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NZXT Duet
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by Rory Buszka on January 31, 2007 in HTPC/mATX

Home Theater PCs are the fastest-growing trend in home computing. Here’s an in-depth look at enthusiast case maker NZXT’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 – 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.


Specification


Comment

Model


Duet

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.

Case Type


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.

Cooling Provisions

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.

Drive Bays

6
Total
2x 5.25″ External
1x 3.5″ External
3x 3.5″ Internal


This number at first appears impressive. However, the use of two of
those internal 3.5″ ‘bays’ will impair case ventilation. I’ll explain
later.

Material


SECC Steel


This case appears to use 0.8mm-thick steel for its side panels. It’s not
the most substantial material, but it helps this case stay light. The
front door of the case is made from aluminum.

Expansion Slots

7


This case is capable of accommodating a full-size ATX motherboard, with
full-height expansion cards.

Power Supply


400W PS2 ATX 12V (optional)


This was not included with the review sample.

Weight


5.0kg without power supply

As
I mentioned, this case feels light, but this doesn’t necessarily mean
flimsy.

Motherboard Support


ATX, Micro ATX, Baby AT


The ability to support a full-size ATX motherboard is a rarity in HTPC
cases. We’ll see in a moment how this is possible.



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