Page 3 - Physical Look - Inside
The side panels on the NZXT Source 220 came off very easily, and the thumbscrews offer minimal resistance, allowing you to easily remove or reattach them. Having beveled handle grips, I absolutely love the simple and easy to remove side panels, and I must say these are some of the better ones I've encountered. The interior of the computer case is painted with the exact same color as the outside -- a very nice finish, and no sharp edges appear to be visible. This case is still on your value end of the price scale, so don't be expecting any dust filters or sound proofing foam. Of course, that just means you get great heat dissipation, and will have to enjoy a louder computer with dust.
As mentioned earlier, NZXT only provides two fans for the chassis. Both of them are located in the top back corner around the CPU. This means the rest of the chassis won't have very much airflow, but this isn't a huge issue, as most of the heat generated inside of a computer is from the processor or graphics card anyway. Both of the fans used in this location are rated at 1200 RPM, and have their wires sneak out to the back of the motherboard tray. I'm very happy this was already done, as it saves me some effort trying to ensure good cable management when installing my computer components. Around this area, you can also see the opening at the back of the CPU location. The benefit of this is to allow for plenty of room when installing aftermarket CPU coolers that utilizes a custom backplate. Now, just below the 120mm fan at the back of the Source 220, you can see a small opening with ventilation holes similar to the ones used at all fan locations. I'm not really sure what the point of this little opening is -- I mean, it honestly is only going to provide an additional entry point for dust to your computer once again.
Looking down at the bottom of the NZXT Source 220, we can see where the power supply bay is placed, and the additional fan opening on the bottom. Thanks to the reasonably large opening in this location, all of the power supply cables can be easily put through it. This means mounting a fan along the bottom of the case can be done without any worry of a loose PSU cable accidentally clipping the fan. The power supply area has risers along the bottom and side to ensure a secure fit when you install the unit. Looking over at the mounting holes for the motherboard, I am very glad to find they are labeled, so that you can easily check to see where you will need to install the risers. I'm sure more experienced people will be able to eyeball it just like me. However, for those who are new to installing motherboards, you won't have to worry about putting the riser screws into the wrong place, and adjusting them later. A quick look at the labels and following the guide with make the task painless. The expansion slots on the Source 220 are mesh instead of the solid metal sheets used for the Source 210 Elite, as mentioned on the previous page. I really don't see this as an improvement; there is no fan nearby, which simply means it is an entry point for dust and nothing more. Maybe you could argue it improves cooling for the graphics card, but I really doubt it has too much of an effect. I was actually surprised at the fact that expansion slots use screws, but the 3.5" and 5.25" drive bays are tool-free. I think NZXT should have just added tool-free expansion slot clips, and advertised the whole chassis as such. It is kind of like someone who went out of the way to buy a really nice set of rims for their car, but only to cheap out and not buy locking nuts.
Alright, hold up, who here has eight 3.5" drives? Yes, the NZXT Source 220 features a vast array of 3.5" bays. I'm actually very impressed with the two fan positions located directly in front of the 3.5" drive bays. They not only are easy to access, but are also are designed to cool four of the eight 3.5" bays. The fan wires can also be easily directed to the back of the motherboard tray, since the front area is fully accessible from both sides. For a tool-free installation, I have to say installing hard drives is very easy. Just twist the knob and pull. It can't get much simpler than that. Well, actually it can, because you can reinstall the hard drive clamps upside-down without any issues. I'm not sure if they intended for it to work that way, but I guess it is one of those 'hidden' features. The 5.25" drive bays are located just above the 3.5" drive bays, and they also offer a tool-free mechanism. The clamps on the 5.25" drive bays were improved over the Source 210 Elite version, and are much easier to open. It seems to me they made a minor improvement, and this has really made the installation much easier. At first glance, you might not realize they use hinges, but you will find out pretty quickly once you try to lift them up. The front panel covers for the 5.25" bays come off from the inside with any trouble, and can be pushed back into place with just as little effort.
Finally, looking at the back of the motherboard tray, we can find a reasonable amount of room for running cables. To be honest, 'reasonable' is a bit generous, as 20mm is a tight fit for fatter cables, such as the ATX 24-pin and ATX 4-pin/EPS 8-pin power connections. Personally, 25mm to 30mm would have been better to allow for more of room to run what you need. The worst part about the back side is the hole up at the top back corner. This is where the ATX 4-pin/EPS 8-pin power cable should go, but the folded edges of the case makes this little opening very difficult to access. To top it off, the fans were put so closely together that it is an even tighter fit through. I am quite happy the NZXT Source 220 provides a number of hooks at the back for clamping down cables, however. This allows you to personalize how you want to manage your cables, and everyone does it slightly differently.