Thermaltake Element T Case Review
By Gabriel Torres on July 24, 2009


Introduction

Hardware Secrets Golden Award

Element T (VK9000) is the most affordable product within Thermaltake’s Element case series, costing around USD 85.00 (Element G costs around USD 145 and Element S costs around USD 105). While Element S and Element G share the same internal design, Element T is a completely different product, to the point we wondered why Thermaltake put it in the same product line. Let’s see if this case is worthwhile buying.

As you can see on Figures 1 and 2, the overall aspect from Element T is very different from Element S and Element G. The only thing in common between these three cases is the top 200-mm fan (Element S uses a bigger 230 mm fan). Like Element G, Element T has a mesh for a side 230 mm fan, but differently from Element G it doesn’t come with the product. You can also attach a 120 mm fan to this mesh.

Thermaltake Element T case
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Figure 1: Thermaltake Element T case.

Thermaltake Element T case
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Figure 2: Thermaltake Element T case.

The front panel of Element T is completely meshed with dust filters and resembles the design used by several other cases from Thermaltake, like M9 and V9. Element T has three external 5.25” bays and one external 3.5” bay. On the bottom part of the front panel you can install one 200-mm fan or two 120 mm fans or two 140 mm fans. This is a similar configuration found on Element G and Element S, however Element G comes with one 200-mm fan already installed and Element S comes with one 120 mm fan already installed, and Element T does not come with any fan here. This is certainly one of the places Thermaltake cut down costs.

Thermaltake Element T case
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Figure 3: Front panel.

Thermaltake Element T case
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Figure 4: Back side from the front panel. Notice the dust filters.

Introduction (Contíd)

In Figure 5, you can see the front of the case with its plastic front panel removed. Notice the place for installing the front fans. Also notice that internally this case is gray and not black like Element G and Element S.

Thermaltake Element T case
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Figure 5: Front of the case with the front panel removed.

This case comes with two USB ports, which are too close to each other. No eSATA or FireWire ports are available.

Thermaltake Element T case
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Figure 6: Connectors from the front panel.

The rear panel can be seen in Figure 7. On Element T the power supply is installed on the bottom of the case, just like Element S and Element G. As you can see, the rear and the interior from the case was not painted black. The case has a 120 mm fan on the rear rotating at 1,400 rpm (17 dBA noise level), using a standard peripheral power plug, so you can’t monitor the fan speed. The slot covers are meshed, improving airflow, and Element T also has a mesh above where the daughterboards are installed. Water-cooling solutions are supported, however the holes for passing the hoses are on the bottom part of the case and they need to be broken for usage, as this case doesn’t come with rubber covers on them as usually happens with cases with water cooler support.

Thermaltake Element T case
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Figure 7: Rear panel.

The rear panel from Element T brings two interesting features. One is a hook for you to install a padlock to prevent unauthorized people from opening the case (Figure 8). The second one is a lock for the keyboard and mouse cables, preventing people from stealing these devices, especially if the computer will be placed on a public location (Figure 9).

Thermaltake Element T case
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Figure 8: Hook for installing a padlock.

Thermaltake Element T case
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Figure 9: Keyboard and mouse cable lock.

Now let’s take a look inside Element T.

Inside Element T

Both panels are attached to the chassis using thumbscrews, which is great. In Figure 10 you have an overall look at the inside Element T. As already mentioned, its interior isn’t painted black and it uses a completely different design from Element S and Element G.

Thermaltake Element T case
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Figure 10: Inside Element T.

The motherboard tray is cut below where the CPU is located, facilitating the replacement of the CPU cooler if you decide to install a CPU cooler that requires the change of the hardware located behind the motherboard.

Thermaltake Element T case
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Figure 11: Inside Element T.

In Figure 12 we show the power supply compartment.

Thermaltake Element T case
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Figure 12: Power supply compartment.

Element T doesn’t come with any screwless mechanism to hold daughter cards. On the other hand it comes with thumbscrews, which we think is a better solution.

Thermaltake Element T case
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Figure 13: Slots.

The only two fans that come with this case can be seen in Figure 14. The rear 120 mm fan rotates at 1,400 rpm (17 dBA), while the top 200-mm fan rotates at 800 rpm (14 dBA), and the top fan glows red when turned on. Both use standard peripheral power plugs, so you can’t monitor their speed.

Thermaltake Element T case
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Figure 14: Fans.

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, one external 3.5” bay, six internal 3.5” bays and one internal 2.5” bay. Only the first 5.25” and the first internal 3.5” bays use a screwless mechanism, so you need to use screws to install drives on the other bays. At least Element T comes with thumbscrews, so no tool is needed to install the drives (it comes with both thin and thick thumbscrews, so you can use thumbscrews on 5.25” and 3.5” drives).

Thermaltake Element T case
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Figure 15: Disk drive bays.

The 2.5” bay may not be noticed by most users. It is simply a bunch of four holes located on the bottom of the case. Even though it is located below the hard disk drive bays, you can install a hard disk drive or an SSD there and have a hard drive installed on the bottom bay at the same time without any problem.

Thermaltake Element T case
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Figure 16: 2.5” bay.

Main Specifications

Thermaltake Element T case main specs include:

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

Conclusions

Thermaltake Element T is a mid-tower case for users that want a good case but don’t want or can’t pay more to have a case with superior quality. Here is a summary of what we found about this product.

Strong Points

  • Good quality for its price point.
  • Amazing number of hard disk drive bays that will please even very high-end users (six).
  • One 2.5” hard disk drive bay.
  • Dust filters on the front panel.
  • Meshed front panel.
  • Meshed slot covers.
  • No sharp edges where you could cut yourself while building your PC.
  • Very good cost/benefit ratio.

Weak Points

  • Not with the same quality as Element G or Element S.
  • Screwless mechanisms only on the first 5.25” and first 3.5” bays.
  • No anti-vibration mechanisms for the hard disk drives.
  • The two USB ports are too close to each other, preventing you from installing two “fat” USB devices at the same time.
  • No eSATA port.

In summary, we think this is a very good option for the user that is looking for good mid-tower case but doesn’t want to pay more than USD 85 to have one. Of course if you have a bigger budget then you can go for a case with better overall quality and with more features, but for its price point it is definitely a good buy.

Originally at http://www.hardwaresecrets.com/article/Thermaltake-Element-T-Case-Review/770


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