Thermaltake has been with us for a long time, and has put out a lot of great products over the years. Their new Element line of cases is no exception, with everything from the small form-factor Element Q through three mid-tower Element cases all the way to the subject of today's review: the cavernous full-tower Element V...more.
First off, I love large computer cases. The first case I built from the ground up was in fact too big to put on my desk. Lesson learned. Since I can't seem to keep my hands out of these things, having room to work just makes it easier. When the guys at Thermaltake offered to send us a sample of the Element V to poke around in, it made my day.
The Element V is a fairly standard size for a full-tower case. That is to say, it's big. It height and depth are both twenty-one inches, and it weighs in at just over thirty pounds empty. Not what I would call a LAN party case, and yet the folks at Thermaltake have included some features that make it seem like they planned for the owner to take this monster to a LAN. More on these features later.
The Element V packs a lot of ventilation into its interior, as is appropriate for a space made to hold a lot of heat-generating hardware. On the left side is a 230mm intake fan. On top is a single 200mm exhaust fan with room for another. Two 120mm fans draw air in from the front of the case, and a single 120mm fan rounds things out for exhaust in the rear. There is even a place in the rear panel for two 50mm fans if this isn't enough. That's a potential for eight fans total. This many fans obviously have the potential for a lot of noise, but these are surprisingly quiet overall, and Thermaltake has even included a built-in fan speed controller for three of them.
The top I/O panel on the Element V is bigger than most, and features four USB ports, one eSATA port, as well as audio in, headphone out and HDD and power LEDs. The most prominant feature on the panel, however, is the speed control knob in the center. This controls the speeds of the 230mm side intake fan, the 200mm top exhaust fan and one of the 120mm front intake fans. These three fans also offer some interesting lighting options. When the system is first powered on, all of these fans are lit with four blue LEDs. Press the control knob and the color changes to red. Press again for green, then the colors really start happening. After green come three different color combinations, with the LED's in the fans rotating, flashing and changing colors. If you're into color and lights, the Element V will deliver. One final push on the knob will turn all of the lights out completely. While this is an interesting setup and will let the user customize their lighting to a great extent, the pattern is reset whenever the machine is turned off. If you're a fan of lots of colors and blinking rotating lights, you'll have to press this button five times every time you turn your PC on to get them where you like them.
Taking the side off of the case I was surprised to see a connector built into the base of the case, and another secured to the side panel:
These are for the side intake fan, and keep the user from having to reach in and unplug it every time the case is opened. This is an excellent idea and has been well executed here, a big plus for those of us who open their cases constantly.
With those same people in mind, the case has been made to open with two simple latches, no thumb screws required:
There are two of these latches on the left side panel, and the top has a lock on it. This is a feature usually seen on cases designed for portability, to protect the expensive gear inside when your machine is surrounded by strangers at LAN parties. Along those same lines, Thermaltake has installed a cable retention clip on the rear of the case:
This clip is held in place with a thumb screw inside, and is made to run a mouse and keyboard cable through. With the screw in place and the side panel locked these peripherals will be safe as well.
Opening the side panel exposes the spacious interior. The Element V is designed to bottom-mount your PSU, and with its size care should be taken with cable length. The 4-pin cable on mine barely reached the socket on my motherboard.
While the motherboard tray is not removable, it is very sturdy and well marked, and supplied with a large cutout for backing plate access, as well as a couple of holes on the front with rolled edges, obvisouly geared toward cable management.
While the ventilated rear expansion slot covers use screws to secure them, all of the internal drive bays are tool-free. As usual, the tool-free brackets are only found on the left side of the bays. Maybe I'm too picky about my securement, but this makes no sense to me and I invariably end up getting out the screwdriver to secure the right side of my drives anyway. I will say that as far as tool-free clips go these are above average. Simply press inward in the middle and they rotate up out of the way. Put your drive in and lower the clip back in place.
The mounting for the front 120mm intake fans was interesting as well. Thermaltake has included two of their iCage hard drive racks with the Element V.
If you have a 3.5" external device of some kind that you want to use, Thermaltake has you covered there as well, with an adapter for one of the 5.25" drive bays as well as a matching external cover.
With five external 5.25" drive bays and six 3.5" internal bays and an additional 2.5" internal bay, this case should hold all the storage and bay devices you have to throw in it and leave room to spare.
So, being a fan of larger cases, how do I rate the Element V from Thermaltake?
- Easy access
- Built-in fan speed controller
The Element V full-tower chassis from Thermaltake is another in a long line of great cases. While it is on the higher side of the price band, starting at $130 at the time of this writing, its size and features make it a good choice for the user who wants a lot of room coupled with security and the ability to customize its appearance quickly.
This product was provided by its manufacturer free of charge for the purpose of review.