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Tempest from NZXT is a steel mid-tower case targeted to enthusiasts, with a transparent side window and nine 5.25” bays, eight internal 3.5” bays for hard disk drives divided into two cages supporting four drives each (each cage takes three 5.25” bays) and six fans (one on the rear, one on the side panel, two on the top and two on the front). Let’s take an in-depth look at this new release from NZXT.
In Figure 3, you can see the front panel from this case. As you can see, this case doesn’t have a door. It has nine 5.25” bays and each hard disk drive cage uses three of them, so you have only three 5.25” bays available on the case’s default configuration. You can remove one of the hard disk drive cages to increase the number of available 5.25” bays if you need more of this kind of bay and don’t have a lot of hard disk drives.
On the top of the case you can find a panel containing two USB ports, one eSATA port, mic in and headphones jacks and also the power and reset buttons. Even though this case offers one eSATA port, which is great, this panel could be better, especially for a case that is targeted to enthusiasts. We think it could have one FireWire port. It would be also nice to see four USB ports instead of two. Also, the two available USB ports are too close to each other, preventing you from using them at the same time if you have two “fat” devices – pen drives, for example.
In Figure 5, you can see the top panel from this case, where it has two 140 mm fans.
Finally we have the rear panel in Figure 6. On this case the power supply is installed on the bottom part of the case. Also on the lower section you can see two holes that can be used by water cooling systems. This case has seven slots like almost all cases and on the top part you can see the rear 120 mm fan which comes with it. The left side panel is fastened to the case using two thumbscrews but the right panel uses regular screws.
Let’s see how Tempest looks like inside.
[nextpage title=”Inside Tempest”]
As commented, this case comes with a 120 mm attached to its side panel, which glows blue when turned on. All fans come with two power connectors: one three-pin to be installed on the motherboard, allowing you to monitor the fan speed through your favorite monitoring program, and one standard peripheral power connector, to be used if your motherboard doesn’t have enough fan power connectors for all fans. We don’t think that there is any motherboard on the market with six fan power connectors, so you will have to choose which fans you want to monitor and connect them to the motherboard, while connecting the remaining fans directly to the power supply. None of the fans provide speed control, so if this case’s noise level disturbs you will need to disconnect one or more fans.
In Figure 8, you can see the case with its left panel removed. The right panel can also be removed, but the motherboard tray is permanently attached to the chassis.
In Figure 9 you see the rear 120 mm fan and the expansion slots. As you can see, no screwless mechanism is used to fasten the daughterboards to the case. You can also see on the right side of this picture the power cables from the two top fans.
In Figure 10, you can see the top panel from the case, with its two 140 mm fans. You can install the radiator of water cooling systems that use two 120 mm fans there. According to NZXT the available holes are compatible with Swiftech MCR220, Asetek Dual radiator solution and Thermaltake TMG2.
[nextpage title=”The Front Panel”]
One of the inconveniences from this case is that you need to remove its plastic front panel to remove the covers from the 5.25” bays and the hard disk drive cages. The problem is that this panel is fastened to the chassis by pressure through seven plastic pegs, not using any screw. Thus to remove the front panel you need to apply pressure near the pegs using a screwdriver, what can crack or break the panel if you apply too much pressure.
In Figure 12, you can see the backside of the front panel. As you can see all covers use dust filters.
In Figure 13 you see the front side of the chassis. This case has one washable dust filter in front of e
ach front 120 mm fan. These fans are located in front of each hard disk cage. On this picture you can also see that this case comes with a 5.25”-to-3.5” adapter installed on the third 5.25” bay, allowing you to install a floppy disk drive there. This adapter can also be used to install an additional hard disk drive.
[nextpage title=”The Disk Drive Bays”]
This case has nine 5.25” bays, coming with two removable hard disk drive cages for four hard drives each that takes three bays each. It also comes with a 5.25”-to-3.5” adapter installed in the third 5.25” bay (see Figure 13). So on its default configuration this case comes with two 5.25” bays, one external 3.5” bay and eight internal 3.5” bays, allowing you to install up to two optical drives, one floppy disk drive and up to eight or nine (if you don’t install a floppy disk drive in the adapter) hard disk drives.
This configuration can be change, obviously. You can simply remove the floppy disk drive adapter to gain one extra 5.25” bay if you don’t have this obsolete storage device. If you need more 5.25” bays you can remove one of the hard disk drive cages to gain three more 5.25” bays. To remove the cages you need to first remove the plastic front panel from the case. Each cage is fastened to the chassis using two screws, one at each side of the case.
