ThermalTake Element G Review

Compxpert - 2009-06-26 16:23:59 in Cases
Category: Cases
Reviewed by: Compxpert   
Reviewed on: August 18, 2009
ThermalTake
Price: $139.99

Introduction:

When you search for a suitable case for your build, it's not all about the performance. Likewise, it's not all about the looks of the case either. That is where ThermalTake comes in with its Element series cases. Today we are reviewing the Element G. The Element G seems to encompass everything that a good case should be; good looks and great performance, all in one tight package. Is this case really this good? Perhaps you should read on and find out.

Closer Look:

Looking at the box of the Element G, you will find the top emblazoned with "Element G". More importantly, however, is what the front of the box conveys. The front shows off the elegant look of the case, along with the words "Create for Pros". What these words seem to convey to me is that this is a professionally-designed case. As such, I would expect the performance to be nothing short of professional as well. Upon further investigation of the box, one may find that it features three color-changing LED fans. Both the front and top fans are 200mm in size and the side panel fan is 230mm in size. With fans this big, they must move quite a lot of air. Additionally, the case supports two 120mm fans in the front for intake and two 60mm rear exhaust fans for cooling your video cards.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Upon opening the box you'll notice not only is the case between two pieces of Styrofoam, but the case itself is wrapped inside what appears to be a blue ThermalTake bag. The bag seems to provide the best possible protection for the case than any other application I've ever seen, plus, as an added bonus, it would be of great when lugging your computer around at LAN parties, so it does not become scratched.

 

 

Well so far we have what looks to be a great case, so let's take a closer look at it, shall we?

Closer Look:

So far this case looks to be very promising. As previously stated, it features three included fans, which conisist of two 200mm fans and one 230mm fan. Big fans move a lot of air, so one should expect a very cool CPU, videocards, hard drives, RAM, etc. Apart from that, the case looks aesthetically pleasing to the eye. The front is completely made of a mesh-type screen. Also to note, there are only three 5.25" bays, but who really needs more? On the top, toward the front, you can see the controls for the fan, which can adjust fan speed and another special feature I'll go over later on. The I/O on the front features four USB ports, front HD Audio, and, of course, power and reset switches. Both side panels are secured with three screws each. The only thing that would make this case look cooler is if it had a side panel window to go with that 230mm fan. Sadly, all there is to see is a 230mm fan. Perhaps ThermalTake will offer a modified side panel for its Element cases, much like the modified side panel window it offers for the Armor series. Don't let that be the deciding factor on this case though, as it is always possible to add a window yourself with some modification. One last note worth mentioning is that the power supply mounts on the bottom, as opposed to the top of the case.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The fans on this case are pretty special, but what is so special about these fans compared to other LED fans? The answer is color. Yes, color. These fans can change color. Of the five color modes you can cycle through, three of them consist of plain blue, green, and red. They cycle in that order and do this via the button that controls the fans. A push of the button cycles to a different color. The fourth mode goes through different combined color patterns using the different LED colors, while the fifth mode simply turns off the LEDs entirely.

 

 

 

 

Lastly, we can't forget to talk about the detachable front panel. Once removed, we have access to the fan filters and the front fan itself. The case kind of looks cool with the panel off and fan still attached.

 

Well, let's get a closer look at the inside of this case.

Closer Look:

 

Upon opening the Element G, the first thing you'll notice is that, not only is the outside black, but so is the inside. You'll also come across a package in the center of the case containing two 120mm fan holders that clip onto the front of the case. There is also a box in the upper right, which holds all the accessories for the Element G. Below that box is something I couldn't quite figure out. It is possible it is a fan grill for the two optional 60mm fans, but its hard to really tell since there is no documentation provided. I don't care that much though, since I would much rather rip into this and figure it out myself, rather than have to read directions. Besides, should a case design be that complicated that you have to read directions? The case also comes with quite a lot of accessory hardware to use. In the accessory box, you'll find that ThermalTake provides you plenty of screws and it even provides two zip-ties.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This case comes with a lot of wiring inside already, all of which are things that you and I see on nearly every case. Included with this wiring are cables for the PWR Switch, PWR LED, Reset, and HDD LED. Additionally, there are two hookups for USB, a hookup to the front panel audio, and a hookup to the fans, which utilize 4-pin molex connections.

 

 

 

 

Possibly the greatest feature is the amount of hard drives you can have inside this beast. It does feature a mere three 5.25" drive bays, but for your hard drive needs, it features a whopping seven 3.5" bays. As a bonus, this case also features the ability to directly mount 2.5" drives. Yes, that means you could even use SSDs with this case and not need an adapter.

