and don’t even have any handles. The front panel can be tugged off fairly easily, and comes away cleanly from the case, but the roof will drag up all the I/O cables with it, potentially ruining your tidy build. Inside, six motherboard standoffs are pre-installed, and the cables are neatly sleeved in black. The power supply is also partially isolated from the chassis by some small foam pads.
Unlike some cases in this Labs test, the N21 retains optical drive support, with the top cage offering room for a single externally accessible 5.25in drive. It uses tool-free clips and drive
access comes via the door that makes up the top half of the front panel. There’s also a 3.5in/2.5in mount in this cage with external 3.5in access.
The main drive cage sits at the bottom of the case, featuring three 3.5in/2.5in mounting trays. These trays are tool-free for 3.5in devices but the bays are flimsy and have no anti-vibration measures. On the plus side, the space between the hard drive cage and the optical drive cage ensures support for extra long graphics cards. The final internal drive mount is the singular, dedicated 2.5in drive tray fixed to the rear of the motherboard tray.
There are no rubber grommets in the Versa N21, but this case’s cable management isn’t bad. There are numerous holes, mostly in helpful locations, and the extruded side panel means you have plenty of space for hiding cables. It’s as good as you could reasonably expect from a $60 case. The roof fan mounts can also accommodate a water-cooling radiator, but you’ll be lucky to fit anything beyond a slim all-in-one liquid cooler with a single row of fans.
That single 120mm fan isn’t really enough to cool components adequately either. The best it manages for the CPU (Core i7-870) is a delta T of 60°C, the joint worst result. It’s the GPU (HD 5870), however, that gets really toasty, peaking at a delta of 62°C – only the Anidees AI-07BW with its fans off and the Phanteks Eclipse P400S at minimum speed managed worse outcomes.
The Thermaltake Versa N21 isn’t a spectacular case, but it does cover most of the basics for a very low price. Core features such as USB 3 support, dust filters, and dedicated SSD mounting points are all present, and while it lacks more advanced usability features found elsewhere in this Labs test, the Versa N21 doesn’t hinder your build. Still, relative to other cases on test, it struggles in more than one area. If you can save $30 more for the Phanteks Eclipse P400S, you’ll be well rewarded for the extra investment.