NZXT Adamas Premium Crafted Chassis Review

Sagittaria - 2007-01-09 15:36:41 in Cases
Category: Cases
Reviewed by: Sagittaria   
Reviewed on: January 18, 2007
NZXT
NZXT
Price: $175 USD

Introduction

Adamas, Greek for unconquerable or impenetrable. NZXT certainly wasn't kidding when they named the beast. This mid-tower weighs in at a hefty 20 pounds with 2-3mm thick aluminum throughout most of the case! Along with the 300lb capacity, it was also designed with cooling in mind, with its exterior and drive bays being finned, yes that's right, finned. And to top it all off, it stands tall in its all brushed aluminum with not a single flashy LED or annoying light in sight. In all probability, it's another great case from NZXT.

As far as NZXT goes, it has earned the trust of computer enthusiasts world wide with its innovative designs and top quality.  Although NZXT is a relatively new company, established back in 2004, it has since then pumped out some very beautiful cases and power supplies designed for the gamer and enthusiast. The company has been rapidly gaining a reputation as one of the best chassis manufacturers out there.

Closer Look

I was pretty eager upon the receipt of this beast, but was immediately stopped when just trying to lift the thing up off my porch! This has got to be the heaviest mid-tower I ever tested here at OCC, even heavier than some full-towers! Wow!



Nothing special about the box. Looks just like any regular old box, but looks are always deceiving.




Thankfully, I was right! Oh man, the case looks great. The entire case is brushed aluminum and not a shred of paint was used anywhere on the case other than on the labels. There are four drive bays (one is a drop down CD-ROM bay) and one usable floppy bay. Also on the front-panel is the thick slightly circular fan grill, a very classic look. Neither side panel uses screws, and I know that you're thinking that they're probably flimsy, but both doors are quite solid with an extremely heavy duty locking mechanism. The handle is embedded into the panel so that there is no chance of moving it, and on the left panel are two 120mm mounts and fans. I must stress how cool the doors are. All you have to do is push it down and out pops the door. No more screws...wooohoo! Excellent craftsmanship and design on NZXT's part.


The back of the case is nothing special as it is not brushed...no surprise there. The case comes with a short instruction manual, drive bay rails, screw list, and well, screws, all in a small white box. Hmm, it seems like NZXT skimped out on the accessories. There cannot possibly be enough screws for anything, let alone the two sets of drive rails. Plus, the PCI covers are the cheap one-time-use kind. NZXT, I am very disappointed with such small annoyances in such a high-end case. Come on, how hard would it have been to include some extra screws?




The second floppy bay houses stealthed front ports which include two USB, one firewire, mic, and headphone jacks, I found this by accident after tapping it. Very nicely done! However, you now only have room now for one 3 1/2" drive. I would've preferred to have it in its own spot.

The top and bottom of the case have several fins, once again, in a small circular pattern. A very cool idea and also adds to the already awesome strength of this case, though I do not think they affect the cooling capacity of this case. In my opinion, they serve more for looks than anything else. The bottom of the case has four dome shaped feet with thick rubber feet. Notice the thick metal used on both the front and bottom panels? Wow! Now what does that handle do?



Why, it pops out the front panel of course! Now THAT is cool. This has got to be the first time I've seen this! No more messing with tabs and screws on the inside!

After calming down from the awesome front panel design, I found one 120mm fan with the usual NZXT fan filter. As you probably noticed by now, I seem to be missing half of my drop down CD-ROM cover...


Yes, I broke the seemingly indestructible case on its second day.  As you can see, the bottom half of the cover is screwed in solidly, while the top half is well...sitting there.  Not only that, but the cover itself is 3mm thick and the frame is like tinfoil. All this leads to disaster and the minute you bump into it like I did, it'll snap right off. Good Job NZXT for not paying attention the the little things, again.

Finally, the innards:



Nothing overly exciting about the case here.  As you can see, you have room to install four optical drives and five internal hard drives. The entire rack is finned for supposedly better cooling, but once again, I doubt it will make that much of a difference.  The motherboard tray is not removable, but it will probably just decrease strength anyway. You have a total of four 120mm fans, all of which have molex connectors. But hey, look at the incredible thickness of the metal. 2mm-3mm thick just like the outside, super strong! The aluminum inside the case is definitely a clean look. Notice that the motherboard screw holes are also labeled directly on the tray, a definite lifesaver!

Here you can also take a look at the locking mechanism of the doors. They have huge spring-loaded clips on the bottom for you to slide in.  The top latches are also equally as strong, forming a very strong and secure door, without any screws!



The front-panel connectors are all clearly marked; it has the on-board speaker and the standard USB motherboard connectors.  The audio connectors for the headphone and mic jack come in three varieties: Intel's new HD-Audio standard, the standard AC-97, and the manual AC-97 connectors for those weird motherboards.  The same is true with the 1394 Firewire port, which also has both standard and manual connectors.


A closer look inside.  The inside looks nice and clean and again, you can see the extreme thickness.  Much to my displeasure, I realized that the rest of the optical bay covers are just tabbed in, not as strong as the rest of the case, but will still survive a tap...unlike the top CD-ROM door. Once again, notice the cheap PCI covers. NZXT, I'm still wondering why you didn't include anything better on a beautiful $170 case like this.

