Some PC builders want the smallest case that will hold their components. If you’re one, Thermaltake’s $189.99 View 51 Snow ARGB Edition chassis is not for you—at 21.7 by 12.4 by 20.7 inches, this Extended ATX-compatible full-tower case is one of the largest I’ve seen. While it wins style points for its two preinstalled white 200mm ARGB front fans and white 120mm rear fan, its extra-roomy interior is a treat to work with and a prize for those that value an easy building experience. Though a few issues did pop up with (and were perhaps limited to) my test unit, the View 51 Snow ARGB Edition is a PC case well worth having if you have the space for it.
You Were Expecting Maybe…Black?
This case makes no Snows about it: Thermaltake designed the View 51 Snow case with a white metal frame with large white metal panels on the bottom, rear, and right side. The top, front, and left panels are all made out of tempered glass. While the top panel as a whole can be unscrewed for easier access for mounting water coolers and case fans, by design the glass on top of the case is supposed to be permanently attached to the top panel and not removable. And yet that’s what happened with the case I received from Thermaltake.
The glass didn’t completely detach during shipping, but it was loosely attached when it arrived—it was glued down around the edges, but the rear corners of the glass were completely unstuck. This portion of the glass lifted off the case without any resistance; there was slightly more resistance at the front of the case, but the glass panel popped free with the slightest pressure.
Obviously, a piece of glass falling off could be a rather serious problem, but it’s difficult to assign blame in terms of a review. Not only does it depend on how many cases might have this issue, but it’s also a fairly easy problem to fix—a dab or two of superglue, and this glass isn’t going anywhere.
The Building Experience
When it’s time to build a system inside the View 51, the glass panel on the left side of the case was made to be easy to work with. This panel is hinged and swings open, which is useful for making quick changes to the internal hardware. You can also fully remove this panel by opening it and lifting straight up, which I highly recommend that you do before building your system. Not only will removing the panel make the building process easier, but if you leave the panel on and the case open for an extended period of time, it can make the panel hang down at a slight angle.
This, too, occurred with my review sample. I’m still able to close the hinged panel, but it doesn’t close evenly unless I lift it a smidge while closing it. This was not the case (no pun intended) when the chassis first arrived, and it is entirely due to leaving the glass panel hanging open for too long, so be careful.
Mounting the motherboard inside this spacious enclosure is about as easy as you could imagine, with plenty of room on all sides of the mounting tray. The case is really so large that it made mounting an ATX board feel like putting a MicroATX motherboard into a standard ATX case. As noted, it will take up to an oversize EATX board, but you can drop in a smaller motherboard, if you like, though it may look lost inside the View 51’s cavern.
Installing a power supply unit (PSU) in the View 51 is quirky: It goes into the case sideways behind the motherboard mounting tray. There is abundant space on this side of the case, as well, which makes putting the PSU into place fairly easy. However, the power supply doesn’t rest flat against the bottom of the case—instead, it’s held up by the screws bolting it to the back of the case and a small movable platform. This platform needs to be unscrewed and adjusted to accommodate the length of the PSU you are using, which is a little awkward; you have to hold the PSU in place with one hand and guess at the appropriate placement. It’s not particularly difficult and in fact easier than some PSU mounting experiences I’ve had, but it’s a little odd.
Thermaltake designed the View 51 to support mounting graphics cards vertically as well as in the traditional horizontal position, but the case is a bit unusual here as well. The PCI Express mounting brackets come configured for vertical card mounting, but most people will end up mounting their add-on cards horizontally. For one thing, using the vertical mounting position requires a PCI Express riser cable, and the case doesn’t come with one. You also can’t mount as many cards vertically as you can horizontally, which is problematic for people that want to install multiple add-on cards.
The PCI Express mounting brackets can be unscrewed and rotated 90 degrees to put them into the proper alignment for horizontal mounting, but when I tried to do this, the screw holes didn’t exactly match up on my sample. The mounting bracket comes off as two separate pieces; on my review unit, the screw holes on the larger of the two pieces were off by a few millimeters. I’m certain that I have the bracket in the correct position, so as far as I can figure, these holes were simply drilled slightly off. I was still able to screw the bracket into place, but the screws went in at a downward angle. The smaller piece of the mounting bracket screwed into place without issue.
Overall, this is another issue that’s difficult to classify as a universal problem or simply a one-off manufacturing defect. What I am sure about, however, is that it would be less trouble for everyone if Thermaltake just shipped the case with the GPU mounting brackets in the horizontal position to begin with.
