Considering the NZXT Beta ships with a solitary 120mm front mounted intake, which subsequently has to blow through the case’s perpendicularly mounted hard drive cage, it’s no surprise to find that it’s one of the hottest cases we’ve ever tested, finishing dead last under idle and CPU load and sitting just above the bottom of the table under GPU load conditions.
When idle there’s obviously very little air movement inside the case, and while the large ventilated area around the core hardware undoubtedly helps, passive airflow is no substitute for correctly directed cooling. A CPU temperature of 13°C might not seem too different, but remember this is when the system is entirely idle doing effectively nothing and is 5°C hotter than the best cases.
Under CPU load this changes and while we’re limited somewhat by our trusty Asus CPU cooler, the Beta’s lack of airflow results in a seriously toasty 27°C CPU delta T and a 21°C GPU delta T to go along with it, leaving it sad decidedly at the bottom of our performance charts.
GPU load is even worse, with our passively cooled graphics card topping out at 46°C above room temperature. Here the side panel ventilation helps considerably, saving the Beta’s blushes somewhat, but it’s still pretty terrible. Note the CPU temperature here too – the heat rising off of the GPU is heating the CPU to 12°C above its idle temperature due to the lack of airflow exhausting the hot air.
Unsurprisingly though, considering the Beta ships with a solitary 120mm fan, it’s fairly easy going on the ears and is actually very quiet, but this is only at the cost of terrible cooling. Finding a good balance between noise and cooling performance is always important, but we rather think that the decision not to include any additional cooling fans has more to do with pricing than noise level concerns.
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Value and Conclusion
With decidedly flimsy build quality and sub standard out of the box cooling, there’s not too much to like here, but the Beta does have some redeeming features. It is at least straightforward to build a system into, and the painted finish of the interior is a bonus that we’re not used to seeing at this price.
It’s impossible to ignore the Beta’s faults though, especially in comparison to the ever present Antec Three Hundred which so heavily dominates this budget market. It not only offers vastly superior cooling to the Beta thanks to four speed adjustable fans, but its overall build quality is far superior (if lacking the Beta’s swish interior). At this price point you need to at least get the basics right and the Beta has focused too much on looking the part rather than actually being the part.
With poor build quality, worse cooling and utterly eclipsed by the identically priced Antec Three Hundred on both accounts the Beta really doesn’t really have much going for it at all. We understand that there’s a need for budget cases, but when you’re compromising on so many levels there’s no excuse. As the name rather suggests, this is a product that should have remained in beta.