NZXT PANZERBOX Review

damian - 2009-04-27 13:59:09 in Cases
Category: Cases
Reviewed by: damian   
Reviewed on: June 7, 2009
Price: TBD

Introduction:

When I think of the word 'tank', I think of large, heavy land vehicles with all the firepower needed to cause more damage than most can think of. You might be asking yourself, 'how does this relate to hardware and technology'? Well, it's simple. Aside from firepower and damage, I also think of the word "housing". And this reminds me of a case. Geeky? Maybe, but I'm a tech junkie and it fits! When it comes to cases and tanks I see a lot in common (I need to get out more), except the weaponry of course. A tank has to be sturdy, strong and well built - kind of like a case, right? Well that's what I look for when searching for a new case. I like strong, reliable material, plenty of ventilation and built to last.

One case that seems to fit the criteria is the NZXT Panzerbox. Its design is small but it sure packs a punch with pure aluminum build, removable motherboard tray, three massive fans for cooling and is liquid cooling ready. So, without further ado, let's take a closer look at the Panzerbox!

 

Closer Look:

The NZXT Panzerbox comes shipped in a fairly small box. The front of the box features two angles of the case, and a few features. The back of the box isn't too different, and along with a glamor shot of the case is a full list of features. Both sides of the box are exactly the same showing the specifications of the Panzerbox case.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Once you open up the box, you will see that the Panzerbox has two styrofoam covers on each side of the case to prevent any harm during shipping. The case is also wrapped in a plastic bag to protect it from any unwanted scratches.

 

 

When I opened up the case I found a small white box containing all sorts of goodies. Inside this box were bags of assorted screws, stand-offs, and two brackets that are used to replace the top 190mm fan for a radiator.

Closer Look:

This case looks simply amazing out of the box! The case is made of pure aluminum material making it one fine luxurious case. As stated, compared to most ATX form factor cases, the NZXT Panzerbox is 25% smaller and 50% lighter. This is definitely a case any LAN gamer would appreciate. The front of the Panzerbox can accommodate up to three drive bays, houses one massive 190mm fan and an aluminum mesh covering the front and top panel. Looking at the back of the case you will notice that it is liquid cooling ready, which means a radiator can be mounted at the top of the case by replacing the 190mm fan. The case also includes a rear 120mm fan that is attached to the removable motherboard tray - another valued feature. NZXT really strengthen this case with ventilation, as both sides sport a vent on the lower corners of the panel.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One neat feature I like about the case is that its front and top panels are coated in a sleek mesh surrounding. The far left side of the case is where the power button, reset button, HDD LED and Power LED are located. So far so good? Not so. With all quality material used for the build, the power button and reset button lack the most in this area. They feel as though they can break with the slightest push. This is not what I would expect from a case like this. Zooming in on the front I/O panel you see that NZXT includes two USB 2.0 ports, microphone and headphone 3.5mm jacks, and one E-SATA port.

 

 

The lower end of the case is a bit different from most standard ATX form factor cases. Instead of having to install the power supply with the unit facing down, NZXT designed this case so that the unit lies on its side. While this saves space, I fear this might intrude with cable management.

 

Closer Look:

Just like its exterior, the interior of the Panzerbox is very pleasing to the eye. It has black coated interior all around. There are a total of three included fans - two 190mm fans, and one 120mm fan. A handy feature of this case is its full expandability. By this I mean that the top 190mm fan can be replaced with a radiator for any water cooling enthusiasts. There is even enough room for large video cards to be used, 10.5" to be exact. The opposite side of the case is the most interesting. To help ease installation, NZXT decided to feature a removable motherboard tray. By removing a few thumbscrews at the back of the case the motherboard tray can be slid out with ease for easy motherboard, video card, and heatsink installation. The tray goes back in simply by placing the edges of the tray directly on top of the rails welded onto the case.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The removable motherboard tray is like any other. It's attached with with the seven expansion slots as well as the rear 120mm fan. The Panzerbox can be used with most motherboards available to the public ranging from ATX, MICRO-ATX, and BABY AT.

 

 

The case can accommodate up to three internal 5.25" drive bays, and four external 3.25" drive bays. At the very bottom of the case is a removable HDD cage.

 

 

Inside the case to the left is where the power and reset buttons and HDD and power LED's are located. It might be a slight annoyance but having them placed at the right side would be preferred just to tidy up a bit once everything is installed. Neatly hidden at the top of the case is the PCB to the front panel I/O, which can be removed if pleased. Along with the front panel connectors, you also have the standard audio and USB connection and an eSATA cable.

