NZXT Tempest Mid-Tower Case

Print

Product: NZXT Tempest Case
Provided By: NZXT
Price: est. sub $90

Introduction:

I hadn't realized how long it had been since I got a new case to look at, but it's been well over 6 months and the last unit I had on the bench was the Gigabyte iSolo and that was back in September of last year.  Today we are looking at a case from a new supporter of BCCHardware - the NZXT Tempest.  This case labels itself the "Airflow King" and we'll look and see how it gets that name.  NXZT has quite a few very successful cases under their belts including the popular Lexa, Nemesis Elite and more.  The Tempest is part of their "Crafted Series" and this case is not for everyone.  This is the enthusiasts steel mid-tower and if you keep on reading, you'll find out why.

Tempest Box
Tempest Box

 

About NZXT:

NXZT is a relatively new company when compared to others like Cooler Master, Zalman and others, so to find out more, we'll take a look at their company profile.

NZXT, a company built upon gamer's dreams, hopes to create products that put consumers first. Our objective is to provide every gamer with a case that they can identify with. Combining unique design and case performance, consumers will finally be able to find a quality case that will represent their own style and personality.

In the future, NZXT wishes all gamers who desire a personalized case to find it at NZXT. With the unveiling of every product, NZXT improves upon on weaknesses and strives for excellence. Achieving perfection is not an easy task, however, NZXT is determined to meet and surpass consumer expectations.

Our dedicated sales and customer service team will also work diligently to earn your trust and loyalty. All our products are built with high quality material and engineered in the best conditions.

NZXT products are designed and engineered in the United States and manufactured overseas in China and Taiwan.

NZXT was established in 2004 in Los Angeles, California.

 

Like many other companies, ideas are designed and honed here in North America, but cost of production here forces many companies to get their products built overseas.  That being said, let's take a look at what they built and call the Tempest!

 

Tempest - First Look:

When pulled out of the box, the Tempest shows that it has a fairly aggressive design that uses a lot of fans to keep everything cool.  There are two top mounted exhaust fans as well as one rear exhaust fan.  To bring fresh air into the case there are two intake fans in the front drive bays as well as a side fan that brings fresh air in over the PCI slots.

 Tempest Side Profile
  Tempest Side Profile
Tempest Side Profile
Tempest Side Profile
 Tempest Rear Profile
Tempest Rear Profile

 

Having six large fans can certainly help you be the "Airflow King" but what about being the Noise King?  We'll take a closer look at this case and its specs on the next page.


Tempest Features & Specs:

The Tempest looks a bit like the Antec 900 case and a look at the specs shows us that this thing is a formidable cooling beast for sure.  Below are the features and specifications taken from the NZXT site and reposted here for your convenience.

  • Dual radiator ready:  The NZXT Tempest is pre-drilled for mounting a dual 120mm radiator at the top of the chassis, currently compatible and tested with Swiftech MCR220, Asetek Dual radiator solution, and Thermaltake TMG2.
  • Airflow King: Dual 120mm intake, Dual 140mm Exhaust with an additional side 120mm fan and rear 120mm fan all included.
  • Maximize Expandability: E-ATX support allows more compatibility with high end components including large graphics cards
  • Easier accessibility & cable management: Cable routing is pre-drilled on the motherboard so users can hide cables behind the motherboard tray, allowing more a cleaning look and better airflow. Power, E-SATA, USB and Reset buttons are mounted at the top to give better accessibility.
  • Bottom mounted PSU: PSU mounting at the bottom allows for more security and separation of heat from the CPU
  • Server-like HDD space: Dual 120mm fans cool cages that hold up to 8 HDDs allowing for large capacity systems while maintaining cool temperatures

