AZZA Nova 8000 Full Tower ATX Case
AZZA, which is based in Brea, California, is a manufacturer of high quality components designed for PC gamers. AZZA has been focused primarily on PC gaming since 2004, after starting business in 1996 as a motherboard manufacturer. Our readers may be familiar with AZZA, as they have gained a lot of popularity among system builders, such as ibuypower and CyberPowerPC. Generally, AZZA products are tailored towards the needs of gamers and offer visual flare accompanied with solid build quality and relevant features. AZZA currently offers a wide range of PC Cases and Power Supply Units with a focus on quality and value.
Socially-conscious readers will be happy to know that AZZA donates 50% or more of its net profit to the charity program One Vision, One Mission. This program sponsors underprivileged youth who are in need of social support, nourishment and education. I think this is an awesome thing to do and in an age of corporate greed, it was refreshing to see this when I did my research on AZZA. How a company chooses to allocate and use its profits is their business and I am a firm believer in that. However, if I know a company uses their profits for good and they make a quality product, chances are higher that they will get my hard earned dollar when it comes time to make a buying decision.
We have previously reviewed
AZZA cases here at Legit Reviews and they have fared well in past reviews, so we are excited to look at their latest Full Tower ATX chassis, the Nova 8000. The AZZA Nova 8000 is a full tower ATX case designed with aesthetics and expansion in mind. AZZA has released the case in three variations, Black (CSAZ-8000B), White (CSAZ-8000W) and Gunmetal (CSAZ-8000GM.) Today we are reviewing their black case, model number CSAZ-8000B, which features orange accents, an orange top grill, orange drive bays and an orange LED fan. Users with the Gigabyte SOC motherboards may find this case very appealing, as there aren't many cases with a stock orange color scheme. Currently, the Nova 8000 is available at Newegg for $94.99 shipped after a $30 rebate
. There is no price premium for either the White or Gunmetal case, each model carries the same MSRP.
||ATX Full Tower
|With Side Panel Window
|With Power Supply
|CPU Cooler Compatibility
||up to 190mm
||E-ATX, Full ATX, Micro ATX
|External 5.25" Drive Bay
|Internal 2.5" Drive Bays
|Internal 3.5" HDD Slot
|Easy Swap 3.5" HDD Slot
||2x USB 3.0, 2xUSB 2.0, HD Audio
|120mm LED Fan
||1x120mm Orange/Red/Blue LED fan in the front
||2x120mm On the Top, 1x120mm In Rear
|Exceptional Cooling System
Total 4 fans
||2x120mm fan located on top, exhausts the hot air out
1x120mm fan located in the rear, exhausts the hot air out
1x120mm LED fan located in the front for cool HDD
|Swing Open Side Panel
||Patented screwless design easy swing open side window.
|Easy Swap Slot for 3.5" HDD and 2.5 SSD
||2x Easy Swap HDD tray(Option 6) for HDD easy installation, no need
to open side window or un-screw any screw to install the HDD
|Maximum Capacity Water
||Supports up to 3x120mm water cooling radiators.
|CoolerSupports Longest VGA Card
||Accommodates VGA cards up to 360mm
|USB 3.0 Ready
||2xUSB 3.0, 2xUSB 2.0
||Accommodates E-ATX, Full ATX, Micro ATX and all kinds of Nvidia, ATI long VGA cards up to 360mm.
|Easy Install CPU Cooler
||A cut off hole for CPU cooler easy installation. No need to take out the motherboard.
The Nova 8000 is touting support for E-ATX, Full ATX and Micro ATX motherboards and has support for up to 190MM CPU coolers, which means even large units like the Noctua NH-D15 Premium CPU Cooler ($91.83 shipped) are supported with ease. VGA cards up to 360mm are supported, so there shouldn't be any issues with installing modern GPU's in the Nova 8000, or multiple GPU's for that matter. It's been a long time since AMD purchased and subsequently retired the ATI name from GPU's, so for it to exist in an AZZA specification sheet is peculiar. One more feature of interest is the Easy Swap Trays for HDD's, which we look at later in the review.
AZZA doesn't list it in the specifications, but if you go through the manual or just look at internals, you will find that there is enough room to install a 240MM radiator on the bottom of the case, underneath the drive bays. This is a really cool feature, no pun intended, as it will allow users with AIO cooled video cards to easily integrate them into the Nova 8000. Also not listed on the specification sheet is that the case comes with a fan controller that allows you to speed control all of the internal 3-Pin fans, along with two additional fans that you can add yourself.
While the warranty for the case wasn't listed in the manual or on the box, a quick visit to the AZZA warranty page lets us know that the warranty for the Nova 8000 and all other AZZA cases is 1 Year. It would be a nice thing for AZZA to include this information with the case, but to be fair, it is listed very clearly and is easily found on their website.
Overall, the documentation for the AZZA Nova 8000 is good, but not great. The manual really spells out the features and points out how to install radiators, add SSD's to the specialized mounts on the ODD panel and leaves the user with a better overall sense of the case on its features. AZZA could really do well to go over their online specification sheet and ensure all of the information is up to date and relevant. By letting users know that the case has a bottom 240MM radiator mount and integrated fan controller, along with updating the GPU support to be more relevant, AZZA could make the case an easier sell. In a market dominated by inexpensive, feature-rich cases, letting users know all of the pertinent features of a case prior to purchase can really help swap a purchasing decision.
Let's take a closer look at the Nova 8000, now.
AZZA Nova 8000 External Impressions
The Nova 8000 shipped in a large cardboard box, directly from AZZA's California Location. On the side of the box AZZA has printed a picture of the case from a lower front angle perspective and the the full model name, CSA2-8000 is printed across the top. AZZA's logo is on the upper right hand corner of the box. The specifications of the case, along with the weight are printed on the size of the box. The case weighs 30 pounds, so you will be getting a nice workout should you decide to haul it around once your hardware is installed. I don't know how the UPS delivery driver got the case over my back porch and to my back window. I can only surmise that he is inhuman.
Once we open the box and remove the case, we found that in addition to the typical cardboard and plastic outer wrap, the window, top and front panels were also covered by protective film. The case arrived in great condition and the packaging was more than adequate.
While not a usual talking point when it comes to cases, I was very pleasantly surprised by the manual of the NOVA 8000. The past few chassis I've looked at haven't exactly been documentation-rich. The NOVA 8000 manual details every single part of the chassis, the included accessories and then goes into detail on how to install various components in the chassis, with illustrative pictures. AZZA includes some extra zip ties and all of the necessary hardware you will need to install your system, including motherboard standoffs. AZZA also included a bag of thumbscrews of PCI-E/PCI devices, which was a nice touch. The level of support here is appreciated, as other manufacturers often overlook the fact that first-time builders with a lack of experience may be purchasing their product. The NOVA 8000 has a very strong, sharp look, with plastic being used to create visual effects. AZZA designs products to appeal to gamers and the Nova 8000 is no exception with it's angled top and orange LED fan. Personally, when seeing the pictures of the case on the internet, I wasn't too excited with the orange on black color scheme. By the time the Nova 8000 got here and I opened it, I changed my mind. The orange looks great and is really smooth over the black.
The window on the side panel was well protected and isn't scratch prone, which has been an issue with some cases we have recently reviewed. The side panel is separated from the HDD door mechanism by a reflective piece of black plastic that complements the window and reflective black top panel quite nicely. The dual chamber design that separates the HDD area from the motherboard can really help clean up the looks of the build. The side panels of the Nova 8000 are very high quality, slide on and off easily and are very easy to work with. There are no flexing issues with these panels and they are very durable.
The side panels to the rear of the motherboard tray are designed similar to the other side, in that you can access the HDD and motherboard areas separately.
The optical drive area features drive bay doors that are easily removed by pushing the black tab release. This mechanism is very quick and the bay covers flow with the design of the case.
The top panel of the Nova 8000 features an orange stripe that flows to the front of the case. The power, reset and fan controller buttons are all clearly labeled, large and easy to access. The USB 3.0, Audio Ports and USB 2.0 jacks are all in a row and clearly marked. The USB jacks are wide apart and you won't have issues using wide USB devices next to each other on the top panel of the Nova 8000. The fan controller is labeled with + and - signs to indicate faster and lower speeds.
The large grate-style opening on top covers an internal 120 fan mount. Overall, this is a very nicely designed, accessible top panel that isn't going to confuse novice users as to what it's functions are. I really like the included fan controller and the integration here is very clean and well thought out by AZZA.
The Nova 8000, being a Full Tower ATX case, offers nine PCI-E/PCI expansion slots, which will allow it to accommodate multiple-GPU setups. We also see multiple rubber grommets for water cooling hoses to pass through and allow for more simplified installation of watercooling equipment. The side and top panels are removed via thumbscrews.
The PCI-E/PCI slot covers are the push-out variety, but can be replaced should you decide to change your expansion card configuration.
The rear panel features a 120MM/140MM fan mount, with a 120MM fan pre-installed. Above the fan are two grommets to allow hoses to be passed through in watercooled systems. The grommets are installed nicely and are firmly attached in their positions. AZZA has pushed the fan honeycomb grill out a bit, which should help reduce noise and keep fingers safe.
The Nova 8000 comes with rubberized pads on the bottom of the case feet, which are very thick and do a great job of keeping vibration and sliding on surfaces to a minimum. The feet are attached to the bottom of the case via two screws that can be accessed by removing the pads.
The Nova 8000 has a bottom panel intake area where you can install two 120MM fans, or a 240MM radiator. There aren't any filters installed, so if you do install fans in this location you will have to install filters, as well. This area is perfect as an installation area for a GPU-attached radiator, or radiator attached to an AIO-Cooler installed on a GPU. This is a really great feature and really gives the user a lot of flexibility when it comes to cooling options.
An easily removable bottom filter is included with the Nova 8000 that just slides out from the rear of the case by a handle. These filters are simply a must when using power supplies that draw their air in from the bottom fan, or you will find that your power supply quickly becomes a dust motel. AZZA made removing and cleaning this filter very simple on the Nova 8000.
Kudos to AZZA for catering to different tastes by offering three variations of the Nova 8000. For example, I would have personally gone with the Gunmetal version of the case to complement the Asus Z97 Sabertooth being used in the build. However, for users of the Gigabyte X99 SOC or other orange color schemed motherboards, the black Nova 8000 might be exactly what they are looking for.
The Nova 8000 offers a very solid external build quality with a strong, aggressive look that will appeal to gamers. While I was initially worried about the orange color, it actually looks great and doesn't stand out nearly as much as I thought it would. The Nova 8000 really seems well suited for watercooling, as there is room for a 360MM radiator up top and a 240MM radiator on bottom while still allowing for two 120MM intake fans and a 120MM or 140MM exhaust alongside the radiator configuration. The only area of cooling I think AZZA could have done better with is perhaps adding an intake fan option on the window, as Corsair does with their 300R windowed case, as the GPU area doesn't have high airflow available to it. AZZA did a good job of making the case lines flow and everything sits together really well in an industrial-esque design. Let's take a look at the internals of the AZZA Nova 8000, now.
AZZA Nova 8000 Internal Impressions
AZZA has separated the motherboard section from the HDD section of the case by utilizing two independent doors. This also simplifies installation, as the HDD side of the enclosure simply swings open, while the motherboard side slides off easily by pulling on the indented area to the rear of the panel. The motherboard panel is held on by two thumbscrews. Unfortunately, the thumbscrews are not captive, which is something we've been happy to see from other manufacturers in the past.
The HDD area door opens by pulling on the handle and then sliding the door towards the front of the case. The handle feels high quality and the release mechanism works well. The ODD area features three bays that offer a tool free mechanism for attachment, while the top bay uses screws. This is important, because when installing a bay reservoir, it's best to use screws. The Nova 8000 offers up support for six 3.5" HDD's to be installed, two of which are connected through the hot swap connectors.
The swivel mechanism felt very sturdy and didn't have any flexing issues when opening or shutting the door. AZZA really did a good job here and I really like the idea of being able to access the HDD area and Hot Swap drive bays without opening the motherboard side of the case. Aesthetically and functionally, this design is great. The space between the bottom of the HDD area and the 240MM radiator/fan mount area is quite spacious and will allow for installation of a thick radiator such as the XSPC RX240 along with fans in a push or pull configuration without issue. You won't be able to use fans in a push-pull configuration unless you use a thin radiator.
By using this dual chamber design, AZZA was able to minimize the size of the removable panel, making it easier to work with and less prone to flexing. I am very happy with the design of the Nova 8000's side panel configuration and the panels are sturdy and well built.
I am also happy to report that the Nova 8000 has rubber grommets and uniformly colored motherboard to panel connectors. Unfortunately, not all of the internal routing holes have grommets and the ends of the USB and Front Panel Audio connectors aren't covered, so the multicolored cable ends show.
The PSU mounts on top of four anti-vibration pads that are arranged over the removable filter. These pads help with reducing noise produced by the PSU and eliminating vibration. Because these pads are just held on by adhesive, removing the PSU can cause them to lift, so keep an eye on things when you're removing and installing a PSU on these types of pads.
The backside of the case opens up and reveals a very clean layout. Unfortunately, we see a glaring problem. There is no path between the SATA area and motherboard area besides the space under the HDD cages. What does this mean? You can't route your SATA cables behind the tray and through the grommets, they have to be routed across the motherboard tray to your motherboard, which we will show you later. The SATA power cables to your HDD/SSD's will also need to be run along the bottom of the case to your PSU. For a case preaching aesthetics, this is an annoying design flaw or oversight.
The Nova 8000 has two 2.5" SSD mounts that are easily accessible via the left side HDD access door. This feature allows for additional Hard Drives to be used by freeing up the six 3.5" bays, or for the Hard Drive cage to be eliminated in SSD-only builds, which will free up space for water cooling components. This is a very clean installation point, as the SATA cables can easily be routed together and run alongside the crease to the cable routing cutout.
The SATA backplane is branded SHUNDA and connects directly to SATA cables that route to the motherboard and is powered by a 4-Pin Molex connector. This allows users to Hot Swap HDD's without having to do anything more than pulling the handle of the case, sliding the door and removing a drive. There are also two 3-Pin fan connectors here, but they aren't able to be speed controlled. This is a SATA3 backplane, as expected.
Unfortunately, there is not much room behind the motherboard tray for cable routing. It is a large case, so you can spread the cables out and make due, but given the size of this case, I really think more spacing is needed behind the motherboard tray. We see an ample amount of cable tie-downs to assist in routing your cables. We will explore the amount of room to route cables more during the build process of the review.
Removing the top panel of the motherboard tray will allow access to the internal fan controller. The internal fans are cleanly routed to this controller and there is room for an additional fan to be added to the controller. Unfortunately, there is an issue with running the controller on slower fan modes with certain fans, which we will address later in the review.
AZZA has routed the fans, which are nicely sleeved with heatshrink tubing, to the fan controller through a tie-wrap and the fan installation is clean, without any obstruction or issues. There are mounts for three 120MM fans, or two 140MM fans. This means 360MM and 280MM thicker style radiators such as the XSPC RX
series, which will offer superior surface area and cooling capabilities, are supported by the Nova 8000.
Besides the issue with cable routing behind the motherboard tray from the HDD area not being possible because there isn't a cutout or break between the two sections, I was very impressed with the internal features of the NOVA 8000. Rubber grommets are being used, the cables are a subtle black/grey color and the motherboard area is separated nicely from the HDD area. I would like to see more room behind the motherboard tray, of course, so AZZA should definitely address this. The Hard Drive hot swap bays are very welcome, but to be honest, I don't know many people who have a need to hot-swap HDD's in a home system like this. Overall, this case is really nicely designed internally and it has a lot of potential for expansion and ability to be used with various watercooling configurations.
AZZA Nova 8000 Build Experience
For this build, we are using an Asus Z97 Sabertooth motherboard, Corsair H80I AIO CPU Cooler, EVGA GTX 960 SSC GPU, 2x HDD's and 1x OCZ Vertex 460A 240GB SSD. Building our system into the Nova 8000 was a very simple, easy experience that didn't lead to any notable problems, besides a small issue with the fan controller that we will bring up shortly.
Installing the motherboard and PSU went without a hitch. The motherboard standoffs lined up and screwed into the tray without issue and the motherboard easily screwed into place after being lined up properly. The ample room inside of the chassis made this process go very quickly and without issue.
The IO shield fit properly and all of the ports lined up perfectly between the IO shield and motherboard, with no unusual issues being presented.
The DVD Drive installed into the top bay with no problem and lined up nicely with the front of the case, though it was slightly recessed. Removing the front bay cover was very easy and didn't present any issue.
Our Corsair RM750 PSU installed without any issue and sat properly on the included anti-vibration pads. All of the screw holes lined up properly between the case and PSU. AZZA includes the proper screw hole configuration for installing PSU's in either a fan-up or fan-down orientation, depending on your particular cooling needs.
Getting the rest of the hardware installed was simple and went without issue. During the build, since we are using an H80I, we relocated the rear fan to the front of the case so that there would be additional airflow. Everything installed very quickly and it was a pleasure building into the AZZA Nova 8000. There were no sharp corners or any particular areas that gave us a hard time while building into this case.
Our EVGA GTX 960 SSC graphics card fit like a charm, with about six inches between it and the Hard Drive cage area.
We also removed the stock 120MM fans and replaced them with Corsair SP120 units due to something we noticed during testing. The stock fans, when run at slower speeds on the internal fan controller, emitted a humming noise. We found this to be the case with a couple of different fans, while our SP120 units produced a faint hum, while a Zalman Quiet Fan produced no hum. We plan on placing the stock fans on the bottom of the case once we obtain the correct filters and using the motherboard to control their speed. Users buying the AZZA Nova 8000 should be aware of the issue with running certain fans at slower modes via the fan controller, though you may not even pick up on the humming sound if you don't have sensitive ears.
I installed the included thumbscrews into the PCI-E slot area for future use. The included orange slot covers are easily removed and can be put back in the event you should change your card configuration. The expansion cards lined up perfectly with the slots. The cut out in the motherboard slot underneath the board allowed the front panel USB header cables, the front panel audio audio connector and the USB connector from the H80I to be routed behind the board for a clean look.
AZZA went with a grey and black front panel header color scheme, which really helps with the aesthetics of the system. It flows perfectly with the color of the modular cables on the RM750 PSU from Corsair that we are using. Cables from the power supply are easily routed through the motherboard tray cut out. The only glaring omission that would have helped clean up the looks would have been rummer grommets being used on every cable pass through.
Also, of note, is that we had to run a SATA power and data cables across the case, due to the motherboard tray side not having a rear path to the HDD area, as we mentioned earlier. This is a minor hitch that detracts from the overall aesthetics.
The placement of the top cable pass thru hole where users can pass their 8-PIN CPU connector and other cables that go to the top of the motherboard that route behind the motherboard tray is decent, but I am not a fan of there only being this one center hole and think it would have helped if they also included another routing hole to the left rear of the case, near the IO area. For example, on our system, we route the USB cable for the Corsair Link for the H80I through this hole and down to the bottom of the motherboard tray for a cleaner look, but with there only being a center hole, we are forced to route the cable across the motherboard, along with the 8-Pin CPU connector.
These cages are sturdy and well-built, unlike some others we've used in the past. They didn't flex or have any issues that stood out. These cages also offer screw holes to secure drives even further. Unfortunately, these hard drive cages don't have built-in support for 2.5" SSD's, but the Nova 8000 features three SSD mounts, including a hidden one on the bottom of the pictures HDD tray.
The Hard Drives were easily installed once we snapped them into their cages. These cages are very well built and the cages slide in and out without issue.
Here we see the completed system from the rear panel area, with both panels opened/removed. We had no issues with the side panel closing on our case, despite the fit being a bit tight and there not being a lot of room behind the tray. Users without flat modular cables may have less luck in this regard.
The SSD/HDD area being isolated and spaciously laid out allows you to run the power and data cables in a bundle without much effort. The design of the Hard Drive cages allows cables to be run without any interference or pressure being placed. Overall, we are very happy with this layout and how easy it made connecting and running cables to our drives. Users with a keen eye will notice the top and bottom SSD mounts only have two and three screw mounting points, respectively. For SSD's this is not a concern, as there will be no vibration and thus no noise produced from not screwing the drives down.
We chose not to connect or use the hot swap drive bays, as this functionality simply would never be used on our system and would require additional cables to be run. We are happy to report that testing of the unit went fine, with both connectors registering properly with our SATA3 SSD and running at full speed. We also see the cable management loop AZZA has placed for the front 120MM fans to be run through. This is a nice touch that assists in keeping the cables out of the way and run properly to the fan controller.
Overall, this case is very easy to build into, but users without modular power supplies may find cable routing behind the motherboard to be a bit tricky. We were able to install all of our components and change the fan orientation of the Nova 8000 very quickly. The issue with the fan controller at lower speeds was annoying and AZZA should have caught it before sending this case out into the sales channel, as it really affects use with the stock fans. The inability to run SATA power and data cables behind the motherboard tray and to the drives was a kick to the aesthetics of an otherwise really clean internal build. Hopefully AZZA remedies this with future chassis revisions. We really liked how solid everything was throughout the system assembly process and the build quality of this chassis really stood out in a positive way.
AZZA Nova 8000 Conclusion
The AZZA Nova 8000 is simply a well-built, versatile chassis that offers a lot of expansion and features that will appeal to PC gamers and enthusiasts. If you're planning a Multi-GPU system that is going to be watercooled, the AZZA Nova 8000 could prove to be a very compelling option at just $94.99 shipped after a $30 rebate
. The AZZA Nova 8000 has a solid, industrial style that leans towards gamer's with its orange accents, side panel window and LED fan. While the case has aggressive looks, it isn't over the top in the least. It can definitely fit in on a desktop in a workstation environment by merely removing the LED fans, as the orange color is quite subtle. AZZA preaches the aesthetic function of this case and for the most part, they deliver.
We found issue with the lack of cable routing holes between the motherboard and HDD/SSD area on the rear of the case. It would really help aesthetics to be able to route every cable under the tray and behind the board instead of running cables across the case. This is a minor quibble, but with cases these days offering amazing cable management and with it being so important to end users, every little detail is important. The fan controller not working at slower speeds and causing fans to hum is an issue that AZZA needs to address, as I can see it really annoying some users. The stock fans should work with the stock fan controller that AZZA ships with the case, no excuse.
The ability to handle various motherboards and watercooling equipment is really the strongest card in the Nova 8000's deck. With solid build quality, expansion potential and ability to build good looking systems with minimal effort due to its dual chamber design, the AZZA Nova 8000 is an easy recommendation. The case is large, so I don't think it's a great option for a LAN system, especially at thirty pounds. However, if you are looking for a well-built, good looking case with great design and functionality, the AZZA Nova 8000 is worth a look.
Legit Bottom Line:
The AZZA Nova 8000 offers excellent expansion, solid build quality, builder-friendly features and allows users to build a visually appealing system with minimal effort. If you're looking to build a new gaming rig in a case with watercooling and expansion capabilities for under $100, the Nova 8000 should be on your short list.