NZXT Tempest Review

ajmatson - 2007-02-28 20:10:47 in Cases
Category: Cases
Reviewed by: ajmatson   
Reviewed on: June 12, 2008
Price: $109 - $120

Introduction:

When it comes to computer cases, there are so many on the market that it takes a lot of research to find the perfect one for you. There are cases small enough to go under your TV, and large enough to hold any component your heart desires. Some cases have industry standard features, and some are geared towards enthusiasts and offer more than you can imagine. Today we are going to take a look at the NZXT Tempest.

The Tempest by NZXT is a mid-tower case that has many jewels hidden up its sleeve. NZXT calls the Tempest the "Airflow King". Will this case be better than the rest? A mentor once told me "for a case to be cooled efficiently, the amount of airflow (in CFM) in must equal the amount of airflow out. This will give the best cooling to keep the in-case temperatures low. Will the amount of fans included with the Tempest get the job done? Only one way to find out!

 

Closer Look:

The Tempest comes securely packaged in a thick cardboard box. On the front of the package is a picture of the Tempest, and a claim that it's the "Airflow King". The back of the box highlights its features, and on the side are the specifications of the NZXT Tempest.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Once the package is removed, you can see how well NZXT has secured the Tempest for transport. They have it sandwiched in between Styrofoam, and placed plastic and shrink wrap completely around it to protect from drops and scratches.

 

 

Closer Look:

Once we get the Tempest unwrapped and out of its shell, you can see the beauty of the "Airflow King". The Tempest has an all black finish and is made of steel, with the top and the front made from plastic. The front sports nine drive bay covers that protect the innards from dust. The side of the Tempest has a trapezoid-shaped window with a 120mm blue LED intake fan, which allows you to show off your pride and joy. The back of the case has another 120mm exhaust fan, seven expansion slots, ventilation holes, a PSU slot and two holes with rubber gaskets for an external liquid cooling setup.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Moving up to the top of the Tempest, you'll notice something that will catch your eye - there are two 140mm exhaust fans here to whisk the hot air out of the case and keep those critical components cooler. Also on the top of the case are the Power and Reset buttons, two USB 2.0 ports, audio ports, and eSATA port. It's nice to see the inclusion of the eSATA port, since it is becoming a standard for external hard drives these days. Your motherboard does not need an eSATA port to use this feature, as it connects with a bridge from a standard SATA port on the board.

 

 

 

The front of the case can be completely removed to access the area behind it. As I mentioned before, each drive bay cover has a dust filter installed, which can be removed for access or to clean the filters. The covers easily pop out and back into place with little force; the filters are attached to the front panel covers, and are not removable.

 

 

Behind the front panel, there are two 120mm blue LED fans attached to the case. The fans also have their own removable dust covers to keep the inside of the case clean. The fans just slide out, and then back in for operation. These fans supply cool air that blows over the hard drives and into the case, to help achieve maximum cooling. If needed, the cage covers and fans can be removed via a few screws.

 

 

The hard drive and power LEDs are unique to the Tempest. The power LEDs are two pillars that run down the front of the case and glow blue when the system is turned on, while the hard drive LED is on the side of the case near the bottom, and flashes green when the hard disk is being accessed.

 

Closer Look:

The NZXT Tempest has plenty of room for expansion. The case has enough motherboard space to accommodate ATX, Micro-ATX, Baby-AT, Flex ATX, and Extended ATX boards. The motherboard tray is not removable however, so work space on the inside might be cramped if you have large hardware. Also, you'll notice that the motherboard tray has cutouts for easier cable management and better air flow.

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The amount of available drive bays is incredible - there are three 5.25" external drive bays, and one has a 5.25" to 3.5" bay converter for floppy drives or other 3.5" devices. The Tempest also holds an impressive eight 3.5" internal drives in a server-style configuration, with the drives stacked on their sides in two cages - each holds four drives. These cages can be removed to add more 5.25" devices, if needed.

 

 

 

All of the drive bays use a tool-less design for installation and removal, unless you install a 5.25" drive where one of the hard drive cages used to be. The 5.25" drives use a latch that acts like screws, and the hard drive cages use a rail-type system to hold drives in place.

