Original Link: http://www.anandtech.com/show/7571/nanoxia-deep-silence-6-review

Nanoxia is a German manufacturer of high performance PC cases, and they're already well known amongst enthusiasts despite the fact that the company isn't even two years old. Since our review of their first product a year ago, the Deep Silence 1, the company has come a long way. They've released six cases and are slowly taking steps towards diversifying into other market segments. Nanoxia has also released multiple case accessories and four different cooling fans series. Unfortunately, the availability of their products in the US market remains sketchy at best, but that will hopefully be changing as we reported at CES -- and it can hardly be any worse than last year where the only option as to import their products.

Today we are looking at their latest and grandest creation, the Deep Silence 6. As the name implies, this is the sixth case that Nanoxia has designed and it's targeted towards a very specific segment of the market, namely hardcore enthusiasts and advanced users that want a very large case. The specifications of the case can be seen in the following table and certainly are impressive, particularly the dimensions and weight of the case. If you're like me and may be a bit lacking in upper body strength, you might need a friend or two to cope with moving the DS6.

Nanoxia Deep Silence Specifications
Motherboard Form Factor HPTX, E-ATX, XL-ATX, ATX, Micro-ATX, Mini-ITX
Drive Bays External 4 x 5.25"
Internal 13 x 2.5"/3.5"
Cooling Front 2 x 140mm (1,100 rpm)
Rear 1 x 140mm (1,100 rpm)
Top Max. 3 x 120/140mm, 2 x 140mm included (1,400 rpm)
Left Side optional 2 x 120 / 140mm
Bottom optional 2 x 120 / 1 x 140mm
I/O Port 2x USB 3.0, 2x USB 2.0, 1x Headphone, 1x Mic
Power Supply Size ATX
Clearances HSF 200mm
GPU 370mm
Dimensions 644mm ×250mm ×655mm(H×W×D)
Weight 20.8 kg
Prominent Features Support for multiple liquid cooling radiators
Removable fan filters
Analog dual-channel fan controller (three fans per channel)
Toggle-able, active "chimney"
Removable drive cage
Acoustic padding on the doors and side panels
Price 199 EUR / ~ 269 USD (Online: $230 USD)

We received the case supplied inside a well-designed, colorful cardboard box of massive proportions. Inside the box, the case is sandwiched between thick styrofoam slabs and wrapped in a nylon bag. This configuration usually offers enough protection during shipping and, despite the massive weight of the Deep Silence 6, we received the case unscathed from the other side of the planet, so no complains here.

Alongside the Deep Silence 6, Nanoxia also bundles a few other interesting items into the package. There's a well-written colored manual, four plugs for the liquid cooling hose holes, an adapter to convert an external 5.25" bay into a 3.5" bay, and a few cable ties and extensions for the ATX/CPU power cables. These last can prove useful when trying to get power cords to reach the appropriate motherboard connectors in such a spacious chassis.

Of course Nanoxia also includes the necessary hardware and screws required for the assembly of a system. Instead of a single nylon bag with everything simply thrown inside it, the company supplies each type of screw inside its own labelled nylon bag. It's a nice touch though perhaps not entirely necessary.

Nanoxia refers to the Deep Silence 6 as a "truly gigantic HPTX case" and it really lives up to the name. Although it can easily be mistaken for a Deep Silence 1 from a simple picture, the proportions of the Deep Silence 6 are massive. Measuring 644mm tall and 655mm deep (25.4" x 25.8"), the Deep Silence 6 is certainly not going to fit into a space designed for standard ATX cases. The truly gigantic part of the Deep Silence 6 however is the weight. At 20.8 kg (45.8 lbs) completely empty, this is one very heavy case and is most certainly not fun to move...unless you're looking for an alternative to weight lifting.

Aesthetically, the design of the Deep Silence 6 is simple yet highly refined, with clean lines and smooth surfaces. We will be reviewing the standard version but Nanoxia also offers a version with a windowed left side panel, as well as a milk-white version. Although the case's frame is made out of 1mm thick SECC steel, the top and front covers of the case are made of plastic, including the doors and the "chimney". These are standard materials for almost every modern PC case, and Nanoxia doesn't break any new ground here.

Both doors are hinged on the right side with magnets holding the doors in place. There's also a layer of sound insulating material applied on the inside of the doors. The top door hides four 5.25" drive bays, two analog fan controllers, and the reset button (and anyone with children will likely appreciate the reset button not being quite so readily accessible). The two top 140mm fans come factory installed, with wiring going to the fan controllers; there's a single 3-pin connector available for a third fan as well. Next to the fan controllers, the logo of the company is embossed on the plastic. The 5.25" drive bay covers are held in place via a plastic lock on their right side and they're easily accessible from the front of the case; all of the drive covers have dust filters installed as well.

The bottom door will most likely be opened far less often than the top door, as it only covers the two 140mm intake fans. The intake is on the side of the case and so the door only needs to be opened if the filters require cleaning. Nanoxia makes the cleaning of the filters -- or even the replacement of the fans themselves -- extremely easy as each fan and filter is attached to its own smaller plastic door. By opening the door, the user can simply pull the filter out and clean it or remove the fan altogether.

The power button can be found at the top side of the plastic front panel, encircled by a green LED. Moving a little towards the rear, the hidden port cluster can be seen, which pops out if pressed. We assume that most of the time it will be left open, as these days it seems almost every user has something connected to a front USB port, yet the option to hide it entirely is certainly welcome. The port cluster offers 3.5mm headphone and microphone jacks, two USB 2.0 ports, and four USB 3.0 ports.

