I’ll be starting with our mATX AM2 board for installation, which will require me to remove the motherboard tray.
The motherboard slots in easily and using the supplied screws you’ll be done in seconds. However, you will only be able to use the stock cooler, or at least a low-profile one as the motherboard tray won’t fit back in.
If you decide that an 8800 Ultra is necessary, you’ll have to install it once the tray is back in place, but you won’t be able to screw it into place unless you slide the tray out slightly. Overall it seems like a bit of a chore, and the tray itself is pretty much useless as all you can install is the motherboard itself if you have a large aftermarket cooler or a top-end GPU.
The 5.25” drives are even more of a mission to get into place. You have to remove the front facia, which is held in place by small cross-head screws that are in awkward places to get a screwdriver on. I ended up using every tool in the office, including a pair of pliers to get the job done. All of this effort was to remove another two screws that hold the blanking plate for the 5.25” bay, which is difficult to remove again. The whole case used proprietary screws that most screwdrivers will grip slightly, but slip once you put some torque on them and these screws are TIGHT. On the plus side, once you’ve undone the screws once, they’ll be loose for the next time.
The CD-ROM rails as NZXT call them are ridiculous and on the whole pointless. I couldn’t get them to work at all, and I soon removed them and just used screws instead. The rails jam against some invisible ridge in the bay and the drive will go no further. The manual completely misses the 5.25” drive installation, so I’m not entirely sure whether I’m doing it the right way which adds to the frustration.
The hard disc installation was much easier, and I just slide it in and fastened it into place. A five minute job max.
The power supply uses the same shroud idea that Lian Li have been using for a while. You get a shroud that you screw to the PSU (or PUS as NXZT spell it) and then you can back-load the power supply. While this is a nice little feature, in this case it’s pointless; you’ll have to open the case to plug the cables in or remove them and there is plenty of room to use a standard mounting system. The reason why NZXT have decided on this method is so that you can use the supplied PSU extension bracket.
You soon realise that the installation part of this case is not as intuitive as others. While the top panel can be removed with a thumbscrew, it gives you absolutely no access to any screw inside, apart from the side panels which you’ll have to remove if you want to work on the case. This becomes very annoying when you just want to quickly swap a graphics card or remove a hard disc.
Overall, this case is not really gonna rate high on anyone’s list who changes components around a lot, or someone who enjoys cable management as the spaces that are empty are on show. Installation was a bit of a tedious experience, and you’ll only want to do it once, or if a major upgrade is necessary. An overclocker will soon throw this case away as accessing a CMOS clearing jumper would be an epic pain in the ass every time, especially if it’s underneath your GPU.