NZXT Lexa S Case Review
By Gabriel Torres on October 14, 2009
NZXT strikes again with another cost-effective mid-tower case, Lexa S, which uses the same body as M59 from the same brand, but with a different front panel and coming with some additional features – especially two fan speed controllers. Is it a good buy? Let’s see.
The left side panel is transparent using a dark plastic sheet, giving it a different looks from the traditional clear transparent sheet that is normally used. It comes with a 120 mm fan installed on this panel (42 cfm, 23 dB) that glows blue when turned on. This fan has both the standard peripheral power plug and the small three-pin power connector, so you can either connect it directly to the power supply or to the motherboard and thus monitor its speed through your favorite monitoring program. You can also connect it to one of the two fan speed controllers available (which uses the small three-pin connector).
As mentioned, Lexa S and M59 share the same body. The side, top and rear panels are also identical; what is really different is the front panel, which comes with a door with a somewhat aggressive design, resembling (at least in our opinion) a helmet or a mask.
The door is fastened to the front panel using two strong magnetic latches. The problem, in our opinion, is that the power switch is located behind the door, so you need to open the door every time you need to turn on or off your computer. After a while this process gets really annoying.
Lexa S has one external 3.5” bay and four external 5.25” bays with meshed covers to improve ventilation inside the case, featuring dust filters. The knobs for the two fan speed controllers can be seen between the 3.5” bay and the NZXT logo. The two plastic trims available on the front panel glow blue when the system is turned on (of course if you don’t like this feature you can simply not install the power connector from these LED’s).
Each fan speed controllers is able to control up to two fans (connected in parallel, so the fans connected to the same controller will always spin at the same speed). The controllers use the small three-pin fan power connector.
The front panel also features a 120 mm fan (42 cfm, 23 dB) that comes with a small three-pin connector and a standard peripheral power connector at the same time, so you can either connect it directly on the power supply, on your motherboard or on one of the fan speed controllers.
This case comes with two USB ports, which are too close to each other and thus can prevent you from installing two “fat” USB devices at the same time, and one eSATA port, which is a really nice addition and a feature not usually found on cases from this price range. These ports plus the audio jacks are located on the left side from the front panel, as you can see in Figure 6.
The top panel from Lexa S is identical to the top panel from M59 and Beta EVO, but coming with a 140 mm fan pre-installed there (42 cfm, 23 dB, standard peripheral power connector and small three-pin connector), feature not found on the other two models. This leaves a space opened for installing a second 140 mm or a 120 mm fan there.
The power supply is installed on the bottom of the case, a feature that is usually only available on more expensive cases. What is really nice about Lexa S is that it comes with a washable dust filter on the bottom of the case, right below where the power supply fan is located (if you use a power supply with a fan on the bottom part). This filter is easily accessible from outside the case.
In Figure 9, you can see the rear panel from Lexa S, which is identical to the rear panel from M59. The rear panel and the interior from this case are painted black, which gives a very professional looks to this case. The slot covers are meshed, which helps increasing the internal airflow – another feature normally only found on more expensive units. There is also a mesh with big holes above the slots, also helping the internal airflow. The case comes with a 120 mm fan here (42 cfm, 23 dB, standard peripheral power connector and small three-pin connector) and as mentioned the power supply is installed on the bottom part. Lexa S comes with two holes for water cooling systems on the top part.
Both panels are fastened to the case using thumbscrews, which is excellent. In Figure 10 we have an overall look from inside Lexa S. This first thing that caught our attention was the presence of several big holes on the motherboard tray. The biggest one is used for having access to the CPU cooler backplate, allowing you to replace your CPU cooler with a more powerful model without the need of removing the motherboard from the chassis. The smaller ones are used for routing cables behind the tray. One improvement compared to other cases from NZXT we reviewed recently (M59 and Beta EVO) is the addition of rubber protections on these holes.
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.
This case has four external 5.25” bays, one external 3.5” bay and seven internal 3.5” bays for hard disk drives (one shared with the 3.5” external bay). Even though we can see holes on the middle of the 5.25” bays for installing screwless retention mechanisms, this case doesn’t come with them. On the other hand, this case comes with several thumbscrews for fastening 5.25” devices, so you don’t need to use any tool to install them. The same goes for the external 3.5” device.
As for the 3.5” bays, two of them are located between the 5.25” cage and the main hard disk drive cage and they don’t use any kind of screwless retention mechanism. One of them has a dual function: can be used by either a hard disk drive or an external 3.5” device like a floppy disk drive. The five 3.5” bays present on the main hard disk drive cage use a screwless mechanism based on rulers that need to be installed on the sides of each drive.
Lexa S comes with an adapter for installing up to two 2.5” devices (most likely SSDs) on a 3.5” bay.
In Figure 17, you can see all accessories that come with this case.
NZXT Lexa S case main specs include:
NZXT Lexa S is a mid-tower case targeted to the user that wants an inexpensive good-quality mid-tower case featuring fan speed controllers. Here is a summary of what we found about this product.
We think this is a terrific product for the user that is on a budget and is looking for a good product. It is USD 10 more expensive than M59, however it comes with two fan speed controllers and two fans more than M59. If you want the ability to control the speed of the fans from your case – for example, slowing the fans down when you are not playing for lower noise level and cranking them up when you are for higher ventilation – it is worthwhile paying USD 10 more to get this case.