Khaos is a top-notch all-aluminum full-tower case from NZXT featuring eleven 5.25” bays, eight internal 3.5” bays (in two hard disk drive cages, each cage using three 5.25” bays), three 120 mm fans, one 140 mm fan and space for installing three more fans in the middle of the case. Is it worth paying USD 400 for this case? Let’s see.
The material used is really top notch, with the front panel using a 3-mm thick aluminum and the internal parts using a 2-mm thick one. The side panels have a mesh in the middle, helping on the ventilation. This case also has a set of wheels on the front and a handle on the back to help you move it around. As you can see, Khaos doesn’t have a door.
In Figure 3, you can see the front panel from this case. This case has a total of eleven 5.25” bays and on its default configuration the bottom six bays come with two hard disk drive cages installed, each one taking three bays. You can see the 120 mm fans that come attached to each cage. The mesh in front of each fan is permanently attached to each cage, so they come out when you remove the cage. We will discuss more about this later, of course.
The top two 5.25” bays come with “fake” covers for optical drives, which is great: your optical drive will be installed behind these masks making its “face” to be all aluminum. You can even install a beige drive that it won’t make any difference to the aesthetics of the case, as the mask will cover it. You need to remove the front panel to install optical drives, as we will explain later.
This case comes with a 5.25”-to-3.5” adapter for you to install a floppy disk drive, not shown on the picture.
In Figure 4, you can see the bottom panel from this case, where you can see the wheels and the ventilation holes for the power supply, as it is installed on the bottom of the case.
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In Figure 5 you see the case top panel with its radiator-like shape, where you can find a 140 mm fan. This fan, like all the other fans that come with this case, use a small three-pin connector allowing you to monitor the fan speed if you connect it on the motherboard.
On the top panel you can also find a panel containing two USB ports, one FireWire (IEEE1394) port, one eSATA port, mic in and headphones jacks, plus the power and reset switches and HDD and power LEDs. The addition of FireWire and eSATA ports are mandatory for a case on this price range. The main problem with this panel is that the two USB ports are two close to each other, preventing you from using them at the same time if you have two “fat” devices – USB drives, for example. We also think that a case as expensive as this one should have four USB ports here and not only two.
Finally we have the rear panel in Figure 7. You can see on the top the handle used to move the case around, since it has a set of wheels. It has one rear 120 mm fan, seven expansion slots and two holes for water cooling systems. These holes are protected by a rubber mechanism, so you don’t need to break anything on your case to use them. This case uses thumbscrews to fasten the two side panels to the chassis.
On this case the power supply is installed on the bottom of the case and the power supply compartment is twice as big as the one found on regular cases. This allows you to install two power supplies on this case, splitting power consumption between the two units. For example, you can use one power supply to feed the CPU, motherboard, drives and one video card, and the second power supply to feed the remaining video cards. Khaos comes with the proper adapter that allows the two power supplies to be turned on at the same time.
Even though there is no mention to redundant units, we believe that you can easily install redundant power supplies on this unit, which are two power supplies together and thus twice as big as regular units (click here to see a redundant power supply). When the main power supply fails the second one comes immediately into action, preventing your computer from shutting down due to a malfunction on the power supply, and you can replace only the faulty power supply, with your computer still turned on.
Let’s see how Khaos looks like inside.
[nextpage title=”Inside Khaos”]
In Figure 9 you have an overall look at the inside the reviewed case.
This case doesn’t use a screwless mechanism to fasten daughterboards to the case, but on the other hand it provides thumbscrews, allowing fastening cards without the need of using tools anyway. In fact we personally prefer this approach, as we’ve seen countless times these screwless mechanisms breaking because they are usually manufactured using cheap plastic. In Figure 10 you can also see the rear fan. As mentioned all fans use a small three-pin motherboard connector, but they also come with a standard 4-pin peripheral power plug, to be used if your motherboard doesn’t have enough connectors for all fans.
This case also provides a place in the middle for installing up to three extra 120 mm fans, which don’t come with the product.
