NZXT Beta EVO Case Review
By Gabriel Torres on October 8, 2009
NZXT is surely getting a good reputation in bringing to the market inexpensive cases with lots of features only seen on more expensive models. The original Beta, for example, costs only USD 50, with the new Beta EVO costing USD 60. Let’s see what are the differences between the two.
The first thing we notice was that this is a very light case, weighting only 12.5 lbs (5.6 Kg), which is half of the weight of mid-tower cases we usually review.
The lower weight and lower price is achieved by using a lower-grade plastic front panel and by including only one fan with the case, although Beta EVO presents five spots for installing 120 mm fans.
The overall looks from Beta EVO is identical to the looks from the original Beta.
As you can see in Figure 2, the left side panel has two meshes where you can install side 120 mm fans.
The front panel does not have a door. All bay covers are meshed to improve ventilation inside the case, and they all feature dust filters. This case has four external 5.25” bays and although an external 3.5” bay is available in the chassis, the front panel does not have the proper hole for installing external 3.5” devices.
The only fan that comes with Beta is located on its front panel and can be seen in Figure 4. It is a 120 mm model and it comes with a standard peripheral power plug and a three-pin power connector at the same time, so you can either install it directly on the power supply or on the motherboard (in order to monitor its speed). NZXT does not say the speed, airflow or noise level from this fan.
So far the new Beta EVO and the original Beta are identical, but on the top panel things start to get different: Beta EVO allows you to install two 120- or 140 mm fans on its top panel, feature not available on the original Beta.
Like the original Beta, this case comes with two USB ports and one eSATA port, besides the headphones output and microphone input jacks. The addition of an eSATA port was a nice surprise, since entry-level cases usually don’t have this feature. The two USB ports are too close to each other, what may prevent you from installing two “fat” USB devices at the same time.
On the rear panel there is the second biggest difference between Beta and Beta EVO: on this new version the power supply goes on the bottom part of the case, while on the original Beta the power supply goes on its standard location. Like the original Beta, Beta EVO has its rear panel and its interior painted black, giving this case a very professional aspect.
The slot covers are meshed, which helps increasing the internal airflow – another feature normally only found on high-end units. There is also a mesh with big holes above the slots, also helping the internal airflow, but on Beta EVO the manufacturer decided to add two holes for water cooling solutions on this mesh and honestly it would give a better appearance to the case if these holes where located on the top part of the rear panel. A place for installing a 120 mm fan is available on the rear panel – as explained Beta EVO comes only with the front fan.
The left panel is fastened to the case using thumbscrews, but the right panel uses regular screws. In Figure 8 we have an overall look from inside Beta EVO. This first thing that caught our attention was the presence of a big hole on the motherboard tray under the place where the CPU is installed for you to have access to the back plate from the CPU cooler, allowing you to upgrade your CPU cooler with a model that uses a different kind of back plate without needing to remove the motherboard from the case. Beta EVO also has three big holes on the motherboard tray for routing cables behind it.
Since the power supply goes on the bottom part of the case, EVO Beta has a dust filter on the bottom of the case to match the power supply fan (on models that have a fan on their bottom part, which is the majority nowadays).
Daughter boards are fastened to the case using regular screws and we wouldn’t expect anything different on a case from this price range, even though it would be nice seeing at least thumbscrews here. In Figure 11 you can have an interesting view from inside the case showing the meshed slot covers, the mesh above the expansion slots and the meshes for optional fans, making Beta EVO to look like a cage.
Beta EVO disk drive bay configuration is identical to the one found on the original Beta. The case has four external 5.25” bays and five internal 3.5” bays for hard disk drives. One external 3.5” bay is available inside the case between the 5.25” bays and the hard disk drive bays, however the front panel does not have the proper cut for installing external 3.5” devices like floppy disk drives or memory card readers. We tried and you cannot install a hard drive in this bay because the holes don’t match. Thus this bay available inside the case is left “dead.” The funny thing is that the case comes with screwless mechanisms for fastening floppy disk drives.
All bays use screwless mechanisms. The mechanisms for the 5.25” bays don’t come attached to the bays like it happens on high-end models: you have to place them manually, but installation is very easy, all you need to do is to install your 5.25” device, place the mechanism on the bay and turn the available knob. You need to install one piece at each side of the bay, because if you only fasten your device from the right side of the case like you would normally do on high-end cases the device will be loose inside the bay.
The screwless mechanisms used for the hard disk drives are comprised of two rulers that need to be installed to each drive, one at each side. No tool or screwing is required.
Here is a list of features present on Beta EVO that are not present on the original Beta:
NZXT Beta EVO case main specs include:
NZXT Beta EVO is a mid-tower case targeted to the user that wants a good quality mid-tower case but doesn’t want to spend a lot of money. Here is a summary of what we found about this product.
In summary, Beta EVO is as good as the original Beta, being a terrific product for the user that is on a budget but wants a case with several features usually only found on more expensive models. Costing USD 10 more than the original Beta, it comes with some additional features, in particular two places for installing 120- or 140 mm fans on the top panel. At USD 60 it faces the competition from M59, also from NZXT, which also has the place for installing two fans on the top panel and similar features, plus a transparent side window, seven hard drive bays and an adapter for you to install 2.5” devices like SSDs. So choosing between Beta EVO or M59 will depend whether you prefer a side window with a place for installing one 120 mm fan or a “normal” side panel with a place for installing two 120 mm fans.
If you decide buying Beta EVO we recommend you to buy at least one 120 mm fan for installing on its rear panel (it should be installed in exhaustion mode, i.e., with airflow going from inside the case to the outside). M59 comes already with this fan installed, making it to be actually cheaper than Beta EVO.
Beta EVO is not a bad product for its price range, but if we had to choose between Beta EVO and M59, we would pick M59, but that’s our personal preference.