Introducing the Nanoxia Deep Silence 1

When I reviewed the BitFenix Ghost, some of you requested we take a look at the Nanoxia Deep Silence 1. Nanoxia isn't selling on American shores yet, but there's been a lot of buzz going around about this case, and Nanoxia has been steadily making inroads towards getting it into our hands. If you couldn't tell from the name, the Deep Silence 1 is designed for quiet, efficient running, and in many ways it looks like exactly the case I requested at the end of my review of the Ghost: same principles, just bigger and better.

As it turns out, Nanoxia wanted us to look at the Deep Silence 1 as well. I was initially reluctant as you can't actually buy it in the States yet, but hopefully this review will help change that. While the Deep Silence 1 isn't the grand slam some people make it out to be, it is very close, and demonstrates a real evolution in the way silent cases are designed. So what did this small German firm do with the Deep Silence 1 that makes it so different from other silent cases? A few things, as it turns out.

In my experience, cases engineered for silent running can oftentimes be chasing the wrong vectors. They're seldom bad cases, but acoustic padding can't make up for efficient airflow, and having to close off ventilation can actually cause more problems than it solves. It's entirely possible to produce a silent, well-ventilated case, but getting the design right means dodging a veritable minefield of decisions that will threaten to undermine your intended goal.

The result, thus far, has been that while cases like the BitFenix Ghost and Corsair Obsidian 550D aren't necessarily bad, with our testbed they've had to expend more effort on trying to smother the noise generated by high fan speeds rather than keeping the components cooler in the first place. Users interested in building a system designed to run quietly will have less trouble (they'll be more apt to use quieter-running parts), but the underlying issue persists, so the question is...was Nanoxia able to do the unthinkable and balance the equation?

Nanoxia Deep Silence 1 Specifications
Motherboard Form Factor Mini-ITX, Micro-ATX, ATX, XL-ATX
Drive Bays External 3x 5.25" (plus included 5.25"-to-3.5" adapter plate)
Internal 8x 2.5"/3.5"
Cooling Front 2x 120mm intake fan
Rear 1x 140mm exhaust fan (compatible with 120mm)
Top 2x 120mm/140mm fan mount
Side 1x 120mm/140mm fan mount
Bottom 1x 120mm/140mm fan mount
Expansion Slots 8
I/O Port 2x USB 3.0, 2x USB 2.0, 1x Headphone, 1x Mic
Power Supply Size ATX
Clearances HSF 185mm
PSU 200mm
GPU 12.4" / 315mm
Dimensions 20.35" x 8.66" x 20.94"
517mm x 220mm x 532mm
Weight 25 lbs / 11.34 kg
Special Features Removable fan filters
USB 3.0 via internal header
Analog dual-channel fan controller (three fans per channel)
Toggleable "chimney"
Removable drive cages
Acoustic padding on the doors and side panels
Price 109 EUR; expected US MSRP between $109-$129

Even just unboxing it, what struck me the most about the Deep Silence 1 is how heavy it is, and that was my first clue that it might be a bit better at its job than some of the other silent cases I've tested. It's appreciably heavier than both the BitFenix Ghost and the Corsair Obsidian 550D due to the use of both the acoustic padding and, frankly, a heavy steel frame. This is not a cheaply built case, and the thicker materials used in its construction should go a long way towards containing noise.

In and Around the Nanoxia Deep Silence 1
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  • Grok42 - Thursday, November 29, 2012 - link

    I with you I too have absolutely no need for a card reader and consider them to be at best a legacy device. Really they are more like the zip drive which some people really needed and used and a lot of people never needed or used.

    That said, I certainly would not care if they included one. I wouldn't see it much different than all the front, side, bottom USB ports they tend to litter cases with these days like blue bullet holes. Sure if I had my choice they wouldn't be there but they don't bother me either. Given that they cost $5 retail it should be a very cheap way to move any case up market for little additional manufacturing cost. The one critical caveat is that they not just install it in an external bay but make it like the USB port an integrate it into the case in a discrete way.
    Reply
  • roberta - Tuesday, November 27, 2012 - link

    Good Day Dustin,

    Thank You Very Much for a SUPERB review....
    I hope the Nanoxia Deep Silence 1 (DS1) becomes available in Australia in time for Haswell.

    Best Regards,
    Roberta
    Reply
  • nevcairiel - Tuesday, November 27, 2012 - link

    At least the DS1 is available here in Europe already (guess it helps being from the same country as the company making them), but before i go out and buy it, whats the outlook on future cases, like the DS2? Its not available yet, but i would love a comparison to the DS1 to decide if waiting is worth it. Reply
  • Dustin Sklavos - Tuesday, November 27, 2012 - link

    From what I can see, the DS2 looks like a slightly cut down DS1. If you want a DS1, pull the trigger on it. Reply
  • HollyDOL - Tuesday, November 27, 2012 - link

    I think openable chimney starts fulfilling it's purpose when you mount radiator under that... Reply
  • pdjblum - Tuesday, November 27, 2012 - link

    The materials used to construct the case are important to at least a few of us, if not more. It would be nice if they were listed in the spec table. I have left a comment to this effect a few times already, but to no avail. Please consider. Reply
  • monkey23 - Tuesday, November 27, 2012 - link

    I'm glad you finally got to review the case Dustin.

    I had my mind set on the Fractal Design R4 for my silent built even with all the Nanoxia DS1 reviews on the web. After reading your review, however, I'm not so sure anymore. It looks like you prefer the DS1 to the R4 since it has better performance and is "more solid". I agree that the DS1 could use some more refinement but aside from performance I thought that the R4 is more solid of the two. I guess I would like to know how the two compares on the ease of assembly, quality, features, etc. In other words if they both perform about equally at the same price, which one would you prefer?

    I know that the DS2 has been announced and it looks very similar to and shares many of the features of the R4. Maybe that could be the perfect case I'm looking for if it continues to improve on what they did with DS1.
    Reply
  • Dustin Sklavos - Tuesday, November 27, 2012 - link

    I reviewed the R4 and still have it on hand. I was going to build a system for a friend in it, but now I'm going to use the DS1 instead. They're also sending me a second one in the anthracite (gunmetal) finish, and I'll be moving my desktop into that most likely.

    That should be about all you need to know.
    Reply
  • monkey23 - Tuesday, November 27, 2012 - link

    Thanks for the reply. I know you like the case but I didn't expect you to move your desktop into it though. Maybe you will have to make another move in the future (into the DS2.) I guess we'll have to wait and see. Reply
  • monkey23 - Tuesday, November 27, 2012 - link

    Here's an afterthought: how would the R4 perform with Nanoxia's fans? I know Nanoxia started out making fans so they have the advantage on that department. I wonder if the R4 might perform at least as well given three better case fans. I know that would drive up the total costs and make it an unfair comparison though. Reply

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