Page 3 - Physical Look - Inside
Alright, someone at NZXT tightened the thumb screws for the side panels quite a bit more than necessary. I actually had to pull out a screwdriver, and use a reasonable amount of force to get them out the first time. Otherwise, the side panels came off fairly easily, thanks to the beveled handle grips near the edges. The case employs your typical slide and pull-off panels. This keeps things simple, and reminds me of the basic pre-built systems. The first thing you will notice is the inside is painted white, just like the outside. I have certainly expected a low-end value chassis to simply leave the inside unpainted -- NZXT has stepped up the game in this regard. Taking a quick peek around, you will also notice there are no dust filters or sound proofing foam. This means great heat dissipation, but at the cost of a louder computer and entry points for 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 at this location are rated at 1200 RPM, and have their wires sneak out to the back side. I'm very happy that 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 case, you can see a small opening with ventilation holes similar to the ones used at all the fan positions. 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.
Peering down at the bottom of the NZXT Source 210 Elite, we can see where the power supply unit is placed, and the additional fan opening on the bottom. Thanks to the reasonably large opening at the bottom, 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 power supply. 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. I was actually surprised at the fact 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 slots, 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 on buying locking nuts.
Alright, hold up, who here has eight 3.5" drives? Yes, the NZXT Source 210 Elite features an elite 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 they also are designed to cool four of the eight 3.5" bays each. The fan wires can also be easily directed to the back side of the motherboard, 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 -- they also offer a tool-free design. I did find the top clamp to be a bit tough to get open. In fact, it actually popped off completely when I first tried. It appears the swinging joint on the clip can easily bend it. I feel it should be a bit stronger to ensure that it doesn't come out so easily; not that it is really a big deal, as the lever clips back in with minimal effort. 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 side of where the motherboard will be installed, 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 large 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 cables. 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 make this little hole very difficult to access. To top it off, the fans were put so closely together that it is a tight fit through. I am quite happy that the NZXT Source 210 Elite provides a number of hooks at the back for clamping down cables. This allows you to personalize how you want to manage your cables, and everyone does it slightly differently.
1. Introduction, Packaging, Specifications
2. Physical Look - Outside
3. Physical Look - Inside
4. Installation and Conclusion