NZXT Source 210 Review

Compxpert - 2011-06-30 20:55:02 in Cases
Category: Cases
Reviewed by: Compxpert   
Reviewed on: July 24, 2011
Price: $39.99

Introduction:

When choosing a case for your new build it is important to consider the direction you wish to take with your build. Depending on where you wish to take it, you may need a case with the right features to accommodate your build over its lifetime. NZXT has been making excellent cases for sometime now, and today it has a new case up for review, the Source 210. NZXT considered the wallet of every gamer with this one, claiming that the average gamer spends $60 per game they buy each year. Needless to say, the expenses add up and the Source 210 is there for you, providing basic features while allowing you to upgrade your rig later on. Just what sort of upgrading is available to the Source 210, you ask? Well it is able to take on up to seven fans in total and is able to house up to eight hard disk drives, both of which offer great expansion for later on. The Source 210 promises to be an affordable and expandable case, but just how well does it live up to its claims. Let's take a closer look and find out.

Closer Look:

Beginning with the front of the box, we have the Source 210 shown here from the left-front side of the case. Further on are the left and right sides of the box, which include tables of specifications detailing the specifics of the case. The back of the box, unlike the rest, contains a rather meaty bunch of facts about big features of the case, which include its ability to take on seven fans. There is also a nice paragraph at the top-right of the box, which goes over just who NZXT is marketing this case to, which appears to be any gamer looking to reap the savings of a cost-effective case.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Once the box is opened, we are greeted by the front panel of the case in between the two usual pieces of Styrofoam. The case is also contained in a plastic bag to ensure that the outer black finish doesn't get scratched during transit.

 

 

So far it looks like we have a great contender for a budget case, but what's going on inside of this beast?

Closer Look:

With the packaging out of the way, we're left with the case, which sports a left-side panel with a 120mm fan hole. Looking at the front of the case, we appear to have the capability to take on up to three 5.25" devices. Power and reset switches, as well as I/O connections, are also present on the front. Moving on, we have the right-side panel of the case, which, according to the back of the box, has 20mm of space between the back of the side panel and the motherboard tray. Bringing up the rear, we have the back of the case, which sports a single fan and a bottom-mounted PSU.

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The rear of the case also appears to have some sort of water cooling capability via punch-out holes. However, no grommets are included for these holes. The top of the case sports two fan holes, which can accommodate either two 120mm or 140mm fans. The bottom of the case sports rubberized feet, which would prevent sliding on a smooth surface. The bottom is also capable of accepting a 120mm fan. Unlike some cases, however, no fan filters are included for the bottom or the front of the case. Here we have a close up of the front panel I/O connections, which consist of headphone and microphone connections as well as two USB 2.0 ports.

 

 

 

 

So far this case looks like it has a lot of room for expansion, although not much is included from the get-go. Just how much is actually on the inside of this case?

Closer Look:

Upon first look inside the case, it's easy to spot what it lacks. The case only ships with one 120mm fan leaving it up to you to get fans for the front, top, bottom, and side panel of the case. The case does include some of the usual features you'd expect from any case, like the hole in the motherboard tray for swapping waterblocks or heatsinks and holes for wire management. Moving on to the front of the case, we have fan holes for the optional front 120mm intake fans. As mentioned earlier, the case includes 20mm of space behind the motherboard tray so you can run wires with ease.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Unlike some cases, NZXT chose to not utilize any tool-less solutions, thus requiring screws to install your 5.25" and 3.5" drives. The case supports up to three 5.25" devices and eight 3.5" devices and mounts all hard drives toward the front to maximize fan exposure from the optional front fans. Here we have a closer look at the lone 120mm fan included with the case. Other than obviously being 120mm, no other specifications are given about the fan. Up next we have our internal headers for USB, front audio, switches, and LEDs.

