NZXT Noctis 450 Mid-Tower PC Case

Many manufacturing industries keep an award winning design and release updated versions of it; either to provide a change to the appearance or update features.  Legit Reviews took a look at the NZXT H440 almost a year and a half ago, and recently the NZXT H440 Razer; both of which received high praise.   NZXT took the internal heart of the H440 and updated the exterior and a few features of the case to become the Noctis 450. NZXT-Noctis-450-Exterior-Full-View Taking a look at the exterior of the case, we can see a big change from the previous models.  The top and front panels are no longer flat, they have wire mesh and plastic elements providing a new look.  The Noctis 450 is still a mid-tower case, designed to support up to ATX motherboards.   For storage, it has two 2.5" drive trays located on top of the power supply shroud, and can also support up to six other 2.5" or 3.5" drives; there is no support for 5.25" devices.  Cooling options are plentiful with support for a total of up to seven 120mm fans, and support for up to two 360mm radiators; of course a fan controller is included to manage all those fans.  NZXT kept the lighting capability from the previous models, with some enhancements, which we will discuss later. NZXT-Noctis-450-Special-Feature The Noctis 450 is available in two models, Glossy White with Blue LEDs which is sold under part number CA-N450W-W1, and Matte Black with Red LEDs with part number CA-N450W-M1.  Both cases are currently available at well known etailers for under $139.99 with free shipping; making it over $20 more expensive than the older H440.  Did the changes NZXT make warrant the price increase?  Let's take a look. NZXT Noctis 450 Features:
NZXT Noctis 450 Specifications
Model Number CA-N450W-M1 (Black) CA-N450W-W1 (White)
Drive Bays External: 0 Internal:  3.5" / 2.5": 6 +2
Cooling System Front:  2x140mm / 3x120mm (3x 120mm FN V2 Included) Top:  2x140mm / 3x120mm Rear:  1x1140mm / 120mm (1x 140mm FN V2 Included)
Fan Model FN V2 1200 Fan Speed:  1200RPM Airflow: 45CFM Air Pressure: 0.9mm - H20 Noise: 21dBA Bearing: RifleFN V2 140mm Fan Speed: 1200RPM Air Flow: 50CFM Air Pressure: 0.9mm-H20 Noise: 21dBA Bearing: Rifle
Filters Front (Included) Bottom Rear (Included)
Radiator Support Front: 2x140mm or 3x120mm Top: 2x140mm or 3x120mm Rear: 1x140mm or 1x120mm
Clearance GPU Clearance with HDD Cage: 294mm GPU Clearance without HDD Cage: 406.2mm CPU Cooler: 180mm Cable Management Lowest Point: 17.7mm Cable Management Highest Point:  32.5mm
Motherboard Support mITX, mATX, ATX
Expansion Slots 7
External Electronics 1x Audio/Mic I/O Panel and Lighting System LED On/Off
USB 3.0 Ports 2
USB 2.0 Ports 2
Material SECC Steel, ABS Plastic
Dimensions 220mm x 567mm x 544mm
Product Weight 9.5Kg (20.94lbs)
Warranty 2 Years
  Let's take a quick look at the packaging of the NZXT Noctis 450 case before taking a close look at the case itself.

NZXT Noctis 450 Packaging

NZXT-Noctis-450-Packaging-Front The NZXT Noctis 450 arrived in a sturdy cardboard box that had some damage at the top.  Depending on the style of internal packaging, most likely there won't be any damage to the case.  The front of the box doesn't tell you much about the case, simply listing the model and a slogan for the Noctis. NZXT-Noctis-450-Packaging-Back Flip the box around to the back and we find eight key features are presented in a full color diagram.  This is great if you happen to find the Noctis in a retail setting, however many times they're ordered online and this is unnecessary.  Still, a full color box gives the user a feeling that they purchased a premium product. NZXT-Noctis-450-Packaging-Sides Not much information provided on the sides either.  One side gives a glimpse of the case front and top panels.  The other side you get a table of the specifications. NZXT-Noctis-450-Packaging-Interior NZXT uses the proven method of internal packing, with large foam blocks and placed in a plastic bag.  This is the side that had exterior damage, so far it looks to be limited only to the box.  We'll be sure to check out the case once it is removed. NZXT-Noctis-450-Packaging-Accessories As you might expect, NZXT includes a good number of accessories to complete your build.  Included is an installation manual, product catalog and a case badge.  The important parts include 34 motherboard and 3.5" drive screws, 32 2.5" drive screws, 4 power supply screws, standoff install bit, one extra standoff, 4 fan screws and a big bundle of cable ties. Let's move on and check out the outside of the case.

