For the installation portion of the review, we decided to use an Intel-based i7 system to evaluate how user-friendly the Element S is to people installing new components.
Here’s a complete rundown of what we installed in the Element S:
CPU: Intel i7 920
Heatsink: Stock Intel heatsink
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-EX58-UD3R LGA 1366 Intel X58
Video Card: EVGA 9800 GTX+ 512MB
RAM: OCZ 6GB (3x2GB) DDR3-1600
PSU: PC Power and Cooling S75CF 750W
Optical drive: Samsung 22X DVD Burner SATA
Here’s a quick snapshot with all of our parts listed above installed in the Element S. Some of the key issues we had with this case during installation were as follows:
- Hard drive cage: We were unable to use the quick-release features because one of the screws needed to be removed for the “quick-release” function to work. From our experience, quick-release latches shouldn’t require users to screw in any of their components. Using screws should be optional.
- PSU location: Our PC Power and Cooling PSU was a snug fit when we included the bracket that is “supposed” to help with cable management. We actually had quite a bit of difficulty with cable management as you can see in the photo above. Since we weren’t using a modular PSU, we had to cram all of the extra cables we didn’t use behind the PSU. This could cause some ventilation issues after extended use. Our PSU actually got scratched a little during installation which makes me think they should have given users a bit more room in the section of the case. On a side note, users who want to use three graphics cards in this case might have some difficulties with space. Two graphics cards should fit just fine, but three might be pushing it.
- Optical bays: Thermaltake didn’t include any quick-release options for the optical bays which required us to screw them in by hand. Usually I don’t have any issues with this, but I think it’s become standard practice for most PC cases on the market today to have this feature.
Here’s a quick shot of the front panel on the Element S with one DVD burner installed.
The back panel is pretty clutter-free and I like the options to install 60mm fans to help cool the graphics card. This space is usually wasted in most cases and I appreciate Thermaltake trying to use every bit of space in a functional manner.
The top I/O panel has bright LEDs for the power and reset button.
Lastly, the 230mm fan on the top of the case lights up and softly glows red to give the Element S a little flair that I think isn’t over the top and is consistent with the design scheme of the overall case itself.