NZXT has just released another inexpensive mid-tower case, Gamma, which is based on the same internal body as M59 and Lexa S and priced at only USD 50, being cheaper than these other two cases. Is it a good case? Let’s see.
The first thing we notice was that this is a very light case, weighting only 11.5 lbs (5.2 Kg), which is half of the weight of mid-tower cases we usually review.
As mentioned, internally Gamma is identical to M59 and Lexa S, but externally these cases are quite different: both M59 and Lexa S feature a transparent side window (using a dark acrylic) with a 120 mm fan, while on Gamma the left panel is meshed supporting two 80-, 92- or 120 mm fans, which don’t come with the product.
The front panel of Gamma somewhat resembles the front panel from M59, but it doesn’t have the trim around the upper 5.25” bays that glow blue when the PC is turned on. On the other hand it has a transparent “line” on the lower section that glows blue when the PC is on.
Like other mid-tower cases from NZXT we have reviewed recently, Gamma has four 5.25” bays featuring meshed covers with dust filters. No external 3.5” bay is available.
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.[nextpage title=”Introduction (Cont’d)”]
There is a big mesh on the lower portion of the front panel featuring a dust filter behind it, and you can install an optional 120 mm fan there. Installing this fan is a little bit tricky, as you need to remove the front panel to access the place where it should be installed. This fan should be installed under ventilation mode, i.e., pulling air from outside to the inside, cooling down the hard disk drives.
Figure 5: Place for installing an optional 120 mm fan behind the front panel.
Everything else from this case is identical to M59 and Lexa S. On the top panel there are places for installing two 120- or 140 mm fans, as shown in Figure 6. According to the manufacturer you can also install a water cooler radiator inside the case under this space.
On Gamma the power supply is installed on the bottom of the case, another feature that is usually only available on more expensive cases. What is really nice about Gamma 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 8, you can see the rear panel from Gamma. 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. Gamma comes with two holes for water cooling systems on the top part.
Now let’s take a look inside NZXT Gamma.[nextpage title=”Inside Gamma”]
Both panels are fastened to the case using thumbscrews, which is excellent. In Figure 9 we have an overall look from inside Gamma. As already explained, internally Gamma is identical to M59 and Lexa S (there is only one small difference, on Lexa S the holes for routing cables behind the motherboard tray have a rubber protection). 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 power model without the need of removing the motherboard from the chassis. The smaller ones are used for routing cables behind the tray. These holes are also usually only found on high-end products.
Figure 10: A view from behind the motherboard tray.
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.
Figure 11: Rear and top
panels viewed from inside the case.
As already mentioned, according to the manufacturer you can install radiators from certain water cooling solutions on the holes available on the top panel.[nextpage title=”The Disk Drive Bays”]
This case has four external 5.25” bays and seven internal 3.5” bays for hard disk drives. 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.
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. However, only one of these bays can be used (the bottom one), because the front panel connectors make it impossible to use the top bay.
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.
Figure 13: Screwless mechanism.
There is a 2.5” bay on the bottom of the case, inside the main hard disk drive cage, as you can see in Figure 14.
In Figure 15, you can see all accessories that come with this case.
[nextpage title=”Main Specifications”]
NZXT Gamma case main specs include:
- Style: Mid-tower
- Application: ATX and smaller form factors derived from this one.
- Material: Zinc-coated steel (SECC), painted black inside.
- Power supply required: Doesn’t come with the product.
- Available colors: Black.
- Side panel: Meshed supporting two fans.
- Dimensions: 17 3/4” x 7 1/2” x 20” (44.9 cm x 19.0 cm x 50.8 cm) (H x W x D).
- Net weight: 11.5 lbs (5.2 kg)
- Gross weight: 14.0 lbs (6.4 kg)
- Bays: Four external 5.25” bays, six internal 3.5” bays and one internal 2.5” bay.
- Expansion slots: Seven.
- Fans: One 120 mm on the rear (42 cfm, 23 dB).
- Optional fans: Two 120- or 140 mm fans on the top panel, two 80-, 92- or 120 mm fans on the side panel and one 120 mm fan on the front panel.
- More Information: https://www.nzxt.com
- Average price in the US*: USD 50.00
* Researched at Newegg.com on the day we published this review.[nextpage title=”Conclusions”]
NZXT Gamma is a mid-tower case targeted to the user that wants an inexpensive good-quality mid-tower. Here is a summary of what we found about this product.
- Meshed bay covers.
- Meshed slot covers.
- Dust filters on the front panel.
- Dust filter on the bottom panel.
- Rear panel and interior are painted black.
- Hole in the motherboard tray for accessing the backplate of the CPU cooler.
- Holes for routing cables on the motherboard tray.
- eSATA port.
- Very light.
- No sharp edges where you could cut yourself while building your PC.
- Impressive number of hard disk drive bays (seven) that will please even the most demanding user.
- Screwless mechanisms for fastening the hard disk drives.
- Supports one 2.5” drive.
- Supports a total of six fans.
- Outstanding cost/benefit ratio.
- No external 3.5” bay (who uses floppies anyway?).
- Could have come with thumbscrews for fastening daughterboards.
- No noise absorbing mechanisms for the hard disk drives.
Costing only USD 50 NZXT Gamma provides the best bang for your buck if you are on budget and are looking for a good mid-tower case that supports several fans. If you would like to have a transparent side panel, then you can pay USD 10 more and get M59, but M59 comes with fewer places for installing fans. Of course in order to reduce the price the manufacturer only included one fan, but this case supports up to six of them.
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