The cages come installed in the lower 5.25” bays but nothing prevents you from installing them in different bays. For example, for some reason you may want install your hard disk drives on the top of the case instead of the bottom, and this can be accomplished by moving the hard disk cage to the top three 5.25” bays. You will need, however, to remove the plastic rails for optical drives on the top three bays, a task that isn’t as easy as it seems.
In front of each cage there is one 120 mm fan, which glows blue when turned on. Note that these fans aren’t permanently attached to the hard disk drive cages, so they can be easily removed if you want to get rid of them.
All bays use truly screwless mechanisms. As you can see in Figure 15, each hard disk drive bay has two rails for installing hard disk drives. Just remove these rails, put them on the hard drive and then slide the hard drive into the bay, see Figures 16, 17 and 18.
[nextpage title=”Installing Optical and Floppy Disk Drives”]
To install optical or floppy disk drives you will need first to remove the meshed cover that is in front of the bay that you want to use. As we already explained, to remove these covers you need to remove the plastic front panel.
Floppy disk drives must be installed inside the 5.25”-to-3.5” adapter that comes pre-installed in the third bay. You need to first remove this adapter from the bay, which is done by unlocking and removing the screwless fastening mechanism. This adapter can also be used to install a hard disk drive, if you need one extra hard disk drive bay.
This case comes with two different types of screwless installation mechanisms. The top three bays come with plastic rails already installed in the bays, so all you need to do when installing optical drives (or the floppy disk drive adapter) on these bays is to unlock and remove the installation mechanism, slide the drive in, and then put the mechanism back in place and turn its knob.
But if you want to install an optical drive on any other 5.25” bay, you will need to install two screwless rails to the drive (see Figure 23). You will need to remove one of the hard disk drive cages if you want to use other 5.25” bays.
[nextpage title=”Main Specifications”]
Tempest case main specs include:
- Application: Extended ATX and smaller form factors derived from this one.
- Material: Zinc-coated steel (SECC).
- Power supply required: Doesn’t come with the product.
- Available colors: Black.
- Side panel: Transparent.
- Dimensions: 20 17/32” x 8 21/64” x 22 1/8” (52.15 cm x 21.15 cm x 56.20 cm) (H x W x D).
- Net Weight: 24.7 lbs (11.2 Kg)
- Bays: Nine external 5.25” bays with two hard disk drive cages for four hard disk drives each and one adapter for
another hard disk drive or a floppy disk drive.
- Expansion slots: Seven.
- Fans: One 120 mm fan on the side panel (blue), one 120 mm fan on the rear, two 140 mm fans on the top and two 120 mm fans on the front (blue).
- More Information: https://www.nzxt.com
- Average price in the US*: USD 110.00.
* Researched at Shopping.com on the day we published this review.
We liked NZXT Tempest a lot and we think that it provides an outstanding cost/benefit ratio to users looking for an inexpensive enthusiast-level case.
First it provides two hard disk drive cages supporting four drives each, for a total of eight hard disk drive bays. This is something we always criticize in high-end cases; some cases cost the double of NZXT Tempest and still have only one HDD cage supporting only four drives.
Second, its screwless installation mechanisms are really screwless. Some more expensive cases still require you to use screws to attach rails to the hard disk drives or to the optical drives, which isn’t the case with Tempest.
Third, it provides six fans and you probably won’t have any heating issues with this case.
And fourth it allows you to install some water cooler radiators based on two 120 mm fans directly inside the case, below the two 140 mm fans available on the top panel. According to NZXT this case is compatible with Swiftech MCR220, Asetek Dual radiator solution and Thermaltake TMG2.
The case construction is very sturdy and there aren’t any sharp edges where you could cut your hands and fingers while building your PC.
This, however, isn’t a “perfect” case. It has some minor flaws that depending on how picky you are may lead you to choose a different (and more expensive) product:
- Lack of a FireWire port.
- The two USB ports are too close to each other, preventing you from using two “fat” USB devices at the same time.
- Front panel is fastened to the chassis by pressure. You can break or crack it if you use too much power when removing it.
- Need to remove the front panel to remove the covers from the 5.25” bays and the hard disk drive cage.
- No screwless mechanism for fastening daughterboards to the case.
But as we mentioned the price of this case compared to its features is fantastic and that is why we think that this case deserves our “Golden Award” seal.