NZXT Beta Evo Review
Reviewed by: gotdamojo06
Reviewed on: October 8, 2009
Have you been looking to get a new chassis for your hardware? Maybe you are planning a new budget build with the way the economy is looking right now and you want to find a case that not only looks good but has some good features built into it with a smaller price tag on it? Whatever you are looking for, you may want to take a look at one of the cases that NZXT has come out with, the Beta Evo chassis. The NZXT Beta Evo case has some very cool looking features designed in the case. NZXT has also decided to take in mind that there are a bunch of people out there looking to get a new case, however they are not looking to spend an arm and a leg to get into the custom PC market so NZXT decided to put a smaller price tag on its Beta Evo case. I am curious to see exactly how well this case is going to be able to perform when it is compared to the other cases that are currently out on the market. Without further ado, let's take a look at what this case looks like.
The packaging that the NZXT Beta Evo comes packaged in is a very simplistic brown box, however it does have some printing on it to help describe what is packaged inside the box. The top left hand corner of the front of the package is where you are going to find out that the case was designed in Los Angeles. Under that is where you are going to see the Beta Evo logo printed with the simplistic description of "Black Interior Steel Mid Tower" letting us know what to expect to see when we open up the box. NZXT has printed a whole bunch of features that the company feels best describe the case on the front of the package so that you do not have to go look them up on NZXT's website, also to help sell the product better. Under the features list, you are going to find what type of cooling solution the Beta Evo is going to be able to provide as well as the expandability of the chassis. The bottom left hand corner of the package is where NZXT decided to place its company logo. On the sides of the package is where NZXT placed the specifications of the case, such as letting you know what kind of motherboard support the case can handle, the cooling options, the number of drive bays (internal and external), as well as the chassis material, weight, and dimensions. At the bottom of the side you are going to find the website for NZXT where you can find more information about the case. The front and the back and the two sides all have the exact same information printed on them respectively, which cuts down the amount of information that is printed on the package; however, they do list just the proper amount to let the consumer know exactly what they are going to find inside without placing a picture of the chassis on the package.
When you pull the case out of the outer packaging, you are going to find that NZXT has taken the proper steps to ensure the chassis is not going to be damaged during the shipping process. Not only do they have the molded Styrofoam at both the top and the bottom of the case to make sure that it not only stays in place and does not slide around inside of the retail packaging, it will also absorb any bumps that the package may encounter. NZXT has also wrapped the case in a plastic bag to keep any scratches from damaging the paint job on the case's exterior while it is inside the box and being shipped to your front door.
Now that we know what the NZXT Beta Evo's packaging looks like and how NZXT has placed the case inside of it, it's time to take an acual look at the case itself.
Taking a look at the case outside of the packaging, you are going to notice that the paint job on it is completely black, however the overall design of the case is very smooth. The main side that you are going to be working with has a place to install two 120mm fans to help cool your video card as well as the other components on your motherboard along with supplying more cool air to the CPU's cooling device you have installed. The opposite side of the case has a very simple side panel, the only feature that you see on this side is that there is a depression toward the back where you would be able to place your fingers to help slide off the side panel when it is installed on the case. The back side of the NZXT Beta Evo case is very simplistic, however it does pack some features that should catch your eye, the first being the fact that NZXT has placed the PSU at the bottom of the case. This seems to have become the standard on most cases out on the market, allowing for quicker exhaust of the hot air coming off the CPU's cooling device. Above that is where you are going to find the expansion slots for installing a video card, sound card, or any other expansion card you may want to install in your system; the covers that come with the Beta Evo are unique in the fact that they are completely mesh, there is no steel siding on them, which will allow more air to freely flow out of them without any blockage. Sitting to the right of the expansion slots is another mesh spot on the case, this is going to allow more air to freely flow out, but there are also two rubber grommets installed in the mesh to allow you to feed some plastic tubing through if you were going to install an external water cooling system on the case. Continuing up the back of the case, you are going to come to the opening for the rear I/O panel of the motherboard, and sitting to the right of that is where NZXT has a spot to install a 120mm exhaust fan. The front of the case is quite simplistic as well, at the top there is a white printed NZXT logo, under that there are four drive bay covers, and following down there is a mesh type material to allow air to be sucked in from outside of the case by the 120mm fan that is placed behind the front bezel, we will take a closer look at that later.
