NZXT Hades Reviewjlqrb -
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With the side panels off you, can see that the NZXT Hades case has quite a few features built-in, which should help with installation and cable management. The first thing I noticed was the drive bays extending down the front of the case. These bays can hold up to nine drives, which is a good amount of expandability for a case in this price rage. The top five bays have a pre-installed tool-less mount in place and are there to secure 5.25" drives into the bay, where as the bottom four bays don't use the same design and instead you will use thumb screws to secure the drives here into place. Moving over, you can see NZXT's cable management system, which has been improving over the years leading to what we see today. The design has three cable management holes that are each has a rubber cover over them to help give the case a cleaner look. Also, to aid in cable management, there are small anchors on the back of the motherboard tray that allow you to use zip ties to secure the cables to the back of the tray. This will ensure the cables are held tightly in place and allow you to easily slide the side panel back on. When I reviewed the NZXT Tempest EVO it had a similar cable management set-up as the Hades and I did find that it worked rather well. The only problem I had with it though was that the rubber covers that are in the holes would come off easily and at times it could be difficult to properly back them into place. Next to the cable management holes is the motherboard tray. This tray is of course where you will install your motherboard. The Hades does have the ability to fix a few different sizes of motherboards with the smallest being Baby AT, then Micro ATX and the largest being the standard ATX form factor.
Installing the DVD drive in place was easy, but it did require that both side panels be off to remove the tool-less mount on each side of the bay before the drive can slide into place. Once the drive was in the bay it was just a matter of lining up the screw holes with the holes next to the bay, then locking the mounts into place.
The bottom four 5.25" drive bays are where hard drives are installed in to the Hades case. For installation, you mount the drive to a 5.25" to 3.5" adapter and use the included thumb screws to secure the drive into place. I usually do not prefer this method, but NZXT has made installation a breeze and I ran into no issues while installing the adapter or while securing the drive into the bay. When the drives are in place they sit directly in front of the 200mm intake fan, which will bring in cool air to run over the hard drives. This should keep the drives cool even if you are running a four drive RAID array. One really nice feature that deals with hard drive installation is the inclusion of a 2.5" adapter that will fit two SSDs and allow them to easily fit into one of the 5.25" drive bays.
The rear expansion area has seven slots that each has a vented mesh cover over them. These covers allow air to travel though them, which should help the overall airflow in the case. Next to the expansion slots there are two water cooling tube access holes that are rather large and with room for a dual radiator at the top the Hades should be able to handle most enthusiast water cooling needs. Above the expansion slots you will find the two exhaust fans. One nice improvement I found with the exhaust fans is that NZXT has finally taken the cables and hidden them behind the motherboard tray. This is a very welcome addition as the exhaust case-fan cables can at times be hard to hide, due to the location of the fans. I for one, hope NZXT continues this design in future cases. The exhaust fans at the rear and top of the case are standard, and there is room for one more case fan on the top panel. The fan on the top is 140mm and the rear exhaust fans is 120mm in size. Below the expansion area is the bottom mounted power supply area. This area has four rubber pads that will hold the power supply off of the bottom of the case and there is a rectangular filtered vent directly below the power supply intake fan.
The CPU back-plate access on the motherboard tray is large, which should ensure there are no compatibility issues across different socket types. My ASUS AM3 motherboard fitted nicely giving me proper access to the back plate.
There are four included case fans that comes standard with room to fit one more 140mm or 120mm case fan at the top. The included 120mm and 140mm case fans are used to exhaust the hot are and are a nine blade rifle bearing design that deliver 42CFM at 23dB. The larger 200mm case fans are the intake fans with one being placed at the front and another on the side. These fans have the same color scheme to them as the smaller fans and are rated to run at 140 CFM. Both of the 200mm intake fans have filters, but as the image below shows, the side 200mm intake fan uses dual filters which should work well and keep dust out of the case. The last image is of the temperature gauge cables. These cables read your internal temperatures and displays them on the front of the case. The temperature cables come with a sticker on them that states the general location of where they should be placed.
With all of my components installed in the Hades, the cable management worked pretty well and I was able to get most of the cables to run behind the motherboard tray. The one exception was the 8-pin power cable, which I could not run behind the tray because there was just no access hole or room for it. As for room, there was plenty for the most part, but as you can see my large heatsink sat very close to the top exhaust fan and there was less than an inch separating the two. It did make installing the board a tad tight, as I had the cooler on the board before installing it in the case. The close proximity of the CPU cooler and top exhaust fan could be a positive though, as it might have been the reason that the case cooled my CPU so well, as all hot air would be exhausted relatively quick. When it came time to power the system on, I was surprised at how nice the red LEDs and temperature display looked as I am not usually into LEDs, but I have to say the Hades case won me over.
I am really looking forward to testing out the cooling performance of the Hades. With two 200mm intake bringing in 140 CFM at full load there will be no shortage of airflow and I really want to see how it stacks up to the other comparison cases.