A Closer Look - Outside
Once unpacked, the windowed Alpha impresses on first sight with its clean lines, nice round power buttons, well placed side fan and immaculate paint job. While you should not expect a lot of exclusive innovations inside this case, it is nice to see that NZXT has designed a modern case with a great finish.
The front of the case is made of plastic, which is just as shiny as the rest of the case. You can clearly see the reflection of the camera and flash. The rear of the case already hints at a simply but effective interior layout.
The window of the Alpha covers most of the side and has a few extra plastic, chrome-like additions toward the top and bottom. This further accentuates the modern look of the entire chassis. The fan has been placed behind a fine, white metal mesh. This should keep most of the dust out, but also requires regular cleaning.
The other side of the Alpha enclosure is completely void of any fan holes or air vents. NZXT has opted to place the "front" I/O toward the side of the case. This is the worst place for a case with a window. Odds are, the entire PC will be put toward the right of your monitor on your desk or below it. That means the the I/O is on the wrong side of the case. NZXT did not want to disturb the clean look of the front I can imagine, but they should have placed the connections on the window side for easier access. The positive part of these inputs is the eSATA connectivity. This is something you will not see on many cases of this price point.
The front can be parted into two areas. The top holds all the external drive bays. Four 5.25 inch bays and two 3.5 ones add up to the usual amount of external expandability found on mid tower cases. NZXT has included two drive covers, so you can use any drive you have lying around, without having to paint your existing or buying a black one to go with the chassis. The lower part is clean and has a slight bend forward, which also adds to the clean, straight lines of the Alpha. Straight air vents further contribute to this.
The rear is quite usual. The top features the power supply bay. You will only be able to install the PSU in one direction and the edges at this point are fairly sharp. The rear fan has been placed behind a honey comb fan grill and features a Molex connector. It would have been great to see a mainboard header instead. On the bottom, the seven expansion slots are covered by seperate metal pieces, so you may reuse them at a later point.