NZXT Panzerbox Review (Page 3 of 4)

Page 3 - Physical Look - Inside

By taking off the left side panel of the NZXT Panzerbox, we are complimented with the inner workings of the chassis. By any mid-tower standards, this is a very spacious case. The increased width not only increases airflow, but also interior volume in general. The case is very open, and everything is quite easily accessible. There is also enough space for bigger and longer expansion cards, such as the much vaunted ATI Radeon HD 5970, or anything that would be similar in terms of size and length. The interior is completely black, just as the exterior, and has the same remarkable workmanship as the outside of the case. A small box of accessories is also included inside the chassis that includes all the screws and such for assembly. All the cables for the case are neatly tied together and can be run through the case somewhat proficiently. The extra room really goes a long way for a certain something which we will be taking a look at up ahead.

Just like what we said before, the power supply is mounted on the bottom left side of the case; positioned on its side. This means that the vent on the side is used to allow for airflow into and out of the power supply. There is a little mount used to hold the power supply up on its side. This spacious case gives a lot of space to even accommodate the some of the longest power supplies in the market today. All the connector and fan cables are long enough to reach across the whole case; not to mention that it allows for flexible cabling, since it needs to reach so far.

The mounting holes for the motherboard were predrilled cleanly. Similar to most cases, the motherboard tray is not removable, so installation has to be done inside the case. All of the holes are clearly labeled, and it even has a legend in the bottom right corner showing what kind of motherboard formats the holes are for. Making life easier is a good thing, and that is what this labeling does -- even for first time computer builders, this was not confusing at all and very straightforward.

Totaled up, there are only three externally accessible 5.25" drive bays as aforementioned. However, there is a converter for a single externally accessible 3.5" drive bay. There may only be one of them, but it should be more than enough for an average user.

Unfortunately, for a case that is supposed to be cutting edge, there are some setbacks here. In terms of the drive bays, they do not use a screwless installation system. Instead, they opted for the more general thumbscrews. Not that thumbscrews are bad, but for a case of this caliber we really did expect more in terms of easy installation. Not all is lost though -- even the German Panzer IVs had their share of troubles, and hard to install equipment.

Located below that are two additional internal 3.5" drive bays. These bays also do not feature tool-free installation, or even thumbscrews for that matter. So it's back to square one -- time to take out the good old screwdriver, guys! It is a seemingly small amount of 3.5" drive bays in this area, but there are actually more located elsewhere. Also visible is the giant 190mm fan, which pushes in relatively huge amounts of air. It may look a bit intimidating at first, but it is actually very practical. More airflow typically means more efficient thermal control inside the chassis.

Unlike the NZXT Beta, the cables are not neatly drawn through the middle of the case. Quite the contrary, they are routed to the right side of the case from the photo angle above where they are visible, and are a real hassle to move them for more efficient cabling. Since the buttons are also located a bit above this area, it becomes very hard to hide most of these cables away. A zip tie would be needed to keep these cables hidden by rerouting them through the back.

Below that whole stack of drive bays, are two more additional 3.5" drive bays. They are side mounted and access should be a little easier compared to the main stack. However, without any form of tool-free mounts, these drive bays are hard to use properly. If there are some more efficient ways of securing a drive, it would be much more intuitive. The 190mm fan can also be spotted in this area as well; meaning that the drives will stay nice and cool in front of the fan.

On top of the case is yet another 190mm fan used to keep air flowing through. Also seen in the photo above is the back mounted 120mm fan, which provides additional heat exhaust out the back of the case. Overall, the mesh is very efficient in limiting the restriction of air to flow through. These fans all use 3-pin connectors, so they can be attached straight to the motherboard with RPM information -- unlike most fans, which simply uses standard four pin Molex connectors. It is a good touch to have these cables for people with fan controllers, or just want to detect the RPM via the motherboard. Cabling is a lot easier when users connect their fans to the motherboard, instead of stretching a long Molex connector through to power the fans.

With the right side cover removed, it reveals the back of the motherboard tray. There are no real big cutouts -- other than the ones above, and to the side of the motherboard tray. This makes cabling heck a lot easier, and simplifies cable hiding techniques. Unlike the NZXT Beta, there is enough room to conceal cables to your heart's content. The thin bars also make a good place to tie down cables for further cabling needs. Also visible in the photo above are more thumbscrews for the installation of 5.25" external drives.

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