Hardware Installation & Performance Evaluation
The Talos E3 WH comes with a tear-open pack of screws (with three standoffs) and several cable ties in a long resealable bag. The tear-open bag didn’t tear easy, and we wished we’d cut it open after dropping a few screws.
Cables include the front-panel button/LED group (without reset), HD Audio, ARGB LED to allow color control from a motherboard’s header, USB 2.0, USB 3.x, and an SATA power connector for the integrated fan/RGB controller.
The fans are not motherboard controllable, but instead stuck at a single somewhat-low RPM, as the custom 4-pin header has only enough wires to power the fans and provide RGB data. Each fan has both a male and female connector so that these can be daisy-chained, while power comes exclusively via the RGB controller’s 12V input.
Installing our Corsair AX860i power supply required removing the cage to get its modular cable connectors past the edge, though remounting the cage in its forward position would have avoided this issue. Our full ATX-spec motherboard fits almost perfectly up to the tray’s 2.5” drive mounts, though those are designed to place the drives on the opposite side of the tray. Oversized enthusiast motherboards that are typically 10.6” deep, would also fit, though access to the 2.5” drive screws would then be hindered.
The extreme right-side positioning of the Talos E3 WH’s top-panel screw holes was a design necessity for the case to fit our liquid cooling radiator and fans, since these hung below the top of the board by well more than an inch. We had to connect the CPU fan and EPS12V cables before installing the radiator.
We really can’t help but notice that the Talos E3 WH punches well about its weight in any competition regarding appearance, as this is only a $65 case!
|CPU||AMD Ryzen 7 3700X: 8 cores/ 16 threads, 32MB L3 Cache
O/C to 4.20 GHz (42x 100 MHz) at 1.3625 V Core
|CPU Cooler||Fractal Design Celsius S24 2x 120mm Closed-Loop Liquid Cooler|
|Motherboard||MSI X570 Ace: AMD X570, Socket AM4|
|RAM||PNY XLR8 MD32GK2D4320016XR: 2x 16GB DDR4-3200
T-Force Vulcan Z TLZGD416G3200HC16CDC0 DDR4-3200
|Graphics||Gigabyte GeForce RTX 2070 Gaming OC 8G: GeForce RTX 2070
1815 MHz GPU, GDDR6-14000, Maximum Fan When Listed
|Hard Drives||Toshiba OCZ RD400 256GB NVMe SSD|
|Sound||Integrated HD Audio|
|Network||Integrated Gigabit Networking|
|Power||Corsair AX860i: ATX12V v2.3, EPS12V, 80 PLUS Platinum|
|Load Software||AIDA 64 Engineer Version 6.00.5100, Stress CPU, FPU, Cache, GPU|
|H/W Monitoring||HWiNFO64 v6.28-4200|
|SPL Monitoring||Galaxy CM-140 SPL Meter: Tested at 1/4 m, corrected to 1 m (-12 dB)|
The Talos E3 WH is virtually tied in CPU temperature to its larger competitors, proving its airflow sufficient despite its relatively slow single-speed intake and exhaust fans.
The PCH shows definitive benefits from having the Talos E3 WH’s intake fans only a few inches away.
The voltage regulator also benefits from close fan proximity, but in this case it’s the fans of our closed-loop cooler doing the work. The tiny Talos E3 WH comes in a close second behind the larger Air 900 ARGB.
GPU temperature is where the Talos E3 WH takes its only loss, and only by a few degrees. Perhaps the case’s fixed, moderate fan speed wasn’t quite ideal in this regard.
One benefit of the Talos E3 WH’s moderate fan speed is that it contributed very little to the noise exiting the system. It takes second place in quietness.
We picked motherboard VR Mos temperature a while ago to represent the greatest variable in case cooling, since voltage regulators usually rely on surrounding fans to stay cool. Despite its compact size, the Talos E3 WH takes second place here.
With its solid performance, great looks, the ability to support a variety of hardware including dual 3.5” plus dual 2.5” drives…or a 3x 120mm radiator, and a reduced depth that takes up up less desk (or shelf) space, the Talos E3 WH appears to be the perfect case for a variety of DIY builders. With its unrestricted 12.4”-deep motherboard tray, there’s even room for those so-called “EATX” enthusiast-class motherboards that are far less than full EATX depth! But there’s no free gains here: Installing a 360mm radiator for example requires removal and exclusion of the 3.5” drive cage. Yet for those who don’t intend to install a triple-fan radiator up front, simply moving that drive cage to its forward mount so that a big power supply can fit appears to be a great way to pack big components into a smaller space.
And that raises the question of how Gamdias delivers such an exception design for such a low price. A look back at its specs provides a clue to the answer: That 4.8kg weight was not a typo. The sheet metal is thin, with small tempered glass panels making up nearly half the Talos E3 WH’s total weight. The power supply dust filter is also secured with tabs, forcing users to flip the case and twist the mesh out just to do a simple cleaning. Yet while we can imagine Gamdias saving perhaps a total of five or six dollars on case material and dust filtration, we can’t even imagine how little money the firm saved by omitting a second USB3 connection when the cable itself makes up so much of that component’s cost. Between those small but significant economizations and the lack of PWM fan control, Gamdias essentially turned what could have been a spectacular $80 space-saving case into something that remarkably resembles its $65 price.
Still, the Talos E3 WH looks and performs so well that its inclusion of only a single USB 3.x port is the only thing keeping it off our desks.
|Gamdias Talos E3 WH|
|The Talos E3 WH offers exceptional performance and style to low-budget builders, but some of its lesser compromises limit its otherwise stellar design to that low-budget market.|