Thermaltake Element S (VK6000) Case Review
By Gabriel Torres on February 9, 2009


Introduction

Hardware Secrets Golden Award

Element S, also known as VK6000, is a high-quality steel mid-tower case from Thermaltake, bringing interesting features such as two 2.5” hard disk drive bays. Let’s take a look at this new case.

Interesting to notice that on the product box there are two versions listed, one with a meshed side panel and a side 230 mm fan (VK60001W2Z) and one with a solid side panel (VK60001N2Z) – which was the model we reviewed –, but on Thermaltake’s website the first version isn’t listed, at least yet.

We were really impressed by the quality of the material used both inside and outside this case. 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.

Thermaltake ElementS case
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Figure 1: Thermaltake Element S case.

Thermaltake ElementS case
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Figure 2: Thermaltake Element S case.

This case has a front door, shown in Figure 3. In Figure 4 we can see the case with its door opened.

Thermaltake ElementS case
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Figure 3: Front door.

Thermaltake ElementS case
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Figure 4: Front panel.

Even though it looks like this case has nine 5.25” this doesn’t happen: it has only three 5.25” bays. The bottom six covers are used only for aesthetic reasons and also to improve the internal airflow, as all covers are meshed featuring dust filters, which is terrific.

In Figure 5, you can see the front panel with the covers removed. This case comes with one 120 mm frontal fan (1,300 rpm) and a space for installing another 120 mm fan, which doesn’t come with the product. These fans are installed in front of the hard disk drive cage. You can’t add more 5.25”devices by removing these two fan supports because even though the hard disk cage is removable there is nothing to hold 5.25” devices there.

Thermaltake ElementS case
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Figure 5: Front panel.

All fans that come with this case have only two wires and use standard peripheral power plugs, so you can’t monitor their speed. Also no fan speed controller is available.

Introduction (Cont’d)

In Figure 6, you can see the top panel from Element S, which features a 230 mm fan. This fan glows red when turned on and rotates at 800 rpm. The blades from this fan, however, measure 190 mm so it can be in fact smaller than “smaller” fans than have bigger blades.

Thermaltake ElementS case
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Figure 6: Top panel.

On the top panel we have the traditional audio and USB connectors, and this case comes with one eSATA port, which is great. The two USB ports available are far away from each other, allowing you to install two “fat” USB devices at the same time. A case with this construction quality deserved one FireWire port and two extra USB ports, in our opinion.

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Figure 7: Available connectors.

The rear panel from Element S can be seen in Figure 8. What immediately caught our eye was the fact that it is painted black, giving it a very good appearance. On ElementS the power supply is installed on the bottom of the case. Each side panel is attached to the chassis using three black thumbscrews 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. 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.

Thermaltake ElementS case
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Figure 8: Rear panel.

Now let’s take a look inside Element S.

Inside Element S

In Figure 9 you can have an overall look inside Thermaltake Element S. Even though we can remove the right panel the motherboard tray is permanently attached to the chassis.

Thermaltake ElementS case
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Figure 9: Inside Element S.

You can see the rear and top fans in more details in Figure 10. As mentioned before, the top fan glows red when turned on and uses 190 mm blades, even though it is labeled as a 230 mm fan. As mentioned before, the fans do not provide speed monitoring. In Figure 11, you can see the space for installing 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. We believe that all these minor options that we think Thermaltake should have added weren’t implemented in order to keep this case at an affordable cost.

Thermaltake ElementS case
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Figure 10: Rear and top fans.

Thermaltake ElementS case
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Figure 11: Expansion slots and space for optional 60-mm fans.

The power supply compartment can be seen in Figure 12. 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 ElementS case
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Figure 12: 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” hard disk drive and two 2.5” hard disk drive bays. This is the first time we’ve seen a case with 2.5” bays and this was a very smart move from Thermaltake. 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).

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Figure 13: Main disk drive bays.

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.

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Figure 14: Hard disk drive cage.

Even though the mechanism used to install hard disk drives isn’t screwless, it is a very good one. You need to screw for special screws to each hard disk drive, see Figure 15. Notice that on the left side of the hard disk drive you need to install a screw to the first and last holes, but on the right side of the drive you need to use the first and middle holes.

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Figure 15: Hard disk drive installation.

The Disk Drive Bays (Cont’d )

After you insert the hard disk drive to a bay, the screw installed on its last hole will be used to lock the drive to the bay through a plastic latch (see Figure 16). The hard disk drive will be very tight on the bay, but if you want you can add a screw to the last hole on the right side of the drive (Figure 17).

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Figure 16: Hard disk drive installed in a bay.

Thermaltake ElementS case
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Figure 17: Notice that you can add a screw to the last hole.

As for the two 2.5” hard disk drive bays, they are available on the panel that divides the power supply compartment from the motherboard one. As mentioned, this panel can be removed, what helps the installation of 2.5” drives. One bay is available on the top part of the panel and the other is available right below it, upside down.

Thermaltake ElementS case
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Figure 18: Panel with two 2.5” hard disk drive bays.

In Figure 19, you can see a 2.5” hard disk drive installed on the top bay.

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Figure 19: Laptop hard disk drive installed on the top 2.5” bay.

Main Specifications

Thermaltake Element S (VK6000) case main specs include:

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

Conclusions

Thermaltake Element S is a mid-tower case targeted to the exigent user that wants a high-quality mid-tower case at a very affordable price. Here is a summary of what we found about this product.

Strong Points

Weak Points

In summary, we think this is a terrific product for the user that is looking for an above-the-average mid-tower case at a very affordable price. We were really impressed by its quality.

Originally at http://www.hardwaresecrets.com/article/Thermaltake-Element-S-VK6000-Case-Review/690


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