On this case the motherboard tray has hinges, facilitating the motherboard installation process. This tray, however, keeps attached to the case. To move the tray you need to remove four screws present on the rear panel (two normal screws and two thumbscrews).
[nextpage title=”The Disk Drive Bays”]
This case has a total of eleven 5.25” bays. On the default configuration six of them are used by two hard disk drive cages, each cage holding up to four hard disk drives, for a total of eight hard disk drives. If you keep this configuration, you can have up to five optical drives and eight hard disk drives, or four optical drives, one floppy disk drive and eight (or nine, if you don’t have a floppy disk drive) hard disk drives, if you use the 5.25”-to-3.5” adapter that comes with the product.
If you want more 5.25” bays – for example, for installing a water cooling system – you can simply remove one of the hard disk drive cages, assuming that you don’t have more than four hard disk drives, of course.
This case doesn’t use any screwless mechanism to fasten drives to the bays and it also doesn’t come with thumbscrews for fastening the drives in the bays. We think that a case from this price range should come with at least lots of thumbscrews.
In order to install optical drives you need to remove the case front panel, which is done by unscrewing six regular screws. You also need to remove this panel in order to remove the hard disk drive cages from the unit. The two top bays come with “fake” covers for your optical drives, so your optical drive will have an aluminum façade.
Pay attention on Figures 14 and 15 and you will see that from the third to the eleventh bay the bays are grouped in groups of three bays. The two hard disk drive cages come installed on the lower bays, but you can move one of them up to the group of bays made by the third, fourth and fifth bays. The 5.25” bays are also grouped for another reason: water cooling systems based on 5.25” bays usually take two or three 5.25” bays.
In Figure 16, you can see the two hard disk drive cages. Each cage has one 120 mm fan attached, glowing blue when it is turned on. See how each cage has a mesh attached. Between the mesh and the fan there is a washable dust filter. The only problem is removing this filter: you need to unscrew the mesh to have access.
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Khaos case main specs include:
- Application: ATX and smaller form factors derived from this one.
- Material: Aluminum.
- Power supply required: Doesn’t come with the product, supports two power supplies.
- Available colors: Black.
- Side panel: Solid with a meshed strip on the middle.
- Dimensions: 24 3/32” x 8 55/64” x 23.5” (61.2 cm x 22.5 cm x 59.7 cm) (H x W x D).
- Net Weight: 34.6 lbs (15.7 Kg)
- Gross Weight: N/A
- Bays: Eleven external 5.25” bays and eight internal 3.5” bays inside two hard disk drive cages (each cage using three 5.25” bays).
- Expansion slots: Seven.
- Fans: Two 120 mm fan on the front (blue), one 120 mm fan on the rear and one 140 mm fan on the top. Space for three 120 mm fans in the middle.
- Extra features: Wheels.
- More Information: https://www.nzxt.com
- Average price in the US: USD 420.00.
NZXT Khaos is an all-aluminum case targeted to the high-end user. Here is a summary of what we found about this case.
- Outstanding material (everything is made of aluminum, no steel or hybrid parts). No sharp edges where you could cut yourself while building your PC. Superior aluminum quality.
- Eight hard disk drive bays should satisfy even the most demanding user.
- Support for two power supplies, allowing you to build the most power-hungry PC in town.
- “Fake face” for optical drive for better aesthetics.
- Three 120 mm fans, one 140 mm fan and space for three extra 120 mm fans in the middle.
- Removable hard disk drive cages.
- Set of wheels and handle to move the case around.
- No speed control for the fans.
- Only two USB ports and they are too close to each other, preventing the installation of two “fat” devices at the same time.
- No screwless mechanisms for holding daughterboards, optical drives or hard disk drives.
- No thumbscrews for holding optical drives or hard disk drives.
- No anti-vibration mechanisms for the hard disk drives.
- The dust filters are hard to reach.
- With a USD 400 price tag (USD 440 at Newegg.com) it is one of the most expensive cases available on the market today, making it a distant dream for 99.9999% of users.
In summary, Khaos is an outstanding case for rich users. If you are a normal person, there are other all-aluminum cases on the market with a better cost/benefit ratio, like Tagan A+ Black Pearl.