 

 

As noted before, there are a total of seven expansion slots, which are attached to the removable motherboard tray. At the bottom of the case are two ledges where the power supply would be installed in its unique manner.

 

 

 

Included with the case are three (two identical 190mm fans) fans. The front fan is a 190mm  12V sleeve bearing fan rated for 1100RPM at 150CFM.  At the back of the case is an exhaust 120mm 12V fan. The top fan shares the same specifications as the front fan.

 

 

Installation was an easy process. Simply remove the motherboard tray, place the stand-offs in there appropriate holes, and install the motherboard. Installing the video card is like any other - remove the right number of coverings on the slots and screw in the video card.

 

Yikes! Me and this case do not mix when it comes to cable management. The power supply had cables running all over the bottom of the case and with not much room behind the case, I ended up stuffing most of the cables close to the one of the hard drive bays where there was still a good amount of space for airflow to pass from the front 190mm fan.

 

Now that we have looked over this fine piece of work, let's find out what it can do in terms of performance!

Specifications:

Model
Panzerbox SERIES
CASE TYPE
MID TOWER Welded Aluminum
FRONT PANEL MATERIAL
ALUMINUM
DIMENSIONS (W x H x D)
244 X 455 X 455 mm
COOLING SYSTEM

FRONT, 1 X 190mm fan@1100RPM, 150CFM (included)
REAR, 1 X 120mm, TOP, 1 x 190mm fan@1100RPM,150CFM (included)

DRIVE BAYS

3 DRIVE BAYS
3 EXTERNAL 5.25" DRIVE BAYS
4 INTERNAL 3.5" DRIVE BAYS

MATERIAL(S)
Aluminum Construction
EXPANSION SLOTS
7
POWER SUPPLY
500 WATT PS2 ATX 12V 2.0 ( OPTIONAL )
WEIGHT
6.3 KGS (W/O Power)
MOTHERBOARD SUPPORT
MOTHERBOARDS: ATX, MICRO-ATX, BABY AT
 

 
 

 

Features:

 

 

All information courtesy of NZXT @ http://www.nzxt.com/products/panzerbox/

Testing:

In order to properly test the NZXT Panzerbox, I will gather temperatures for the processor, chipset, hard drive, and the video card during their idle phase and load phase. To record idle temperatures I will leave the computer running for fifteen minutes with little to no stress whatsoever. Next, I will simulate a load using Prime 95 with small FFTs and HDTune simultaneously for thirty minutes. To load the video card I will use ATITool's built in stability test. I will be using the latest version of HWMonitor and RealTemp (3.00) to help monitor temperatures. Ambient temperatures during testing were 22 degrees Celsius.

 

Testing Setup:

 

Comparison Cases:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Not too bad! The Panzerbox compared to the two high end cases in several measurements. It shared positions between the Cooler Master Scout and HAF 922, but did the best in the chipset area of cooling. For its small stature, and semi-cramped spacing, the case proved to have decent temperatures with limited air flow due to wiring.

 

Conclusion:

The NZXT Panzerbox offers a wide arrange of features and holds its own in cooling. For a small ATX form factor case, the Panzerbox excels in ease of use, dominant features and pleasing looks. From top to bottom, the case is coated all black, and made from pure aluminum. It accommodates up to three fans, two being massive 190mm fans, sports a removable motherboard tray and is the perfect size for anyone looking to buy a mid to high end case, HTPC, and especially the LAN gamer. One of the best parts, is its weight. NZXT states it's 50% lighter than most ATX form factor cases and surely lives up to its word. I did run across some small problems, but nothing too diminishing. One problem was the material used for the power button and reset button. The case is almost too perfect with grade A quality aluminum, but it seems NZXT slacked off a bit on the two most used buttons. I was also not too fond of the positioning of the power supply during installation. With such a small case, I can understand there needs to be some cable management, so I'm sure any average Joe can spend a good 15 minutes routing their cables to improve this slight flaw. The last issue I have with the case is the noise. With such high rated CFM fans, noise is expected, yet tolerable.

Overall the NZXT Panzerbox gets my approval. Pardon my silly analogy but, like a tank, it's built strong, and offers the right amount of performance to attract any type of person.

 

Pros:

Cons: