NZXT Source 530 Full Tower Case
NZXT has many award winning case designs, which offer features that are high in demand. One of their latest lines is the Source line. This case line is designed to include enthusiast level features while keeping the design simple. Currently there are four cases in this line, each are slightly different, while keeping the style similar across the line. Three of these cases are mid-towers, the fourth is a full tower. This line of cases starts at $34.72 shipped for the most basic model, the Source 210, while the highest priced model is the Source 530, coming in at a budget friendly $89.99 with free shipping.
Available under the part number CA-SO530-M1, the NZXT Source 530 is only available in a matte black, with a side window, a fully vented front and top panels to allow for plenty of airflow. The front panel includes standard I/O options, and three 5.25" device bays. Internally it'll support six 3.5" or 2.5" hard drives, plus a hidden 2.5" drive. Making installation easy, the 5.25" drive bays are tool-less, and installing 3.5" hard drives it'll be tool-less as well. In addition, installing any PCI expansion cards are done tool-lessly.
The Source 530 boasts about it's cooling capability. In fact, it can support up to nine 120mm fans in various locations (2x front, 2x bottom, 3x top, 1x back, 1x internally). So NZXT has installed a simple fan hub to help with connectivity. The Source 530 comes with two 120mm fans, if you look at the fan hub, there are two fans connected, and the power; a third fan extension comes pre-attached. However, if you are into liquid cooling, you have plenty of options there as well. The large NZXT Kraken all-in-one liquid cooler, with a 280mm radiator will fit with ease. If you really want to do liquid cooling right, install a custom 360mm radiator!
Other features on the NZXT Source 530 include removable 3.5" hard drive cages for six 3.5" hard drives, a hidden 2.5" drive tray, SuperSpeed USB 3.0, fan filters at the common intake locations, fully vented front panel, tool-less installation of 5.25" devices and 3.5" hard drives, plus a 2 year warranty in a full tower form factor.
A well designed case should provide basic functionality, which is to hold the computer equipment; any case can do that. The Source 530 does that very well, however that is not all that the Source 530 offers. Let's take a quick look at what the key features of the Source 530 is, then take a closer look at this budget minded full tower.
NZXT Source 530 CA-SO530-M1 Key Features
- Liquid Cooling - Fits large water cooling radiators up to 360mm in size. Native support for the world's largest all-in-one liquid coolers, the 140mm / 280mm NZXT Kraken
- Modular - The Source 530 features fully modular, interchangeable hard drive cages, offering unmatched customization at its price point.
- Cable Management - Up to 34mm of cable management clearance, 10-port fan hub and discrete SSD mount gives you room for a beautifully clean build.
|NZXT Source 530 Technical Specifications|
External 5.25" x 3
Front 2x140mm/ 120mm or 1x200mm
|Clearance||CPU Cooler 282mm (With Pivot Fan)
VGA Card 310mm (With Cage)/ 444mm (Without Cage)
Cable Management 26mm (Lowest Point)/ 34mm (Highest Point)
|Dimensions||235mm x 507mm x 510.5mm|
|Material||Steel, Plastic, Mesh|
|Motherboard Support||ITX, Micro-ATX, ATX, EASTX (322x272mm)|
|External Electronics||1 x Audio / Mic
2 x USB 3.0
Source 530 Retail Packaging
As a full tower, the box for the Source 530 measures 13x22x23 (WxHxD) inches, and a shipping weight of 23.25lbs. Using plain packaging, the front of the box provides a good view of the Source 530.
The back of the box has a quick overview of six features along with some additional marketing information in multiple languages.
One side of the box has a view of the front panel for the Source 530. The other side provides the basic specifications for the 530.
Hard foam blocks protect the Source 530 during shipping. While a plastic bag keeps moisture and dust off the case.
NZXT ensures plenty of accessories are included to set up the Source 530, which includes 20 cable ties! Sadly, I found one accessory lacking, which will be covered later.
Source 530 External Impressions
The NZXT Source 530 is classified as a full tower, it weighs in at close to 20.25lbs and is 9.25x20x20 (WxHxD). It seems to be a little small to me, taking a look at other full towers, it appears to fit between a normal mid-tower and an average full tower. For comparison, the NZXT Phantom is 9.25x22.5x21.4 inches (WxHxD) and weighs in at 23.15lbs. Overall, the Source 530 is solid black, which is the only color is it currently offered in.
The front of the Source 530 is pretty plain; the entire front bezel has a wire mesh design. The upper right and lower left corners are slightly folded in to provide a little depth. At the very top we have the front I/O which includes headphone and microphone ports, and a pair of SuperSpeed USB 3.0 ports; I wish there was four SuperSpeed USB ports. The power and reset buttons are missing here; they are located in another area. Below the front I/O is the 5.25" drive bays, NZXT has made removing the covers very simple using a slide latch system.
