In 2004, a group of gamers formed a company based on the idea that there wasn’t a company out there that catered specifically to PC gamer’s unique hardware needs. Calling the company NZXT, their stated mission is to design ”unique products catered for hardware enthusiasts and gamers.” They now design cases, mice, power supplies, and other accessories. Today I’ll be looking at the “Tempest” case.
NZXT calls the Tempest ‘an enthusiast steel midtower’, and that’s just what it is. It offers multiple 120mm cooling fans, pre-drilled mounts for a water cooling radiator, and enough drive space to satisfy storage junkies. It’s practical and functional, but there are a few points it falls down on with issues some ‘enthusiasts’ might not ultimately be able to look past.
Specs (from the product webpage):
- Model: Tempest Series
- Case Type: Mid Tower Steel
- Front Panel Material: Plastic
- Dimensions (W x H x D): 211.5 X 521.5 X 562 mm
- Cooling System:
- Front, 2 X 120 mm Blue LED (included)
- Rear, 1 X 120 mm (included)
- Side Panel, 1 X 120mm Blue LED (included)
- Top, 2 X 140mm Fan (included)
- Drive Bays
- 9 Drive Bays
- 3 External 5.25″ Drive Bays ( up to six 5.25″ )
- 1 3.5″ External bracket
- 8 Internal 3.5″ Drive Bays
- Screwless Rail Design
- Expansion Slots: 7
- Power Supply: 500W PS2 ATX 12V 2.0 ( optional )
- Weight: 11.2 kgs (w/o Power Supply)
- Motherboard Support: E-ATX, ATX, mATX, Baby AT
The first thing I noticed about the case is that it’s heavy, which is a good thing. In steel cases, light is cheap. Getting the case out of the box was a two person job due to the weight of the case and its tight packaging. Once it was out of the box, a scratch across the clear plastic window was evident.The scratch was under the protective static film, which means it was something that had happened during assembly, which had been missed by the Quality Assurance department. Seeing the scratch encouraged inspection of the rest of the case.
The case it self is nice, quality sheet steel. It is sturdy and well constructed. However, everything that isn’t steel is a bit disappointing. The window is super-cheap clear acrylic, like the type from which disposable flatware is made. The rest of the plastic is equally cheap feeling. None of it was damaged or falling apart (except for the scratch I already found), but it just didn’t have the same feel that other cases in this price range have. It seemed more like the plastic found on a $30-40 case. Even the case door thumb screws were a bit cheaply made. Also, they weren’t the type that stay attached on the door when loose (a personal preference of mine).Plastic fins run along the front and top of the case, and the placement of the grill and buttons on the top make it look like it’s sitting on its back.
A welcome feature is the inclusion of ports on the top of the case. There are two USB ports, speaker and microphone ports, and an e-SATA port, which is a pleasant surprise in this price class. The power and reset buttons are here as well but because of their closeness and very similar looks, it seems like it might be a little too easy to push the reset button accidentally.
Once opened, the internal space was impressive, and the fans certainly look as if they will be pushing a lot of air in the right directions.
In order to make room for those fans in the top and back, the PSU mounts down on the floor of the case.
One final note before installation: NZXT saves users the trouble of removing and throwing away a stock motherboard port-plate. Most people prefer to use the plate that comes with the motherboard these days anyway.