As I mentioned before, the main side panel that you are going to be using the most to work on the inside of your case has been painted completely black like the rest of the case. NZXT has two holes in the side panel with mesh type material and four screw holes to mount 120mm fans on them to either suck in fresh air from outside of the case or exhaust it out of the case. NZXT did not supply any fans to be installed on the side panel.
Taking a look at the inside of the case without the side panel on, you are going to see that NZXT took its time in designing this case; not only did NZXT take the time to paint every aspect of the inside of the case in the same black color, it also decided to put a cutout on the motherboard tray where the back plate for a large CPU cooler would be going so you can access it without having to pull the motherboard out of your case for a simple swapping of a cooler. The right side of the case is where you are going to find all of the drive bays, there are four 5.25" drive bays that run to the outside of the case, there are also five 3.5" internal drive bays for the installation of hard drives. All of the drive bays in the Beta Evo do have tool-less installation features. The 3.5" drive bays are turned at a 90° angle so that you can easily access the hard drives and swap them out without having to remove the PSU due the the placement and how close they are to each other.
Tucked away inside of the Beta Evo's 3.5" drive bays was a white box with an instruction manual, inside of this white box are all of the accessories that you are going to need to install your components inside of the Beta Evo. The instruction manual is going to give you all of the information that you need to know about how to use the tool-less installation features for your drives, this information is listed in multiple languages allowing it to be shipped anywhere and allows the customer to be able to read them. The white accessories box also includes a bag of screws, a few zip ties to help control where your wires are going inside of your case, as well as a motherboard speaker for any error codes you may need to know about.
Now that we know the basic layout of the NZXT Beta Evo, it's time to take an even closer look at the parts of the case that are going to allow it to function properly.
Taking a closer look at the inside of the NZXT Beta Evo chassis, you are going to see that every single part of the case has been painted in a nice black color, giving it a nice sleek and elegant look to it. The back side of the case where the expansion slots and the rear I/O panel are located has a bunch of open spaces to maximize airflow inside the case. As I mentioned before, the expansion slot covers of the Beta Evo are made up completely of a wire mesh type material that is going to allow air to freely flow out and around the expansion cards with as little restriction as possible by not having any thick steel sides to it. Sitting above the expansion sots you are going to find another mesh type opening that has the rubber grommets allowing you to feed water cooling tubing in and out of the case with less of a risk of tearing the tubing itself on the edges of the steel. There is a 120mm fan mounting hole sitting above the rear I/O panel that is mounted on the motherboard, this is going to help exhaust any hot air coming off of the CPU's cooler. At the top of the case, there is a place to mount two 120mm or 140mm fans or a dual 120mm or 140mm radiator if you choose to use water cooling inside of the Beta Evo. At the bottom of the case where the PSU is mounted there is a wire mesh opening with a filter screen to help keep dust out of the inside of the case, this is going to allow the PSU to suck in fresh air from outside of the case and cool itself down.
The NZXT Beta Evo has tool-less installation features for all of the drives that you may be installing inside of the chassis, there are spots for four 5.25" drives such as DVD or Blu-Ray drives, or maybe even a fan controller that you may want to install in your system to help keep any eye on some of the aspects of your system. There is also a 3.5" drive bay sitting all by itself under the 5.25" drive bays, one would think that this is for a floppy drive, however it does not have access to the outside of the case, so it is only designed for a hard drive. There is another section under that drive bay for four more 3.5" hard drives, this cage has been turned at a 90° angle, allowing you to easily access any of the hard drives that you may have installed in this cage.
Taking a look outside of the case for a moment, you are going to see on the front bezel that there is a power button on the left and a reset button on the right side of the front, these are both located under the bottom 5.25" drive cover installed on the outside of the case. Sitting on the top of the case, you are going to find the front I/O panel, the panel hosts a headset port, a port to install your microphone, two USB 2.0 ports, and a single eSATA port. These ports, if chosen, to use will allow you easy access without having to reach around to the back of the case.
Out of the six places that you can install 120mm fans in the Beta Evo, NZXT has only provided you with one fan, this fan is located at the front of the chassis in front of the rotated 3.5" drive bay cage to suck in fresh air from outside of the case and blow it directly over the hard drives you have installed in the system and keeping them cool. One issue that many people have found with introducing fresh air from outside of the case is something the air brings with it, dust, which is going to get into all of the little nooks and crannies and block airflow. NZXT has a simple solution, they provided a foam dust filter that is installed on the back of the front bezel to catch the dust the 120mm fan may bring in. The 120mm fan that is installed in the Beta Evo is an NZXT brushless DC fan that operates at 12VDC and uses 1.92W.
There are a few different cables that you are going to find inside of the Beta Evo chassis, the first being the cable coming from the fan. You can power the fan by one of two different ways, the first is by plugging the power cable into the motherboard header, which will allow the speed of the fan to be controlled via the yellow wire, the second being by using the 4-pin Molex dongle, which will not allow you to adjust the fan's speed with software. On the front panel there is the power switch and the reset switch, we are going to need to make these buttons work, which is done by plugging them into the headers on the motherboard. There are a pair of USB 2.0 ports, an eSATA port and audio hookups in the front I/O panel that need to be powered using the motherboard, the cables are pretty self explanatory as to how to plug them in.
With everything installed in the NZXT Beta Evo case, you are going to see that wire management was not horrible inside of this case, however I was not able to hide every single wire from being seen with the side panel off. There is a whole mess of wires down at the bottom of the case where the PSU rests, this is common in most cases, however there are a select few out there that do have some features that allow you to fit a majority of them behind the motherboard tray. If the lower HDD cage was facing the same way as the 5.25" drive cage, I would have been able to hide quite a few of them in there. The overall installation experience was quite easy, I did not run into any problems with the GTX 260 being able to fit in there, nor did I run into any issues with the PSU. I am very curious to see how this case is going to be able to perform against the others out on the market as there is only one fan installed inside the Beta Evo at the front lower corner.
Now that we know what the case looks like, everything is installed, it is time to take a look at the specifications of the case and then stress some components to see how cool they can run inside.
|200 x 430 x 501mm|
Front: 1 x 120mm Blue LED (included)
5 Internal 3.5"
|Steel with Black Finish|
500 Watt PS2 ATX 12v 2.0 (optinal)
|I/O Panel||USB 2.0 x 2; Mic x 1; HD Audio + AC'97 x 1; eSATA x 1|
Standard ATX, Micro-ATX, Baby AT
- Fits ATX Standard Motherboards and Power Supplies
- Fits large 10.5" performance graphics cards
- Expanded cooling directly cools video cards and CPU
- Support for up to 6 120mm fans with the option of dual 140mm at the top
- Screwless installation for hard drives and external 5.25" drives
- Black Internal finish for sleek look
- Meshed front panel allows for better airflow than traditional cases
- Superior wire management with bottom mounted :: PSU and CPU punchout for heatsink removable
- Removable PSU filter
- 180 degree Turned HDD for a cleaner internal finish and better wire management
- External Dual radiator support
- Top mounted USB/Audio for convenient usage
All information courtesy of NZXT @ http://www.nzxt.com/products/beta_evo/
To properly test the NZXT Beta Evo computer chassis, I will be testing for both the idle temperatures as well as the full load temperatures on some of the commonly stressed components. All of the idle tests will be measured after the computer has been sitting for 30 minutes with little to 0% CPU usage shown in the Windows Task Manager. For the CPU full load test, I will be running the Prime95 stress tester for a full hour set to a blend mode stressing both the CPU and RAM set at the normal priority. I will be using Real Temp 3.0 to read the CPU temperatures; chipset full load temperatures will be taken at this time as well using the software included with the MSI Eclipse SLI motherboard. For a GPU full load, I will be running 3DMark Vantage back to back and reading the temperatures with RivaTuner. The hard drive is going to be stressed by runing a defragment through Windows Vista, maximum temperatures will be displayed through HDTune. All of the below tempeartures are in degrees Celsius.
