NZXT Zero 2 Case Review
By Gabriel Torres on March 11, 2009


Introduction

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Zero 2 is a steel full-tower case from NZXT supporting a total of nine fans, but only three of them come with the product. Let’s take a good look at this new model from NZXT.

NZXT Zero 2
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Figure 1: NZXT Zero 2 case.

NZXT Zero 2
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Figure 2: NZXT Zero 2 case.

This case has a front door, shown in Figure 3. This door uses a very strong magnetic mechanism. In Figure 4 we can see the case with its door opened.

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Figure 3: Front door.

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Figure 4: Front panel.

NZXT Zero 2 has five external 5.25” bays and two 3.5” external bays for floppy disk drives and/or memory card readers. These two bays are a nice feature if you still use this kind of device, because several good-quality cases are not coming with external 3.5” bays anymore. The front panel has a 120 mm fan that glows blue when it is turned on (we will show this fan in Figure 13).

Even though the traditional audio and USB connectors are not located behind the door, the power and reset switches are. We don’t like this configuration, as you need to open and close the door every time you want to turn your computer on or off. We’d prefer to see these buttons on the top part of the case.

Introduction (Contíd)

In Figure 5, you can see the top panel from this case. It comes with a place for you to install an optional 80 mm fan. We wonder why NZXT chose the 80 mm size. We think the top fan should be at least 120 mm for reducing noise level and increasing airflow. Another problem is that the place for installing the 80 mm fan is meshed using small holes and not totally opened. This blocks a significant part of the airflow when an 80 mm fan is installed. They could have used the same system they used on the rear panel (open hole with an add-on metallic grill).

NZXT Zero 2
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Figure 5: Top panel.

A good thing about this case is that its connectors are not located behind the door but on the top of the case (see Figure 6). This case comes with an eSATA port, which is great. It comes with only two USB ports and they are located too close to each other, preventing you from installing two “fat” USB devices at the same time. We think NZXT could have done a better job on choosing the location of the connectors. It seems that they were put at a random location, with no care.

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Figure 6: Available connectors.

The rear panel from Zero 2 can be seen in Figure 7. It uses the standard ATX layout with the power supply going on the top part and seven expansion slots. What is different here is the presence of two 120 mm fans and not only one. What is great about these fans is the fact that the holes where they go are completely opened, providing the best airflow possible. Both come with an add-on metallic grating to protect you from getting hurt and also in order to prevent small objects to fall into the fans.

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Figure 7: Rear panel.

All fans that come with this case have both the standard peripheral power plug and the smaller three-pin power connector, allowing you to install them on your motherboard in order to monitor their speed. NZXT, however, doesn’t say at what speed they spin.

The left side panel can be removed using two thumscrews but the right panel is fastened to the case using regular screws.

Now let’s take a look inside Zero 2.

Inside Zero 2

One of the main features of this case is the presence of places for installing up to four 120 mm extra fans on the left panel, but they don’t come with the product.

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Figure 8: Left panel with space for four optional 120 mm fans.

In Figure 9 you can have an overall look inside NZXT Zero 2. Even though we can remove the right panel the motherboard tray is permanently attached to the chassis.

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Figure 9: Inside NZXT Zero 2.

You can see the rear fans in more details in Figure 10. As you can also see on this picture, this case doesn’t come with any kind of screwless mechanism for fastening daughterboards, using regular screws.

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Figure 10: Rear fans.

Inside Zero 2 (Contíd)

In Figure 11, you can see the place for installing the optional top 80 mm fan. As mentioned before, we didn’t like the 80 mm choice and the size of the holes.

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Figure 11: Place for the optional 80 mm top fan.

NZXT Zero 2 also has a place for installing an optional 80 mm bottom fan. Even though this location has a washable dust filter, which is great to have, the same considerations regarding the top 80 mm are valid here: we think it would make more sense support for a 120 mm fan, not a 80 mm one, and also the holes on the mesh are too small, so it would be better to have bigger holes or just one big hole with an external add-on grill like the rear fans.

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Figure 12: Place for the optional 80 mm bottom fan.

In Figure 13, you can see the front 120 mm fan located behind the front panel. See how this case comes with a washable dust filter for this fan. The problem, however, is that you need to remove the front panel and unscrew the dust filter to wash it. NZXT could have used a better system like the one used by Antec on their cases, where you can remove the dust filter even with the case closed by just pulling a handle.

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Figure 13: Front 120 mm and its dust filter.

The Disk Drive Bays

This case has five external 5.25” bays, two external 3.5” hard disk drive bays and six internal 3.5” bays, all of them using a ruler-based screwless installation mechanism. All you need to do in order to install a disk drive is to install two rulers on the drive (one at each side) and slide in the drive inside its bay. You can install more hard drives on the external 3.5” bays, but on this case you will need to use screws to fasten the drive to the case, as the rulers used by the floppy disk drives don’t match the holes available on hard disk drives.

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Figure 14: The disk drive bays.

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Figure 15: The rulers for drive installation.

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Figure 16: A hard disk drive installed in one of the internal 3.5” bays.

Main Specifications

NZXT Zero 2 case main specs include:

* Researched at Newegg.com on the day we published this review.

Conclusions

NZXT Zero 2 is a full-tower case targeted to the user that wants an inexpensive full-tower case with lots of places for installing optional fans. Here is a summary of what we found about this product.

Strong Points

Weak Points

In summary, even though this is a good option for the user looking for an inexpensive full-tower case, we expected more from it. If fact, it is just a tiny little bit bigger than mid-tower cases, so you may want to compare it to mid-tower products. Even though NZXT Zero 2 isn’t a bad product, we think that there are products on the market providing a better cost/benefit ratio, like Tempest also from NZXT, which provides a better overall quality and costs only USD 10 more.

Originally at http://www.hardwaresecrets.com/article/NZXT-Zero-2-Case-Review/699


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