NZXT Source 220 Case ReviewBluePanda - September 28, 2011
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Opening the case up and taking a peek from both sides of the case, it’s a near spitting image of the NZXT Tempest 210. I honestly can’t find any difference other than the front panel and loss of one fan on the side panel. This case is down to the bones a NZXT Tempest 210. A creative and cost efficient move on NZXT’s part — no wonder they can sell a couple of these bad boys at such low prices to consumers.
Anyway, two fans are pre-mounted inside the case; one at the rear and one in the upper-left slot in the top of the case. The cables for the front panel and fans are already pre-routed and somewhat hidden from view. With the back panel off, there again doesn’t seem to be a lot of room for cable management, but we will see where the mess ends up.
Looking a little closer you will find the three drive bays followed by room to mount eight HDDs, just as the Tempest 210. The clips on the drive bays are just as annoying to position. They seem like they should slide forward and back like most; however, that’s not quite how these work. A careful squeeze at the notched position releases the mounts. Two prongs are revealed that should sufficiently hold your optical drive or water bay solidly in place. Getting them to pop open is still quite the challenge. Even with my small hands, the top two are pretty difficult to maneuver and aren’t the strongest of materials. Like with the Tempest 210, I advise you to be careful in opening these up. Don’t break ‘em!
The eight HDD slots are a bit more manageable with simple turnkey open and close mechanisms. Still made out of plastic, the HDD clips aren’t too strong but seem to do the job without a problem — all they really have to do is hold your drive in place, I’d cringe if they couldn’t do that. The added extra safety is as easy as taking one of your extras and holding on the other side of your drive. They mount the same way on the back side — no problem.
The big hole is still cut in the panel allowing for easy access to your CPU backplate. No longer do you have to worry about screws poking through and bending the back side of your case so your mobo can sit straight. You can easily assemble/disassemble the backplate while your motherboard is still attached to its risers. This is becoming a much more appreciated feature as time moves on, especially if you are dealing with a water block. Small case or not, the options are still positive! The cables from the front panel and fans are also prewired for some easy attachment. The excitement to get some hardware in here continues.
Looking at all the options for connecting the front panel it is nice to see some labels. With the cables all in black, if there wasn’t a labeling system I’d be crying at the trial and error to find my power switch connector. I don’t know about you, but I don’t particularly want to jump start my computer on each boot with a screw driver. It has the HD Audio/AC’97 inputs, a single USB header (so half the size of those of you with dual slots), a blue USB 3.0 header (if your mobo supports it), the reset plug, and individual pins for your LED and power buttons. One really nice thing that seems to have already improved my wiring situation is the fact that the LED/power button plugs are all on one linked cable. They can be pulled apart if need be, much like a y-splitter, but it keeps them all together rather than the usual tangled individual wire mess. A manual, some screws, and zip ties are included to string your build together.
Wiring her up proved again that wiring space was limited. Granted, I might have more hardware than most, attempting to cram in a modified water loop, so I can’t complain too much. Everything fit just fine, but since I did get it in the Tempest 210, and since they are the exact same frame underneath, I wasn’t too surprised to get all in there in about the same manner. The only issue I really had was removing the front panel bay covers. Even getting my small hands through the case it wasn’t easy to release them. But once I had them out it was easy to put them back and seal the deal for a solid, sleek build.
Getting the wiring done in this case was a bit of a pain in the butt. I usually work with larger cases so getting the wiring just right in a smaller case proved more difficult than I remembered it being. One problem with such a small case is that there are no openings near the top of the motherboard tray to sneak cables through; because of this the 8-pin mobo connector had to be run across the board. While this isn't unheard of in smaller cases it was something that I had forgotten would even be an issue. The hard drive mounts, while easy to get to, proved to make the routing of the SATA power and data cables difficult. They ended up coiled up just above my pair of hard drives with nary a place to go. The back panel of the case allows for the hiding of some cables, but if you have a PSU with a lot of cabling you'll find yourself tucking most of them into the area around the spare hard drive bays. The back side of the case just doesn't have a ton of room to hide away large bundles of unused connectors.