- Processor: Intel i7 920
- Motherboard: MSI X58 Platinum
- Memory: Mushkin HP3 12800 7-7-7-20
- Video Card: Nvidia Geforce GTX 260
- Power Supply: Mushkin 800w Modular Power Supply
- Hard Drive: Seagate 1TB SATA
- Optical Drive: Lite-on DVD-RW
- Case: NZXT Beta Evo
- OS: Windows Vista Ultimate 64bit
- Ambient Temperature: 26° Celsius
- Case: NZXT Beta Evo
- Case: Antec P183 @ Low Fan Speed
- Case: Antec P183 @ Medium Fan Speed
- Case: Antec P183 @ High Fan Speed
- Case: Chieftec BL-01B
- Case: Thermaltake Armor Extreme Edition
During the CPU testing, the Beta Evo was unable to beat any one of the other cases tested, it simply did not have any way to expel any of the heat coming off of the stock Intel CPU cooler. The GPU testing, however, the Beta Evo was able to perform close to the others, the idle temperature was a little bit warmer than the other cases, but as soon as it was put to work, it was able to stay close to the Antec P183 at low fan speed settings. The HDD testing showed that the 120mm fan installed at the front of the case was able to keep the HDD at about mid-range temperatures compared to the other cases. The chipset testing had similar results to the GPU, it was hotter than the others during the idle testing, however stayed at about the same temperature as the other cases when it was put to work.
If you are looking for a new case for your build, you may still want to take a look at the NZXT Beta Evo case if you are looking for a budget build. The reason that I say you may want to take a look at the Beta Evo despite the temperature results that it was able to yield is due to the fact that it was able to to produce these temperatures with only one 120mm fan installed inside of the chassis, I am sure that if all of the fan spots were filled, the temperatures for the CPU and the GPU would have dropped by more than a few degrees. The price for the Beta Evo is not too high when compared to the other cases out on the market, yes it does have a few less features than the others, but it does still have a few good features incorporated in the design of the case. I really liked how the entire case was painted with the black color scheme, I have personally always liked the look of painted motherboard trays and the inside of the case matching, as it does add to the overall look of the case. With that said, there is no side window to be able to look inside of the case and show off the fact that everything inside matches and fits together well. The fact that you are able to install two 140mm fans at the top of the case is nice to know that it can fit the width of at least a 120mm radiator inside the case, or if you wish to have a 140mm radiator installed outside of the case. The tool-less drive bay installation features are a nice thing to have inside of a case, it does allow you to quickly install a drive or quickly remove it and replace it if needed.
Overall, if you are looking for a cheap case that is going to be able to house your new build inside of it with some great features, I would take a close look at the NZXT Beta Evo chassis, but keep in the back of your mind that it is exactly what it is, a budget case. As such it falls in the 50 to 60 dollars price range, you really can't expect a whole case full of fans. What you get is the capability of performing better with a few more dollars spent on additional fans. While you might not get all of the latest whiz bang features for the entry price, the potential looks promising.
- All black color scheme
- Sleek design
- 140mm fan option for top two fans
- Tool-less drive bays
- Cooling potential
- Only one included fan