Thermaltake Core V51 Case Review
It’s been almost three years since we last saw a case from Taiwanese Giant Thermaltake, that case was the impressive BMW designed Thermaltake Level 10 GT. Today I will be taking a look at a far subtler case, the Thermaltake Core V51. The Core V51 is a mid-tower case (236mm(W) x 540mm(H) x 560mm(D)) with a large (almost full size) window on the left side. It comes equipped with three fans x2 120mm intake fans in the front and x1 120mm exhaust fan at the rear. The case features eight expansion slots and supports EATX, ATX, MATX and ITX motherboards. In addition to this the Core V51 has two 5.25″ drive bays and five internal bays supporting both 3.5″ and 2.5″ drives. There is also support for additional fans and or radiators up to 420mm. The case will house a CPU Cooler with a maximum height of 185mm and a Graphics Card with a maximum length of 310mm (with HDD rack) or 400mm without.
|‘Thermaltake Core V51 mid-tower chassis, a new member of the Core Series, which now comes after the launch of Core V71 and Core V1, retaining the curved metal mesh look and delivering an outstanding cooling performance with the compatibility for the extensive DIY/AIO LCS, and the air cooling units that the series has become so very well known for. Core V51 is an enthusiast’s grade mid-tower that creates unprecedented space for high-end hardware and liquid cooling expansion, supporting the latest E-ATX, ATX, Micro ATX motherboards, and all high-end GPU cards.’|
On the front of the brown cardboard (eco friendly) box there’s a large illustration of the Core V51 hidden within. Other than that we have the Thermaltake brand name, the model name and the words ‘Your Build. Our Core’, and the Thermaltake web address.
On the side of the box there’s another illustration of the Core V51 and a table showing the case’s specifications and features.
The back of the box shows an exploded view of the case and all of its removable parts (quite handy actually as there was no manual in the box!?). Luckily there’s an online manual available here.
Opening the top of the box shows that the Thermaltake Core V51 came well packaged with the case covered in a plastic bag and sandwiched between two hard foam polystyrene blocks. Un-boxing the case revealed that everything was present, correct and intact, apart from…
The supplied accessories were hiding within a bag in one of the hard drive caddies, on trying to remove the caddy it was discovered that it was stuck. With some brute force and ignorance I was able to get it free, but a bracket within the bag was bent in the process. The funny thing is that (at this point) I had no idea what this bracket is for as no paperwork or manual could be found!?
courtesy of Thermaltake
|Case Type||Mid Tower|
|Dimension (H x W x D)||
540 x 236 x 560 mm
(21.3 x 9.3 x 22 inch)
|Side Panel||Transparent Window|
|Color||Exterior & Interior : Black|
Front (intake) :
120 x 120 x 25 mm Turbo fan (1000rpm, 16dBA) x 2
Rear (exhaust) :
120 x 120 x 25 mm Turbo fan (1000rpm, 16dBA)
-Accessible : 2 x 5.25’’
-Hidden : 5 x 3.5’’ or 5 x 2.5’’
|Motherboards||6.7” x 6.7” (Mini ITX), 9.6” x 9.6” (Micro ATX), 12” x 9.6” (ATX), 12” x 13” (Extend ATX)|
|I/O Port||USB 3.0 x 2, HD Audio x 1|
|PSU||Standard PS2 PSU (optional)|
|LCS Upgradable||Supports 1/2”、3/8”、1/4” water tube|
1 x 120mm or 2 x 120mm or 3 x 120mm
1 x 140mm or 2 x 140mm
1 x 200mm
1 x 120mm or 2 x 120mm or 3 x 120mm
1 x 140mm or 2 x 140mm or 3 x 140mm
1 x 200mm or 2 x 200mm
1 x 120mm or 1 x 140mm
1 x 120mm or 2 x 120mm
1 x 120mm or 1 x 240mm or 1 x 360mm
1 x 140mm or 1 x 280mm or 1 x 420mm
1 x 120mm or 1 x 240mm or 1 x 360mm
1 x 140mm or 1 x 280mm or 1 x 420mm
1 x 120mm
1 x 120mm or 1 x 240mm
CPU cooler height limitation: 185mm
VGA length limitation:
310mm(with HDD rack)
480mm(without HDD rack)
PSU length limitation: 220mm (With Bottom Fan)
First impressions of the Thermaltake Core V51 case are actually really good, this is one good looking case. It seems solidly built and that awesome large side window is really going to show of the components within, better keep that cabling nice and tidy then… 😉
The front of the Core V51 is dominated by a black mesh panel, that actually looks (and feels!) far better than it sounds. The front of the two drive bays blanking plates are also made from the same material, they fit rather nicely too! At the top we have the main control panel (more on this later) and at the bottom we have a smart looking Thermaltake logo. Both the top and the bottom also feature a nicely curved edge that lends the Core V51 a subtle air of grace.
