Page 4 - Installation and Conclusion
Installation of the core components of my system was fairly straightforward, although I would have liked it if the hard disk drive mounting cage had a true tool-less mounting method to it. The motherboard installation was well thought out, and motherboard standoff screw points were well labeled and easy to identify.
Construction wise, the SECC construction material, while sometimes appear flimsy it had a very sturdy feel to it. From a durability standpoint, it is significantly stronger than an average aluminum case. The metal edges were well rounded, and there weren't many places where one could get injured. Again, the use of thumbscrews is a welcome addition as that is almost mandatory in any enthusiast level chassis. I also would like to see more tool-free installation methods employed, in particular the 5.25" and 3.5" drive mounting mechanisms.
As stated multiple times before, hard drive installation was straightforward, and to a degree pseudo-tool-free. Definitely a welcome change would be to include hard drive vibration dampeners, as decreasing hard drive vibration is a very good step towards reducing overall noise emanating from the case.
Cabling wise, holes for cables to be routed behind the tray were plentiful and I had no difficulties finding places to route my cables at all. One thing that could definitely use some improvement is providing enough room behind the motherboard tray and the side panel for large cables such as the 20+4 pin ATX connector to be routed behind the tray. I noticed that with the larger cables routed behind the tray, reinstalling the side panel was more difficult than it could have been. Part of this problem was the fact that there were no cable tie points for any cables to be directly tied to the back of the motherboard tray.
The front panel connectors were easy to install, and in particular Thermaltake opted to include both +,- and +,0,- connectors for certain front panel pin connectors. I had no troubles with my Asus P5Q-Pro -- although it would have been better if the + and - ends of the pins were labeled to avoid confusion.
Lastly, when the system is plugged in and turned on visually speaking it definitely looks stunning (To me anyway). The side panel 230mm fan is a welcome addition for those seeking more cooling for the video card. What you will compromise would be an acrylic window. Acoustically, these fans are also a tad on the loud side, even for me (I'm quite tolerant of noise, unlike Jonathan around here). On the lowest fan speed, I can easily hear the subtle hum of the fans even over the hum of my PSU and video card fans. There were no buzzing sounds aside from the hum and air turbulence caused by the fans -- I was also able to hear the vibrations caused by the hard drives. In future revisions of the Element G, it would be nice to include a drive vibration dampening mechanism.
Acoustically speaking, on a scale of 1 to 10 with 1 being the quietest and 10 being the loudest, I would rate the overall noise level with all the Element G fans at the quietest setting a 5.0. To be completely honest here, I expected much better acoustically from these particular fans; and even more-so considering the side intake, front intake and top exhaust are all large 200mm and 230mm fans which generally are able to move more air with lower RPM -- thus lower acoustical noise. This is one aspect of the Element G that could definitely use some refinement, and I would like to see some improvement in that regard.
At the end of the day, what do we have here? For around $140 USD at press time, what we have is a very well designed and well thought out case with some flaws that can be easily addressed. Thermaltake definitely paid a lot of attention to detail, and the build quality is definitely top notch. The design is conservative yet modern, yet it still gives you the impression that this case isn't just some run-of-the-mill gaming case. The excellent SECC construction is a bonus, and use of cheap plastic was minimal. Thermaltake did the the little details right such as including a hole for motherboard backplate installation, with proficiently adequate cooling and airflow. The included fan controller and LED color changer permits more flexibility to accommodate the tastes of more people. For a (quoting myself here) -- "relatively small mid-tower case", the Element G had ample room to work with. And any gamer would be proud to bring this case to a LAN party, or have it on their desk, like I do. It also goes without saying that this case is not quite perfect just yet though. For one, I am not happy with the fact that there were no e-SATA or Firewire front panel connectors. For a case of this class, having those two connectors, or either one of the two is a given. Furthermore, complete true tool-free installation is always welcome, as well as providing cable tie points for routing cables behind the motherboard tray. I would also appreciate having vibration dampeners available out of the box for its seven 3.5" drive bays. Lastly, and even most importantly, even on the lowest RPM setting there is still quite a bit of acoustical noise coming from the fans in question. This is one aspect that I would like to see improved in future revisions of the Element G. Other than that, the Element G is a well balanced, well designed case loaded with some excellent features. If you're in the market for a decent mid-tower case, be sure not to miss out Thermaltake's Element G in your considerations!
Special thanks to Ramsom over at Thermaltake for making this review possible.
APH Review Focus Summary:
6/10 means A product with its advantages, but drawbacks should not be ignored before purchasing.
7/10 means Great product with many advantages and certain insignificant drawbacks; but should be considered before purchasing.
-- Final APH Numeric Rating is 6.9/10
Please note that the APH Numeric Rating system is based off our proprietary guidelines in the Review Focus, and should not be compared to other sites.
A well balanced, well designed case with adequate cable management, cooling and very aesthetically pleasing with the option for changable LED colors. With some fine tuning and refinement, the Thermaltake Element G might just be a winner!
1. Introduction, Packaging
2. Physical Look - Outside
3. Physical Look - Inside
4. Installation and Conclusion