It should probably come as no surprise at this point that the storage mounting locations, like so much else in this case, are atypical. A cage for 3.5-inch drives is located a few inches above the PSU, but what’s strange here is that drives are meant to be inserted or removed from the rear of the case, not from within the case itself. Not that this is a problem; the case can hold two 3.5-inch hard drives and uses a toolless mounting system to make adding and removing drives easy. The cage is covered by a perforated metal door that lets air in to keep the drives cool; this door comes off by removing a single thumbscrew.
I have no complaints here and I indeed like this storage mounting system, though part of me wishes these were configured to be hot-swappable bays. They aren’t, but a DIY guy can dream, right?
You’ll also spot two 2.5-inch mounting locations at the very bottom of the View 51. It can be a little tricky, with some power supplies, to connect the SATA power connectors to drives mounted here. If the PSU runs cables to the top and bottom of the SATA power connectors, then you will need to squeeze and carefully force the cable into position. PSUs that run cables to the back of the SATA connectors will mount far easier. This isn’t something that Thermaltake has any control over, but I mention it here because many PSUs use this mounting system and may encounter problems as a result.
Alongside the 2.5-inch drive mounts is a dedicated location for mounting a liquid cooler reservoir. There is also room in the case to install pumps and other hardware, including room for up to four 360mm radiators. If you want to create a custom water cooling system, it should be fairly easy to do in this case.
As mentioned, the Thermaltake View 51 Snow ARGB Edition comes with three preinstalled ARGB fans. Two of these are of the large 200mm variety; these are located in the front of the case where they can be easily seen through the front glass panel. The third is set up as an exhaust fan on the back of the case, and it’s a smaller 120mm affair but with similar ARGB lights.
The front panel, which runs down the right front side of the case, has a button that can change the color of the lights on the fly, though they can also be controlled via motherboard makers’ lighting-control software. You’ll also find a generous serving of USB ports on the front panel, including one USB Type-C, two USB 3.0 Type-A, and two USB 2.0 ports for a grand total of five. Just below these are the usual headphone and microphone jacks.
The power button for the system is set higher up, in the top right corner.
Conclusion: Let It Snow
PCMag.com makes a habit of putting product prices in the first paragraph of reviews, but I usually avoid talking about the price tag until close to the end. I don’t do this because the price is unimportant; if anything, I consider it to be the most important detail. (Even a poorly designed piece of hardware can be great if it sells for the right price.)
Anyway, during my time with the Thermaltake View 51 Snow ARGB Edition, I thought that this case must be one of the most expensive I’ve reviewed to date—its large size, hinged glass door, and other aspects of the design led me to think it would likely sell for $300 or so. Instead, I was happily surprised—in fact, stunned—to find out that it’s just $189.99.
Honestly, I’m amazed. Though a few minor issues did come up with my review unit, the most serious of which was the loose top glass panel, I can’t help but love the View 51 Snow’s overall design. All things considered, if you’re a fan of the funky shape and the bleachy color scheme, I’d say you would be hard pressed to find a more compelling case at this price point. Only our worrisome fumbles with a couple of case defects keep us from awarding it an Editors’ Choice award.
Thermaltake View 51 Snow ARGB Edition Specs
|Motherboard Form Factors Supported||ATX, MicroATX, Mini-ITX, E-ATX|
|External 5.25-Inch Bays||0|
|Internal 3.5-Inch Bays||2|
|External 3.5-Inch Bays||0|
|Internal 2.5-Inch Bays||2|
|Front Panel Ports||USB 3.0 (2), headphone, mic, USB 3.1 Type C, USB 2.0 (2)|
|Side Window(s)?||Yes (Tempered Glass)|
|PCI Expansion Slot Positions||8|
|120mm or 140mm Fan Positions||13|
|120mm/140mm/200mm Fans Included||3|
|Fan Controller Included?||Yes|
|Maximum GPU Length||440 mm|
|Maximum CPU Cooler Height||175 mm|
|Power Supply Maximum Length||200 mm|
|Power Supply Form Factor Supported||ATX|
|Power Supply Mounting Location||Bottom|
|Internal Chassis Lighting Color||RGB|
|Included Fan Lighting Color||Addressable RGB|
|Dimensions (HWD)||21.7 by 12.4 by 20.7 inches|