ThermalTake Element V Review

Compxpert - 2009-10-27 21:17:13 in Cases
Category: Cases
Reviewed by: Compxpert   
Reviewed on: December 1, 2009
Price: $170.00

Introduction:

So when you buy a case what do you buy it for? Do you buy it for just looks, or do you need performance too? Well it seems ThermalTake introduces a bit of both in its sleek new Element V case. Not only does it have a nice design in terms of simple but sharp looks, but it provides many pertinent features as well. It not only sports two 120mm front intake fans but it also has a 200mm top fan and a 230mm side panel fan to boot. Plus what is better than a full-tower case? How about one with lots of space for drives in the front? The design of the case allows for nice customization. The top even allows for another 200mm fan which would even allow you to do a radiator setup. There are many more things to reveal about this, so why not read on and learn some more about this full-tower case?

 

Closer Look:

So moving on you see we have the box. The box art has nice presentation. On the back now we see some features are revealed. We are shown the color changing LED fans, fan controller, and the cooling system just to name a few of the specific features it highlights. On the one side of the box we are shown a brief list of features this case has. Finally, on the opposite side of that, we have the specifications of the case. So far I like what I see, so let's move on.

 

 

  

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

Upon emerging from the box it is initially sandwiched between two pieces of foam and is also covered in a plastic bag for protection during shipment. Upon coming out of both however, we are then greeted with a cloth bag that is covering the case.

 

 

So far so good, but what does it even look like? Read on and see.

Closer Look:

Outside the plastic we are greeted first by the 230mm side panel fan and a small window above it to boot. But wait - there's more. We also have nice push-buttons to make removing and securing the panel a cinch whilst not utilizing thumbscrews. Looking closely there is also a lock on the one button and yes, there are keys to this, so if you take it to a LAN you can be sure your inside goodies are kept safe. Sadly, it still lacks a beautiful side panel window, but observing the construction of this case you may notice a small resemblance in terms of features to the Armor Series. So maybe just like in the Armor Series, ThermalTake will also design one for this case. Moving on we look at the right panel. Not really much to see except the nice paint job. Now I figured I would move onto a really nice feature. Looking at the top of the case you will see your typical front area connection spots, buttons, lights, fan controller and front connections and you will also notice the 200mm fan and absent 200mm area. Yes - it looks like you could have a nice radiator setup there. Finally, we are greeted with the front of the case which easily detaches to clean fan filters and work in the case. Though it seems pretty plain, it's rather stylish in its own simple way.

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

Now here we have a close look at the buttons and gadgets on the front area of the case. Though normally directly on the front in some manner, this panel is placed on the top and takes up no room inside the case really. It seems very well laid out, sporting four USB ports, Headphone and Mic connections, and even eSATA. It would seem that eSATA is an ever-popular thing on the front of cases now. If you notice there is also the matter of the power and reset switches. Both are a rather simple tap button design. Though I prefer the push button design of some other cases, these are almost as nice, though I don't know about being able to hit the reset button just as easily as tapping the power button. We also have the fan controller switch. Pushing down on this switch allows you to change between the five color settings on the fan and the controller also works as a knob to turn the fan speed up or down. Next we have pictured the rear of the case, where you can see the keys are securely clipped into the keyboard lock on the case. Also notable is the rear 120mm exhaust fan and the bottom mounting PSU.  Lastly, I have pictured the feet of the case. The feet appear to be of a solid rubber construction and look like they could hold a very heavy setup. You will also find there is some ventilation at the bottom, perhaps for a PSU fan and some weird indentations towards the right on the front portion of the case.

 

 

There is something about those four indentations on the bottom, so why not read on and find out?

Closer Look:

And now here we move on to the inside of the case. The first thing you notice I bet, are the 5.25" bays going down the whole front along with their tool-less hardware. This design is also akin to the Armor Series cases. Also similar and discussed in the paragraph below this one, are the front fans that are attached to your 3.5" drive cage. Moving onto the back, you see many holes in the board tray in the back - more on those later. You'll also notice the holes for wires and the wires that are included with the case are tied up at the moment. Moving on, we have our back-plate hole, which believe it or not, is a nice thing to have on any case, since it makes taking off the heatsink a cinch, since you no longer have to remove the motherboard. Finally, we show the front of the case, which has only one LED fan and a plain fan. I still can't figure out why ThermalTake didn't include another LED fan here, as it would have been much better with two in the front.

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

Moving onto the drive bays. Here in the first picture you will see the giant array of available 5.25" drive bays. We are also shown in the neighboring picture, that the bottom-most portion of the case houses the HDD cages as well as a single 2.5" drive slot at the very bottom, which utilizes indentations in the bottom of the case to attach. Amazingly, if you need to, you could even purchase another HDD cage and have a grand total of nine HDD bays and still have room for two 5.25" devices. I have pictured the LED fan HDD cage to show the details of this. Moving onto the next picture you will find a plethora of holes for standoffs. The extra standoffs support Extended ATX (EATX) which can even be found on Dual Core Xeon Nehalem architecture for server motherboards. I would say that's a plus in my book.

 

 

 

Moving on I will familiarize you with the resting place of the PSU and the bracket that supports it. The bracket is designed to move around for larger or smaller PSU accommodations. Of note also are the PCI expansion slots. They are not tool-less. However, this I don't mind, as I feel that many tool-less designs make my cards feel too free-moving. Below those images we have our cables (missing from the picture is the eSATA plug, but everything else is there along with the USB connections, audio, and front panel connections like HDD LED and PLED, as well as the switches).

