I installed my once-standard gaming rig into the Element V to see how it fits. An ASUS M3A32-MVP motherboard, AMD Phenom II 940 Black Edition, 8 GB of DDR2 RAM, three SATA hard drives, a Creative X-Fi gamer, and a Foxconn-made nVidia 8800 GTX video card comprise this rig.
I’m very annoyed that the motherboard tray doesn’t already have risers built-in. I understand that sometimes extra risers can get in the way or cause shorts, but insulate them and keep in in there, ThermalTake. It’s a papercut.
I’m also annoyed that the USB headers aren’t in a solid block. Yes, loose headers. I’ve not seen a case that did this in at least a year. Motherboard manufacturers have all but standardized now on blue as the color for USB connectors. With these loose connectors, I have to rely on my memory or dig out my motherboard’s manual to find the pin arrangement. Don’t make me think, ThermalTake! Use connectors which eliminate the guessing games.
Other than these annoyances, the motherboard installation was normal. Next, I installed the hard drives.
The hard drives cannot be installed without tools. You’ll need a fairly long, magnetic screwdriver, or at least not a short, stubby power screwdriver like mine. The drives are very securely mounted, though. Each of the front fans are mounted directly on the hard drive cage, so these drives are sure to get plenty of air.
I had difficulty removing the upper cage, so I ended up using the lower one.
The 5.25″ DVD burner I installed was unable to be retained solely using the black snap brackets. I had to use a thumbscrew, but there’s insufficient room to get my fat fingers in there! At least for my drive, the 5.25″ bays are not very tool-less.
Cable management wasn’t much of a problem. There is a ton of space behind the opposite side panel for the extra front panel cables and plenty of space below the hard drive cages for extra slack on SATA cables.
When I installed the PSU, I had problems getting it in. There’s not a lot of space to maneuver in there, and sure enough, that lip I mentioned in the Inside section got in my way. However, it was perfectly sized for the ThermalTake Evo Blue power supply I was using inside it.
If you’re wanting a quiet case, the Element V is likely not for you. The fans are quiet, but they are not silent. Also, if you’re using this type of case, you’re also likely using a decently-loud air cooler on your CPU and/or video card, so I’m not concerned with how quieting this case is.
The colors are neat. It can do red, blue, green, and a mixed flashy mode. Such bling is cool for parties and showing off the rig.
Colin Dean has been a writer for ThinkComputers since 2006.