ThermalTake Element T Review

Compxpert - 2009-07-18 20:09:49 in Cases
Category: Cases
Reviewed by: Compxpert   
Reviewed on: August 20, 2009
ThermalTake
Price: $79.99

Introduction:

ThermalTake produces a lot of products. From power supplies to cases, they have quite a variety of quality products. Today I'm reviewing the ThermalTake Element T case. As with any case you buy you probably look for a few things that the product offers to see whether or not it's what you want. Some of these things are, how the case wire manages, performance, looks, and weight, just to name a few. Even size is a factor. Do you wish to take it to a lan party? If yes then you probably don't want something too heavy either. This is where the Element T comes in. The Element T appears to be ThermalTake's entry level case. Does it pack enough features for the average computer geek though? Read on and find out.

 

Closer Look:

The box for the Element T resembles that of the Element G in terms of layout and looks. Of course what differs here is the case and its features. Upon reading the box however you would be disappointed to find out that a front fan, and side fan are optional. Yes, these are optional - you have to buy them separately. It would be nice if they could have at least provided these and maybe have added $10 or $15 to the retail price, but they just aren't there. Also not in the T are the awesome features of the LED fans that were on the G. On the T you only get one fan, which is the top 200mm fan and it is only red. So if you don't like a red LED fan, you might want to steer away.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Of course if we wish to learn more than what words on a box can describe then we should learn hands-on by opening the box and seeing what's inside. Once the box is open you immediately notice something different from the Element G. The T is wrapped in plastic rather than a cool reusable ThermalTake bag. Of course as with any packaged case it is also sandwiched between two pieces of Styrofoam.

 

 

 

Well not much to see here yet until we get it further unpacked so let's move on and see what we have.

Closer Look:

So what we have is exactly what the box described - a case with no fans execpt a top 200mm and a rear 120mm fan. Well the side panel can be a intake since it's a big gaping hole with no fan so I suppose some air can still move in at least decently, but I doubt it well get decent GPU temps or chipset temps when it comes to testing when paired against its Element G relative. The front fan is also missing here but you can have either a single 200mm fan or two 120mm fans in the front for cooling, so you are given some options. Of course those fans are ones that you have to buy separately. Like the G the T only has three external 5.25" bays for your optical drives or whatever else you might find in a 5.25" bay. The back of the case features a special locking device for your keyboard and mouse which really consists of a clip that has a screw you can only unscrew from inside the case. Apart from this there really isn't much else to say about the back of the case other than the fact that like the G the T mounts the power supply at the bottom also.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Of course the top fan itself is red and no color change is available on this one. To me the red looks pretty cool and its something different from all of the blue that you see in most all LED fans on the market. It's interesting that ThermalTake chose this color and decided to go against the trend of blue LED fans.

 

The last noteworthy thing of mention before we assemble this bad-boy is the removable front panel. The front panel detaches allowing you to clean out those fan filters in the front when they become filled with nasty, nasty dust. Of course without front fans you may not clean these often but more than likely if you plan on buying this case you're probably going to get the fans.

 

 

 

Nothing more to cover here, so let's move on to the insides of this case.

Closer Look:

The first thing you notice that is different between the Element T and G is the side panel. No I don't mean that fact that it's missing a fan either. I mean it doesn't slide off. Once you have the thumbscrews off, the panel just pulls off at an angle. On the opposite side of the panel from the screw holes is a metal hinge that pivots. Once the side panel is off you'll notice that the inside isn't painted either. Also to note that the hard drive bay itself, mounts from the very inside of the case, as opposed to mounting from the side of the case. This makes it harder to hide wires. Also different from the G is that there is no accessory box. What they give you instead is a bag filled with a bunch of different types of screws. No wire-ties here, just the basics.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ThermalTake did at least do something special for the T. They added in two tool-less features one for the 5.25" bay and another for the 3.5" bay. However these only will work for one drive each so beyond that, you're going to need screws which they do provide in the form of large thumb screws. Also the hard drive cage is not detachable like it is in the G, but it does hold up to six hard drives. Hard drives front mount instead of side mount, so cables will be visible.

 

 

 

Some of what ThermalTake provides as pre-installed cabling are your typical front panel connections. There are connections for PWR SW, PWR LED, HDD LED, and Reset. Additionally as you may have noticed there is a front panel USB input, which also has internal wiring. There is also an HD audio connection. Lastly there are two four-pin Molex connections for the two fans that they provide with the case.

