Thermaltake Element G Case Review
By Gabriel Torres on July 2, 2009


Introduction

Hardware Secrets Golden Award

Thermaltake Element G (a.k.a. VL10001W2Z) is based on the same internal design used on Element S – seven internal 3.5” bays, two internal 2.5” bays, etc –, but externally they are completely different products. Let’s see what the differences between the two are and if it is worthwhile buying this case.

Like Element S, we were really impressed by the quality of the material used both inside and outside Element G. We also liked the very serious look from this case, making it a product that will please the eyes from both enthusiast and professional users, even though its Christmas tree light controller makes it more targeted to the gamer.

Element G and Element S are internally identical. The differences between these two cases are on the outside. These differences include:

Now let’s take a look at Element G.

Thermaltake Element G case
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Figure 1: Thermaltake Element G case.

Thermaltake Element G case
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Figure 2: Thermaltake Element G case.

Like Element S, Element G has only three 5.25” bays. The covers for these bays are meshed and have foam dust filters on them. In Figure 3 you can also see the 200-mm fan behind the front panel, in charge of cooling down the hard disk drives. This fan rotates between 600 rpm and 800 rpm, producing a noise level between 12 and 14 dBA. Although labeled as a 200-mm, its blades measure only 160-mm. You can replace this fan with two 120 mm fans if you like and Element G comes with two screwless mounts for these fans.

Thermaltake Element G case
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Figure 3: Front panel.

Thermaltake Element G case
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Figure 4: Meshed bay cover.

Introduction (Contíd)

In Figure 5, you can see the top panel from Element G, which features a 200-mm fan identical to the one used on the front panel and thus having the same specs (160-mm blades, speed between 600 rpm and 800 rpm, noise level between 12 and 14 dBA).

You can see a big knob on the top panel. Thru this knob you can control the speed (by rotating it) and color (by pressing it) from the top, front and side fans. As mentioned you can select between red, blue and green plus two different alternating patterns. You can also turn off the lights if you want.

Althought his case has four USB ports, it doesn’t come with an eSATA port.

Thermaltake Element G case
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Figure 5: Top panel.

The rear panel from Element G can be seen in Figure 6. It is identical to the rear panel from Element S. It is painted black, giving it a very good appearance. The power supply is installed on the bottom of the case. Each side panel is attached to the chassis using three black thumbscrews (and not only two as usual) and there is space for installing two optional 60-mm fans above the expansion slots. This case comes with a rear 140 mm fan that rotates at 1,000 rpm (noise level of 16 dBA), which is not connected to the fan speed controller. This fan has only two wires and thus must be connected directly to the power supply, not supporting speed monitoring. Another interesting accessory that comes with this case is a cable holder for the mouse and keyboard cables, in order to prevent them from being stolen. It also has a hook for installing a padlock, in order to prevent unauthorized people from opening your PC.

This case has two holes for you to pass hoses from liquid cooling solutions. These holes, however, use metallic covers that need to be broken if you want to use them. This case does not use ruber covers like other cases that have this feature.

Thermaltake Element G case
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Figure 6: Rear panel.

Thermaltake Element G case
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Figure 7: Hook for installing a lock.

Now let’s take a look inside Element G.

Inside Element G

In Figure 8, you can see the reverse side from the right panel with its 230 mm fan (190 mm blades, speed between 600 and 800 rpm, noise level between 12 and 14 dBA). What is really neat about this fan is that it uses a quick connect mechanism and not a standard power connector, so you can install or remove the panel without worrying about installing or removing its power plug.

Thermaltake Element G case
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Figure 8: Right panel.

In Figure 9 you can have an overall look inside Element G. As mentioned internally Element G and Element S are identical.

Thermaltake Element G case
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Figure 9: Inside Element G.

Element G has several holes on the motherboard tray allowing you to route cables from behind it, making your computer look more organized inside and improving the internal airflow.

Thermaltake Element G case
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Figure 10: Back of the motherboard tray.

