Excerpt: Small form factor PC’s can often be a fun endeavour but they can also be an essential part of a network. Their leading applications include HTPCs and wordprocessors/internet browsers but the limitations only exist with software. Some Mini-ITX cases come with all the bells and whistles and start at a small fortune. But what if you’re looking for a chassis without breaking the bank?
Summary: Although the Element Q's GTI styling cue hints at hot-hatch roots, the reality points more toward a diesel-powered grocery getter. The case's extremely limited airflow and cooler clearance conspire to make it a hostile environment for a Core i3-2100, and that's without a discrete graphics card installed. I'd be hesitant to populate the case with anything more powerful than a Zacate-based Brazos board, relegating the Element to basic desktops and home-theater PCs.
Conclusion: The Element Q is certainly a case built for small places. The ITX premise does bring into account of a lot of issues that need solving, mainly where do you install everything. Thermaltake did an excellent job at making the Element Q easy to work with and easy to install everything we needed. Installation was quick for this system, mostly because of the limitations on what hardware could be used.
Summary: The ThermalTake Element Q VL52021N2U Mini ITX case has everything you need, and nothing you don’t. It is a pretty neat little device and makes for a decent little gaming machine. You can fit a good amount of hardware for a midrange gaming setup, and it doesn’t take up too much space on your desk (or LAN party).
The case isn’t the smallest Mini-ITX case in the world, but those extra few inches make installation a lot easier.
Conclusion: Performance on PC cases is rather subjective. The Element Q offers good features and "normal" performance. They let you install 3.5" HDDs and 5.25" optical drives, but considering there's lots of space below the external drives, they could have offered space for a pair of 2.5" drives too, but they didn't. The ventilation is quite simple and it doesn't have any fans except for the PSU.
Summary: The Thermaltake Element Q looks pretty slick out of the box but once you drop your favorite hardware inside, you can ruin the sleek look if you're not careful. While the DVDRW drive doesn't look to bad, the card reader makes it look a bit cheap. Of course you can buy a fancier card reader, but it would have been nice if a basic card reader was included under the covered USB2.0/Audio area.
Pros: Full-sized 5.25" bay for full-sized drives, Two 3.5" devices/drives supported, Well balanced design, 200W PSU is more than adequate for almost any ITX solution
Cons: PCI slot only accepts single-slot GPUs, Card reader would be nice under the front door
Summary: All in all, I believe you get quite a bit for the $50 asking price of the Thermaltake Element Q. Granted you don't get the flash and simplistic elegance we see in some other smaller cases. You do get plenty of functionality as well as a clean looking enclosure that can be placed in the center of your entertainment console. The black blends in perfect with a lot of the entertainment devices we all have in our living rooms. The red line just asks to be looked at.
Conclusion: Thermaltake Element Q is a small and good looking basic case. The installation of the components is very easy and doesn't take much time. The internal 3.5" drive place should have had some dampening on the bottom side as the bottom of the drive isn't really attached anywhere and it can move a bit (maybe 1 mm) horizontally and it might cause some extra noise if the spinning HDD resonates against the holder.
Pros: Small, 5.25" drive bay instead of a place for a slim drive, Easy installation, Low brightness blue power led
Cons: PSU fan noise, Poor airflow, The bottom HDD holder design
Conclusion: All in all, the ElementQ will cover your basic needs when you need to build an HTPC system. The product retails for just $75 so it might be a good option after all. No matter if you choose an ION or Intel solution, make sure that your set up fits the case and the PSU can handle it first.
Conclusion: Das Element Q von Thermaltake hinterlässt insgesamt betrachtet ein positives Bild bei uns, jedoch hat es auch mit kleinen Makeln zu kämpfen. Der Aufbau und die Verarbeitung sprechen auf jeden Fall für das kleine Gehäuse, denn trotz der Größe lässt sich noch „ausreichend“ Hardware verbauen und wer will kann sogar noch eine Singleslot Grafikkarte verbauen. Auch der Platz für zwei Festplatten und ein 5,25“ Laufwerk sollte für die meisten HTPCs ausreichend sein.