NZXT Hades Crafted Series Mid-Tower

by William Kelley on February 22, 2010 in Cases & PSUs

You might know Hades as being the God of the Underworld, but after taking a look at this chassis, you might begin to think he was the God of the “Meshworld”. Yes, there’s a lot of mesh used here, along with stark angles, creative lighting and a smart design that delivers fantastic cooling performance. But, can it unseat CM’s 690 II?

Installation and Testing

To assure that our results are as accurate as possible, all of our chassis testing is performed under highly-controlled conditions. Our test chassis is kept in a near-steady 20°C ambient environment, with readings taken before and after testing with a standard room thermometer. After we boot up our machine, we allow Windows to settle itself down for 10 minutes, to stabilize processes that might be running in the background. Once Windows is completely idle, we record the current CPU temperature as that in our results.

BIOS settings are verified prior to each run, and to help with quick switching of our various profiles, we make use of the motherboard’s ability to store multiple configurations. We primarily use two for our testing here – stock speed, of 3.0GHz, and also a maximum over clock, of 3.95GHz. Stock settings were achieved by using “Load Optimum Default”, and storing those as our stock profile. The maximum over clock was obtained after extensive testing and tweaking to insure it was stable. The CPU’s vCore was raised to 1.400v, and the Northbridge was raised to 1.30v. The RAM is run unlinked to run at factory speeds and voltages.

For our monitoring and temperature reporting, we use Everest Ultimate Edition 5, from Lavalys. It allows us to grab the results from each one of the cores, and the CPU as a whole, so we believe it to be indispensable to our toolkit. To help push our Intel Core 2 Extreme QX9650 to its breaking-point, we use LinX. The reason is simple: it utilizes LINPACK. After much testing with various “stress testers” in the past, we’ve found that running a multi-threaded tool that supports LINPACK, like LinX, pushes both AMD and Intel CPUs like no other. This results in higher temperatures than others (like Prime95) can muster, and also greater power consumption.

Because our test machine is equipped with 4GB of RAM, we set LinX to use 3072MB, and then set the test to run 5 times over, which takes about 15 minutes total. With the help of Everest, the CPU’s various temperatures are recorded throughout all of the testing, and also for a minute after the test ends. The maximum recorded temperature found in the results file is labeled as “Max” in our results.

Intel Core 2 Quad QX9650 – Quad-Core, 3.0GHz
Gigabyte X48-DS5 – X48-based
On-Board Audio
Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 320GB
CPU Cooler
Arctic Cooling Freezer 7 PRO
Power Supply
Et cetera

Normally this is where I would post a few pictures of my build while explaining the build process. Unfortunately for me, my camera decided to go on the fritz, so you will have to bear with me as I explain the build process.

Installation was somewhat of a challenge. The first obstacle was the fact that the top panel exhaust fan is just too close to the motherboard. You pretty much have to wedge it underneath the fan to get everything in place. After I had the motherboard installed, I then realized the fan was completely blocking the EPS wire slot. I had to remove the fan to run this cable and also to fit the heat sink. I would strongly suggest that there be at least another inch in between the top of the motherboard and the fans in the top panel in any future designs.

The rest of the build process went smoothly and there really is a ton of room for the rest of your hardware. Routing cables and tying things down is a breeze. It wasn’t until I attempted to reinstall the side panel did I realize I was going to have a struggle on my hands. The side panel fan is too close to the CPU area meaning that most large 120mm or bigger CPU coolers will hit the fan and not allow it to close. I was lucky in that the Cooler Master V8 cooler I was using was able to be “adjusted” so that I could fit the panel in place. Plan your CPU cooler very carefully as you need to be sure it will fit with the case panel in place.

Wiring up the fan controller was simple as it was already basically wired up. Plugging in the Molex connection was all that was required. Wiring up the temperature diodes for the temperature display was also simple enough using the supplied tape. It takes minimal thought to execute this properly, so even a novice will have no problems here.

After everything was finally installed I fired up Windows and began testing. I was pleasantly surprised with the results as the Hades works very well and it does exactly what it was designed for. All fitting issues aside, there is no denying the cooling power.

NZXT Hades Mid-Tower Chassis

(Sound Levels: 36dB @ Full Load)

This chassis comes in as possibly the quietest I have tested to date with outstanding performance. Having recently reviewed the Cooler Master 690 II, it gave me a high-quality and similarly-priced chassis to use as a comparison. The Hades was able to trade punches with it and even slightly outperformed it in the ability to cool down the graphics card.