Mini-tower cases are usually associated with low-end computers, but some manufacturers like In Win and NZXT are releasing products full of nice features for gamers that want to build a small yet powerful gaming machine. Let’s take an in-depth look at NZXT Vulcan, which follows this concept.
Being a mini-tower product, Vulcan only accepts microATX motherboards for the convenience of having a small computer. Ventilation was the main focus when the manufacturer designed this small case, as you can easily see by the presence of so many ventilation meshes, see on Figures 1 and 2.
As you can see in Figure 2, most of Vulcan’s left panel is used by a huge mesh, which has a place for you to install an optional 200-mm fan, with the panel using rubber rings for holding the fan and thus help to reduce noise. This panel doesn’t feature an air filter (it should).
The front of the case can be seen in Figure 3. No door is present and the case has two external 5.25” bays and two external 3.5” bays. As you can see, all parts on the front panel are meshed, featuring air filters behind them. A 120 mm fan is present on the lower section of the front panel, using a three-pin fan connector (no technical information about this fan was provided).
Vulcan has two analog fan speed controllers – see the two knobs labeled “II” and “I” on the top part of the front panel. The two fans from the case don’t come installed to these controllers: you are the one that should perform this installation, which is ridiculously easy. Each controller has two three-pin connectors, so each one can control up to two fans. The connectors are labeled “1” and “2,” so it is quite easy to recognize them. Since this case allows you to install a total of five fans, one of them can’t use the fan controllers, if you decide to install them all.
The case has a 7” (180 mm) line on the right side of the front panel that glows orange if you connect it to the power supply. This light comes with an on/off switch on the rear of the case. This light needs some work, though. On a bright room it could barely be seen.[nextpage title=”Introduction (Cont’d)”]
In Figure 4, you can see all connectors and buttons that are available on the top panel from Vulcan. It has the usual stuff: mic in and headphones out jacks, two USB ports, one eSATA port and power and reset buttons.
Figure 4: Buttons and connectors.
One of the nicest features from Vulcan is on its top panel: a very convenient handle for you to carry your computer around. This should be really useful for gamers that like to go to LAN parties. Interesting enough the case comes with this handle detached, so you may not install it if you don’t want to.
The case comes with a 120 mm fan on its top panel and a space for you to install another 120 mm fan. The top 120 mm glows in orange when turned on – at least in theory, because on the sample we got this fan was defective. There is a switch on the rear panel where you can turn on or off this light.
On the bottom panel Vulcan has an air intake for the power supply, since on this case the power supply is installed on the bottom part. This mesh also features an air filter, which is accessible from outside the case.
In Figure 7, you can see the rear panel from Vulcan. As mentioned, on this case the power supply goes on the bottom part. It comes with four expansion slots, all of them using meshed covers, which may help improving the ventilation inside the case. A mesh is also available above where the expansion cards are installed, with the same purpose.
However, differently from almost all cases nowadays, Vulcan doesn’t come with a rear fan, only with a space where you can install either an 80 mm or a 92-mm model.
On the top part you can see two holes protected by rubber covers for certain liquid cooling solutions and, right below them, the on/off switch that turns off the top fan and the front panel LEDs.
The rear panel and the interior from this case are painted black, giving it a very professional looks.
Now let’s take a look inside NZXT Vulcan.[nextpage title=”Inside Vulcan”]
Both panels are fastened to the case using black thumbscrews, which is excellent. Before talking about the internals from Vulcan, let’s take a better look at the left-side panel, as shown in Figure 8. As explained, this panel supports the installation of one big 200-mm fan and the holes for attaching screws feature rubber rings, which help reducing the vibration produced by the fans and thus their noise level. Unfortunately the manufacturer didn’t add an air filter on this huge mesh.
