Roundup: Four Gaming Cases Under $150

Building With The Element V

The Element V’s installation kit is far more basic than many of its competitors, since most of the case’s adapters and fans are pre-installed. Thermaltake adds a 3.5” external bay adapter and cover panel, a PC speaker, and two plastic grommets for use in place of the knock-outs with external liquid-cooling hoses.

The Element V is cavernous, swallowing up full-sized PC components with ease. Because standard-screw mounts are used throughout the case, the only other noticeable exception from normal PC builds is that the front-panel cables are too long. Specifically, running the front-panel cables around the bottom of the motherboard to its farthest corner still results in eight inches of slack that need to be tucked away behind the tray or drive cages. However, we’ll try not to criticize that feature too much, as it's better to have too much cable than not enough.

Lighting modes for the three LED-equipped fans include blue, green, and red as well as two alternating-color patterns. A sixth LED mode disables lighting entirely.

One more thing we should mention is that the side-fan contacts on our particular sample were slightly misaligned, so that we had to bump the bottom corner of the side panel rather hard to turn the fan on. Moving the case caused the panel to shift, and we had to bump the panel once again for the fan to work. This is especially troublesome, since the connectors are not adjustable.

Create a new thread in the US Reviews comments forum about this subject
This thread is closed for comments
104 comments
    Your comment
    Top Comments
  • skora
    Good article. But I'm a little surprised that the Element actually found the Buy award. Usually seems like that's set aside for superior products that don't have the QC issues this did.

    I'm sure there will be request for this case and that and across a lot of price ranges.

    If you do enough of these, you could do a "Best Gaming Case for the Money" series. Or is that peeing in Don's yard?
    18
  • sarsoft
    No Antec Nine Hundred case...
    16
  • 4ILY45
    No CM 690 II??
    10
  • Other Comments
  • skora
    Good article. But I'm a little surprised that the Element actually found the Buy award. Usually seems like that's set aside for superior products that don't have the QC issues this did.

    I'm sure there will be request for this case and that and across a lot of price ranges.

    If you do enough of these, you could do a "Best Gaming Case for the Money" series. Or is that peeing in Don's yard?
    18
  • sarsoft
    No Antec Nine Hundred case...
    16
  • p1n3apqlexpr3ss
    That wouldnt be a bad idea tbh skora, would like to know what the best budget case is out there... not excactly a fan of the antec 200/300
    0
  • 4ILY45
    No CM 690 II??
    10
  • bk641
    the cm doesn't have a fan control option, afaik.
    -10
  • Anonymous
    Gosh, that Zalman is butt-ugly.
    2
  • zoemayne
    ANTEC 902?
    3
  • sarsoft
    More cases need to be added. There are other case under $150 that are better choices.
    9
  • bk641
    the lancool (lian-li) k62 is a very, very good case for a sub $100 range. i'm using one, and it has pretty much everything you'd want in a mid-tower case. i especially like its HDD bay system, which can be configured to have the hard drives straight on, or perpendicular. in addition to that there are four quiet fans (two on top) and room for two 5870s.
    4
  • Crashman
    sarsoftNo Antec Nine Hundred case...

    No OLD cases. The Cooler Master case ended up in here by mistake, it was supposed to be for stuff released from November onward.
    -1
  • Crashman
    bk641the cm doesn't have a fan control option, afaik.
    Scroll up and look at the BIG KNOB in the picture maybe?
    4ILY45No CM 690 II??
    Got the CM Storm Sniper instead, was looking for 4-8 cases due to time constraints which means one per company.
    Tekkie9Gosh, that Zalman is butt-ugly.
    And the NZXT isn't?
    sarsoftMore cases need to be added. There are other case under $150 that are better choices.
    More companies were contacted. Every major brand who released a case between the end of November and the end of January was contacted. These are the ones Tom's Hardware got...most of the older-yet-popular cases have already been reviewed.
    2
  • sarsoft
    Anonymous said:
    More companies were contacted. Every major brand who released a case between the end of November and the end of January was contacted. These are the ones Tom's Hardware got...most of the older-yet-popular cases have already been reviewed.

    Fair enough.
    1
  • frozenlead
    While the lack of connector on the side fan of the Thermaltake chassis is a bummer and you painted it as such, you don't necessarily have to get a replacement from the factory. From the looks of it, it still uses the same 3 leads that standard fans do - an 11 year-old with a soldering iron could get any given fan to run off it.
    I could, of course, be mistaken. There is only one picture of it.
    1
  • evillman
    No CM 690 II Advanced? :/
    -4
  • Crashman
    Anonymous said:
    While the lack of connector on the side fan of the Thermaltake chassis is a bummer and you painted it as such, you don't necessarily have to get a replacement from the factory. From the looks of it, it still uses the same 3 leads that standard fans do - an 11 year-old with a soldering iron could get any given fan to run off it.
    I could, of course, be mistaken. There is only one picture of it.


    Yes, the connector was not removed to show the back side but anyone with wiring skills could wire the original connector to a generic replacement fan.
    0
  • Crashman
    Anonymous said:
    Good article. But I'm a little surprised that the Element actually found the Buy award. Usually seems like that's set aside for superior products that don't have the QC issues this did.

    I'm sure there will be request for this case and that and across a lot of price ranges.

    If you do enough of these, you could do a "Best Gaming Case for the Money" series. Or is that peeing in Don's yard?


    It was a tough call. Compared to the other cases it's an incredible value, but only when the side fan works. Hopefully if Thermaltake sells enough of these and is forced to replace enough of these, they will eventually solve the problem at the manufacturing level!
    0
  • haplo602
    ugly, big, expensive ... describes all of the cases :-)

    cannot help myself, but there's no case that would pass for a decent gaming case ... they are either ugly, have too many lights or too much wasted space or bad airflow.
    1
  • Crashman
    haplo602ugly, big, expensive ... describes all of the cases :-)cannot help myself, but there's no case that would pass for a decent gaming case ... they are either ugly, have too many lights or too much wasted space or bad airflow.


    The NZXT is tiny...and both Cooler Master and Thermaltake let you shut off the lights from the fan controller. IMO the big cases are too big, the small cases are too small, and if you're right about the looks than I guess you're not in their target market.
    0
  • Crashman
    evillmanNo CM 690 II Advanced?
    Got the CM Storm Sniper instead, was looking for 4-8 cases due to time constraints which means one per company.
    0
  • 4ILY45
    CrashmanGot the CM Storm Sniper instead, was looking for 4-8 cases due to time constraints which means one per company.


    That's understandable.. anyhow cheers..
    2