NZXT Zero Crafted Chassis Review

Sagittaria - 2006-11-10 11:11:47 in Cases
Category: Cases
Reviewed by: Sagittaria   
Reviewed on: December 4, 2006
NZXT
NZXT
Price: $99.99

Introduction

Neither flashy nor plain, the Zero weighs in with a whopping 8 fans, seven of which are 120mm! Along with its “ultimate cooling solution” it is dead quiet and is quite an eye catcher without the fancy lights and gizmos that many people hate. NZXT is a new company, established back in 2004, but since then, it has pumped out some very beautiful cases and power supplies designed for the gamer and enthusiast. The company has been rapidly gaining a reputation as one of the best chassis manufacturers out there.

Closer Look

I was surprised upon receiving this case. I was very intrigued by the huge number of fans on the package and proceeded on to the ritualistic destroying of the box. Inside I found drive rails (just about everything is tool less): 5 sets of CD drive rails, 2 sets of floppy rails, and 5 sets of hard drive rails. Also, there were a small amount of screws and a detailed instruction manual.Not shown)

 

  
   

The bottom has four cylindrical feet with a bronze colored covering, a classic.  Also on the bottom is a filtered 80mm fan hole without a fan, probably used to equalize pressure inside the case.  The top of the case has a 80mm blowhole to expel air, a great fan setup.  On the right side of the case are the front panel connectors with two USB, FireWire, microphone, and headphone jacks.  The magnetic door opens to the right; this might be a turn off for some people as their computers may stand on the left rather than the right.

Closer Look Continued

Another turnoff is having the front panel connectors on the right of the case! Why NZXT? The door opens in the wrong direction for the connectors to be on that side!

  


   

Finally to the guts! The hard drive bay is turned sideways and the motherboard tray is not removable, which is not exactly needed in a full tower case and probably decreases strength.The standoff holes are marked for various size motherboards, a nice touch.There is a locking mechanism on the peripheral slots, which will be covered in depth later. The bays are magnificent in build quality with smooth rounded holes to add to its strength, very sturdy! Also seen is the detachable Molex which powers the bottom front panel light.

 
  

Closer Look Continued

The front panel connectors are pretty much standard. They have the usual one-piece hookups or if your motherboard/device is weird, you can also wire it up manually. There is also another connector to the audio jacks, called Intel HD Audio. It is a new standard set by none other than Intel, nothing to worry about really. The quad set of 120mm fans on the side of the case are daisy chained together and the front panel just pops off. Inside you can see the filtered 120mm intake and one of the front case lights I mentioned earlier. The back is nothing special. Unfortunately, there is no room whatsoever to hide cables.
   
   
Lets hurry up and get to the installation!

Installation

Installation Setup

The manual recommends that you use gloves…yeah right; everything is rounded with absolutely no sharp edges to be seen. I screwed the standoffs on very easily due to the marked holes; however, I noticed that there are only just enough standoffs for a full sized ATX motherboard. It would have been nice to include some extras. I slapped the motherboard on and proceeded to installing the power supply, only to be immediately stopped because of the top fan.In order to install the PSU, you will need to remove the fan, and if your PSU is too long (17cm), you can kiss that top fan good bye. The drive rails are pretty much standard, they are clearly marked and have silver pins. Just pop the rails on – no screwing needed – and slide the drives in. Floppy first with the front panel off, then the optical drives with the front panel on. Not much to it.

  

The hard drive came next. Once again, pop the drive rail on, slide it in and there you go.In my opinion, the hard drive is way too close to the side panel. As you can see, the Molex connector is only about a half an inch away. I was unable to use my X-Connect cables due to this spacing issue.


  
Installing the peripheral cards is just as easy, once you get the hang of it that is. There is a swinging lock that you first push in via the black handle, and then out. Then you push your card in, and well, push the lock back in and there you are, a very solid feel. Although, if you don’t like it, you can still screw the card in manually…using your own screws since NZXT didn’t want to include very many screws.

Installation Continued


You might be wondering what those taped connectors are on the brown card. That is my soundcard with a very ghetto-wiring job to the front panel audio connectors.

  

With all that done, just plug everything in like you normally would and you’re done.Pretty quick due to the very nice screw less design.



During the entire review, I’ve been dying to hear how she sounds with all of these fans, and I bet you have been too. Read on for the final specifications and testing!

Specifications

MODEL Zero SERIES

CASE TYPE Full tower Aluminum Chassis

FRONT PANEL MATERIAL Plastic/Aluminum

DIMENSIONS (W x H x D) 210.5 X 532 X 520 mm

COOLING SYSTEM FRONT, 1 X 120 mm fan (included)
REAR, 2 X 120 mm Fan (included)
SIDE PANEL, 4 X 120mm fan (included)
TOP, 1 X 80mm Fan (included)

DRIVE BAYS 13 DRIVE BAYS
5 EXTERNAL 5.25" DRIVE BAYS
2 EXTERNAL 3.5 " DRIVE BAYS
6 INTERNAL 3.5" DRIVE BAYS
Screwless Rail Design

MATERIAL(S) Aluminum Construction

EXPANSION SLOTS 7

POWER SUPPLY 500 WATT PS2 ATX 12V 2.0 ( OPTIONAL )

WEIGHT 7.35 KGS (W/O Power)

MOTHERBOARD SUPPORTMOTHERBOARDS: ATX, MICRO-ATX, BABY AT, MINI ATX

Testing

Testing Setup I closed my eyes, put earplugs in, and pushed the silver power button. I was very surprised to find that I didn’t hear any loud noises. The NZXT fans included were dead silent; I only heard the PSU and heat sink fans! They don’t move as much air as their louder brothers do, but with this many fans, it really won’t matter.

Testing Continued

Also, here are the front panel lights I spoke of earlier. The bottom blue light stays on while the top blinks depending on hard drive activity. The power LED is an orange-red color, pretty dim compared to the blue LEDs.



Temperatures were very good, as I expected.I measured temperatures using my probe.



I was absolutely blown away by the fan noise, or I should say lack of noise, as I cannot hear anything!

Conclusion

This is an absolutely beautiful case to those who don’t want something flashy! The glossy paint was a definite plus, you can practically use it as a mirror. The overall construction was superb, especially the front panel, which is the sturdiest that I’ve seen to date.Of course, the cooling and noise was just awesome.

However, we have to wonder what NZXT was thinking when they designed the door. Sure the door opens to the right, someone might need it like that, but then have the front panel connectors on the right? A little bit backwards if you ask me. Also, the case looked roomy on the inside at first glance, but I found the case to be quite crowded compared to other full towers, especially around the hard drives. Overall, the Zero is a good case, though the door opening alone may deter some people.

 

Pros

Cons