NZXT Source 530 Case Reviewhornybluecow - November 27, 2013
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NZXT Source 530 Closer Look:
Compared to the last few chassis I have reviewed, opening this chassis was a much improved experience. This time NZXT kept it simple, with each panel being held in place by two thumb screws and built-in handles. To remove each panel, simply remove both thumb screws and lightly tug on the spacing in the back of the panel for it to slide out. It is true that having handles can detract from the overall look and feel of a chassis. In this case, it does not have any effect and is a much better solution than getting finger prints all down the sides. Inside you can see three tool-less 5.25" expansion bays along with three separate hard drive cages, each of which holds a different number of internal bays (covered later). The motherboard tray itself supports all the way up to E-ATX, but due to the smaller compact size of this full tower, it can be a tight squeeze to get everything in place and plugged in. On the back are all the wires leading from the I/O ports, which were neatly zip tied into place. The key word is "was" because the photo shown below is from after being disassembled, as I forgot to take the picture initially.
Each 5.25" bay has NZXT’s own style of tool-less design and this may be my favorite that I have come across so far. It is a very simple and intuitive design. To install a drive, simply pull back the latch, put the drive in half way, and then push the latch back down. As you slide the drive further back, the pins will pop into place without much fuss. NZXT’s idea to only include three bays is starting to become an ever growing trend and it takes advantage of this by wasting no space. When it comes to the 3.5" hard drive bays NZXT did something a bit weird and that is to include three modular cages and stick them together. Each bay is also a strange approach when it comes to installing a hard drive. The trays are made of hard plastic and built with a standard tool-less design. To install a tray, you push both sides together and pull. In doing so, the plastic bay slides right out, while installing is simply doing it in reverse. The strange part is that to install any drive you must open the back panel because that is where the trays slide out from. You cannot reverse the cages or trays. While this is a bit odd, ultimately it really does not matter as installation of any drive requires removing the back panel to plug cables in anyway.
One of the neatest features the Source 530 has to offer is a fan mount directly adjacent from the top PCIe slots. This is great for anyone concerned about keeping those video cards cool, especially in a multi-GPU setup where they are a quarter of an inch away from each other. The fan mount is connected to the top hard drive cage and can be dismounted if the space is required. In fact, with the fan installed, the official spacing is 282mm (11.1"). This can be a concern for dual GPU cards or aftermarket coolers that are 11" or longer. Pictured below is the GTX 770 reference card, which is using the 780/Titan cooler. I think when NZXT measured the length it only took into account reference models of AMD and NVIDIA video cards. It is not a bad thing, but be aware that in order to take advantage of this feature, you will need to double check the length if you have an aftermarket cooler.
The back of the Source 530 holds a good amount of space for cable management. Like many other full towers, including one inch of clearance is overall a good idea. When you are not using a modular power supply, you may still want to hide all of the wires. I was able to hide all of the wires without any issues (which tends to be a pet peeve of mine if I cannot hide the wires).
Here you have it: a fully assembled NZXT Source 530 chassis! Installation of the motherboard and components was very simple with little problems. There was only one major concern that I noticed half way through installation: the USB 3.0 header on the motherboard was almost between the tray holes. This caused the bulky USB 3.0 cable to bend the header of the board in an unsafe manner. Ultimately, I disconnected it in fear of breaking the motherboard. This will only be a concern for people who have motherboards with an angled USB header about half way up the right side or if they have a MSI Z87-GD65 motherboard. Just make sure to double check before using the chassis if you want to use the USB ports on the front. Otherwise, I did not have problems working with this chassis.