Despite having been around for close to five years in the USA, NZXT isn’t quite as well known here in Europe and while it’s making inroads into market with full system retailers, it hasn’t had the level of enthusiast exposure as more recognised brands like Cooler Master or Antec.
This looks set to change though, with the company releasing a very respectable number of new chassis this year - the latest is the NZXT Whisper Classic and that's what we're looking at today. Billed as an ultra low noise chassis which doesn’t compromise on features, let’s take a look to see if NZXT has what it takes to compete with the big boys in the ever competitive market for enthusiast chassis.
Having spent most of last week tinkering inside the mountainous Cooler Master ATCS 840, the NZXT Whisper seemed a little small in comparison. This was before a little perspective was employed – it’s actually a standard sized ATX chassis in line with the majority of cases out there.
Click to enlarge
Bar the front fascia the whole case is built from riveted steel making for an extremely solid (if rather heavy) base, with all the panels and plastic fascia fitting together perfectly, which is always an encouraging sign. The top, bottom and side panels are all painted in black with a quality, yet simple finish, but while the inside is left a boring grey painted steel the side panels are foam insulated to improve noise deadening, as we’ll see when we venture inside.
It’s exceptionally plain and simple to look at and if complete understatement was what NZXT was after it has scored highly. From the side especially, the NZXT Whisper just looks like a boring black case with nothing much aesthetically remarkable about it at all.
The one exception is the front fascia which tries to spice things up a bit with the addition of a blue LED back lit triangular steel plate, attached to the case’s plastic door. While it looks a bit swish at first, it ends up feeling more than a little out of place once you use it. The back lit metal plate has been added only to improve the looks of the case and serves no other use to the chassis: hardly a sign of elegant design that balances form into function.
Sadly the magnetically secured door is a bit of a let down too; this is made of flimsy feeling plastic and only opens to an angle of just 115°. If you were to leave the door open and bang into it accidentally with enough force, should you walk into it for example, you’re going to snap it off very easily indeed. A problem other manufacturers solved years ago by using double hinged doors or 180° hinges. While there will always be debate about the merits of case doors – you love them or you hate them – this certainly isn’t a fine example.
Click to enlarge
Behind the door the plastic front fascia houses seven 5.25” drive bays, including a 5.25” to 3.5” drive bay adaptor, as well as a meshed section at the bottom to allow airflow through to the single front 120mm intake. The fascia pulls free from the chassis with a bit of force, revealing the blue LED lit 120mm fan used as the front air intake. This is screwlessly mounted into a removable plastic housing which incorporates a dust filter that’s a very useful inclusion we’re very pleased to see.
Unfortunately, the120mm fan itself doesn't quite seem to fit into the plastic housing properly and removing the fan and housing from the fascia is very difficult thanks to it reluctantly clipping into the mount and bending the plastic outward. This is a disappointment considering the fact that the metal panelling and plastic fascia fit together so well, and will be a real pain whenever you want to clean that front dust filter or replace the fan.