You can see the rear and top fans in more details in Figure 11 and in Figure 12 you can see the space for installing two optional 60-mm fans above the expansion slots. Only one of the expansion slots comes with a meshed cover and daughterboards must be fastened to the chassis using regular screws, as this case does not come with any kind of screwless mechanism or thumbscrews. We think a case with this quality should come with meshed slot covers and at least black thumbscrews. At least on the aesthetic side this case is shipped with black screws.

Thermaltake Element G case
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Figure 11: Rear and top fans.

Thermaltake Element G case
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Figure 12: Expansion slots and space for optional 60-mm fans.

The power supply compartment can be seen in Figure 13. Pay attention and you will see a dust filter on the bottom of the case, which will be used if you install a power supply with a bottom 120- or 140 mm fan (the power supply should be installed with its fan facing down). The panel that divides the power supply compartment from the motherboard one can be removed (it is attached to the chassis using two thumbscrews) and it also has two 2.5” hard disk drive bays, as we will explain. It also has a small power supply support that can be moved to match you power supply depth.

Thermaltake Element G case
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Figure 13: Power supply compartment.

Now let’s take an in-depth look at the disk drive options from the reviewed case.

The Disk Drive Bays

This case has three external 5.25” bays, seven 3.5” and two 2.5” hard disk drive bays. In theory 2.5” drives are targeted to laptops and they are slower than desktop drives. These bays, however, aren’t targeted to conventional hard disk drives but to SSD units, which usually come in 2.5” form factor, as they are primarily targeted to laptops. Thus with this case you can install 2.5” SSDs without the need of using any kind of adapter. Speaking of adapter, this case doesn’t come with any adapter for external 3.5”devices (floppy disk drives or memory card readers).

Thermaltake Element G case
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Figure 14: Hard disk drive cage.

The hard disk drive cage can be removed from the case to make it easier for you to install several hard disk drives. It is fastened to the chassis using two black thumscrews.

Thermaltake Element G case
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Figure 15: Hard disk drive cage.

Even though the mechanism used to install hard disk drives isn’t exactly screwless, it is a very good one. You need to add four special screws to each hard disk drive, what can be done using your fingers. On the left side of the hard disk drive you need to install a screw on the first and last holes, but on the right side of the drive you need to use the first and middle holes. If you want you can add a normal screw on the last hole from the right side of the drive (see Figure 17). No anti-vibration mechanism is available.

Thermaltake Element G case
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Figure 16: Hard disk drive installation.

Thermaltake Element G case
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Figure 17: Hard disk drive installation.

The Disk Drive Bays (Contíd )

The two 2.5” bays are available on the wall that separates the motherboard compartment from the power supply compartment. One bay is available on the top part of the wall and the other is available right below it, upside down.

Thermaltake Element G case
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Figure 18: The two 2.5” hard disk drive bays.

In Figure 19, you can see a 2.5” SSD unit installed on the top bay.

Thermaltake Element G case
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Figure 19: SSD unit installed on the top 2.5” bay.

Main Specifications

Thermaltake Element G case main specs include:

* Researched at Newegg.com on the day we published this review.

Conclusions

Thermaltake Element G is a mid-tower case targeted to the exigent user that wants a high-quality mid-tower case full of features. Here is a summary of what we found about this product.

Strong Points

  • Top-notch quality.
  • Amazing number of hard disk drive bays that will please even very high-end users (seven).
  • Two 2.5” hard disk drive bays.
  • Dust filters.
  • Fan speed control.
  • Fan color control.

Weak Points

  • No anti-vibration mechanisms for the hard disk drives.
  • No eSATA port.
  • Could have one FireWire port.
  • Could have come with meshed covers on all expansion slots.
  • Could have come with black thumbscrews for fastening daughterboards.
  • Covers from water-cooling holes need to be broken.
  • Price.

In summary, we think this is a terrific product for the user that is looking for a fully loaded mid-tower case. We were really impressed by its quality. Its only real drawback is pricing.

Originally at http://www.hardwaresecrets.com/article/Thermaltake-Element-G-Case-Review/751


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