I would like to thank CaseKing.de
for supplying the review sample.
CaseKing is one of the few companies out there, which will not just sell anything. They only offer hardware that performs well and is of high quality. The shop offers quite a few exclusive parts and devices from all around the world and it is also the official distributor for a long list of well known manufacturers. Their assortment has grown greatly in recent years, while great service and support is still a very important part of the shop philosophy. The website may be in German, but due to great demand, an English version is in the works. We received continous support from CaseKing and they were kind enough to send us the latest from NZXT: the Hades chassis.
- Expansion galore: Nine 5.25" bay setup or Five 5.25" and Four 3.5"
- Latest Hardware Support: VGA clearance room for 300mm cards like the ATI 5970
- Dual 200mm intake Large air system: 200mm front fan, dual top 140mm fan, Side 200mm fan, rear 120mm exhaust. NZXT includes the chassis with all fans except for one top 140mm fan
- Control the flow: Gaming, overclocking, or office work the dual 8W per channel fan control allows control over the dual 200mm fans that spin up to 150 CFM eachinn
- Monitor your system: A three C/F temperature display at front panel allows the user to see temperatures inside the chassis even with the door closed. A slant on the door allows for easier viewing from above.
- Punched side panel: Besides aesthetics, the side mesh and extrusion allows for even greater and ease of wire management on the right side panel
- Meshed front: 5.25" meshed bays, meshed door, and meshed bottom panel allows for air to flow into the system with ease.
- Wire Routing: Motherboard punched holes allows for quick CPU bracket removable and optimal wire routing.
- NZXT Solid State bracket allows for two SSD drives to be installed
- Pre-drilled water cooling holes on the backplate
- Front mounted 2 USB, Audio, and E-SATA ports
- Mounting holes for dual radiator at the top
- Removable filter at the bottom PSU
||9 DRIVE BAYS
9 EXTERNAL 5.25" DRIVE BAYS
4 INTERNAL 3.5" DRIVE MOUNTS
Screwless Rail Design
||ATX, MICRO-ATX, BABY AT
||7 standard slots
||FRONT, 1 X 200mm red LED (included)
REAR, 1 X 120mm (included)
SIDE, 1 x 200mm (included)
TOP, 2 X 120/140mm (1 include 140mm)
|Dimensions (W x H x D)
||200 X 430 X 501 mm / 7.87" x 16.9" x 19.7"
2 x USB 2.0, 1 x eSATA, 1 x Mic, 1 x Headphone
As is the case with most NZXT products, the Hades ships in a full color cardboard box. An image of the chassis along with the main features can be found on the front, while the rear provides an additional birds-eye view and more detailed information on the enclosure. You will find its specifications on either side of the cardboard package. NZXT secures the case with Styrofoam spacers and a thin plastic bag.
NZXT includes a fairly well rounded accessories package. You will receive three rails to install 3.5 inch drives into the enclosure, a Molex adapter to plug a single fan straight to a power supply strand, a mainboard speaker, a few zip ties and two bag of screws. A small metal piece also allows you to lock the side panel down with a pad lock. On top of that you receive another pair of rails attached to a 2.5 inch bracket. This is intended to be used with SSDs and while it should work just fine, it has a very low quality feel to it.
A Closer Look - Outside
The NZXT Hades makes a very stylish first impression. Even though the design goes for simple straight lines along with straight edges, the overall impression is very good. NZXT has not yet managed to put in the amount of detail found on other themed enclosures - like the Cooler Master HAF series, but the Hades looks simple & sophisticated at the same time. I should also note at this point, that the paint job of the Hades is not good at all. The surface is not clean, which resulted in a very textured paint job. I am not talking about the gun metal gray/black, powdered look, but that of lots of paint droplets on the entire metal exterior. In fact, I would go as far as saying that this is the second worse paint job I have ever seen on an enclosure from a major manufacturer. Maybe this is just a downside of the sample we received and I do not think that the saying "it is not a bug it is a feature" applies here either.
You will find a door covering up the drive bays up front. It is constructed of plastic and steel mesh. NZXT has reinforced the mesh well enough so that it comes across as very durable, but the plastic - although solid to the touch - still looks a bit cheap. Turning the Hades around, the rear makes a good impression, with the power supply bay located on the bottom and a clearly visible, white bladed 120 mm fan on top.
The entire bottom half of the front is taken by the 200 mm intake fan. This area is partially exposed even when the door is closed. Above that are the four 5.25 inch expansion bays. There is no possibility to install a 3.5 inch device anywhere, so you will have to go out and spend some more money on a separate adapter. There are two dials to control two of the four included cooling units. NZXT advertises that both 200 mm units are wired to be controlled, but this was not the case with our sample. Seems like the top 140 mm unit and the front 200 mm one are connected to the dials.
In the rear you will not find anything out of the ordinary. The bottom is intended for the power supply - a standard feature with mainstream cases these days, while the middle is taken by the seven expansion bays. NZXT has covered them with separate metal mesh covers, which allow some air to pass through. To the right of these are two large openings for water cooling tubes to be routed through. The very top area is filled by the 120 mm exhaust fan.
Both sides of the case are "punched" or extruded. This does not only aid the overall design, but also adds valuable space to route cables under the mainboard tray - out of sight to the users. The main panel holds a 200 mm side fan which also pulls air into the chassis.
Before we move into the interior of the Hades, let us take a quick look at the top of the case. The I/O is located on the front portion of the top. This should give users easy access if the chassis is placed under the table, but may force you to get up in order to connect something if you have the PC on the desk. There are two openings in the rear area of the ceiling. These are intended for 120 or 140 mm fans and NZXT has included one of the latter. You may also install a dual radiator here - certainly a nice touch.
A Closer Look - Inside
To gain access to the insides of the Hades, simply remove the pair of thumb screws holding each panel in place and pull the latter off. The side fan does not have a proper label on it, but it looks like a handwritten model and rating on a Martech sticker.
The interior of the Hades is completely black - another feature quickly becoming commonplace with mainstream enclosures. The cables have been pre-routed behind the mainboard tray and out the bottom opening. There are plastic locks on each of the external drive bays, with exception of the bottom three. This means that even though only four bays are accessible from the outside, there are locks for six of the nine actual bays. That does not make much sense, as you do not want your hard drives being held in place by simple plastic locks.
There is nothing out of the ordinary for the front drive bays. They are formed by two metal sheets running down the front area of the chassis. As it is obvious from the outside, the bottom five bays are covered by the 200 mm intake fan. This one also has white fan blades but sports red LEDs in the frame along with a proper NZXT sticker in the center. Quickly fast forwarding to the end for a second here: after turning everything on I was startled by two consecutive popping noises coming from the front cooling unit. Turns out once I turned things on, two blades just decided to do their own thing, breaking off and flying through the chassis. So I took a close look at the above picture to see if I could spot any damage or if I was the culprit by damaging the fan during the review. Turns out, that the unit was already cracked at the base of the two blades as you can see clearly in the image above. NZXT should really consider procuring their fans from a different manufacturer with better quality control.
NZXT has placed four little rubber domes on the floor of the chassis. The power supply rests on these, which in turn stop any vibration from this area of the computer. Above that are the seven expansion slots, with normal, black screws holding each cover in place. Moving on up, we have the 120 mm fan as well as the 140 mm ceiling one. Both draw air out of the chassis, recreating the same air flow as if a PSU was present above the CPU area.
The cables are nothing out of the ordinary. Both those leading to the chassis power, reset and LEDs as those to the top I/O are of the standard variety. NZXT has also included a simple temperature display in the Hades. The three diodes along with the Molex connector to power the fan controller are also easy to spot. Each of the thermal diodes are clearly labeled, but since the exterior display does not have said labels, you can use them anywhere you want.
Installing the mainboard is done just like in any other chassis. just position the spacers in the correct locations and screw the board down with the supplied screws. I spent some time hiding the cables and the result is quite nice as you can see in the image above.