In Figure 9 you can have an overall look from inside Vulcan. As mentioned, the interior from this case is painted black. The motherboard tray has a huge opening on the area where the CPU is located, so if you want to upgrade your CPU cooler in the future with a model that comes with a different kind of back plate you won’t need to remove the motherboard from the case in order to install it. The motherboard tray doesn’t go all the way to the front panel, leaving a huge opening on the area behind where the disk drives are installed for you to route cables from behind the motherboard tray. The motherboard tray also has a hole near where the power supply is installed with the same function, plus several clips for fastening zip-lock
Figure 10: A view from behind the motherboard tray.
One important feature is that this case supports video cards up to 13 ¾” (35 cm) long and CPU coolers up to 6 ½” (16.5 cm) high.
On the next picture you have an overall look at the inside the case. It seems that NZXT has been reading our reviews, because we always complain that cases should come with thumbscrews for fastening expansion cards, and NZXT added this feature on Vulcan.
In Figure 12, you can see the place where the power supply is installed. As already mentioned, Vulcan has a mesh featuring an air filter to match the power supply fan. It also has rubber stands for holding the power supply.
Figure 12: Place for installing the power supply.
[nextpage title=”The Disk Drive Bays”]
This case has two external 5.25” bays, two external 3.5” bays and two internal 3.5” bays, which are rotated 90° in comparison to the other bays, feature that helps a lot on the hard drive installation. The two external 3.5” bays support hard disk drives, so you can have up to four hard drives if you don’t install any external 3.5” device.
Hard disk drives are installed inside the hard disk drive cage using ruler-based screwless mechanisms. All you need to do is attach one ruler to each side of the drive and then slide the drive inside the bay. The top bays don’t have this feature, however NZXT added thumbscrews for installing optical drives, floppy disk drives, memory card readers and also hard disk drives (since they require screws with a thicker thread) on these bays.
Figure 13: External 5.25” and 3.5” bays.
Figure 14: Internal 3.5” bays.
[nextpage title=”Main Specifications”]
NZXT Vulcan case main specs include:
- Style: Mini-tower
- Application: microATX
- Material: Zinc-coated steel (SECC), painted black inside.
- Power supply required: Doesn’t come with the product.
- Available colors: Black.
- Side panel: Meshed.
- Dimensions (without handle): 15” x 7 1/8” x 16” (38.0 cm x 18.0 cm x 40.6 cm) (H x W x D)
- Dimensions (with handle): 16 5/8” x 7 1/8” x 16” (42.2 cm x 18.0 cm x 40.6 cm) (H x W x D)
- Net weight: 11.5 lbs (5.2 kg)
- Gross weight: 13.5 lbs (6.0 kg)
- Bays: Two external 5.25” bays, two external 3.5” bays and two internal 3.5” bays.
- Expansion slots: Four.
- Fans: One 120 mm fan on the front panel and one 120 mm fan on the top panel.
- Optional fans: One 80- or 92-mm fan on the rear panel, one 120 mm fan on the top panel and one 200-mm fan on the left panel.
- Extra features: Two analog fan speed controllers.
- More Information: https://www.nzxt.com
- Suggested price in the US: USD 70.00.
Mini-tower cases full of features are starting to emerge, and NZXT Vulcan is a good contender at its price point (USD 70 suggested, but you will surely see it being sold by less), providing a good value for the user looking a small case for building a small yet powerful computer.
- Support for video cards up to 13 ¾” (35 cm) long.
- Very convenient transport handle.
- Supports a total of five fans, including a 200-mm model on its left panel (the case only comes with two fans).
- Meshed bay covers with air filters for improving airflow.
- Vented slot covers for improving airflow.
- Air filter for the power supply.
- Air filter for the front fan.
- Hole for CPU cooler back plate installation on the motherboard tray.
- Holes for routing cables behind the motherboard tray.
- Thumbscrews for holding expansion cards.
- Support for up to four hard drives.
- eSATA port.
- Noise-absorbing mechanism for the left-panel fan.
- On/off switch for the LED’s from the top fan and front panel.
- Two analog speed controllers.
- No sharp edges where you could cut yourself while building your PC.
- Good cost/benefit ratio.
- Doesn’t come with the rear fan.
- Left panel doesn’t have an air filter.
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