NZXT Lexa S Reviewairman - October 28, 2009
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Entry into the case is easy, thanks to the thumb screws holding on the side panels. Seen with even the budget NZXT Beta review, the entire interior of the case is painted black. This simple detail, paired with the tinted Plexiglass window, creates a very attractive look guaranteed to draw the eye.
The first thing I noticed after opening this case, was the lack of tool-less contraptions. A little surprising, though somewhat of a blessing, as a lot of tool-less setups inside cases leave something to be desired, with flimsy construction and unsecure holding capabilities. Included, however, is a bag of thumbscrews for holding in the optical drives and PCI devices. I found that, at least with my optical devices, the threads on the included screws were not the right pitch to work and were therefore useless to me. The case does feature a cut-out in the motherboard tray directly underneath where the processor is located. This means that easy access can be had to the mounting holes when using a heatsink that mounts from behind. Most heatsinks now use rear mounting brackets, so this cut-out in the tray is very convenient to most users, as it does not require removal of the motherboard or modification of the case in order to change a heatsink.
The PCI slot covers are perforated steel, which allows passive heat exchange with the surrounding of the case. This is common practice with many manufacturers lately. Beside the PCI slots are another section of perforations that are there to do the same thing - passive heat exchange. If positive internal pressure is maintained (where more air is pushed in by fans than pushed out), then there will be slightly higher pressure inside the case, meaning that heated air will be forced to escape through these holes.
The case itself houses four 5.25" drives and five 3.5" drives. The 3.5" drives, are held in a tool-less manner, with the slightly superior "rail" method. This is where a plastic piece is fitted on each side of the drive, that lock it into position when slipped into the drive bay. To remove the drive, the small portion of the rails protruding past the drives are pinched inward to unlock them, so that the drive may be slid out. Below is the tool-less hard drive method in action.
As stated on the front of the box, four fans are included inside this case. A top and rear exhaust, along with a front and side intake. The fans themselves are all labeled to be 12v, rifle bearing and 0.16A, which are meant to perform very quietly. The side intake fan is also a blue LED fan. They each have three and four-pin plugs. The three-pin plugs can be used to power the fans by the built-in fan controller or the motherboard headers, while the four-pin plugs can be powered by the regular Molex connections.
The front and side intake fans are equipped with fan filters, preventing dust from entering the case and causing the need for frequent cleaning. Along with the four wires for the fans and the large amount of headers coming from the front, there is plenty of wire management that can be done, even without components in the case yet. Headers from the front bezel include: USB, eSATA, AC97 audio, power and reset buttons, power and HDD activity lights, four inputs for the fan controller and finally, a Molex connection to power the fan controller. Luckily, NZXT has supplied this case with a wire management feature that runs along the outside of the motherboard tray in a backwards 'L' fashion. The slot itself is far too small to fit the ATX power connection and nearly too small to fit other cables with Molex connectors, as well as four and six pin PCI-e connectors. It seems NZXT has only their own cables in mind, as they are the only ones that don't cause a little struggle when pulling through. The pictures below show the cable headers themselves. The volume isn't nearly as intimidating as seeing the cables banded together in the pictures earlier on this page, but it does show the amount of plugs that need to be taken care of.
With the working components of this case explored, it is now time to evaluate the performance of the case with an i7 setup running at full-throttle.