Home Theater PCs are the fastest-growing trend in home computing. Hereâ€™s an in-depth look at enthusiast case maker NZXTâ€™s first HTPC case, the Duet. With its tasteful looks, clever design, and ample cooling, this case has serious potential.
Out of the Box, Specifications
The case was shipped in its retail box, and arrived unharmed via FedEx. The box design is attractive, with glossy panels, full-color images, and a short features list. Inside, the case is protected by the typical Styrofoam blocks and a plastic bag. The included accessories were enclosed inside the case itself. The Duet is available in two colors, black and silver. For this review, NZXT sent the silver version.
Inside the case, I found the instruction manual, and a reclosable bag containing drive-mounting rails, screws and other mounting hardware, a tiny piezoelectric speaker for attachment to the motherboard, and four adhesive-backed rubber feet. The Duet case allows the builder to use the case in either the vertical or horizontal orientation. However, I suggest that you wait to attach the feet until you know which orientation the case will be used in.
Overall, the case was clean and unmarred, though a tiny chipped spot was visible along the rear edge of the case. I didn’t do this â€“ it came this way. It’s not something major, like a gash across the side panel, or a chip taken out of the case door, but I feel it needs to be reported anyhow.
I personally like this name. Not only does it convey sophistication, but it also alludes to the convertible design which may be used vertically or horizontally.
Mid Tower Home Theater Chassis
The Duet does a couple things differently when compared to other mid-towers, in order to achieve compactness.
Exterior Dimensions (W x H x D)
17.9″ x 5.8″ x 17.9″ (455mm x 148mm x 455mm)
This is a very compact case, primarily by virtue of its thinness. I was surprised at how much could be packed inside it, however.
2x 80mm rear, included; 2x 120mm at either end; 1x 80mm in fan duct
Smaller cases are more difficult to cool effectively. NZXT has provided plenty of airflow paths in this case, however, allowing the designer to engineer his own airflow scheme.