Taking a look at the back of the case we can see a bottom mounted PSU bay and the eight expansion slots, meaning there’s support for quad Graphics Cards! To the right of the expansion slots there’s another grill area allowing for hot air to exit the case. Above this we find a 120mm exhaust fan and to the left there’s the main I/O shield cut-out. At the very top there are three water cooling grommets, although I feel these are really a blast from the past nowadays…
The top of the case is dominated by the large 420mm filter that’s magnetic. Although I must admit I like both the look and the magnetism of the filter, I found that while working on the case it was best removed, as every time I went to move the case it would slip beneath my hands.
Removing the filter we can see that the top of the Thermaltake Core V51 can house almost any fan/radiator setup you could come up with. Now that’s flexibility for you… 😉
Looking at the bottom of the case we can see 4 large rubber tipped feet, these actually raise the case some 30mm from the desk. I think this not only looks good but should also aide in cooling. As you can see there are also two removable filters one for the PSU area and one at the front of the case should you wish to fit a fan/radiator in that position. The eagle eyed may have noticed the trail of holes running from the back to the centre of the case!? This is the position of the PSU support bar, that can be repositioned depending on the length of the PSU being used, clever.
The left panel is secured by way of two captive (i.e. they are permanently attached to the panel) thumb screws. As you can see the left side panel is dominated by what must be one of the largest side panel windows that I have ever seen, and I like it too! Perfect for showing off all of that lovely hardware within, surely the Thermaltake Core C51 is just crying out for a bit of internal illumination! 😉
There’s really not much to say about the right side panel, other than the fact that it is also held in place by two captive thumb screws. It also features a punched-out centre section making cable management a little easier and no doubt making it easier to squish that side panel back into position! 😉
With the left side panel removed we can see what is a very spacious interior. The right side may be taken up with drive cages, but not only can they be removed but they also split 2/3 and can be repositioned in any position below the main 5.25″ bays at the top of the case. There’s a decent size CPU cut-out as well as grommeted holes for cable management to the right of the motherboard area and in front of the PSU. One hole that does seem to be missing though is one at the bottom of the motherboard. The hole/lip that is there is blocked by the PSU once fitted!? It’s also nice to see all black cables for the front panel.
Removing the front panel (just pull, but be gentle as it’s a little tight) reveals the two pre-installed 120mm front intake fans. Support for fans and radiators in this position is impressive with support for up to x3 120mm fans, x3 140mm fans, x1 230mm fan and support for a 420mm radiator. Support for additional fans and a long radiator is facilitated by the bracket provided (the one that was bent when trying to get it out of the caddy it was wedged in!). At the very top we can see the main 5.25″ drive cage, that can also be removed by way of eight screws.
The right side panel is also removed by way of two captive thumb screws, here you can clearly see that there’s plenty of room for cable management, although there does seem to be a lack of cable-tie points. What is curious is the two clips found on the back of the main drive area, they have a use, but I’d bet you’d never guess… 🙂
Taking a closer look at the PSU area we can see that aforementioned bar that’s adjustable to suit various lengths of Power Supply. You can also see the lip that the PSU sits under, but what’s that hole for? Blocked once any regular sized PSU is in position! There are also two rubber mounts on the sides of that bar, but the mounts are too far apart to support the PSU, so no idea what they’re for either…
The centre image shows a shot of one of the Thermaltake 120mm Turbo fans with a 1000rpm speed and a 16dBA noise output, they should be whisperer quite, shhhh!
The 5.25″ drive cage at the top of the case supports up to two drives, both with quick release mechanisms. These worked well in operation and held a drive securely in position.
The Thermaltake Core V51 has two main 3.5″ drive cages with both supporting 2.5″ drives (SSDs) by way of drive sleds. The drive cages are made up of one with three sleds and the other with two sleds. Each cage can be removed and repositioned in any position desired in the front of the case. It’s just a case of removing the eight retaining screws and sliding the cages out. Easy enough but the screws at the back of the case are rather difficult to get at…
Remember those clips that were present on the back of the main drive area!? Well after some head scratching I decided I had no idea what they were for, so it was time for me to take a look at that manual, the one I downloaded (here) as no manual was present in the box! Turns out that you can hang drive caddies from these clips!? Surely a terrible idea one would think (well I did anyway!), but as it turns out any drive can be attached to a caddy and positioned in one of two dedicated positions on the back of the drive area at the back of the case! What a brilliant idea, told you didn’t I!? 😉
Taking a closer look at that front control panel we can see the centrally mounted power button, blue when on, flashing blue in stand-by. To the right of this there are two USB 3.0 sockets and to the left there’s a drive activity LED (red) a reset button and audio (Headphone & Microphone) ports. It’s worth noting that as the drive activity LED is red it tends to look a little purple when working as there’s blue light bleed from the blue power LED.
