NZXT has impressed us time and time again with their unique chassis designs and attention to detail, so when we saw that they were offering a $100 full-tower with a fully customizable cooling system, we had to check it out. With a clean design and lots of available space, did NZXT create a a must-have for the value-conscious consumer?
If there is one reality that has fully ingrained itself in the minds of PC builders it’s the fact that you must have proper airflow. You can run the best cooling system known to man, yet the lack of proper airflow can quickly defeat both you and your cooler. The often-forgotten motherboard’s chipsets and voltage regulators are also at risk when left on their own to passively cool themselves considering they can often be the hottest parts of your PC.
On the plus side, the Zero 2 is definitely a very well-built case. Having used steel in the construction not only saved money but it created a rigid structure as well. This has also benefited noise levels as demonstrated during my testing. Many times when you cut out large portions of the side panel for venting, you get a flimsy part as a result. Once again, steel to the rescue and we just don’t have that problem.
Fit and finish is another area that I feel that NZXT has come through with their chassis designs. There is nothing worse than poorly aligned and fitted panels. The paintwork is top notch and you get a feel for quality that is absent in many cases that are twice the price. Even the front panel feels solid and there is no sense of impending failure while operating it.
Unfortunately, there have been corners cut to keep costs down. I do not like the fact that there are no fans included for the side panel. There just is not enough flow through the front intake fan for effective cooling. It must push air through and around the somewhat bulky hard drive cage which is very ineffective. I’m not saying they need to include 4 fans here, but stating a case is fully loaded and leaving 6 fan openings empty just doesn’t give me the “fully loaded” feeling.
Wire management has also been completely ignored. Not only is there little space and room to tie up unused cables, the connections for the I/O header are not long enough as well. Forcing me to drape them across the motherboard in order to attach them just makes no sense. If you are going to expand the space between the header and the jack you must increase the length of the wires. It really is that simple.
When looking at the total package, I have no problem giving this case 7 out of 10. This is a solid foundation to work with and with the addition of a few more fans will work very well for most people. The footprint is small and the price is right. Judging it on a purely emotional level would add to the score seeing as I really do love a case with so much potential. However, next time, I suggest that when you tell us that a case is “fully loaded”, that you truly make it fully loaded and fill it up with fans. I guarantee most people will agree and happily pay a few dollars more.
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