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!
Here we see the case with the side (top) panel removed to expose the innards. Some of you may be asking how on Earth I managed to cram a full size ATX power supply in this thing. The answer is fairly simple – this case has a very well thought out design for not only keeping the power supply entirely enclosed within the case, but for cooling it to the point it stays at its quietest. More about that later.
Looking at the back, we can see that this case does indeed accept a full size ATX mainboard. A rather standard IO plate comes with it, and a pair of 80mm fans are also included in case you decide not to use the big 120mm fan grilles on either end of the case. What kind of fans are these you ask? Let’s get them out of there and have a look.
The rear fan assembly is clipped in and secured with two screws.
Both fans turned out to be low speed Globe sleeve bearing units. I couldn’t locate any of the fan specs on Globe’s site, so I decided I would just have to fire them up at some point and see how loud they were despite my intention of going with 120mm fans only. Let’s go ahead and pull the other side panel off the case.
Here, we see the external 3.5″ bay located just above a… what in the world is that thing, anyway? Further inspection helped me to determine that this funny looking beige fan bracket was, in fact, part of the PSU cooling solution in the case. The PSU mounts in the front of the case, with its exhaust channeled cleverly into a small duct to this fan assembly, where it gets ventilated out the side. The fan provision is there just in case the PSU fan can’t quite manage to keep things moving. As you will later find out, I ended up having to use that fan location. However, this was the location of my first strike against this case – that beige color really shows up through the grille with the side panel on. It would be a small matter, though, to spray bomb it black so you can’t see it with the case put together.
As you can see, an 80mm fan just clips into the PSU exhaust duct, with a small indent provided for wire egress. It’s clipped into the case, held in place by one screw.
Before we get to mounting the mainboard and its massive heatpipe cooler into the case, I wanted to give you all a good look at one of the 120mm grilles that are located on either end of the case. If you look closely, you can see that there are mounting holes not only intended for smaller fans, but hard drives as well. If one desires, one can use both of these fan locations as internal 3.5″ bays. That’s cool, but not half as cool as using them for actual fans, which is what I did. It is unfortunate that NZXT didn’t include black fan mounting screws with the case – all I had were the shiny, chromey, “look at me, I’m a screw” kind.
A good look at the main internal 3.5″ bay, external 3.5″ bay, 5.25″ bays, and PSU hideout. You can see the power cable for the PSU peeking out, waiting for me to use it; and a big mess of wires going to the front panel. All those wires proved difficult to control – NZXT didn’t provide any means of securing them and that big ferrite choke between the external 3.5 bay and the PSU cooling duct. But, I managed.
Looking at the owner’s manual and bag of case accessories, I couldn’t help but think something was missing. Only three 5.25″ drive rails and two case feet were obvious at first. The bag had a big hole in the bottom. Reasoning the escaped parts had to be around the case somewhere, I moved on to the front panel.
Now that’s a good looking front panel. Behind that smaller door, we can see USB, audio, and Firewire connectors. On the cable side of these connectors, NZXT thoughtfully provided large connectors for the most common motherboard pinouts on the USB and Firewire cables, and wire by wire connectors in case one’s board has a non standard pinout. My relatively loaded Aopen board had the standard USB pinout, so I used the big connector on that cable, but the onboard Firewire is non standard. Since I don’t have any Firewire devices, I just left it unplugged. Likewise, I left the front panel audio alone… I like to leave the audio on the back panel.
That big button above the USB/Firewire door is the power button… the reset button, being less often used, is concealed by the door. Speaking of the door, it’s a very solid aluminum affair that is gear driven so it doesn’t flop open like a dead fish when you try to open it. Very nice. It’s also held in place by magnetic catches when closed, another touch I appreciated.
Pulling the front panel off as directed by the manual, I immediately let out a loud, “a-HA!” It was very obvious where the escapees from the bag of accessories had gone. I found both missing rubber feet, several screws, and the one missing 5.25″ drive rail inside the front panel. You can see one of the feet peeking out of the external 3.5″ bay in the above pic. The power and IDE LEDs are located in that black strip just beside the door for the external bays.
Also visible in this picture are the oblong slots and large hole used for mounting the PSU.
Let us go onward to page three, and start mounting the motherboard.