NZXT Nemesis Elite

Written by Randy Torio    Tuesday, 04 January 2005 11:00
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Introduction


It's not surprising that over the last couple years we have seen some crazy-looking gaming cases.  Cases made by companies such as Raidmax, Logisys, and Thermaltake have become more creative and innovative.  While these cases are too flashy for my tastes, the fact that these cases still exist signifies a large user base for these types of cases.  I browsed around several forums and noticed that a good amount of people purchased these cases for cooling potential.  These cases typically have more fans than standard cases.  Today, NZXT has given us the honor of reviewing their latest gaming case - the Nemesis Elite Edition.

 

 


 

 

Packaging

As with most shipped cases, the case came in a well packed box with thick Styrofoam to prevent any damage.  The case was in a large plastic bag to prevent superficial damage, such as scratches.  The box itself stood out.  The box showcases the actual case and describes all the unique features that come with the Nemesis Elite.  The box also shows the different colors that you can choose from: Orange, Blue, Black, Gray, and Silver.  NZXT conveniently sent me my personal favorite color for a case, Black.

 

 


 

Exterior

The first aspect I noticed when opening the case was the mirror-like automotive finish on the paint.  For a case that is a tad over 100 dollars, the finish on this case is amazing.  I then noticed how light the case is.  The case looks heavy because of the meaty front bezel and the top control unit.  However, the aluminum itself isn't very thick, which makes the case very light.  The thickness is similar to Antec's Super Lanboy, which means it is easily dented.  The size of the case is also comparable to Antec's Super Lanboy and boasts almost the same placements of 120mm fans, in addition to the added side 120mm window fan.  The window is mounted above the side door with an effect similar to how Cooler Master places their windows over the side panel.  The side window also comes with a nifty, although restrictive, mesh cover and flashy "N" fan grill. The most striking feature is the front bezel, which sports a large chrome faceplate over a robotic-looking mold.  The look resembles an armor-plated tank, as the sides of the chrome plate look bolted on.  NZXT has tried to capture a "strong" look with this faceplate and has done so successfully, as the case looks very intimidating.

Perhaps the best exterior feature of this case is the contraption at the top of the case.  This unit has a nifty little swivel front for hiding and exposing the case's Firewire, USB, and audio connections.  It also has an LCD screen that flips up conveniently and has features for three fan controlled connections, three temperature settings, and time display settings.  NZXT has kept the enthusiast in mind by adding the ability to control fans and check temperatures, because most gamers would want to overclock their system to the limits while keeping noise to a minimum. The LCD is lit brightly by a blue backlight, which is more effective than the standard 2 LED lighted fan controllers.  Unfortunately, the fan controls are controlled by the temperatures and cannot be manipulated manually.  Make sure you place those temperature probes correctly if you want to keep your 120mm fans as quiet as possible.

 

 


 

Interior

The interior of this case may seem full of wires due to the placement of the fan controller and LCD unit on top of the case.  Placing any peripheral contraption directly on top of the case means wires would have to descend directly below the middle of the case, because most of the connections to the motherboard are located at the bottom.  NZXT also includes a handy toolbox to place all necessary case hardware, such as screws and bay brackets.  The toolbox can easily slide into a 3.5" bays, but it will block the airflow of the 120mm fan in front.  The case also comes with an Orion power supply.  I honestly cannot recommend using this power supply to power a state of the art gaming rig.  If you were planning on using this case for a moderate gaming rig, then this power supply might be just adequate.  All the fans are 120mm BLUE LED fans, which means optimal airflow with low noise.  The mesh grill for the exhaust is an effective honeycomb pattern that allows optimal airflow.  The front intake fan uses the same honeycomb pattern, but is blocked by the toolkit.

 

 


 

Installation

Installation in this case was similar to many other cases, but with a few drawbacks. Like most cases, the Nemesis Elite uses screwable standoffs to mount the motherboard. I prefer this method, rather than clip-on standoffs, as the motherboard is more likely to align with the screwable standoffs. For those of you needing a motherboard tray, the Nemesis Elite lacks a tray.

5.25" and 3.5" drives are mounted using convenient snap-on brackets that are easily mounted on to your drives. While this is convenient, it will also require the removal of the front bezel for 5.25" drives, as the optical drive will not fit through the bezel. This problem is easily remedied, because the bezel is easily removable. The PCI-Slot installation posed a small problem as well. Expansion cards via PCI-slots are secured through a PCI-Slot clip that can be latched to tighten down the PCI-cards. Although this is convenient for light cards, heavy cards, such as my 6800 Ultra, might droop because the latch is not tight enough.

Another problem, while aesthetic, is the hard drive cage. The hard drive cage is designed so that the hard drive's connections are exposed in front rather than in the rear. This makes hiding thick IDE cables a pain. While this a small drawback, many computer users are obsessive about wire management and the hard drive cables will prove quite annoying.

The rest of the installation was a breeze. All 120mm fans are powered by Molex connectors, but they also have rpm wires to monitor your fan speeds. There is a button behind the door bezel that allows the user to choose from seven different colors for the front "mouth" part.  The fan controller controls fan speed in relation to the temperature. This means your fans are automatically fan controlled, but in order to maintain minimum sound levels, you must control the temperatures.

 

 


 

Conclusion and Thoughts

 

 

 

 


My personal taste favor the Lian-Li or Cooler Master ATC cases. However, I have consistently found myself purchasing a classy Lian-Li or Cooler Master case and then spending the extra cash (on top of the excess cash I had to use for these pricey aluminum cases) just to mod and add more functionality to these simple cases. The end result is an expensive case with visible failed attempts at modding and more expensive gear, such as fan controllers, 120mm fans, windows, and fan grills. Unless you possess the urge to mod, most of us don't want to expend the extra time and effort.  NZXT has provided a case that meets all of those modding demands without the extra work.  The case uses optimal low noise 120mm fans, sports a custom window, provides all the lighting you'll ever need, possesses a beautiful and functional fan controller, has a professional paint finish, is made of all aluminum, and utilizes tool-less design for installation. As far as thematic aesthetics are concerned, the overall theme of the Nemesis is not as "rice-rocket-inspired" as several of the other gaming cases on the market.  Rather, the simple Chrome faceplate carries with it a sense of stalwartness. Overall, this case is amazing for its price and should be on anyone's short list, if they are considering a mid-tower with functionality.  The NZXT case gets the Insanetek "Recommended" Award.

Pros:

  • Use of only 120mm fans combined with effective honeycomb grills
  • All aluminum
  • Nifty built-in LCD screen with fan control and temperature features
  • Built-in window
  • Professional paint finish
  • Tool-less design
  • Pre-modded features with front "Nemesis" chrome faceplate and lights galore
  • Very affordable

Cons:

  • Lackluster power supply
  • Too "flashy" for a normal user
  • Hard drive cage prevents hiding of IDE wires

We would like to thank NZXT for providing us the sample. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to hit us up in the forums. You can also check out more of our latest reviews on the front page.

 

 

 

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