Noctis 450 External Impressions

NZXT-Noctis-450-Exterior-Full With the case removed, we found no damage which indicated the packaging method does its job.  As you can see, we received the Black version of the Noctis, there is a second version which is White.  Between the two models, there are only a few differences.  The Black model has a matte finish, while the White version is Glossy.   Lighting colors are different, Black has Red, and White has Blue.  The both sides of the side window is protected with an protective film to protect it from scratches, removing NZXT-Noctis-450-Exterior-Front One of the first things to notice on the front of the case is the total lack of 5.25" drive bays; they are not hidden, they just don't exist on the Noctis 450.  This is nothing new, the previous generation, H440, did not include any either.  The front panel is a mix of plastic and metal mesh for plenty of airflow. NZXT-Noctis-450-Exterior-Front-Bezel-Removed With the front panel removed, we can see the three included FN V2 1200 fans; we know these spin at 1200RPM, with airflow of 45CFM @ 21dBA.  They can be removed and easily replaced with two 140mm fans.  Between the fans and the front panel is a removable filter that is held in place with a clip at the bottom and magnets at the top.  If liquid cooling is more your preference, you can install up to a 360mm radiator in the front section.  The inside view of the front panel reveals that the entire front panel is the metal mesh, with the plastic elements covering the mesh for aesthetics. NZXT-Noctis-450-Exterior-Side-Window Moving to the side panel, we can see the window with the protective film removed.  It should provide a nice view of the motherboard once it is installed.  From this angle, we can see that the plastic elements on the front panel are raised, allowing air to flow behind them. NZXT-Noctis-450-Exterior-Back Taking a look at the back panel, we find it to include the common items.  The rear exhaust fan is the FN V2 140mm, which has similar specs as the front fans, however it has a slightly increased airflow of 50CFM; you could remove the 140mm and install a 120mm fan of your choice or install up to a 140mm liquid cooling solution.  Below the fan is the standard motherboard I/O port key.  Next we find two external liquid cooling holes and the seven expansion slot covers.  At the bottom of the case is the power supply location, which is slightly different than normal.  There is one uncommon item that I waited to point out, next to the motherboard I/O port key is a little button that turns the integrated lighting On/Off. NZXT-Noctis-450-Exterior-PSU As we will see shortly, the power supply shroud makes installing the power supply a little different than normal.  Instead of installing it from the interior, NZXT has designed a bracket to hold the power supply and slide it in from the back of the case; the bracket is then held in place with four thumbscrews.  We also find an easily removed power supply filter that comes out the back of the case. NZXT-Noctis-450-Exterior-Back-Side Turning to the back side panel, we find nothing to look; other than a side view of the case. NZXT-Noctis-450-Exterior-Bottom Turning out attention to the bottom of the case we see that the NZXT Noctis 450 stands on four feet that raise the case one inch.  There are two white strips that will glow red once we power the system up.  We can also see that the bottom power supply filter covers the entire intake vents for the power supply. NZXT-Noctis-450-Exterior-Top The top panel of the Noctis looks similar to the front panel with a max of metal mesh and plastic elements.  On the back edge we find the front I/O cluster which contains two USB 2.0, two SuperSpeed USB 3.0, headphone, and microphone ports; with the power button being placed next to the headphone/microphone jacks.  No reset button is provided on the front panel. [gallery ids="163869,163870"] Looking at the top panel from the side we can see that the plastic elements of the panel are raised like the front panel. NZXT-Noctis-450-Exterior-top-Removed The top panel is removed from the Noctis 450 like most are, pulling up on the panel it pulls away; I was surprised by the amount of force needed to remove it.  The top panel itself looks like the front panel with the entire panel being covered with metal mesh for a high level of airflow.  We can see the space for the three 120mm or two 140mm fans with the top panel removed.  Between the case frame and the top panel, there is enough room to place a fan in two of the 120mm locations, the front 120mm fan mount is just a little too narrow to fit a standard 120mm fan, however a slim 120mm fan would fit there.

Noctis 450 Internal Impressions

Removing the side panel is pretty easy, two thumbscrews hold it in place; once those are loosened (they remain with the panel), the panel slides towards the back of the case and comes off.  I've had some cases that required force to remove the panels, the Noctis 450 didn't require any force. NZXT-Noctis-450-Interior-Full With the panel removed we can see the interior of the case.  On the motherboard tray, there are several cable management holes, with the three largest ones having rubber grommets to protect cables; these are also slightly angled to make installation a little easier.   The area for the CPU support bracket is rather large, and should support most of the CPU locations.  Finally, NZXT has been hiding all the 3.5" drive trays behind a solid panel for a few generations now, they continue this in the Noctis 450. NZXT-Noctis-450-Interior-Front-Fans Taking a peek at the front fans confirm the three FN V2 1200 that we have already discussed.  By removing the hard drive trays up to a 360mm liquid cooling radiator could be installed in a push/pull configuration. NZXT-Noctis-450-Interior-PSU-Shroud Like the H440 series, NZXT installs a power supply shroud that serves two purposes.  First, the obvious one, is that it allows the user to hide the power supply and cables, making for a cleaner install.  The second is the addition of two 2.5" drive mounts on the top, this makes good use of the space.  On the side of the power supply shroud, NZXT has placed their logo in red, which will light up once we power the case.  Three cable management holes on the power supply shroud makes it easy to route cables. NZXT-Noctis-450-Interior-Back-Panel The internal view of the back panel doesn't really provide much new information from the exterior view.  The only new feature here is that the expansion slot covers are secured to the case with thumbscrews. NZXT-Noctis-450-Interior-Back-MB-Tray The back side panel removes like the other, loosening two thumbscrews and sliding the panel to the back of the case.  Between each of the five hard drive trays there is approximately 2.5 inches of space.  With that amount of space, while nice to have plenty of room, if they were squeezed together more drive could be installed or perhaps allow for all the hard drive trays to be used and custom liquid cooling.  On the back of the motherboard tray, there are a total of 21 cable tie locations (18 on the motherboard tray, and 3 in the cable management area). NZXT-Noctis-450-Interior-Fan-Controller Below the large CPU cutout is the integrated fan hub.  Here up to 8 PWM fan can be attached; NZXT upgraded the fan controller from the H440 case line!  Nice upgrade making it PWM controllable. With the Noctis 450 including four fans, there are five fan headers being used.  The one that is connected to the white header is actually an extension cable, which comes in handy if you have a fan with a short cable, or the desired PWM fan header is too far for the controllers cable. NZXT-Noctis-450-Interior-LED-Controller Above the CPU cutout is the LED controller, which is connected to the button on the back of the case and a shared four-pin molex connector, with the fan controller, for power.  No special effects are included on the LED controller, and would be a nice upgrade for the next generation of LED controllers. NZXT-Noctis-450-Interior-35-Trays There are a total of five trays to hold the 3.5" or 2.5" drives which are held in place with thumbscrews (the sixth hard drive location is on the bottom panel).  This is another element of the Noctis 450 that was taken from the H440.  These have a glossy finish, and are painted to match the case. NZXT-Noctis-450-Interior-25-Tray Finally, we have the 2.5" drive tray that is located on top of the power supply shroud.  It is held in place with a single thumbscrew and a slide lock.  Secure the 2.5" drive to the tray with four screws.  These have a matte finish rather than the high gloss of the 3.5" / 2.5" trays.

Noctis 450 Hardware Installation

NZXT-Noctis-450-Installation-Full With everything installed into the Noctis 450, we can now take a step back and see how everything goes together in building a system within the Noctis 450.  First, if you are familiar with the NZXT H440 series, then building a system into the Noctis 450 won't cause any surprises.  For the most part, everything gets installed exactly as you would expect.  NZXT has pre-installed the motherboard standoffs making that go quickly and smoothly. NZXT-Noctis-450-Installation-PSU-Cover As the power supply is installed through the back of the case, we first attach the bracket to the power supply.  Then slide the power supply into the case.  The bracket and power supply is secured to the case using four thumbscrews that are attached to the bracket.  The Lepa G power supply used in this build is semi-modular, the main 24-pin and 8-pin power cables are attached, however everything else is modular.  It can be a little difficult, but not impossible, to attach modular cables after the power supply is in position.  Whenever possible, install the modular cables prior to installing the power supply. NZXT-Noctis-450-Installation-PSU-Shroud The two 2.5" SSD's are secured to the trays with four screws, and then secured to the power supply shroud with a thumbscrew making the entire process quick.  As with the H440 series, there is a little gotcha with the SSD's; they are resting pretty close to the power supply shroud making power and right angle SATA cables difficult to use.  My suggestion would be to use a Molex to SATA power adapter or a SATA power connector at the end of the cable.  Power connectors in the middle might pose a bit of a space issues.  For the SATA data connection, just get a straight SATA cable, rather than a right angle connector and you'll be good to go. NZXT-Noctis-450-Installation-35-Drive Like the 2.5" drives, the 3.5" drive trays use four screws to attach the drive to them.  Then as you might expect, the tray is attached to the case with thumbscrews. NZXT-Noctis-450-Installation-Back-Side After doing very little cable management clean-up, the cables are in a decent positions.  Most of the cables go into a decent path naturally, there are plenty of places to secure them to case if you wish.  Even without doing any major cable management, the back cover slides into place without any issues.  There is one small issue that I wasn't entirely happy with the cable routing, the 8-pin motherboard power cable, it is fairly tight to get it connected, a slightly longer cable would be nice, but that's not NZXT's issue, that's an issue with the power supply.  As always, a simple extender would solve that and allow me to route the cable into a better position, if I was concerned about showing off the cable management. NZXT-Noctis-450-Installation-Cable-Mgmt At the bottom of the case is a large area for your extra cables, this is hidden from the front view with the power supply shroud so you don't really have to be too concerned with tidiness.  But keeping them clean and organized will help with airflow.  If you look closely, you can see the red PCI-E modular connector for the power supply.  This is where the end of the power supply, and why you can install the modular cables after the power supply is installed, it just takes a little time and effort. NZXT-Noctis-450-Installation-Window-View With the system fully assembled, the side panels go into place without any issues.  The window provides a nice view of the system components, and hides the boring 3.5" drive solid panel.  The NZXT logo will look great through the side panel once the LED's are turned on. NZXT-Noctis-450-Installation-Full-LED As the system is powered on, we can hear the familiar spinning of the included fans.  The little button on the back of the case provides five modes for the lighting effects.
NZXT Noctis 450 Lighting Modes
1 Offf
2 All Lights On
3 Rear Light off, Logo and Bottom Lights Full
4 Rear Light off, Logo on Full, Bottom Lights Dim
5 Rear Light off, Logo on Full, Bottom Lights Off
A few other options or effects would be nice to have on the next generation, maybe a pulse effect.  If your PC is in an area where you are sleeping, you will appreciate the option to have certain lights on and others off.  

NZXT Noctis 450 Final Thoughts and Conclusions

Overall, if you are familiar with the NZXT H440 series, then you are familiar with the internal design of the Noctis 450.  NZXT retained what worked great with the H440, and made a few changes to make the Noctis 450 stand out.  NZXT kept the power supply shroud with their name, the two 2.5" SSD tray design, 3.5" hard drive trays and the integrated LED functionality. NZXT-Noctis-450-Installation-Window-View So what did NZXT change on the Noctis 450?  Obviously the exterior got a redesign.  From a solid and plain flat top and front panels to one that includes large wire mesh for airflow and plastic elements to provide a new look.  They also took the 8 fan hub and updated it to include PWM capabilities.  This is one of the best updates they could do for the case.  The exterior redesign is great, and one I much prefer over the plainness of the H440, but the PWM fan hub is the best change they made. Depending on your cooling needs, the Noctis 450 should meet almost every possible cooling configuration.  There are three 120mm fans on the front, which can be changed out for a 360mm radiator, room for three more 120mm fans on the top panel or a 360mm radiator, and a 140mm fan on the rear panel or a 140mm radiator.  AIO liquid coolers would fit nicely in any of these locations, or a custom loop would be perfect as well.  NZXT has designed the 3.5" hard drive trays to be removable opening up plenty of room for a custom liquid cooling loop. NZXT-Noctis-450-Special-Feature   The lighting of the NZXT Noctis 450 is easily controlled by a button on the back of the case.  The Black version has red LED's which light up a dark room pretty well.  NZXT has changed the lighting from a single On/Off option to allowing the user to from all LED's being off to four different lighting settings; another great update! If you take a look at the Noctis 450 and the H440 series, the interior design is nearly identical.  The same suggestions I had with the H440 Razer apply to the Noctis 450.  Starting with the 2.5" SSD trays, I like the design, but the power connections can be difficult a simple spliter or adapter could be provided to help with that.  Then the 3.5" drives could be compressed to save space, allowing for a radiator and more hard drives to be used at the same time.  These are minor things, just something that would make life easier for some. Both the Glossy White with Blue LEDs (part number: CA-N450W-W1) and Black with Red LED's (part number: CA-N450W-M1) of the NZXT Noctis 450 are currently available for purchase for under $139.99 with free shipping.  For that price you are getting a great case that is well built and designed to last many years.  NZXT does provide a 2 year warranty on their case though, should there be an issue with the LED's or other aspects of the case. LR Recommended Award Legit Bottom Line: The NZXT Noctis 450 is a great mid-tower case.  The cooling options range from up to seven 120mm fans, or up to two 360mm radiators and one 140mm radiator.  The interior is spacious enough to install a quad GPU solution, while the LED lighting will light up the area and make the system stand out.