NZXT Bunker ReviewnVidia_Freak -
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NZXT is no doubt a well known company in the PC enthusiast market, what with having a large presence in the areas of computer cases and case accessories. Though NZXT has, as seems to be the trend these days, begun to dabble in other areas of interest as well, with their HALE90 80+ Gold series of power supplies. Today, however, I have the pleasure to review a brand new product from NZXT's natural case accessory realm, the Bunker. I'm not quite sure what to call the Bunker, because it seems to be the first of its kind. NZXT calls it a 'USB Lock system', but this doesn't satisfactorily describe what it is. So, for lack of a better way to describe it, the NZXT Bunker is a 'USB-front-panel-replacement-for-use-in-single-5.25"-drive-bay-with-locking-security-door'. Whew, that's a mouthful! I'd like to see Newegg add that to their drop-down menu.
What the Bunker is designed to do is provide a way for users to plug their USB devices into their computer and leave them in place without having to worry about them being stolen. This is obviously aimed toward the manically paranoid, and people who's computer is publicly accessible most of or all of the time, such as in a dorm or at a LAN party. Whether or not the Bunker turns out to be useful depends on a couple things; first, that the design is such that when locked, there is no direct way to unlock it without the key, or, remove the USB device plugs, and second, how easy it is to free what's plugged in given a little time. For now though, let's get a good look at it.
NZXT is obviously working a military theme with the camouflage and pseudo-military typeset, and they go even further by referencing the disregard to form and aesthetics found in military constructs by printing black and white directly onto the cardboard box, which itself is small and just large enough to hold what's inside. Maybe that's because it's only a review sample and the design hasn't been completely finalized, but, I'll help NZXT with promoting the utility that this accessory is meant to provide, and say that it's all meant to instill the impression of an impenetrable military bunker.
On back NZXT provides some information about the Bunker. Of note is that the lock is key-based, so there's no chance for someone to sit by and roll through combination numbers until the door opens. NZXT assures us that there are twenty different keys, and thus also locks, that the Bunker might have one of, to minimize the chance that anyone else that has a Bunker can unlock yours [and take your things]. What irony... Now, what's inside?
Purchasing the Bunker includes the Bunker itself, a pair of keys, and a small, foldout installation/use guide. A closer look at the keys shows a number etched into one of the corners of both keys. Perhaps that number would allow NZXT to send replacement keys if both become lost.
Of particular interest to me is the locking mechanism itself. Looking in back of it shows it to be held in place only by two small nuts that are supplemented by epoxy on the bolt threads. I wonder how easy it would be with a ratchet and a couple sockets to remove these nuts, thereby unlocking the Bunker without a key. I shall find out during testing...
A closer inspection of the Bunker reveals that the housing is almost entirely made of plastic, the only exception being the grille on the front door. 'Inside', as it were, the USB daughterboard and spring loading mechanism are all that make up the Bunker. The spring loading mechanism is particularly clever, because, while the door is closed and locked, tension is stored in the spring. Immediately upon unlocking the door, the tension is released, resulting in the door swinging open and the daughterboard being pushed forward.
The facade of the Bunker is pleasant enough with a small portion of mesh, though, it would match best with a black case. In the bottom of the door is a small opening just large enough to allow cables belonging to anything plugged in to sneak out. On the far left is the key slot. Curiously, this lock is of a different style than the one shown on the back of the box. Perhaps this is simply one of the 20 available, and the one pictured on the box is another. Onward to information and testing!