The PSU bay allows installing your power supply in two different positions. If the PSU is placed with its fan facing down, there are vent grids in the bottom panel covered with a perforated bar of a dust filter. However, the vent grid is smaller even than a 120mm fan and, coupled with the rather mediocre filter, does not let the fresh air in freely.
The posts for installing the mainboard have a smaller thread than usual, so you should take care not to lose the ones included with the system case (there's a lot of spare ones in the kit, though).
The system case cannot accommodate some of the longest graphics cards, including not only the monstrous Radeon HD 5970 but also the smaller Radeon HD 6990. The shorter GeForce GTX 590 and Radeon HD 6950/6970 will fit in without leaving any extra space.
Besides, the Element G will not be able to accommodate ATX mainboards which are wider than usual (for example, an ASUS Rampage II Extreme or Rampage III Extreme).
The Element G offers an innovative way of installing hard disk drives. First you screw four originally shaped screws with wide caps into the HDD’s mounting holes. Then the HDD is inserted into the bay along the rails and is fixed with plastic locks.
The locks are not strong, though. If you pull the installed HDD towards yourself, the lock will give in easily. This fastening should be sufficient for a stationary computer, but we’d be worried about it if we were to transport the system case to some other place. The rail-based installation means a total lack of protection against noise and vibration, and the system's behavior during our tests was the proof of that: the HDDs could be heard from an adjacent room when doing the disk access time test.
The compartment for cables is narrow opposite the mainboard, thus allowing to install CPU coolers up to 162 millimeters tall despite the thick fan on the side panel. It becomes wide in the front part, so most of the cables are supposed to be tucked in behind the HDD rack.
This worked with our testbed configuration, but we have some apprehensions as to whether the side panel can be closed if the HDD rack were full. The HDD cables resisted our effort to close the side panel even with our components.
There are no openings for cables in the top part of the chassis. This prevented us from connecting the back-panel fan to the mainboard’s 3-pin connectors near the memory modules. You may have to route the cables through the holes in the sides of the 5.25-inch bays.
The cutout in the mainboard’s mounting plate opposite the CPU is very small. It is but slightly larger than the area defined by the screw holes of the LGA775 socket. You won't be able to replace your CPU cooler without taking the mainboard out of the system case if the CPU socket of your mainboard doesn't match the cutout exactly.
The cooling system of the Element G consists of four fans: one 230mm intake fan on the side panel, two 200mm fans on the front (intake) and top (exhaust) panels, and one 140mm exhaust fan on the back panel. The three larger fans are powered via a single PATA connector and are also connected to the fan speed controller. The 140mm fan has a 3-pin power plug that goes into a mainboard’s connector.
There are also seats for two 60mm fans on the back panel (Thermaltake seems to be the only manufacturer to have kept the irrational love for this low-efficiency and noisy format). The front 200mm fan can be replaced with two 120mm fans using the included plastic frames.
The 200 and 230mm fans have a speed range of 600 to 800 RPM, depending on the controller settings while the speed of the 140mm fan is about 1150 RPM (although Thermaltake wrote 1000 RPM into the specs).
The difference between the minimum and maximum speed of the large fans can hardly be discerned by the ear, and the Element G is overall average in terms of noisiness. It can hardly be a nuisance in daytime, but we wish it were quieter at night, especially in terms of the noise from the installed HDDs.
- Good accessories
- Compatible with 2.5-inch drives
- Controllable highlighting and fan speeds
- Durable painting of the external metallic elements
- Vibration-absorbing pads of the side panels
- Original solution for connecting the side-panel fan
- Low rigidity of the chassis
- Graphics cards longer than 28 centimeters cannot be installed
- Poor position for 2.5-inch drives
- No protection against noise and vibration from the installed HDDs
- Poor protection against dust
- No eSATA or FireWire among the front-panel connectors
- A few cheap details such as the feet or expansion-slot brackets