NZXT Alpha

Cases

Installation

I started installation by chucking in all of the motherboard stand-offs. However, after realising that I’d put one in the wrong place after screwing the motherboard into place, I was greeted with one of the most annoying things that can happen. The stand-off and the screw attached comes off as one, causing the edge of your motherboard to raise by a couple of millimetres; stressing the components. Not only this, but it means that the other screws are more difficult to remove and two other stand-offs unscrewed from the case rather than the screw unfastening from the stand-off before I was completed. Using a pair of pliers and a screw driver and I was soon back at square one.

NZXT Alpha
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The blanking-plate for your mobo will be a tight-fit into the case, but with a little patience and skilful bending, you’ll have it in place in no time.

NZXT Alpha
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NZXT Alpha
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Next came the hard disc drive which although being a half-height SATA job, the rails worked flawlessly and the drive was in place within 2 minutes. You also have the opportunity to use screws if you want to keep your HDD anchored in the cage.

NZXT Alpha
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The optical drives were similarly easy, although you’ll have to pop the front blanking cover off to slide the drive in. The best way to mount the drive is to slide it in as far as it goes, stick the drive cover back on, then push the drive as far as it’ll go so the drive eject button is behind the cover and then use the mounting clip. The clips can be used on both sides, and is a pretty simply design but keeps your drive secure. There are two pins which match your 5.25” drive holes and then you simply turn the handle and it locks into place. While this works fine for full length 5.25” drives, a half length will have issues. Fortunately you can use screws instead if you run into problems.

The FDD bays use a similar method, although I doubt the twin 3.5” external bays will see much action with most gaming PC’s devoid of this ancient technology.

The power supply was nothing special as there are no tool-less innovations, anti-vibration mounts or thumbscrews. Instead it’s a simple job of four screws, you and a screwdriver to get it into place.

NZXT Alpha
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The add-in cards are next, and there is nothing stopping you from using a dual-slot cooler as the case just used screws to secure them. While installation is easy, removal of one of the top cards in the case is a bit of pain thanks to a rivet which has punched too much material through and catches on the PCI bracket of your card. You have to jiggle the card around a bit to remove it as a result. This won’t be a case-wide issue, but it makes you wonder what other quality control issue there may be.

While this case says that it accepts an 8800 GTX graphics card, I find this quite hard to believe. There is about 10.5” of space available, while a GTX is exactly that size. It’ll be a damn tight fit, if at all (we unfortunately didn’t have a GTX on hand to prove this) and then you have the PCI-e power cable that is normally on the back of the card to deal with. I’m not saying that it won’t fit, but it’ll be a challenge. Interestingly the reason why there isn’t more space is because the HDD cage is moved backward to allow the front fan to fit – which it can’t – and so NZXT might have also removed the ability to mount a GTX as a result. Lose lose situation.

Annoyingly, if you have a large tower CPU cooler, then you’ll find that the side fan interferes with it, preventing you from being able to put the side panel back on. The case easily has enough width for large CPU coolers, but the fan is in the wrong position. A couple of centimetres down and it wouldn’t cause an issue. Problem is, if you remove the fan, you end up with an ugly hole with nothing in as the grill is held by the fan behind. A more petite cooler won’t ever have this problem however.

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Last modified: February 15, 2011

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