Overall and Final Verdict
The Snowblind Element case was just as exciting to get set up as it was seeing iBuypower show off their first builds at CES a few years ago. The side panel window/LCD is, of course, the main feature of the entire case and it makes this a completely unique case option when compared to the rest of the cases on the market. Of course you could try to mod your own LCD panel into another case, but it is going to be very hard to reach the level of detail reached here. All of the lighting, wiring, PCBs, and everything else is all tucked away and integrated into the case with the exception of the display connection which there isn’t another option buy to connect at the rear of the case. On top of all of that the case itself has a simple/clean look that I really dig.
Now don’t get me wrong, the LCD screen is a novelty, but frankly, there are a lot of things that we do for aesthetics and for the novelty. Side panel windows themselves could be considered the same, not to mention RGB lighting which is EVERYWHERE. The main thing here though is if your case is even in a position where this could be cool at all. Taking this build to a LAN is going to get all kinds of attention, for example, setting it up on your desk you can actually use some of the rainmeter readouts, but if you have it tucked away up under your desk I don’t see you getting the use out of it. Even at the simplest of configurations you can use the screen to change colors and do transitions and combinations of colors that aren’t possible with normal lighting. Live backgrounds have been cool as well. I bet someone much more creative than I could do some really cool stuff.
So what are the downsides? Well the case itself constricts the front fan airflow with its design. iBuypower does include two front fans and one exhaust which helps a lot. But I wouldn’t jam in an ultra hot GPU. When building in the case, I also ran into at least one situation where actual case instructions would have been nice. All the Snowblind Element ships with is a small but useful manual on setting up the LCD aspects. The other big deal is you really have to plan out your build ahead of time. This isn’t something that is going to work perfect with just whatever you have floating around. You really do need to have as many white components as you can. It will work without them, but you won’t be able to see anything in those areas. Thankfully there are white and silver motherboards and GPUs, awesome white memory from a few companies, and white AIO coolers as well as air coolers as well.
As for pricing? Well you are buying a monitor AND a case, right? On top of that all of the work to integrate it into the case. They are selling the Snowblind Element for $299 and that is about what I expected to be. Is that cheap? No not at all. Also if you aren’t buying the Snowblind Element for the LCD side panel then you are wasting a lot of money. This is otherwise a mid-level case once you take that out of the equation. In fact, if this price point isn’t in your range, iBuypower has a second Snowblind case at $199 right now as well. With all of that said, its less about this being a good deal and more about how cool it is to completely customize your side panel. If that interests you, then this is the case for you.