Installing the hard drive does take more work than in cases with real 3.5 inch bays. First you have to screw down the rubber mounted spacers unto the drives with the special screws. Then pull off the front of the chassis to reveal the front bays, followed by sliding the entire array into place and securing it with four further screws. Sure, this system does allow for easy access, but also involves more work.
Installing an optical drive requires you to remove a pair of locks first to clear the way - that is after pulling off the front and taking out the drive bay cover of your choice. The plastic locks are of bad quality, as they are flimsy and only employ plastic pins to hold the drives in place. Sure enough, you can easily make them snap off the drives with a bit of pressure on the front of the drive. It is starting to look like NZXT is trying to offer too many different features, while still being bound by the pressure to offer a low price tag.
Last but not least, the power supply was installed. Luckily there were no unpleasant surprises here and the chassis is compact enough for its cables to reach all necessary plugs on the mainboard.
Once everything is installed the interior looks very tidy and clean. The cable routing and hiding possibilities in the Hades are excellent. As you can see, the bulk of cables were routed behind the mainboard to their appropriate locations. Thanks to the extrusion of the side panel, there is plenty of space, even for thick cables from the power supply.
Before I continue and show you the up and running NZXT Hades, there are two problematic areas I want to point out. First off, the way the front cables are routed, they will block one of the drive bays. The second problem is a result of the enclosure's compact dimensions and 120 mm tower coolers. Even though there is some extrusion on the side panel, the large 200 mm fan gets clearly in the way. That means that users are limited to smaller or blow down coolers in this gaming chassis - not a good thing.
Once everything is installed and the CPU & cooler were removed for this review, the chassis was closed up. For those with silver or even beige drive bays, the door will cover them nicely. All the connectivity in the rear is easily accessible and where you would expect to see it.
Once turned on, all the lighting aspects fire up and the case is lit in a nifty red glow up front. The LCD screen appears on the upper edge of the door, displaying three temperatures. There is no label on them as mentioned before, so your guess is as good as mine, which one is for what part of the PC.
I have to admit, the Hades looks rather cool when turned on. The red lighting in combination with the clean, straight design looks excellent. I just do not know where the correlation between the design and the Hades name comes from.
Value & Conclusion
- The NZXT Hades sells for around 70 € or 99 US Dollars
- Sweet looks
- Good Price
- Good build quality
- Black screws and thumb screws
- Good airflow
- HDD rails with rubber rings
- 2.5 inch adapter included
- Four fans included
- Temperature LCD
- Two fan controllers
- Pre-routed cables
- Plenty of cable routing & hiding possibilities
- Some CPU coolers may not clear side fan.
- Very flimsy locks - pretty much useless
- Complicated way of installing hard drives
- No labels on the different temperatures in the LCD display
- Bad paint job
- Fan blades broke off
The NZXT Hades makes an interesting first impression, but upon closer look, there are simply too many restrictions and shortcomings. For a chassis aimed at the gamer, not having enough clearance for a 120 mm tower cooler is a big "no-go". Fact is, that there are many such CPU coolers on the market and some of the best performing ones have exactly that configuration. The added value of plastic looks turns out to be fairly useless, as these do not manage to hold a simple optical drive in place and while NZXT has included metal rails with rubber mounts for the hard drives, installing them translates into more work than having a normal 3.5 inch bay and using screws with rubber spacers instead.
While the Hades does end up with a long list of positive features and aspects, the negative ones are fairly major ones, which anyone spending 100 US Dollars should not have to live with. This leaves us with the following closing statement: If you love the design and are fully aware of the drawbacks - sure you can go ahead and grab yourself the NZXT Hades. If looks are not so important, but compatibility and overall quality in parts are the main criteria, then take a look at some of the other cases NZXT has to offer. With the Hades, it feels like NZXT has spread their wings too far, trying to offer too many features, while having to cut too many corners to achieve an attractive price point.