 

 

 

Next we have fans and wow, do we have a lot of them in this case. Normally most cases I have received have around three fans in total, but this one ships with five fans in total and still has room for a sixth if you want to add it later. Out of all the fans, all but two are LED light fans. The front two fans are both 120mm as well as the rear fan, but the side and top fans are both 200mm. All three LED fans are changeable in speed thanks to the provided fan controller. The front LED fan can range between 900 and 1200rpm while pushing 35.01-46.67 CFM at a quiet 17dBA. The remaining front fan comes in at almost the same spec as the LED fan also pushing 46.67 CFM at 17dBA, but it runs at 1400rpm instead of 1200rpm. The rear fan is also the same as the front non-LED counterpart, but it pushes 50 CFM instead. Lastly, there are the two 200mm fans which also share similar specifications, but differ in CFM. Both run in a 600/800rpm range at 14dBA, but the top fan pushes 49.735-65.3 CFM, while the side pushes 57.0-76 CFM.

 

 

 

Here now we have our included accessories which feature zip-ties of all things. It's really nice to see that many manufacturers of cases are including these. We also have a speaker if you need it and two grommets for water cooling tubes and of course assorted screws. Here we also find that the case has shipped with a manual included.

 

 

Well we've about covered everything so what is left? Installation of course. Installation went flawlessly for the most part. I was disappointed I couldn't bring my 8-pin CPU connector up behind the motherboard tray, but this is really a limitation on the length for my PSU cable. However, this does work with just about every mid-tower I've used. Other than that, everything else was smooth as butter and as you can see, Thor's Hammer can fit its other fan in with the case fan just fine too, so there is plenty of room to be found in this case. One other thing I will have to mention from reading the manual, is that your video card length cannot be over 13.5 inches, which leaves you hoping video cards don't get any longer than the HD 5870 x2.

 

Let's move on to specifications and features, shall we?

Specifications:

Case Type

Full Tower

Material
SECC

Front Bezel Material

Plastic
Color
Black

Side Panel

Solid w/23cm side fan

Motherboard Support

Mini ATX

Full ATX

Extended ATX

Motherboard Tray

No

5.25” Drive Bay

5

Ext. 3.5” Drive Bay

 

Int 3.5” Drive Bay

6

With Additional 1 x 2.5” HDD / SDD bay

Expansion Slots

7

Front I/O Ports

USB 2.0 x 4,

HD Audio ports,

eSATA x 1

Cooling System

Front (intake) :
120 x 120 x 25 mm Colorshift fan (900/1200rpm,17dBA, 35.01/46.67 CFM)
120 x 120 x 25 mm Turbo fan (1400rpm,17dBA, 46.67 CFM)

Rear (exhaust) :
120 x 120 x 25 mm Turbo fan (1400rpm, 17dBA, 50.0 CFM)

Top (exhaust) :
200 x 200 x 20 mm silent Colorshift fan (600/800rpm, 14dBA, 49.735/65.3 CFM)
200 x 200 x 20 mm x 1(optional)

VGA (exhaust) :optional
50 x 50 mm fan x 2

Side (intake) :
Plug & Play 230 x 230 x 20 mm Colorshift fan (600/800rpm, 14dBA, 57.0/76 CFM)

 

Liquid Cooling Capable

Yes- Supports 1/2”, 3/8”, 1/4” water tube

Liquid Cooling Embedded

No

Power Supply Supported

Standard ATX PSII(optional)

Power Supply Included

No
Dimension

532 (H) x 220(W) x 537(L) mm
20.9(H) x 8.7(W) x 21.1(L) in

Net Weight

14.13 kg
31.15 lb

Security Lock

 
Application
 

 

Features:

 Lists courtesy of ThermalTake @ http://www.thermaltakeusa.com/Product.aspx?C=1420&ID=1900

Testing:

For testing I performed the usual tests. For all load tests, I used Prime 95 to generate load on the CPU and Memory subsystems in Blend mode. I allowed this test to go on for an hour before recording temperatures using a combination of HwMonitor to get chipset temperatures and RealTemp for CPU temperatures. For all the rest of the load tests, I used HwMonitor. To get HDD load applied I utilized HDTune and for making video card load I used Folding@Home. These tests I also allowed to run for an hour before recording temperatures. Finally, for the idle test, all I did was simply allow the computer to idle for an hour and record all temperatures.

 

Testing System:

 

Comparison Cases:

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So it seems the Element V contends with the competition decently, taking the competition out in two of the eight tests, which isn't too bad at all. Not bad ThermalTake, not bad at all!

Conclusion:

So here we are - the conclusion of this review. I must say ThermalTake has added yet another impressive case to its Element Series lineup. It contends with the competition in performance and is even able to support some server motherboards through support of EATX which is a nice bonus. The case is also still expandable by adding on another top 200mm fan. It also supports a large amount of whatever combinations of 3.5" and 5.25" devices you want to throw at it. It also has many cool features used on it that the Armor Series has, which I like seeing on this case a lot, such as the side panel buttons and keyed lock, which makes this case great at LANs when you want to keep your stuff safe. It's here we move onto the only con that this case has. Having a plethora of features and a larger case doesn't already make for a nice price and I can't say this price doesn't surprise me either. If you want this case, it's going to set you back $169. If you're building a server with dual Xeons, this probably would be a great case for you, but if you really don't need the extra space of a full-tower, a mid-tower will do. But with the size of the latest video cards from ATI and with Nvidia on the horizon, a larger case may provide that piece of mind if you are a gamer that is serious about their hardware.

 

Pros:

 

Cons: