Thermaltake does include some tool-free mounting solutions for the big bays and they can be manipulated with one hand, once you get the hang of it. We’ll see how secure they are during installation. The top five bays will accept ODD drives or similarly sized devices while the bottom six of these clips…
…secure the two iCages that provide room for a total of six HDDs in fan cooled comfort. For some reason, Thermaltake uses a clear “ColorShift” fan on one of the cages and a black non-illuminated fan for the other cage. They also have differend speed and CFM ratings, so a user may want to keep this in mind during installation. The cooling fans blow front-to-back, which should provide good airflow to the graphics card(s,) but will likely make adding or swapping hard disks a bit more challenging that a side facing cage. We’ll see about this during installation. This photo also shows the ventilation holes in the floor for the PSU, but with the short feet provided for the bottom, I wouldn’t recommend the case for carpeted floor duty. There’s also a moveable support bar for the PSU on the floor and a large brace running the length of the case keeps the chassis very stiff and robust, even with the side panels off.
See that little bump with the hole in the center just below the iCage fan? There are three more of them arranged so that a 2.5” HDD can be installed on the floor of the Element V. While this should have been a nice additional feature, the user will have to remove the bottom iCage, hold the drive in place and flip the case over to get the screws in from the bottom. Surely someone at Thermaltake could have come up with a better solution than this.
The front panel needs to come off to install any hard drives or devices in the big bays. Fortunately, Thermaltake has incorporated some very nice latches into the front panel design that allow easy removal while keeping the panel securely attached to the chassis. Another added bonus of the design is that, with the I/O panel on the top of the case, there is no wiring associated with the front panel. I really like this design and it will be a boon to users who need frequent access to this area of the case. There are dust filters incorporated into the front panel as well, and the ease with which the panel can be removed will make maintenance of the filters a snap, increasing the likelihood that they will actually get the needed cleaning.
During the build process, the right side panel will need to come off to route the I/O panel wiring as it exits on this side and down the channel between the mobo tray and the front of the chassis. We’ll explore more about this during installation, but Thermaltake has provided some access holes in strategic spots in this area.
The cooling scheme looks good and I’m happy to see that there are a lot of fans included with the element V. The 230mm side panel intake fan should take care of the airflow “dead zone” we see in so many full tower cases around the expansion card area.
Wiring for the I/O panel is of generous length, well marked and well documented in the user’s manual and offer a couple of nice features as well. For example, the power LED wiring has both a 2- and 3-pin connector to support any motherboard header out there without having to futz with moving wires in the connector plug and both HD audio and the older AC 97 configuration are supported by separate connectors. That about wraps up this tour of Thermaltake’s Element V chassis. Let’s get some hardware in it and see how it performs.