Today, we will be delving deep into the world of the home theater PC (or HTPC) by reviewing a case from NZXT intended for that very purpose: the Duet. Will it allow us to watch our archived episodes of Mystery Science Theater 3000 in silence while still looking like it belongs just below the TV and just above the DVD player? Read on, dear reader, as I embark on a journey into the world of NZXT.
SUPPLIED BY: NZXT
PRODUCT: NZXT Duet Mid Tower Case
PROD LINK: NZXT’s current offerings.
PRICE: $79.99 @ NewEgg
Price is at time of testing!
Before I actually got started with the case, I wanted to find out a bit more about the company who made it. More specifically, I was a little curious about the name and wanted to know what the letters NZXT stood for, if anything. I’m still looking. I was, however, able to determine that the company was founded in 2004 as a part of iBuyPower/CyberPower with the intention of becoming the key supplier of PC cases for the gaming community. They have since expanded to the PSU side of it as well.
I’ll admit I didn’t go very far into the history of the company from here, what with this box demanding that I open it and start seeing what this case was about:
The case arrived on a Monday, just as you see it here. If you look real close like, you can see where the box had a small divot punched into it while in transit. Fortunately, the case inside the box was in good shape with only a few minor scuffs.
My plans for the case involved gutting my existing HTPC, formerly built into an old and bulky Antec case, and then installing the parts into the Duet. These parts include:
- Aopen AK79G-Max nForce2 IGP mainboard
- AMD Athlon XP 2500+
- Ultra Heatpipe CPU cooler
- Two Ultra low speed 120mm sleeve bearing cooling fans
- Fujitsu MPB3043AT and MPA3017AT 5400 RPM hard drives (to see how well the case would keep noise in… yeah, that’s the reason)
- Pioneer DVD-114
- Ultra 600W X-Pro and SilverStone ST56ZF power supplies
- Sapphire Radeon 8500LE
- Generic PC3200 RAM, 512MB, one stick
Luckily for me, this case supports full size ATX motherboards, else I would have been up the creek without a cliche… er, paddle when it came to PC building time.
Now, let’s unbox the case and see what it looks like.
Why, hello there beautiful! The case is very attractive, with a painted matte black finish and aluminum plated front panel. Construction felt very solid, and I knew this was going to be a fun review. But before I go further, here are the specs as given by NZXT, ripped shamelessly from their website.
- Supports all video cards less than 8″ in length
- Aluminum plated front panel
- Small and compact design
- Dual positioning, vertical or horizontal depending on home setup
- Two standard 80mm fans
- USB 2.0, Firewire, Intel HD audio and mic support
- Two external 5.25 drives
- One external 3.5 drive
- One internal 3.5 drive and dual 120mm setup or Three internal 3.5 drives and no 120mm fans
- Dual use vents for cooling or expandibility, install either dual 120mm fan capability or dual hard drive
Unfortunately, the case killed one of my dreams right away… at 18″ deep, it would not fit horizontally into my entertainment center. Otherwise, it measures 5.5″ and 14.5″ in the other two dimensions, which is fairly compact. The rubber feet add another half inch to the height when used.
OK, now that the introductions are over, shall we head over to page two and start putting things together?