Flipping the front panel over (once it’s off the case that is) allows us to see just how that illumination is being done. It also allows us to spot that Thermaltake have added some foam material to the inside of the 5.25″ bay covers, this is to stop too much light coming through and making them look at odds with the black of the rest of the case. Attention to detail I think is what this is called…
|Case||Thermaltake Core V51||Power Supply||Corsair Professional Series AX 760i|
|Motherboard||ASRock Fatal1ty Z97X Killer||CPU||Intel Core i5-4690K|
|CPU Cooler||Raijintek Themis||RAM||HyperX Savage 2400MHz 8GB Kit|
|Graphics Card||XFX AMD Radeon R9 290X DD Black Edition||SSD||HyperX FURY 120GB|
The first task that I undertook when installing the pcG Test Rig into the Thermaltake Core V51 was the fitment of the Corsair AX760i Power Supply. This was simple enough and I had no need to move the PSU support arm due to the AX706i’s length of 160mm. Next I added the three main power cables that I would need for the build (motherboard 24-pin, CPU 8-pin and x1 PCIE cable with 8+8-pin).
The next task was to assemble and install the motherboard assembly (ASRock Fatal1ty Z97X Killer, i5-4690K, Raijintek Themis and HyperX Savage). This was again simple enough after just adding one motherboard stand-off, made easier by using the stand-off tool supplied with the case.
With the main system in place it was time for some cable routing and tidying. At this point the lack of any real hole at the bottom of the motherboard (just above the PSU) became evident, with no real route for the HD audio cable that needs to get to the bottom left corner of the motherboard. Therefore it was routed via the PSU hole and tucked behind the side of the PSU itself. Other than that cabling up was a nice and simple affair, with no real gotchas… 😉
As you may of noticed from the earlier images I decide to only use one of the drive cages for this build as only two drives were fitted, the HyperX Fury SSD and a Western Digital 1TB HDD. I used the two bay drive (for obvious reasons) and I positioned it in the bottom of the case. This should allow the upper front intake fan to supply our hot XFX AMD Radeon R9 290X DD Black Edition Graphics Card with plenty of cool air.
The drive cages feature a simple drive sled mechanism, that sees you removing the clip (with its associated pins) from one side of the sled, inserting the 3.5″ drive and reinserting the clip, simple! Unfortunately the 2.5″ SSD needs to be screwed into place…
Wiring up the drives is a little fiddly, due to the back of the drive cage area being dominated by supporting metalwork. This is made all the more difficult if you’re using right-angled SATA leads (I was using one!). Check out the upper drive connection in the image above right. Right-angled SATA leads seemed to be a godsend once upon a time, but now they seem to be more of a hindrance than anything else, strange…
The finished build looks real good though and with an install time of under 1 hour (there’s no point in rushing!) I found the Thermaltake Core V51 a joy to work with.
At pcGameware we use Prime95 and CoreTemp to evaluate CPU temperatures and we use MSI Afterburner to evaluate the GPU temperatures. Of course Prime95 being a CPU stress test also helps to generate heat for us to check the case thermals. We also use UNiGiNE Heaven 4.0 for GPU temperature testing.
CPU performance testing is carried out using Prime95 (Small FFT) to stress the CPU. Each run is timed for 15 mins and the maximum temperature is recorded for all cores and then the average core heat is taken. Testing was carried out with a small overclock on the i5-4690K of 4.0GHz via the ASRock UEFI.
GPU performance testing is carried out by running UNiGiNE Heaven 4.0 for 15 minutes and then by recording the maximum GPU temperature.
* All case fans (x3 in the case of the Thermaltake Core V51) and the CPU Cooler (Raijintek Themis) are run at 100% throughout testing. To ascertain case noise levels, the GPU fans are set to their lowest setting and the CPU Cooler fan is unplugged, whilst the dB is recorded from 1m away.
