NZXT is a relatively new kid on the block as far as computer cases are concerned. Founded in 2004, they’re not as widely known as some case manufacturers, but they make quality products that can stand up on stage with the venerable old names in the narrow world of computer enclosures.
The M59 is one of the more unique-looking enclosures from NZXT’s product lineup. While the trend seems to be leaning towards flowing lines and curved surfaces, the M59 is all hard lines, sharp angles, and corners. As with any case, aesthetics will be a matter of personal preference. The M59 represents enough of a departure from NZXT’s other products that they can say “we have something for everyone.”
Here are the specs from the NZXT website:
- 5 fan capability (side 120mm LED and rear 120mm exhaust included)
- Included 9-fin rifle bearing NZXT fans rated at 42CFM and 23db
- An ambient light sits over the 5.25″ drives to give visibility in dark rooms or at LAN parties
- Smoked clear window and a black interior gives the best combination of black on black
- Meshed front panel allows for more airflow
- 5.25″ stealth bay to keep a clean look
- NZXT solid state bracket allows for two SSD drives to be installed
- Motherboard punched holes allows for quick CPU bracket removable and optimal wire routing, turned HDD also helps with managing cables
- Pre-drilled water cooling holes on the back plate
- Front mounted USB, audio, and eSATA ports
- Support for external dual radiator at the top of the chassis
- High end graphics card support, the M59 features space that is especially designed to fit longer 10″ cards
It all sounds well and good, but how did it work out in the real world, once we got the box open?
At first we were impressed with how light the case was, while not feeling “cheap” like some budget cases do. The removable side panel is not flimsy, like some other cases I’ve worked with in this price range. The interior of the case is especially captivating, as it has a matte black “powdered steel” finish. The case certainly looks like it should cost more than $60. When it came time to do the dirty work, however, we encountered our first “ahh, this is why it costs so little” moment.
Most budget cases have a non-removable motherboard tray. There is simply a steel plate with pre-drilled holes that you screw standoffs into, and that’s how you mount the motherboard. We weren’t expecting a removable tray in a budget model, but we at least expect the pre-drilled holes to be drilled properly. The provided standoffs didn’t quite fit into the holes, and we struggled with a pair of pliers to get them screwed in all the way. It was as if they used the wrong tap when they were drilling the holes for the standoffs. We certainly couldn’t screw them in by hand. NZXT should check with their supplier and get this issue resolved.
Alas, it wasn’t a deal-breaker. We forced the standoffs into the backplate with a pair of pliers, and then we were on our way. The only other issue we had with installation was the strange way the drives mount; the power and SATA cables have to be routed in an odd way to reach the drives. Again, it’s not a deal breaker, just slightly annoying.
The M59, like many modern cases, has a bottom mount for the PSU. The M59 is nice in that there is a grill at the bottom for the PSU to exhaust, and a removable filter that covers it. This is usually a feature you find in more expensive cases.
There’s plenty of room inside the M59, even for more exotic setups with large video cards and water cooling units. Another nice bonus feature is a hard plastic insert that can hold two SSD form-factor drives (2.5″, or laptop-sized HDDs) so that you can mount them in a single 3.5″ slot. The case comes with a set of rails with metal studs where screws would normally go. We prefer this setup because it still holds the drives in securely, yet makes it very quick and easy to remove them. No messing around with screwing rails onto hard drives.
The top 5.25″ bay is recessed and “hidden” by the overhang provided by the front bezel. There is a blue LED “rail” underneath the lip of the bezel, which is not only awesome looking, but practical in that it lets you see your optical drive in the dark while not blinding you with light if the case were on the floor below you.
Besides the relatively minor drilling problem, the build quality of the M59 is perfectly fine. We had no issues with sliding the drives in and out, fitting the side panel, or getting a computer mounted inside. Everything was square and plumb.
The front panel contains two USB ports, front panel audio, and 1 eSATA port, all easily connected to a motherboard via cables that are “long enough.” The case does not come with one of those cool “quick plug” adapters for the lights, power button, or reset button–but then again, this is a budget case.
The two fans that come with the M59 are quiet and move a lot of air. They are also aesthetically pleasing; the rear fan has a black frame with white blades, and the side panel fan is translucent with blue LEDs. There is room for two more 120mm fans on top; the top contains 240mm worth of relatively wide open grill work which provides for plenty of airflow if you install more fans.
In all, we really like the M59. Minor complaints aside, it is a very attractive and distinctive case with plenty of room for growth. NZXT represents a relative new kid on the block, but competition is good for everyone we’re glad to say that it seems they’re here to stay.
The M59 is available on Newegg for $59.99 at the time of publication.