NZXT Panzerbox Review (Page 2 of 4)

Page 2 - Physical Look - Outside

In terms of dimensions, the NZXT Panzerbox is a bit larger than the average mid-tower case. For reference purposes, it measures in at 244 x 455 x 455 mm; compared to the NZXT Beta at 200 x 430 x 501 mm. The case is 44mm wider, which is pretty significant for a mid-tower case. The widened case allows better airflow, which is supposed to be one of the key features of this case. The whole case is made out of black colored aluminum; from the solid panels to the meshed panels used throughout the case, it's all aluminum. Only the front of the case is solid aluminum -- whereas the rest of it is constructed of the aluminum mesh. The build quality is very sound and strong for an aluminum case. Unfortunately, the mesh which is beneficial to airflow also collects dust like there's no tomorrow. Combine that with the front 190mm fan, and it becomes a load of work to clean out all the dust, all the time. The good thing about using aluminum is that it is very light, so it's easy to transport around for something, say, a LAN party. I guess that's what they meant when they said LAN ready in front of the box as mentioned earlier.

The front of the case is able to accommodate up to three 5.25" drives. The reason why there are not four drive bays is to save space for the 190mm fan slotted below the 5.25" drive bay area. Unlike the NZXT Beta, there is a 3.5" faceplate and converter for device such as floppy disk drives and flash card readers. Aesthetically, the placing of the three drive bays is commendable; and three should be more than enough for regular users.

Residing on the left of the case, and also symmetrically aligned to the top of the first 5.25" drive bay, is the power button and reset button. The power switch is just a flimsy small rectangular metal button; the same goes for the adjacent reset button which is exactly the same size. This may be confusing at first to users who may press the wrong button due to its identical size. However, the words "POWER" and "RESET" are clearly labeled, and should pose no problem in the long run. The hard disk and power LEDs are located below that, in that order.

The left side panel of the NZXT Panzerbox is, as aforementioned, constructed out of aluminum, which makes it a lightweight panel. Although it seems to be light, it is very solid, and construction feels like that of a tank. Not only is it light, but it is also sturdy and strong. The sloped design of the case further alludes to that of a tank's design. This side panel features a large mesh opening located on the lower left corner for airflow into and out of the power supply. We will talk about this a little bit more when we get to the interior construction of this Panzer... box.

There is nothing in particular that differentiates the right side panel from the left. It mirrors exactly the left side panel, including the mesh vent, which is used for additional airflow. Looking at the overall design of the case really does remind me of the short and wide stance of the Panzer IV -- characteristically, so far, it also lives up to its name. The top of the case has more mesh openings for airflow of the top mounted 190mm chassis fan. The only problem I found with it is that dust has a tendency to settle on the top of the case, which requires a good cleaning once in a short while.

A glance at the rear of the Panzerbox would make you think it is that of a standard ATX case design, until you notice that its power supply mount is located at the bottom left side of the case (Looking from the front). We will get more into the power supply layout a little bit later in this review. There are the usual water cooling cutouts that can be found on almost all the new gaming inspired cases; these openings are found on the top of the case, which is generally a good location to place them. Below that is a centered lone 120mm case fan, as well as the motherboard back panel cutout located to the left. Underneath that are seven expansion slots for add-on cards. Not surprisingly, the placeholders are also made of quality meshed aluminum, further increasing the already high airflow capabilities of this case. Both side panels and most of the pieces from the back of the chassis can be removed easily by turning thumbscrews. It's a great thing for NZXT to use thumbscrews for standard user accessed points for tool-free installation at the back of the case.

At the top of the case, where the front panel is sloped down, are the standard front I/O connectors. These ports are all clearly labeled, and are easily accessible at all times. From left to right, we have two USB ports, 3.5mm audio input jack, 3.5mm audio output jack, and an eSATA port. The distance between the two USB ports is more than enough to fit two standard sized USB devices adjacently. On the other hand, wider devices may leave the other port blocked and unavailable for use. The eSATA port is a great addition that NZXT adds, so you can use eSATA devices without reaching all the way to the back in order to plug them in.

Four rectangular shaped plastic rubber feet that grip, reduce vibrational noise, and provide surface protection are found at the bottom of the case. There is also an X-shaped figure embossed, as shown in the photo above, for reasons I don't quite comprehend at the moment haha.

As we have briefly touched on earlier, the NZXT Panzerbox makes use of a bottom side mounted power supply design. This is a relatively modern implementation for power supply mounting typically found in many new cases, and we will see how it fares in the coming page. Two plastic surrounded, metal core Phillips-head thumbscrews are used to secure the side panels into place.

Page Index
1. Introduction, Packaging, Specifications
2. Physical Look - Outside
3. Physical Look - Inside
4. Installation and Conclusion