The bottom filter can be removed from the front of the case, however since it sits flush with the steel portion of the case, it rests a little past the front bezel. This makes it a little difficult to remove for cleaning, however it is much easier than some implementations, and I'm happy that it is tool-less to clean.
Pulling the front bezel off is done rather easily, just becareful of the Power and I/O areas. The 5.25" drive bays are ready to be used as there are no metal guards to be removed. Below the 5.25" drive bays is an area for some fans; here either two 120mm or 140mm fans can be installed, or one 200mm. No front intake fans were included, so you will need to purchase additional fans if you want some in the front. The 5.25" drive bay covers unlatch from the outside, so not much to see about them here, what you can see is that the covers only have the wire mesh to act as a filter. For the front fans, there is a rather sturdy front filter that can be removed from the inside.
The left side panel has an unusually shaped window, which allows a nice view of the motherboard, and a portion of the 5.25" drive bays. During shipping, the window is protected against scratches by two sheets of plastic.
The back panel is pretty familiar, at the top is the standard keyboard I/O key port and an exhaust fan. A 120mm fan is preinstalled, however that could be swapped for a 140mm or even a liquid cooling radiator. Below that we find the eight expansion slots with nice vented covers and two grommeted holes for external liquid cooling solution. Finally at the bottom is the power supply. Directly below the power supply, there is a little handle.
The handle below the power supply, reveals a bottom filter. Like the front filter, this filter can be removed to make cleaning a bit easier.
The right side panel is plain, nothing much to see here.
Wait, on the right side of the front bezel there are three buttons. Here we find the Power, I/O LED and reset buttons. The I/O LED button is unusual, it leads to a little LED in the back of the case right by the expansion slots. This is a great opportunity for NZXT to expand this button function to allow connecting to their Sleeved LED Kit that runs $15-$36 depending on the color and length.
Like many enthusiast cases, the top panel is vented. Here three 120mm or two 140mm case fans can be installed. Another option is to install a liquid cooling solution, where up to a 360mm radiator will fit.
Taking a quick glance at the bottom of the case, there are four feet to raise the case for airflow purposes. There are two large filters on the bottom of the case to limit the amount of dust entering the case from this location. The back filter extends out the back of the case a little bit, while the front filter extends past the metal frome, but not the front bezel. Sadly, this requires the front of the case to be lifted to pull out the front filter.
Source 530 Internal Impressions
With the side panel is held securely in place by two thumbscrews on the back, with it removed, the interior of the Source 530 can be seen. The interior matches the exterior, which has become very common. The motherboard tray area is sunken in a little. The cable management holes on the right side of the tray are angled as they slope down towards the motherboard. Many of the motherboard risers are pre-installed on the review sample, which is why only two additional risers are included in the accessory pack. None of the eight cable management holes are protected by rubber guards like many cases do. Being a budget minded case, this makes sense.
Using tool-less 5.25" clips is nothing new, we have seen many different styles. The Source 530 uses a slightly different take on the latches, instead of being plastic, they are steel. Another difference is that the latch pins are in the back half of the latch. A light tug on the front latch releases it to install the 5.25" devices.
There are three 3.5" drive chassis in the Source 530. The largest supports three drives, the middle has two drives, and bottom only has one drive. This provides a total of six 3.5" drive trays. Each of these drive chassis can be removed, allowing any configuration necessary.
If only four 3.5" drives are going to be installed, the user might decide to remove the middle chassis and only use the three drive and single drive chassis. The only restriction is that either a top or bottom chassis has to be installed in order to mount a chassis in the middle (if mounted correctly).
One unique feature is the ability to install a 120mm or 140mm fan inside the case. The large 3.5" drive chassis has a hanging bracket to attach a fan, it swings to allow airflow to be directed in the desired area, towards the CPU or GPU for example.
The front half of the bottom panel has room for two 120mm fans, which are filtered by the front removable bottom filter (remove the filter and a hole is left in the bottom). The 120mm fan closest to the front has a bit of a guard over it to support the 3.5" drive chassis. The guard can be removed by four little screws (2 in the front, and 2 in the back), allowing for a liquid cooling radiator to be installed. For the power supply, NZXT has installed six raised feet, each of them is topped by a piece of rubber to absorb vibrations.
After taking a look at the exterior of the case, the inside view of the back panel doesn't give any surprises. However, taking a close look between the exhaust fan and the PCI expansion slots, the LED that is controlled by the I/O button can be seen. Oddly enough it seems that the LED uses a SATA connection for power, I would have expected a fan type connector.