 

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There are the seven expansion slots on the Tempest, which allow you to add expansion cards and other expansion port devices, which allows you to add a USB bracket without taking away any card slots. Above the expansion slots, there's a 120mm exhaust fan for pulling warm air away from the CPU and regulators.

 

 

The Tempest also has two radical new features. First, NZXT has chosen to place the power supply at the bottom of the case, which keeps the hot air from the PSU from mixing with the CPU and raising critical system temperatures. The one problem you may run into here is with the 8-pin CPU power plug - you have to be creative in your routing to get it plugged in and not have it interfering with the expansion cards in the process. Second, NZXT has included pre-drilled holes and space in the top of the case for the installation of a liquid cooling radiator - this makes turning your rig into an overclocking monster even easier!

 

 

Specifications:

 

Model
Tempest Series
Case Type
Mid Tower Steel
Front Panel Material
Plastic
Dimensions (W x H x D)
211.5 X 521.5 X 562 mm
Cooling System
FRONT, 2 X 120 mm Blue LED (included)
REAR, 1 X 120 mm (included)
SIDE PANEL, 1 X 120mm Blue LED (included)
TOP, 2 X 140mm Fan (included)
Drive Bays
9 DRIVE BAYS
3 EXTERNAL 5.25" DRIVE BAYS ( up to six 5.25" )
1 3.5" External bracket
8 INTERNAL 3.5" DRIVE BAYS
Screwless Rail Design
Materials
Steel Construction
Expansion Slots
7
Power Supply
500 WATT PS2 ATX 12V 2.0 ( OPTIONAL )
Weight
11.2 KGS (W/O Power)
Motherboard Support
MOTHERBOARDS: E-ATX ATX, MICRO-ATX, BABY AT

 

 

Features:

Testing:

NZXT claims the Tempest is the "Airflow King", so in-case temperatures should give other cases a run for their money. I am going to record the operating temperatures while idle and at load for the CPU, chipset, hard drive, and video card. To create a full load, I'll use OCCT to push the CPU, chipset, and the memory, 3DMark06 for the video card, and HDTune for the hard drive. To measure the temperatures I'll CoreTemp, SpeedFan and HDTune's hard drive temperature reading. I also want to see how the Tempest stands up to other cases on the market, so I will be comparing its test results to those of the Thermaltake Armor+, Enermax Uber Chakra, and the Sigma Unicorn. All systems will have the same hardware setup, and all hardware will be run at stock speeds, voltage, and timings.

 

 

Comparison Cases:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Tempest did slightly better than the others in the CPU cooling test, and gave an average performance in the chipset test. The graphics card in the Tempest was a little hotter, since the side fan is only 120mm - instead of the 230mm fan in the Armor+. The Tempest's real beauty came in cooling the hard drives - the 120mm fans on the drive cages kept them cooler than in any other case tested. Overall, the temperatures were pretty good for a beasty system like this.

Conclusion:

The NZXT Tempest is truly a unique and interesting design. I love how NZXT has included all of the necessary fans with the case, instead of making the user purchase their own. The space inside the Tempest is enough for anyone, and it can even be used as a server tower, given the amount of hard drive space available. If you are like me, you'll think the lights on the case are great - though that is a personal preference - and they make it look pretty for any LAN party! The case does a great job of cooling the components, especially the hard drives, and even gives you the option to install a liquid cooling setup with minimal work! Having the two exhaust fans at the top of the case eliminates the need for adding fans to the liquid radiator, and maximizes the space that is available. Having the PSU at the bottom of the case also aids in keeping the critical areas of the computer cooler.

I would have like to have seen a removable motherboard tray, since this would make installation easier - especially if something needs to be changed after the build is completed. I also think that if you are going to make a tool-less design for a case, you should make it completely tool-less, not half. Plus, installation would be easier with a tool-free design for the expansion cards. Overall, this is a great case for a good price, and keeps up with other cases on the market. I recommend it for anyone wanting to overclock their hardware, or for those looking to install a liquid cooling system.

 

Pros:

 

Cons: