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NZXT Guardian 921 case review

NZXT Guardian 921 case review

Two weeks ago, I took a look at the NZXT Tempest case which was described as “an enthusiast’s steel tower.” NZXT has also sent us their Guardian 921 case, which I’ll be looking at today.

NZXT calls the Guardian 921 “Power for Gamers,” which I assume means that they consider this the right case for the gaming enthusiast. For many gamers, this case would indeed do the job well, but it comes with features that might make gamers scratch their heads.

The box makes it pretty clear that this case was made with gamers in mind.

The box makes it pretty clear that this case was made with gamers in mind.

Specifications

  • Model: guardian 921
  • Case type: mid tower steel chassis
  • Dimensions: (w x h x d) 206x459x522 mm
  • Cooling system
    • Front, 1 x 120 mm blue led fan [included]
    • Rear, 1 x 120 mm fan [included]
    • Side panel, 1 x 120 mm blue led fan [included]
  • Drive bays
    • 9 drive bays
    • 3 external 5.25″ drive bays
    • 2 external 3.5 ” drive bays
    • 4 internal 3.5″ drive bays
  • Screwless rail design
  • Material(s): SECC steel chassis
  • Expansion slots: 7
  • Power supply 400W PS2 ATX 12v (optional)
  • Weight 8.2 kgs (w/o power)
  • Motherboard support: ATX, Micro-ATX, Baby AT

Impressions

I’ll start with this: I don’t like shiny on a PC case. I don’t hold that against this one, as I know that there are plenty of people who do like shiny… I’m just not one of them. With that said, this case is very shiny. The entire front bezel is glossy enough that it ships with a protective film.

Reflections aside, the external design is faultless and has a unique shape that’s reminiscent of the Transformers logo. The face of the Guardian is a door that serves to hide mismatched devices with a uniform look. While some cases require that the door be open to access front I/O, the 921′s front ports are conveniently located on the left side of the chassis as seen below.

The Guardian 921 has shiny panels and the easy access ports.

The Guardian 921 has shiny panels and easy access ports.

The case itself was of fairly standard quality for its price bracket. It was certainly not flimsy, but it didn’t perfectly retain its shape without the side panel installed.

The side-facing hard drive cage is an interesting decision and — as a gamer myself — was the first thing that made me wonder why this case is targeted specifically at gamers. While side-facing cages allow for easy drive removal, they also significantly impact the case’s airflow. I’m not going to knock it, but it left lingering questions.

A small group of cables run from the display on the front of the case, including three temperature sensors.

A small group of cables run from the display on the front of the case, including three temperature sensors.

Three temperature sensors named “CPU,” “SYS,” and “HD” run to the interior of the case from the LCD on the bezel. Everyone likes to monitor temperatures, but diodes are notoriously inaccurate: CPUs have superior onboard sensors, hard drives report their temperatures via SMART, and ambient temperatures are best provided by the case.

Again, these were not really problems, and they didn’t negatively impact my opinion of the case, but it made me scratch my head and wonder if the Guardian is really meeting its advertised role.

The temps display on the front of the case is neat, but not too useful.

The temp display on the front of the case is neat, but not too useful.

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Comments

  1. Zanthian
    Zanthian Good Job.

    I think we need a better camera for these reviews. The images seem washed out.

    Maybe you could have hit a few more positive points in the story.
    There are only two negatives listed in the summary and yet I walked away thinking I would never buy this case.

    Maybe a picture describing the door as a bezel would be one idea for a positive note.
  2. CB
    CB Well, I think it sounds negative because I spent a lot of time in the article itself confused about why they call it a case for 'gamers', but most of those things were not really negative points unless you are trying to put a high-end gaming rig inside, as regular case it's just fine.
  3. jokerz4fun
    jokerz4fun Very nice CB! That is not a bad case for the price!
  4. BuddyJ
    BuddyJ For a general use case, this one seems pretty awesome. $60 after rebate with free shipping from Newegg makes it a hell of a good deal.
  5. Komete
    Komete Is that a flux capacitor from the Delorian in back to the future on the front bezel?

    That said, good review. And wow. a good deal at 60 from newegg.
  6. lemonlime
    lemonlime Great review, CB!
  7. Thrax
    Thrax This case does seem pretty awkward for gamers. The cooling was better than standard, but the side-facing drive bays and a general lack of cooling support were amongst the first things to miff me.

    The small interior is a little disappointing as well, but as a general case for a general enthusiast who wants a swank-looking box, this isn't a bad choice at all.
  8. Zuntar
    Zuntar Nice, don't like the styling on the side panel but nice otherwise. Thanks CB!!

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