MODEL Tempest SERIES
CASE TYPE MID TOWER Steel
FRONT PANEL MATERIAL PLASTIC
DIMENSIONS (W x H x D) 211.5 X 521.5 X 562 mm
COOLING SYSTEM FRONT, 2 X 120 mm Blue LED (included)
REAR, 1 X 120 mm (included)
SIDE PANEL, 1 X 120mm Blue LED (included)
TOP, 2 X 140mm Fan (included)
DRIVE BAYS 9 DRIVE BAYS
3 EXTERNAL 5.25" DRIVE BAYS ( up to six 5.25" )
1 3.5" External bracket
8 INTERNAL 3.5" DRIVE BAYS
Screwless Rail Design
MATERIAL(S) Steel Construction
EXPANSION SLOTS 7
POWER SUPPLY 500 WATT PS2 ATX 12V 2.0 ( OPTIONAL )
WEIGHT 11.2 KGS (W/O Power)
MOTHERBOARD SUPPORT MOTHERBOARDS: E-ATX ATX, MICRO-ATX, BABY AT


That's right - it has a total of 8 HDD bays available while at the same time providing you with three 5.25" bays.  If you need more than three 5.25" bays, you'll have to give up four HDD's and will gain another three larger 5.25" bays for more gadgets, drives and fan controllers.

 

Tempest - Closer Look:

Before we jump into the inside of this case there are a couple of things worth mentioning.  The top of the case has a very nice angle input/output area that includes connectors for USB2.0, headphones and microphone as well as an eSATA port.  Also on this area is the power and reset buttons.  NZXT has included a nice bundle of hardware that should help you install up to six 5.25" devices as well as four HDDs or three 5.25" devices and up to eight HDDs.  Also included is the standard assortment of screws and motherboard standoffs.

 Tempest Top
Tempest Top
Tempest Bundle
Tempest Bundle

 

On the next page we'll take a closer look inside the Tempest and then install a system in this case to see how it all works.


Inside The Tempest:

Once we remove the two thumbscrews holding the windowed side panel, we can take a look inside this case to see how it is all laid out.  It has a few changes from a standard old school chassis in that the PSU is mounted at the bottom of the unit.  Because of that, everything is moved up a little higher and this is what it looks like.

 Tempest Inside Front
Tempest Inside Front
 Tempest Inside Drive Bay
Tempest Inside Drive Bay
     
 Inside HDD Rack
Inside HDD Rack
 HDD Cooling
HDD Cooling

 

The front is very spacious for drives and there is certainly a lot of bays.  Drive installation for all drives is tool-less and the top three 5.25" bays don't even need rails attached to the drives prior to installation.  All other drives will need to have the rails attached to the drives before they are slid and click securely in place.   The HDD racks are cooled by 120mm fans and this is great for keeping your HDDs cool - especially if you have a rack filled with four drives.  The drives are quite close to each other and could get quite warm.  It is also important to note that the front of the case and the two front intake fans have a nice fine filter that will help prevent dust from being sucked into your case.


Moving on to the inside top of the case we take a look at the two 140mm fans that are unfiltered and are designed to exhaust how air from the system.  These two fans don't have a filter but that shouldn't be an issue as you're not typically trying to filter the air coming out of your case.  Cables run to the top input/output ports as well and work fine even with a drive inhabiting the top bay.

 Top Fans
Top Fans
 Inside Top IO
Inside Top IO

 

The top fans don't have internal grills and this may cause problems with cables management and cables getting in the way of the blades because the motherboard is close to the top of the case.  We'll have to see how that shapes up as we go along.

Tempest Inside Back Before we drop a system in the case we'll make quick mention of the inside rear of the case.  The NZXT Tempest is designed for Extended ATX motherboards and has plenty of room at the back.  It even has some holes for water lines if you choose to add an external watercooling kit.  There is a rear 120mm fan here as well to complete the "Tempestuous" amount of airflow through this case.  All of these fans have both 3-pin motherboard and 4-pin Molex connectors giving you lots of options to hook up this case to your motherboard.

On the next page we'll install a system in this case to see how easy it is to work with and if it is too loud to be used in the average house.  Perhaps it will be something that only your grandmother with poor hearing can tolerate.


 

System Installation:

Installation of a system in this case is a pretty painless experience.  The motherboard tray is not removable, but the case is very spacious and roomy and installing the motherboard, before or after the PSU is installed is not a problem.  On several Thermaltake cases I've used, the PSU must be installed first or you'll have to remove the motherboard.  You can install hardware in the tempest in any order you choose and it will work great as the layout promotes flexibility.

