NZXT Source 210 Elite Review (Page 2 of 4)

Page 2 - Physical Look - Outside

Simple and efficient is what I see written all over the NZXT Source 210 Elite, because these words were not literally written all over it, haha. While the front offers a slight artistic touch, it remains bare and simple. I am certainly not one to complain about simple, as in all honestly, my computer tower isn't something seen by a whole lot of people. This case gives the 'sleeper' impression; it seems like just an ordinary chassis on the outside, but peek inside, and you will be quite impressed. In fact, this case is housing my new Sandy Bridge build, but from the outside, nobody would know how beastly this elite happens to be. The case's exterior is white, which unfortunately means any dirt or markings will show up very easily. On the other hand, I do not suspect someone to be driving their computer around the block, so this is not a real concern.

I am a bit disappointed with the width of the Source 210 Elite. At only 195mm wide, it leaves only 160mm for CPU heatsinks. For those who have large aftermarket coolers like the Noctua NH-D14, it might turn out to be a very tight fit. This is, obviously, other than the fact I would be wondering why you would spend more money on a CPU cooler than you would on a chassis. Coming in at a height of only 440mm, the NZXT Source 210 Elite is a little bit shorter than what I would typically expect. For a more value oriented space, we are packing a lot of complexity under the hood anyway, so cutting down on space is an expectation. The depth is 495.5mm, which is on the lower end of where I would expect to find an ATX chassis -- but certainly nothing you would call restrictive. Here is the real treat. At 14.3 pounds, it is fairly light for an ATX case. If you haven't figured it out by now, this chassis is designed to be simple, and simple is what you will get.

The front panel of the NZXT Source 210 Elite has a plastic cover which can be removed easily by pulling on the bottom opening. There isn't a lot to be said about the panel itself, as it provides a basic cover to the front. You can see in the picture above, this case supports up to three 5.25" drive bays to suite your needs. I only happen to employ only one of them, which is perfectly fine for me, since I rarely ever use optical drives anyway. I will admit I was hoping that the front had some angry looking alien face, but alas, it does not, and I'm just going have to pretend that there is one (In that situation, you are looking at the wrong case, haha. - Editor). Looking below the three drive bays, you will find there is room for two 120mm fans; not included. This case doesn't come with any dust filters either, but can you honestly expect that on a value chassis?

Taking a close look at the front panel, you will see the connectors along the top. It features a USB 3.0 port, a USB 2.0 port, a microphone jack, and a headphone jack. Typically, you would expect to find the power and reset button also around the front I/O panel; the NZXT Source 210 Elite pulls a rolling dodge to the left, and places the power and reset button just below the three drive bays. A move that I feel was necessary, because of the slanted front style. I like how the ports are located at the top of the front panel, as I typically use them more often than the power and reset switch. However, in Australia, I think they might prefer it the other way around, but good thing we aren't in Australia. The power button has an LED light around it, lighting up with a bright energy sword-like color, and is totally awesome. In addition to the power LED on the front, you can find the hard drive indicator LED just below, which lights up in a similar color.

Getting behind the elite for an assassination, you will see an interesting little feature typically not seen on most chassis. Where you would expect to find rubber grommets are instead metal covers that you will have to remove for either water cooling or external cables (Not that you actually have any external cables, because the Source 210 Elite comes with an internal USB 3.0 connector). Rest be assured, NZXT was thinking, and provides you with the rubber grommets out of the box. The back also sports a 120mm exhaust fan opening beside the motherboard I/O panel. This is fairly typical of most cases. Looking a bit further down, you will find seven expansion slots for various parts, such as graphic cards. The slot covers give the back almost a zebra like look to it, as you get the white and black alternating pattern. Finally, looking all the way down to the bottom, which is hard for a tall guy like me, you can see a nice opening for the bottom mounted power supply bay.

The top of the Source 210 Elite has not one, but two openings for top mounted fans. This means you can get lots of airflow at the top, but NZXT only provides you with a single 140mm fan. It is unlikely you will actually need two top mounted fans, so I am a bit unhappy with the size of openings at the top. All I can think about is how much dust is going to get inside of the chassis, because of this particular design. For those who will end up utilizing the second fan position, they will most likely enjoy really good airflow around the CPU.

Flipping the chassis over, and you will see the bottom. Here, you can find a couple features of interest. The first feature are the four rubber feet, which just happens to match the number of toes on a Covenant Elite. Four feet is really all you need for a lightweight chassis like the Source 210 Elite. I have seen a few with six feet, but it always feels unnecessary for an ATX case. The rubber feet do a good job at preventing the tower from sliding, as we all know the last thing you want is a computer that can't hold its own ground. The bottom also has two fan openings; one for the power supply unit, and the other for an additional fan, in case you need more fans. The side panel is fairly bare, except for another opening for a 120mm side exhaust fan. I'm starting to feel like they went overkill with the number of fan positions, but I guess the more, the merrier, right? Other than the issues of dust, of course.

Overall, the NZXT Source 210 Elite is very plain and simple on the outside; pretty much everything you would expect. If you want to hook up a bunch of extra fans to provide better cooling for your system, then this case certainly offers that. I feel having just two fans in total is a bit on the lower side. However, I have no doubt in my mind the other fan openings would easily accommodate a large number of fans, and we can't expect too much for a value oriented chassis. The exterior has nice rounded edges, eliminating the possibility of getting cut, and because of the simple rectangular shape, it is easy to pick up and move around. Well, enough about the outside of this little beast, time to pop it open and peek inside.

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