Now that you know the case, let's get to business and build a computer!

Installation

Installation Setup
  • CPU: Pentium 4 Socket 478 3.4e
  • Motherboard: Asus P4C800-E Socket 478
  • RAM: Corsair Value Ram 2x512mb PC3200
  • Heatsink: Cooler Master Hyper 6
  • GPU: Power Color Radeon 9600pro
  • HDDs: 3xWestern Digital 80gb IDE 8mb, 2 in RAID-0
  • PSU: Generic 400watt
  • Optical: Generic 56x
The first step, of course, is to install the PSU and motherboard.
 


Nothing too hard here. The labeled motherboard tray made things a lot easier. Going back to NZXT's lack of accessories, you will need to borrow screws as there are not enough motherboard screws for a full size ATX motherboard. Note: NZXT is using a different style of stand offs (see the screw picture), that are shorter and thicker.  You will not be able to use the standard brass standoffs, unfortunately.



Now this is a new one. It seems that NZXT decided to let the 120mm fan hang out over the motherboard.  As a result, the heat sink that I have been using for the past two years did not fit for the first time in history! Why NZXT didn't let the fan sit farther back is beyond me, because I cannot see any kind of reason as to why they did this. This will definitely cause problems for enthusiasts who use oversize heat sinks like I do.


I solved this problem by removing a fan from my heat sink. What a bummer.



Now for the optical drives, you simply slap the drive rails on, pop the front panel off, and slide it in. It took a bit of interpretation as the manual wasn't very helpful. As you can see, the drive rails just clip on, and tabs over into the rectangular hole, which is also where you remove it. Of course, NZXT decided to be super cheap and only included two sets of drive rails. Luckily, you can screw drives in manually.

The rest of the case is simple enough to install parts into. And of course, I didn't have enough screws to complete the job, so I had to go to my spares.



And there we have it folks! With no other problems, let's get the specs and test her out!
MODEL Adamas Series
CASE TYPE Aluminum Mid Tower Chassis
FRONT PANEL MATERIAL Aluminum
DIMENSIONS (W x H x D) 190 X 435 X 490 mm
COOLING SYSTEM FRONT, 1 X 120 mm fan (included)
REAR, 1 X 120 mm Fan (included)
SIDE PANEL, 2 X 120mm fan (included)
DRIVE BAYS 10 DRIVE BAYS
4 EXTERNAL 5.25" DRIVE BAYS
1 EXTERNAL 3.5 " DRIVE BAYS
5 INTERNAL 3.5" DRIVE BAYS
MATERIAL(S) 3.0mm Aluminum Frame, 2.0mm Aluminum Interior
EXPANSION SLOTS 7
POWER SUPPLY 500 WATT PS2 ATX 12V 2.0 ( OPTIONAL )
WEIGHT 9.0 KGS (W/O Power)
MOTHERBOARD SUPPORT MOTHERBOARDS: ATX, MICRO-ATX

Features
 

Onto testing!

Testing

Testing Setup
Booting for the first time revealed the colors of the HDD and power lights, which are blue and green. Is it just me or did NZXT switch the colors around? Huh...



Noise

Like all previous NZXT cases, their cases use 120mm fans to keep noise down. However, the fans are spinning very slowly. You will not be able to hear anything, which is always a plus, but the slow speeds will affect cooling, and they do not move as much air as their full speed relatives. Let's see what happens when we test the temperatures.

Temperatures

For comparison, I will use my Apevia X-Dreamer II with six full speed 80mm fans, a very cheap case compared to the Adamas. I will test Idle and Load on both the CPU and Case temperatures using the onboard CPU and Motherboard Thermal probes, taking the temperatures with the Asus PC Probe.









As you can see, both are stacked up pretty evenly. If anything, the X-Dreamer II beats the Adamas...so much for cooling fins. Nonetheless, the Adamas is silent whereas the X-Dreamer II sounds like a lawn mower.

Testing Continued

Weight

I had to of course weigh the thing for myself. Here it is with nothing, that's right, nothing in it.  It weighs 20lbs all by itself!

 

It weighed nearly 30lbs when everything was installed. Wow, this is one heavy computer!

I'm afraid that's the end of testing and all the fun :(

Conclusion

This is truly a great case. It is indestructible to a certain degree with 2mm-3mm thick aluminum throughout the entire case! The front and the side panel mechanisms are both truly magnificent, making your life a whole lot easier when repairing or just plain showing off! The craftsmanship is just great and it simply has an excellent look to it, and the included fans are dead silent!

On the negative side, it seems that NZXT decided to do half the job by designing an excellent case and then skimping out on everything else! The CD-ROM cover is just plain cheap, and the single use PCI covers are something you'd see on a case an eighth of this price. That, and screws and drive rails were just non-existent. You will definitely need to borrow some from another case. Shame on you NZXT!

Pros

  • Excellent Craftsmanship
  • Brushed Aluminum
  • Classic Non-Flashy Look
  • Super Strong
  • Heavy! A Mark of Quality!
  • Locking Mechanisms
  • Quiet

Cons

  • Cheap PCI Covers
  • Cheap, Breakable CD-ROM Cover
  • Reversed Power/HDD lights
  • Slow Stock Fans. Go faster if you don't care about noise
  • Lack of Accessories, Screws
  • Rear 120mm Hangs Out