As previously mentioned the top panel is fully vented, with one 120mm fan installed as an exhaust. Two other fans can be installed, or if desired the top fan can be removed and a large liquid cooling solution can be installed. The liquid cooling solution can take a radiator up to 360mm (120mm x 3) in length; NZXT's largest all-in-one cooler is the Kraken X60, a 280mm long radiator.
Removing the right side panel the back side of the motherboard tray is visible. The 3.5" drive trays are installed from this direction, so installing drives the panel will need to be removed for drive management and cabling. Speaking the 3.5" trays, the three drive chassis are secured by thumb screws on each side of the chassis. Looking at the cable management holes, we find each of the edges are rolled so there are no sharp edges to cause issues with cabling. With 20 locations (one cable tie per location is included) to secure the cables there shouldn't be any reason to have messy cables.
Below the CPU cutout on the tray is the 10 port fan hub, and a hidden 2.5" drive chassis. This is a great use of space, allowing for six 3.5" or 2.5" drives to be installed in the trays, and one additional to be installed here, for a total of seven drive trays. Of course that can be expanded using the 5.25" bays, however that is a whole different subject.
Nothing overly exciting about the drive trays, the 3.5" drive trays will support a 2.5" drive if necessary. For this tray, 3.5" drive install tool-lessly either by slightly bending the tray or pulling the pins out a little. The 2.5" drive tray behind the motherboard can be removed for drive installation. 2.5" drive will need to be screwed onto the tray to be secure. In the middle of the tray are four holes to mount the tray to the motherboard tray, and then using a thumbscrew to make it secured.
Source 530 Hardware Installation
For the most part, building a system in the Source 530 was a breeze. A 5.25" device slides into place without any resistance and is well secured using the tool-less clips. I was concerned about the motherboard tray being lowered a little, however with the front edge being sloped it made installing the SATA cables a breeze; removing the 3.5" drive chassis wasn't necessary to connect the cables.
3.5" drive install onto the tray by either slightly bending the tray, or pulling the pins out a little. Each of the trays can support either a 2.5" or 3.5" drive, while the little drive tray on the back of the motherboard tray only supports 2.5" drives. In all instances 2.5" drives require the use of screws.
Every motherboard places the CPU in generally the same location, however slight variances happen. I can understand how difficult it is for case manufacturers to ensure the CPU cooler cutout supports the widest range of motherboards. NZXT made the cutout almost as large as possible, as such installing the CPU cooler after the motherboard is installed should not be a problem. Here I was able to access every part of the Zalman CNPS-9900 support bracket.
The largest 3.5" drive chassis includes that positional fan bracket. Installing an Enermax Magma 120mm fan was easy, two fan screws (not supplied with the Source 530), and the fan is attached. Once it inside the case, it can be positioned and the thumbscrew tightened.
If installing a 200mm fan in the front, NZXT has included four long screws. However, if you wish to install 120mm or 140mm fans in the front, you need to use case fan screws to connect the fans to the case. Not a big deal. Except you have to remove the 3.5" drive chassis's and secure the fans from the inside. Some long screws for 120mm or 140mm fans would have been preferable.
Final Thoughts and Conclusions
NZXT states that the Source line is designed to be a starter case for first time builders. Keeping the price low, while offering features the the more expensive cases offer; the Source 530 has a retail price of $89.99, and even includes a 2 year warranty. Of course this means that in places corners need to be cut; that doesn't mean sacrificing NZXT's quality.
Cooling the Source 530 won't be a problem, with the option to connect nine 120mm fans in various locations, or implementing virtually any liquid cooling solution. Powering nine fans can be a little difficult; NZXT has considered that and implemented a 10 fan hub behind the motherboard tray. This is not a fan controller, it only provides power to the fans, making them run at full speed. CPU coolers won't have a problem fitting as even the tallest coolers will have room.
Using removable hard drive cages allow for complete customization of the Source 530 hard drives, and allow for even the longest video cards to fit. In addition, behind the motherboard tray there is a hidden 2.5" drive mount. Speaking of behind the motherboard tray, cable management is easily accomplished as there is between 1 inch and 1.3 inches of space between the tray and the right side panel.
Keeping in mind that the Source 530 retails for $89.99, expectations shouldn't match the more expensive full towers. With that in mind, it would be nice for NZXT to include a third fan, as a front intake. Of course, if that might cause the price to go up a little; I think it would be worth it.
I have always been impressed by NZXT's cases, the Source 530 is no different. It offers many features enthusiasts want, while keeping a budget price. With integrated fan filters on the bottom and front intakes, they should help to keep the interior a little cleaner. The bottom filters are easily cleaned, however the front filter requires the front bezel to be removed.
Legit Bottom Line: The NZXT Source 530 is a great option for people on a budget or just getting into building their own case. If offers features usually only found on higher grade enthusiast level cases.