|Case||Ambient Temperature||Max CPU Temperature (core average)||Delta Temperature|
|Cooler Master HAF XB||24.00||61.50||37.50|
|Thermaltake Core V51||22.50||62.25||39.75|
We’ve may not have tested many new ATX based cases with our new 2015 Test Rig components, but with a CPU cooling Delta of below 40 degrees Celsius the Thermaltake Core V51 is off to a good start. With a CPU core average of 62.25 it’s just 2.25 degrees shy of our Test Rig’s Cooler Master HAF XB case, that we know is good for CPU cooling. This is all the more impressive considering Thermaltake’s 1000rpm quiet fans; although they’re not 16dBA that’s for sure, you try measuring that even! 😉
|Case||Ambient Temperature||Max GPU Temperature||Delta Temperature|
|Thermaltake Core V51||21.00||75.00||54.00|
|Cooler Master HAF XB||24.00||80.00||56.00|
|In Win 901||22.50||89.00||66.50|
|Fractal Design Core 1100||24.00||94.00||70.00|
Cooling our hot potato is no easy task (that’s why we use it); but the Thermaltake Core V51 performed extremely well in the GPU cooling department keeping our toasty XFX R9 290X DD Black Edition at or below 75 degrees Celsius during our benchmarks. The same was true during Gaming also, the card never went above 76 degrees even during 2+hr Survarium (now in open Beta) sessions, and that’s one demanding game. This of course may well have been helped (a little) by the fact that for our installation the upper drive cage was removed to allow better airflow to the GPU. But again given the low rpm/noise of the supplied Thermaltake 1000rpm Turbo fans, the result is all the more impressive…
The good all round thermal performance of the Thermaltake Core V51 is unlikely down to its fans, as they are quoted at 1000rpm and 16dBA. During testing though the output was far more than that (that’s what happens when you screw them to a case!) with all fans at 100% the case fans alone emitted 37dB. Now while it’s not loud by any standard of the imagination, it’s not silent either. 30dB seems to be the sweet spot, once at this level you’re getting close to silence. Of course adjusting the fans speeds via the UEFI (as there’s no fan controller) would be an option, and a better balance of acoustics/thermal performance could be found. For me though 37dB, for a Gaming Rig is more than acceptable.
I have to confess that I wasn’t too sure what to expect when I un-boxed the Thermaltake Core V51, as this is only the second case that I have seen from Thermaltake in the last three years. Well now I know what I’ve been missing…
The Thermaltake Core V51 came well packaged in a brown (eco friendly) cardboard box, with the case protected by a plastic bag and sandwiched between two polystyrene blocks. Unfortunately as the accessories were wedged into one of the drive bays, removing it was a problem with the end result being a bent bracket! The absence of any paperwork and manual (download here) from the box was also rather perplexing…
Once the Core V51 was out of the box I immediately sat back and admired its simple yet elegant design, and I gave it that nod of approval right there and then. This was of course helped by the massive side window that allows you to show off your computer wares like no other case that I have seen before. The fit, finish and overall build quality was good too, with the case having a solid overall feel. I also rather liked the mesh that dominates the front of the case, with its curved corners. I have to say that for a mid-range, mid-tower case the Thermaltake Core V51 is one of the best looking cases that I’ve seen a while!
Installation was simple and straightforward thanks to the Core V51’s regular (if a little old school interior), although it would have been a little easier if there was manual in the box (although, I think I’ve mentioned that before!). I liked the drive cages (split into two and three bays) that were not only removable, but also re-positional; meaning that either of the cages could be positioned in any number of positions at the front of the case. I set the build up with the two bay cage at the bottom, allowing the upper 120mm fan in the front of the case to feed cool air to our rather toasty AMD R9 290X GPU.
What was a real shock though was how well the rear drive mounts worked, who would have ever thought of hanging drives caddies in the right side of the case!? It worked really well though, allowing for the possibility to remove both of the main drive cages and still fit two drives in the back of the case.
Another area where the Thermaltake Core V51 shines is in the area of flexibility, there’s so many options for fans and radiators it’s hard to cover them all here. But the fact that you can fit both a 420mm radiator and a 360mm radiator in a mid-tower case, at this price point is nothing short of amazing…
Performance was also very good with the Thermaltake Core V51 being up there with the best of them with a CPU temperature of 62.25 degrees (39.75 Delta) and a GPU temperature of 75 degrees (54 Delta). In fact the GPU result is the second best result that we have seen. This was also achieved while the noise level was at an acceptable level of 37dB, this was with all fans at 100%, controlled via the UEFI ( there’s no fan controller here unfortunately). Of course adjusting the fan speeds within the UEFI will allow you to play with the Cooling/Noise ratio.
I have to say that I’m shocked at how much I enjoyed my time with the Thermaltake Core V51, it’s a good looking mid-tower case with a great side window, perfect for showing off your latest Gaming Rig. It cools both CPU and GPU well, even if you’ve opted for a hot potato like our test XFX R9 290X DD Black Edition. Support for water-cooling is also class leading at this price point, and the price? Just £79!
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Many thanks to Thermaltake for providing this sample for review