 

 

 

 

I could not go on without also talking about how the power supply mounts. A removable cage in the bottom of the case surrounds the power supply and has extra hardware used in securing the power supply aside from the usual four screws in the back of the case. This comes in the form of an adjustable rail that helps in further securing the PSU. In addition, it also adds in mounting for up to two 2.5" drives.

 

 

 

Installation of all my components was very easy. ThermalTake put a good amount of holes leading to behind the motherboard tray and provides a great amount of space to run wires to and from the power supply. As you can see below, there is a big gap leading from where the power supply is to the back of the case, so you can run wires behind the motherboard tray. This made my wire management easy to do and quite good looking. There are also several sets of clips that can be used to help secure wires behind the motherboard tray. Additionally, as you can see, there is a hole directly behind where the heatsink lies, which would make it easy to swap in and out heatsinks without the trouble of having to remove the motherboard from the case. This makes its design almost as good as a removable motherboard tray. With great wire management features, I thought I would show off a part of the case you wouldn't ordinarily see; the back of the motherboard tray. As you can see, it is a slight mess back there, but with the panel closed this is no longer visable. Again, however, I am disappointed there is no side panel window for someone to see my great wiremanagement work, but you can see mine in in the finished build picture.

 

 

 

 

 

Specifications:

Case Type   
Mid Tower
Material   
SECC

Front Bezel Material   

Plastic
Color   
Black
Side Panel   
solid w/ 23cm side fan

Motherboard Support   

Mini ATX, Full ATX
Motherboard Tray   
 
5.25" Drive Bay
3
Int. 3.5" Drive Bay
7
Ext. 3.5" Drive Bay
0
Expansion Slots 
7
Front I/O Ports   

USB 2.0 x 2,
HD Audio ports

Cooling System   

- Top (exhaust) :
  200 x 200 x 20 mm Touchcolor, 600~800 RPM, 12~14 dBA

- Front (intake) :
  200 x 200 x 20 mm Touchcolor, 600~800 RPM, 12~14 DBA
2 x 120 x 120 x 25 mm (optional)
- Rear (exhaust) :
  140 x 140 x 25 mm TurboFan, 1000 rpm, 16 dBA

- Side (intake) :
 
230 x 230 x 20 mm Touchcolor, 600~800 RPM, 12~14 dBA
- VGA (exhaust) :
 Two 60 x 60 mm fan (optional)

Liquid Cooling Capable   

No
Liquid Cooling Embedded  
No

Power Supply Supported   

Standard ATX PSII (optional)

Power Supply Included   

No

Dimension (H*W*D)   

565 (H) x 231(W) x 526(L) mm
22.2(H) x 9.1(W) x 20.7(L) in

Net Weight
7.92kg / 17.46 lb
Security Lock   
Yes
Warranty  
3 Year

 

Features:

 

 

 

 

All information courtesy of ThermalTake @ http://www.thermaltakeusa.com/Product.aspx?C=1407&ID=1876

Testing:

Testing is always the easiest part of any review and perhaps the most fun part. For each load test, I left each component under full load for over an hour and then recorded the temperatures using RealTemp and HWMonitor. I apply load to the CPU/Memory/Chipset using Prime 95 on Blend, apply load to the hard drive using HDTune, and apply load to the videocard using Folding@Home for GPU. For all the idle tests, I booted up the computer and left it running for an hour straight with 0% load on all components to obtain the coolest possible idle temperatures. After that, I recorded temperatures with HWmonitor and RealTemp.

 

 

Testing System:

Comparison Cases:

 

 

 

 

 

Lower is better

 

The Element G did fairly well, beating some cases and losing to others. However, the Element G did stand out in the Chipset Temperature test, besting the competition entirely. Ultimately, what can be said about this case is that it performs decently, and does so while looking good.

Conclusion:

What more can really be said about the Element G? This case has a lot going for it. It features space for a lot of hard drives and moves about as much air as anything else on the market. What gives it an edge over the competition is the amount of space dedicated to hard drives. I have yet to see another mid tower that can hold this many. There are also many optional accessories that you can put in the Element G, such as two optional 120mm fans in front and two 60mm fans in the real for VGA cooling. It also has great looking LED fans and the option to change between five color modes, which I found to be quite nifty. I also found the case easy to wire-manage. With all the different holes you can use to hide wires behind the motherboard tray, it shouldn't be to hard for even a wire management novice to manage wires in this case. Not only would this be a great case because of the size to take to a LAN party, but it also looks like a nice piece to show off as well. The only really big con I can find, I suppose, is that there is no support, as of yet, for an optional windowed side panel from ThermalTake, which means if you want one, you need to make it up yourself. The Element G will also set you back around $139.99, which isn't too cheap, but is a pretty competitive price compared to other mid towers in its class.

 

Pros:

 

Cons: