NZXT Takes Cooling to a New Level With the Tempest
With gaming PC components getting bigger and hotter, this is pushing enthusiasts to find the right case to pack all their gear into and keep it cool in the process. Well, today we will be looking at a case that aims to do just that. Today we will be giving the Tempest gaming case from NZXT a good once over. Let’s start by looking at the specifications and features of the tempest.
- Dual radiator ready: The NZXT Tempest is pre-drilled for mounting a dual 120mm radiator at the top of the chassis, currently compatible and tested with Swiftech MCR220, Asetek Dual radiator solution, and Thermaltake TMG2.
- Airflow King: Dual 120mm intake, Dual 140mm Exhaust with an additional side 120mm fan and rear 120mm fan all included.
- Maximize Expandability: E-ATX support allows more compatibility with high-end components including large graphics cards.
- Easier accessibility & cable management: Cable routing is pre-drilled on the motherboard so users can hide cables behind the motherboard tray, allowing a cleaner look and better airflow. Power, E-SATA, USB and Reset buttons are mounted at the top to give better accessibility.
- Bottom mounted PSU: PSU mounting at the bottom allows for more security and separation of heat from the CPU -Server-like HDD space: Dual 120mm fans cool cages that hold up to 8 HDDs allowing for large capacity systems while maintaining cool temperatures.
- Model: Tempest Series
- Case Type: Mid Tower
- Front Panel Material: Plastic
- Dimensions (W x H x D): 211.5 X 521.5 X 562 mm
- Cooling System
- Front: 2 X 120 mm Blue LED (included)
- Rear: 1 X 120 mm (included)
- Side Panel: 1 X 120mm Blue LED (included)
- Top: 2 X 140mm Fan (included)
- 3x External 5.25" Drive Bays (up to six 5.25")
- 1x 3.5" External bracket
- 8x Internal 3.5" Drive Bays Screwless Rail Design
The Tempest comes in a sturdy cardboard box sporting a nice picture of the case along with the specs.
Pulling the case out of the box we can see that the Tempest is packed with the standard foam end caps, but wrapped in not-so-standard plastic wrap. There were a few layers of this plastic wrap, but it all came off easily.
With the case unpacked we can finally get a good look at it. At first glance the case looks nice -- simple. The all-black is fine with me as I was never one for flashy colors. We can also see the whole front of the case is mesh. This is great for air flow, but will make it interesting with noisy components.
Looking more at the front we can see the rear fan through the mesh front and filter. Down each side of the front there are two grooves that run top to bottom for the majority of the case. In these channels are clear plastic strips that will light up when the system is powered up: more on this later.
Moving to the top of the case we can see the front panel buttons, USB ports, eSATA port, and audio ports. Behind that at the very top of the case we can see the dual 140mm exhaust fans.
Moving to the side we can see the side window with the preinstalled 120mm blue LED fan. The window comes covered with a plastic film to prevent scratches. This film pealed off easily and left no residue.
This window is not like you typical side panel window. Looking at it from an angle you can see the window has a bevel detail to it.
Moving around to the back of the case we see that the PSU is bottom mounted. We can also see the rear mounted 120mm fan and the vents just to the right of the expansion slots. Between the vent and the expansion slots are two predrilled holes with grommets that are for an external water cooler if one should ever be used.
Looking at the bottom of the case we can see the standard black rubber feet.
I temporarily powered up the case so I could see what the case look liked lit up. I was surprised just how bright the case was. Gamers will love this, thought I don’t see anyone 24/7 in a bedroom with it as it could make a nice night light.
Pulling the side of the case off we can get a feel for the room it has. We can also see that NZXT made sure that end users could not complain that the power leads for the fans and font panel cables were too short. You also have an option for power connectors on the fans as they have both pass-through molex and 3 pin connectors. This is nice if you want to run a fan controller to control the fans -- no need to rewire the fan or buy a special adaptor. On the right of the motherboard tray there are two slots through which you can route wires. The lower edge of the motherboard tray has a rolled edge to stiffen it. This is fine, but it closes the gap between the side panel and the tray giving less room to get thick cables through; this may make running cables interesting. At this point you are probably wondering the same thing I was, "What’s the white bag covering?"
A big honking mess of wires that’s what! These are the front panel cables and power connectors for the front fans. This took a second or two to untangle.
Looking to the back of the case we can see the preinstalled rear 120mm fan and expansion slot covers. I would also like to mention that the PSU mounting area has an adaptor plate so you can choose the orientation of your PSU. This will be most useful to those who have a PSU with a bottom mounted cooling fan.
Back towards the front we can see the hard drive cages, accessories box, and the 5.25 bays. Each of the hard drive bays are tool-less and hold up to 4 drives. The top cage can be removed to make room for three more 5.25 devices, NZXT provides you with the drive rails to do this.
If you need a 3.5 inch bay NZXT also provides a 5.25” to 3.5” bay adaptor that can be installed into any of the 5.25” drive bays.
Looking closer at the top 5.25” bays we can see a different style tool-less retaining system than the normal drive rail setup. Outside of the bay there is the locking bar. The locking bar has posts that stick through the mount holes in the bay and mate up to the drive mounting holes.
When you turn the lock it puts pressure on a silicon padded drive rail on the inside of the drive bay. This keeps the drive secure as well as dampens vibrations from the drive.
After pulling the front off the case we can see the back side of the drive bay covers. The screens are easy to remove and clean.
With the front panel off we can get a good look at the front of the case.
Starting at the bottom we can see the wire pass though has a rubber grommet to keep wires from being cut.
Moving up to the hard drive cages we can see the fan mount is screwed in and prevents the drive cage from being easily removed.
After removing the four retaining screws the drive cage can be easily removed. Unless you’re looking to have the extra space for 5.25” drives or changing the case fan I don’t think one would ever need to take the case apart this far.
To install a dual 120mm radiator or to replace the top fans you first have to remove the top panel. The top panel is held on with 4 screws on the inside of the case and 2 behind the front panel. With the top removed we can see the dual 140mm fans and the pre drilled mounting points for a radiator.
Installing Parts and Conclusion
NZXT provides all the parts needed to mount your hardware, and even labels the baggies that the various parts are in. This is something I would like to see more. Experienced system builders may know what the parts are by looking at them, but a first-timer will appreciate every bit of help he/she can get.
Installing parts into the Tempest was not difficult. The interesting part was finding a way to route all the wires, and hide the un-used PSU wires. There is a nice space under the lower hard drive cage that came in handy to hide the extra wires. As you can see in the image I didn’t do a super job, but I didn’t spend a whole lot of time on it either. With a little time and some zip ties one can achieve the clean look.
All the case wiring was more than long enough to reach the mother board connections, unlike my PSU cabling. Even with the rather long cables the PC&C 750 quad has I could not get the 8 pin power connector to reach the top of the board by running it behind the board. Since I don’t have an 8 pin extension I ran it through the gap between the motherboard and the video card. This works for the short term, but the cable covers many capacitors and few heat sinks on the motherboard. So for the long haul an extension and re-routing behind the board would be best.
The Tempest from NZXT’s crafted series is a very nice looking computer case. With a current street price of $109 plus shipping it is in the same price bracket as the ever-so-popular $99.99 Antec Nine Hundred hardcore gaming case. The Antec Nine Hundred was reviewed here on Legit Reviews last year, so be sure to check out that review also. To compare these two cases one will find that they are similar in style, but the Tempest has a little more going for it; it can hold up to 8 hard drives and the top of the case is designed so that it can mount some of the most common dual 120mm water cooling radiators to it with out modifications. Buying a case is obviously a personal decision, but it would be hard to go wrong with the Tempest. With the MSRP of $99 the price and performance value is really good with the Tempest since it comes with all six case fans already installed. The claim by NZXT that the Tempest is the Airflow King with 6 massive fans seems to be true!
Like with almost all cases with a bottom mount PSU, there is the chance that you will need an extension for the motherboard power connectors. It’s only a couple of more dollars for an extension set so you might want to pick one up just in case. This isn't a deal breaker by any means, just something that should be pointed out.
If you are broke or just waiting on your tax returns why not try to win one of these cases? Legit Reviews will be giving one lucky forum member a brand new NZXT Tempest case in two weeks! In order to win this case you need to be an active member of the forums and membership is free!
Legit Bottom line: The NZXT Tempest is a nice case that is easy to install parts in and has enough airflow to ensure that your hardware stays nice and cool