We screwed in the required motherboard standoffs and then dropped the motherboard in place.  Then the cables for the top I/O and the power and reset switches were hooked up.  After that we installed a pair of Hard Drives using the tool-less drive rails.  These hold the drives nice and securely.  Even though clearance is a little close, you can install all four drives in any of the HDD racks without removing them from the case.

Drive Installed
Drive Installed
 Tool-less ODD
Tool-less ODD

 

The top three 5.25" bays don't even require drive rails attached to the top devices as they have a locking mechanism in the case that uses long pins that fit in the screw holes of the device.  Installing the LG Blu-Ray/HD-DVD ROM / DVDRW drive took about seven seconds and it was mounted and fit perfectly.

Below is a picture of the entire system installed which includes an E4300, MSI 975X motherboard, OCZ Vendetta HSF, XFX 8800GT graphics card, two Hard Drives and an LG Blu-Ray/HD-DVD Rom.  As you can see there is a lot of extra room in this case for a lot more hardware.  I'm sure that I could fill it up eventually, but for most gamers there is ample room.  The astute reader will notice a total of four SATA cables in the system.  The fourth connects to the top eSATA port which is a welcome addition to any case as eSATA is finally gaining popularity as people realize that it is by far the superior external connection available.

 System Installed
System Installed

 

With all the work done we can now fire it up and see how it sounds and what it looks like when powered up.

 In Action
In Action
Front LED Action
Front LED Action

 

With blue LEDs still being very popular NZXT has seen fit to adorn this black case with blue LED fans on the side and front of the case as well as trim it with blue LED strips on the front sides.  It's not overpowering, but it won't make much of an HTPC case.

This case isn't super loud, but it definitely makes some noise.  It is loud enough that you won't likely hear your CPU or graphics card fans at all.  That being said, all of the fans have 3-pin motherboard connectors that will allow you to hook them up to your motherboard or a fan controller that will allow you to control them according to your noise and performance taste.  Most cases with this many fans only have 4-pin connectors, but the 3-pin connectors on these fans give you greater flexibility and control.

Looking In
Looking In

 

The side fan intake doesn't have a foam filter, but instead has a very fine mesh to filter dust as you can see.  This will help, but an actual filter would be better.  Regardless, the NZXT Tempest looks classy, attractive and made for gaming.

 

Conclusion:

NZXT has some very nice cases in their portfolio and while the Tempest doesn't turn heads with its sexy finish like the NZXT Lexa case, the Tempest is a case of a different sort.  This chassis is designed and geared for performance and is certainly the "Airflow King" while at the same time not the king of noise.  I've heard louder cases in the past and owned/modded a few of them.  Because of the large fan, NZXT gives the Tempest impressive airflow without making everyone hate you that sit next to you at the LAN.

 

My only complaints is while most of the case is tool-less, the PCI slots require a screwdriver.  NZXT could include thumbscrews at the very least for these making the case completely tool-less instead of 95% tool-free.  I also believe that removable fan grills for the top fans should be present to help keep cables out of the top fans.  If you are mounting a radiator for a water cooling system, this won't be an issue, but for those who are using traditional cooling, wires can (and do) get into the top fan blades and make a bit of a racket.

Pros:

  • Lots of fans for great airflow
  • Nice attractive finish
  • Mostly tool-free installation
  • Eight HDD bays!

 

Cons:

  • Not a silent case by all means
  • Top Fans need internal grills
  • PCI slots aren't tool-free making a screwdriver required for 5% of system installation 

 

 BCCRating

While the NZXT Tempest falls just short of getting our "Top Pick" award, this case certainly deserves a look and is recommended for a gaming chassis if you're looking for a new one.  Being that it holds eight hard drives, it would make a great storage server and you'd have lots of friends if it was loaded up with music and movies.

I'd like to thank NZXT for sending this case our way.  We hope to see more of their products in the future.  If you'd like to comment on this article or perhaps leave suggestions regarding what NZXT product we should look at next, please post them in the forum at the "Comments" link below.