 

 

 

As with the Element G the Element T mounts the PSU on the bottom. On the bottom there is an adjustable bracket which is moved by removing the screws from the bottom of the case and moving the bar to the desired location and then re-securing it with the screws. Missing from the T are holes around the PSU wires to move wires behind the motherboard tray, which would have been nice to have for cable management.

 

 

 

Installation was very easy, just like the G. Yes, just like the G there is a spot on the T that when the motherboard is installed, would allow you to remove your heatsink without removing the board. Apart from that, they provide no holes to access the rear of the case. Though the wire management capability isn't great, I made the best of what I could do with it and mostly tucked excess wires up in the HDD bays. Of course there is the same con with T as with the G - there is no side panel window. But with the wire managment capability of this case, I'm not so sure I want people to see it really.

 

 

 

 

Well, the wire management may not be that great and we might be mostly fan-less, but maybe the performance won't be so bad. Let's at least move on and see what the T can do.

Specifications:

Case Type   
Middle Tower
Material   
SECC

Front Bezel Material   

Plastic
Color   
Black
Side Panel   
N/A

Motherboard Support   

Micro ATX, Standard ATX
Motherboard Tray   
No
5.25" Drive Bay
3
Ext. 3.5" Drive Bay
1
Int. 3.5" Drive Bay
6
Expansion Slots 
7
Front I/O Ports   

USB 2.0 x 2,
HD Audio x 1

Cooling System   

- Top(exhaust) :
120 x 120 x 25 mm fan x 2 or
140 x 140 x 25 mm fan x 2 or
200 x 200 x 20 mm fan x 1

- 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) :
120 x 120 x 25 mm Turbo fan (1400rpm,17dBA)

- Top (exhaust) :
200 x 200 x 20 mm silent fan (800rpm,14dBA)
- Side (intake) :
230 x 230 x 20 mm fan or
120 x 120 x 25 mm fan

Liquid Cooling Capable   

No
Liquid Cooling Embedded  
No

Power Supply Supported   

Standard ATX PSII(optional)

Power Supply Included   

No

Dimension (H*W*D)   

525 (H) x 210 (W)x 480(L) mm
20.7  (H) in x 210 (W) x 480(L) in

Net Weight
15.32lbs
6.95 kg
Security Lock   
Yes
Warranty  
3 Year

 

Features:

All information courtesy of ThermalTake @ http://www.thermaltakeusa.com/Product.aspx?C=1407&ID=1877

Testing:

When testing the Element T I ran it through load tests and idle tests. For the idle testing I left the computer idle for a whole 30 minutes and then recorded all the temperatures using a combination of Hwmonitor and RealTemp. For each load test I applied load to a specific componet and recoded temps using either Hwmonitor or Realtemp. To stress the CPU and chipset I used Prime95 on blend which stresses CPU/RAM/Chipset. When stressing the hard disk I used HDTune. Finally when testing the video card I used Folding@Home GPU to apply maximum possible load.

 

Testing System:

Comparison Cases:

 

 

 

 

 

Lower is better

 

Well the T stayed fairly on par with its family member, the G. No surprise that both the Chipset, GPU, and HDD temps were much higher due to the lack of fans in those specific areas. With the lack of fans I had expected much less, but in the end I was impressed with the results.

So we finally bring this review to a conclusion and, oh what a case. It may lack a few features that I personally would have liked to have seen, but this case costs $79.99. Sure, it could have some better wire management features and could have had more fans, but honestly - with this level of performance, you do seem to be getting a lot for your money. All-in-all, you could probably add in the missing fans for cheap and gain that much more in terms of performance anyway, but it would have been nice to have had them already there. Of course performance wasn't as great as the G, but it was pretty close and this could definately be attributed to the fact that there aren't as many fans, particularly in the case of the HDD, GPU, and Chipset temperatures, which were considerably higher due to the fact there was no fan moving air over any of these components. Instead, they were left to be passively cooled by the air being pulled in by the exhaust fans. Depsite its downfalls in the wire management and lack of fans compared to the rest ot the Element series, the T appears to be a decent entry-level performer with the ability to be as good as the rest with a small upgrade involving a 200mm side intake and either dual 120mm front intakes, or a 200mm front intake fan.

 

Pros:

 

Cons: