Established in 2004 in California by a group of gamers, NZXT has been innovating right from the start. With a long line of gaming chassis’, power supplies and gaming input devices, they’ve always strived to put the gamer first. As a company, they proudly proclaim the desire to continue expanding into new horizons and push the limits with each new product.
Silence is something every manufacturer is now pushing towards. We, the consumer, want everything to be bigger, faster and more powerful, yet we also demand quiet operation. It almost seems to be a losing battle considering what it takes to accomplish all of these tasks. In the process of trying to satisfy all our needs, the chassis has become the whipping boy to get the “silence” job done.
In steps the Whisper. With its steel construction, foam sound-dampening materials and rubber isolation mountings for both the hard drives and power supply, it appears that the recipe for silence has been created. Since silence can come with a cost, let’s see just how well NZXT has done with their latest offering.
To start things off, let’s take a brief look at the official specifications, straight from NZXT themselves:
With simple lines and clean form, the Whisper is a good-looking case. The use of plastic is tasteful and there is no gaudy “boy racer” feel. If anything, it could be considered simplistic as well, but that’s not a bad thing.
Up top we see the power button and the LEDs for HDD activity and system power. You should also notice that the entire door is slotted for ventilation as well.
The large front door opens easily with a slight tug to pull it free from its magnetic latches. The door has the look of a building façade with crisp angles. Once open, you’ll see the generous room for up to six ODD drives while removing the 3 ½” slot adapter would allow yet another drive.
The next question that comes to mind is where is the front panel connectors? A quick push on the latching tab and up pops the USB/MIC/Headphone/e-SATA slots on the top of the case. While this is a neat feature, it is somewhat flimsy and does not lock into place. Also take notice of the inclusion of a reset button that is accessible when the door is open. This is one feature that I love to see and hate to be without.
The side panels showcase the eggshell flat black paint scheme. Quite uneventful and devoid of any windows, there is little else to see here.
The rear of the case shows off the main ventilation fan placement. The power supply sits very low in this chassis so you’ll need to keep that CPU power extension cable handy (not included). There are 2 pre-drilled holes with rubber grommets for water cooling lines but they are small and will not allow anything over ½” OD through. I do like the extra-large grating on the openings to allow better airflow.
Once you take the side panels off you are able to really take in the ample space inside for your hardware. There is no need to measure that video card or motherboard seeing this case is E-ATX ready. Note the tool-less fixtures for your ODD drives and the 9 hard drive trays.
A closer look at the drive trays reveals something very interesting and not often seen in a full-tower chassis. There are mounting positions for 3.5” drives AND 2.5” laptop (or SSD) drives. This may not be something too many of us will take advantage of, but it’s nice to see and will allow you to mount any spare drive you might have lying around.
Shown side-by-side for comparison’s sake with a regular 3.5” desktop drive, you see how easy it is to install that 2.5” drive into your chassis. Arguably, it’s not a super-useful feature, but it’s a thoughtful inclusion.
Keeping up to 9 drives cool are a pair of 80mm exhaust fans along with a single 120mm fan in the front of the case. I cannot say that I am 100% happy with this setup since the lower section of the case is sectioned off which effectively cuts off the motherboard area from all this airflow.
Up inside the top you see more of the foam insulation lining the roof. This is the same stuff that lines both side panels in an effort to mute sound.
The rear 120mm exhaust fan is standard fare and located where it needs to be to draw the hot air off the CPU area directly. Again, this is the only ventilation in the top of the case. While the front door is perforated, the drive bay covers are not so there is little fresh air being drawn into the motherboard area.
The included hardware is thorough and there are screws for all your drives. There is a rubber grommet for your power supply and even a buzzer to connect to the motherboard. One thing that I find very important that is not here is the CPU power supply extension. Most power supplies will have a tough time reaching the top of the case as there are no holes to route wiring behind the motherboard tray.
On to testing and my final thoughts.