In and Around the Nanoxia Deep Silence 1

Producing a good case design doesn't necessarily mean strictly deviating from established convention in favor of something new, and what Nanoxia has done with the Deep Silence 1 is smartly integrate some of the better design choices from competitors alongside some innovations of their own. This case obviously wasn't developed in a vacuum, but as you'll see, the combination of design decisions is incredibly smart.

In terms of building materials, Nanoxia opted to use a combination of thick SECC steel and soft-touch-finished plastic (similar to what BitFenix enjoys). Unfortunately they weren't able to match tones quite as well as BitFenix tends to, but it's a minor complaint.

The front of the Deep Silence 1 is probably one of the most striking parts of the design. Silent enclosures traditionally feature doors, and BitFenix and Corsair opted to install doors that opened in either direction. Nanoxia's only open one way (hinged on the right side), but they actually split the door in two, with the top door handling access to the fan controller, reset button, and external bays while the bottom door hides the intake fans. To ensure the intakes are properly fed, Nanoxia also ventilated the sides of the fascia. Additionally, the intake fans themselves are on hinges, allowing you to easily pop them open and clean the dust filters. There are a lot of little things going on here but it adds up to a series of smart, practical descisions that nonetheless allow the case to maintain a very attractive face.

Keeping with that clean but functional design, the top of the case features the power button (interestingly, the power light which circles the power button glows green instead of blue) and two hidden features. The first is the port cluster, which is hinged and hidden away until it needs to be popped up and used. Even open, it doesn't really disturb the aesthetic. The other is Nanoxia's "chimney," which is mechanically raised and lowered by a switch on the left side. Nanoxia cites the chimney as being good for allowing excess heat to silently exit the case, but I found the claim specious and similar to how SilverStone claims the 90-degree motherboard rotation allows for heat to more efficiently be transferred outside of the case. SilverStone's 90-degree cases work because they have intake fans that blow directly on the hottest components; convection has virtually nothing to do with it. By the same token, I think the chimney is probably more appropriate for ventilating the top fan mounts when those mounts are occupied.

Side panels are held to the Deep Silence 1 by thumbscrews, and they slide in on unfortunately old-timey notches. This is something that could and should've been brought up to modern standards by using hinges to hold the panels in place. When you do get inside the DS1, though, you'll find a design that's an excellent refinement of existing case design conventions.

There are a grand total of three drive cages, two of which are removable, and you can mount one to the bottom of the case (above the intake mount) or remove that mounting entirely to install another fan. If you remove both cages you're still left with three drive sleds, which for many users should be more than adequate, and this leaves one of the intake fans completely unblocked. Nanoxia also includes toolless locking mechanisms for the 5.25" drive bays, and better still, they've included routing holes in the motherboard tray not just for ATX boards, but for Micro-ATX as well. It's actually a really smart decision; if the end user is using a smaller board they can still keep things clean, while larger boards simply block the unneeded holes.

Finally, I'd like to point out that Nanoxia includes a wealth of conveniences in the package for the DS1, including an extension cable for the AUX 12V line, an adaptor tray and shield for one of the 5.25" drive bays to allow installing a 3.5" external peripheral, and even grommets to completely block the liquid cooling routing holes in the back of the enclosure. There's also a healthy amount of space inside for installing radiators to the top, back, and bottom, and the DS1 is one of the only cases I've seen that supports 140mm/280mm radiators.

Introducing the Nanoxia Deep Silence 1 Assembling 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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