 

 

 

The Source 210 ships with a bag of hardware containing the necessary screws for your setup as well as three zip ties. The Source 210 also ships with a manual. Next up, we have pictures of each of the side panels of the case. Last but not least, we have our front panel off of the case, which is quite easy to remove and reinstall by simply pulling it off or pushing it back on into place.

 

 

 

We have to build it to test it, so here it is, the final build. Since the hard disk drives mount the way they do, wires cannot be as easily hidden away, which creates some additional clutter. The case also seems to suffer from another sad issue. Looking closely at the image, it's not hard to tell what it is. If you have a graphics card as long as 10.5", then you won't be able to use a hard drive in the bay directly in front of your graphics card. This could be even worse if your plan is to install more than one graphics card at any point, so beware of this if this is something you plan on doing now or in the future. Other than these few downfalls, the case install does go smoothly, and you can certainly get in at least six hard drives with only one 10.5" or greater length graphics card.

 

The lack of included fans is a bit daunting, since the case probably won't perform well without them, especially considering the competition it is up against. But let's see how well it fairs.

Specifications:

MODEL
Source 210
CASE TYPE
Mid Tower Steel
FRONT PANEL MATERIAL
Plastic / Aluminum-like finish
DIMENSIONS (W x H x D)
195mm x 440mm x 495.5mm
VGA Clearance Maximum
230mm w/ hard drive, 330mm w/o hard drive
CPU Heatsink Support
160mm
Wiring Space
20mm
COOLING SYSTEM
FRONT, 2 x 120mm
REAR, 1 x 120mm @ 1200rpm (included)
TOP, 1 x 140mm
BOTTOM, 1 x 120mm
DRIVE BAYS
3 EXTERNAL 5.25" DRIVE BAYS
8 INTERNAL 3.5" HDD Drives
MATERIAL(S)
Steel with painted interior
EXPANSION SLOTS
7
WEIGHT
6.5kg
MOTHERBOARD SUPPORT
ATX, MICRO-ATX

 

 

 

 

Features:

 

 

 

All information courtesy of NZXT @ http://www.nzxt.com/new/products/classic_series/source_210

Testing:

Testing is all focused on temperatures. The temperatures of the CPU, chipset, HDD, and graphics card are all taken into consideration during testing. Each heat-producing component is stressed with a certain application, which includes Folding@Home for the GPU, Prime95 for the CPU and chipset, and HDTune for the HDD. Each component is stressed for a whole hour, after which the current temperature is recorded. Additionally, each component goes through idle testing, which means I leave each component sitting there and idling for an entire hour, after which I record the current temperature. As with any sort of computer temperature testing, the lowest temperature is always the best.

 

Testing System:

 

Comparison Cases:


 

   

   

   

   

 

As expected, the nearly fan-less Source 210 doesn't stand up to the heat too well. It lost to the competition in nearly every test, falling right alongside the Bitfenix Shinobi the whole way through.

Conclusion:

Poor performance in a test certainly doesn't break a case. However, the Source 210 was not without its flaws, which included an impaired ability to install hard drives when working with 10.5" or greater graphics cards. Not everything is perfect, but in most scenarios the setup of the Source 210 works out nicely. What is included with the Source 210 gives a lot of room for upgrades, and this is where it excels. Barring the concerns about large graphics cards, the case is able to take up to eight hard disk drives, which is a greater number of hard disks than most people use or need. The case, despite the lack of included fans, allows for support for up to seven total fans, so it leaves room for you to add on six more, and considering the current level of performance, it would be recommended to add more. Wire management was easy with the included holes in the motherboard tray, and the 20mm space behind the tray definitely did not inhibit installation. Seeing as the Source 210 markets itself as a starter case, then the price should be quite affordable, right? Well this case certainly is affordable since it ships at an unbelievably frugal $39.99. So if your idea is to save some clams on your next build with that new high-end graphics card, then the Source 210 might just be the starting place you're looking for.

 

Pros:

 

Cons: