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NZXT Lexa

Date: February 6, 2006
Author(s): Rob Williams

If you have never heard of NZXT, you don’t know what great cases you are missing! We are taking a look at their Lexa case, which combines “Perfect Symmetry” with class and functionality. Let’s check it out and see if we have a winner on our hands.



Introduction

NZXT is a newer company that’s making quite a splash into the case market. They first came into existence in 2004 and have since released 5 incredibly unique computer towers that are far from boring. The case we are taking a look at today is the Lexa, which is not only great looking but very classy as well. In fact, the cases goal was to have “Perfect Symmetry”, and they certainly have seemed to pull that off.

When I had first set my eyes on the Lexa, I had my doubts. The design was so far different than I expected, that I didn’t really care much for it. In fact, it originally reminded me of something that you’d strap a chain to in order to knock down brick walls. After actually having it all set up though, my opinions changed entirely. Let’s jump straight into the specifications of the case.

ModelLexa
Case Type MID TOWER ALUMINUM ( CHASSIS ONLY )
Front Panel Material Plastic
Dimension (W x H x D) 220X522X569 mm
Cooling System FRONT, 1 X 120 mm (included)
REAR, 1 X 120 mm Blue LED Fan (included)
SIDE PANEL, 1 X 120mm Blue LED (included)
TOP, 1 X 80mm Fan (included)
Drive Bay – Front
Accessible – Internal
11 DRIVE BAYS
4 EXTERNAL 5.25" DRIVE BAYS
2 EXTERNAL 3.5 " DRIVE BAYS
5 INTERNAL 3.5" DRIVE BAYS
Screwless Rail Design
MaterialAluminum Construction
Expansion Slots 7
Power Supply 500 WATT PS2 ATX 12V 2.0 ( OPTIONAL )
Weight5.8 KGS (W/O Power)
Motherboard Support MOTHERBOARDS: ATX, MICRO-ATX, BABY AT

There are a few things that immediately stand out to me. After taking the case out of the box, I couldn’t believe how light it had felt. The front panel looks like polished steel, but is plastic. It has the look, but weighs far less. I also noticed that the inside of the case was very cluttered with all the doodads. As a whole though, the case was beautiful to say the least. Pure black color and glossy really helps this case look sleek and sexy.



Exterior

After I took various pictures of the case, the time came to open up the side door and take out the accessories. Here’s where I realize that I only have half a brain. The handle on the door is different.. it looks as though you are to lift up on it to open the door, but that did not work. After toying with it longer, I looked all around and wondered if I was supposed to remove some screws before I took it off, but that didn’t make much sense to me. From the inside view of the door, I could tell that there was a locking mechanism, so I figured now that I would need a key. The key of course, is inside the case in a white box. I knew I was screwed.

Then my friend Pete comes to the rescue and pushes the handle in the direction of the front of the case, and he popped the door right off. So after feeling like an idiot, I took everything out. If you end up picking up this case, don’t make the same dumb mistake I did ;)

Inside the case is a lot of accessories and odds and ends. The white box includes the keys for the case, many screws and drive mounting clips. These clips are used to install your HDD’s, CD-Roms or multi-function panels, if they have screw holes aligned properly. These clips can be considered a benefit or a trouble, because if you have any rheobuses, multi-functional panels or hard drive coolers that do not have the holes in the proper places, then you will have to suffer with the unit sitting on top of something else, instead of being secured in place. The frame does offer some holes, but they did not align properly for the Vantec Vortex2 HDD Cooler.

Another thing that stood out is the fact that the power button is at the very top if the front panel, instead of behind the door. This is fine, although it sticks out far enough that if you brush it as you pass by, you have the potential to turn the PC on or off, respectively. This is not really a big problem by any means, unless you are in a small room, which I am.

In addition to the power button, the arc of the front and back panel stick about 2 inches above the rest of the case. Being in a small room again, after it was all set up, I passed by and my cargo pants caught on to the tip and I actually pulled it hard enough that the front panel partially came off the frame. Again, not a problem that seems likely for most, but I tend to run into any problems if they are possible.

At the very front of the case you will see an HDD activity light, that lights up a very bright blue. This is great to add to the theme, because the two fans inside also light up blue. This will flicker often, so if you sleep in the same room as the PC, you may not want to hook that up as it will get irritating. The door on the case is keeps closed with a pretty strong magnet instead of a clip, so it will always stay tightly closed.

Inside the door we reveal four 5 1/4″ drive bays and two 3 1/2″ drive bays. The reset button is to the right of the floppy drive bays. As you can see from earlier pictures, you can reach your fingers around each bay to pop it out. Once you place the clips on your peripheral, it will slide in place and click to secure it.



Interior

Another wicked feature is the blowhole on the top of the case. Beneath it is an 80mm fan that will suck in cool air. This is great for keeping your system as cool as possible. However, we ran into a problem with the placement. With a large PSU installed, you will have no choice but to uninstall that fan. My current PSU is an Antec Phantom 500W, and it’s just long enough to make removal of the fan a must. This could not really be helped though, because moving it towards the front of the case would definitely reduce it’s effectiveness. Luckily though, we have a massive fan on the door to help out also.

The fan attached to the door is a 120mm blue LED, that’s also used to exhaust hot air. In addition, there is a filter covering it that will act as a dust catcher and a safety feature so nothing will get caught in the fan from the outside. Towards the back of the case is another large 120mm fan, identical to the one in the door. Without a doubt, the ventilation on this case was well thought out and the placement of the fans is great.

On the back of the case is the other half of the arch, which allows the back of the case to be fully exposed. There are handles here that you can use when carrying the case around. They look flimsy, but they felt sturdy. You can also see that there is already a PSU included, which is an NZXT branded 500W. I like to stick with my own PSU, so I removed it and replaced it with the Antec Phantom.

Before we take a look inside, I have to mention that something I absolutely love about this case. Because of the two ends of the arch, your case is lifted off the ground by a few inches. This is great, because it will allow cool air to enter. This is definitely a well thought out case.

A look inside the Lexa

Looking at the available wires, there’s everything we’d possibly need here. In addition to the normal motherboard wires, there are additional connectors for setting up the case USB, Firewire and etcetera. There’s even some temperature diodes which you can use for your CPU, HDD and system. Sadly, I forgot completely about these, so due to time constraints I was unable to hook them up. Tony from Pro-Clockers was kind enough to lend us an image from his Lexa review, which you can see below. I knew that arc had to be raised for a reason!

In the picture of the wires, you can also see the filter at the bottom of the case. You may be able to remove the tabs and mounted a fan there, but chances are it’s fine the way it is.

Towards the back we can see the dual ended molex connector for the 120mm fan, which is long enough so that you should have no issues hooking it up. The same goes for the fan on the door. I was able to connect both fans to each other and then into the PSU line.

All the miscellaneous cables are wired behind the drive cages so that you can keep them out of the way, but most are so long that they will get in the way anyway.



Interior Cont. & Conclusion

The inside HDD bay should prove enough for all of your hard disks. It has the capability of holding 5 3 1/4″ hard drives, but they will be tightly packed together. This is not a real problem though, as there is another 120mm fan located directly behind the bay that will blow cool air across the disks. This case keeps getting better and better the more I look into it.

Yet another useful part of this case has to do with the rear slots. There is no need for screws, because you can flip a tab and it will open them all up at once. When you install the cards, you can close it back up for a tight fit. This is incredibly useful; it saves a lot of time when you need to install or uninstall cards.

Overall, the inside of the case is superb. The aluminum is polished and hardly looks ugly. The drive bays are very adequate, and the ability to install with clips instead of screws is welcomed. Clips are far better than screws in that they are better shock absorbers also, so that’s another plus. The case can by used for more than just ATX sized motherboards, because there are sufficient holes in the motherboard tray. There is a small label that tells you which holes to use depending on your set up. Indeed, some companies can take lessons from NZXT in regards to the inside of the case.

Conclusions

From the moment I pulled this case out of it’s box, I was impressed. It’s not too often that you can use a case that continually impresses you as time goes on. But every time I take a close look at the case, I end up finding something new, which is great in itself. It wasn’t until this review was almost finished being written that I found out about the fan behind the HDD drive bay! Certainly, a lot of work has gone into this case; kudos to the designer. For a case like this to come from a relative newcomer is amazing. They apparently listen to their clients and implement what’s best. NZXT builds cases that they’d want to use also, which helps aide in the design.

As a whole, the case is absolutely gorgeous. I have no problems actually saying that about a case, but that’s the way it is. If a Porsche can be sexy and sleek, so can a computer case! There are some things about this case that really stand out. The first are the fans that are included and the placement of them. The second would be the ability to install your IDE devices using clips instead of screws… what ease! In general, it’s really easy to install all of your hardware without issue, and it’s only because of the great design. The USB ports and etcetera are available on the side of the case, where they are practically unseen. This is a great idea because it doesn’t take away from the look at the case, and since a lot of people don’t use them to begin with, like me, then it’s even more appreciated.

One of my favorite features of the case though, and this is small, is the fact that the case is raised from the floor. Especially with an air filter underneath, this can really help with great air circulation.. this was an awesome addition to the case.

This is a fantastic case, and I highly recommend anyone to pick one up. I am awarding the NZXT Lexa a well deserved 9/10 and an Editors Choice award. Kudos to them for bringing us this great case, and I can’t wait to see what their next release will be like.

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