The rest of the top panel is covered by the active "air chimney", which can be opened/closed via the large switch on the side. Nanoxia calls this an "active chimney" because it also acts as a switch, turning off the top panel fans when closed. The switch is very tight but the whole mechanism feels very robust and the panels close firmly, even though all the parts involved are plastic. It is possible to partially open the panels, but it does not make any real sense in our opinion.

We received the windowless version of the case, yet the left side panel has an opening with a plastic cover installed. The plastic cover may be removed, allowing for the installation of two 120mm or 140mm fans. Nanoxia has fan filters preinstalled and waiting; however, cleaning those filters isn't quite as simple as cleaning the the front panel filters, as they are secured with screws between the side panel and the fans. Each time the user wants to clean these two filters, the side panel will have to be removed, then the fans, and only then can you remove and clean the filters. Both side panels also have dense sound insulation applied.

The rear of the case is not very interesting, although it is worth noting the very large ventilation openings next to the expansion card slots and the presence of four round holes for liquid cooling hoses and cables near the top of the case. The four holes are covered with rubber grommets, but if you do not need/want to have openings there at all, you may use the supplied rubber covers to completely seal some or all of the holes.

Wrapping up our external inspection, four tall, nickel-plated feet lift the Nanoxia Deep Silence 6 about two centimeters above the surface. A long air filter comes installed at the bottom of the case as well, for the PSU intake fan and for the optional bottom intake fans. To remove this filter, the user only has to pull it off from the rear of the case, though this is usually not very convenient or even possible without moving the whole case (again, not an easy task for someone my size).

New Zealand called looking for their rugby team. Serisouly though, the all-black interior of the Nanoxia Deep Silence 6 is nothing if not roomy, with its non-removable motherboard tray being capable of holding up to HPTX form factor motherboards. A standard ATX motherboard looks almost misplaced in the Deep Silence 6 (see below). Of course, even smaller motherboards may be installed, including a Mini-ITX motherboard, but that would appear quite ridiculous, as it would be about the same size as the opening the motherboard tray has for the installation of CPU coolers. The tray has two such openings, for dual CPU motherboards; it makes things look a bit off if you're using a common ATX motherboard instead of a dual-socket board, however, but once the sides to the case are on it doesn't stick out quite as much.

Power supply units of virtually any length can be installed in the Deep Silence 6, as the compartment is very large and unobstructed by other parts. A very long power supply would only prevent the user from installing optional bottom cooling fans or potentially a liquid-cooling radiator. The power supply is placed on simple rubber standoffs and vibration-isolating foam padding sits between it and the rear of the case.

When it comes to storage devices, the DS6 can house a lot of drive. I has  13 slots for 2.5"/3.5" drives and four slots for 5.25" devices, so if you want to run a bunch of drives the Deep Silence 6 doesn't disappoint. Each internal 2.5"/3.5" drive has its own metallic tray. Rubber standoffs also isolate the 3.5" drives from the tray and can be installed into two different positions, adjusting the position of the drive about 1.5 cm backwards and thus allowing the user to install the drives with the connectors facing either side of the case. The 2.5" drives do not receive such special treatment and they are in direct contact with the tray.

The large front bay with the ten 3.5" trays cannot be removed; however, the smaller bay with the three trays at the bottom of the case can. Unfortunately, to remove it you have to unscrew it from the bottom of the case; this is definitely not a fun procedure once the already heavy case is full of hardware.

Although it is not really a special feature nowadays, Nanoxia has installed plastic latches on the four 5.25" bays that lock the devices in place. The Deep Silence 6 also has a 5.25" to 3.5" adapter included, in order to use an external 3.5" device if necessary.

A long metal bracket can be seen installed on the inside of the large HDD bay; this is one of the most prominent features of the Deep Silence 6, a bracket that allows the installation of a liquid-cooling radiator near the front of the case -- up to two 140x140mm radiators will potentially fit, or you could use a single 140x280mm radiator. Although it is not a ground-breaking innovation, this is a helpful feature, especially for those who may want to install two liquid cooling systems in the Deep Silence 6 (e.g. dual CPU motherboard users) or for installing a liquid cooler on a high-end GFX card. However, it would be a terribly bad idea to mount a radiator at the top of the case and then close the "chimney", especially with the radiator's fan connected to the switch.

Aside from the two 140mm intake fans at the front panel of the case, the Deep Silence 6 also has three 140mm exhaust fans installed from the factory, two on the top panel and one on the rear side of the case. It is noteworthy that the two 140mm fans on the top panel spin a little faster, with a maximum speed of 1400 RPM, while the other three fans have a top speed of 1100 RPM.

The other side of the motherboard tray is quite spacious as well, with a clearance of nearly two centimeters allowing for a very thorough cabling job. The length of the case requires some very long cables, which is why Nanoxia supplies extensions for the ATX and CPU power cables. A small PCB holds the connectors for the fans to be controlled by the front panel fan controller, with two connectors occupied by the two preinstalled top panel fans leaving a single third connector free.

Test Setup

As noted in our Corsair Obsidian 250D review, we've reworked our computer case testing methodology to improve how systems are tested. This is our first ATX (or larger) case with the new setup so we don't have any comparitive results. Let's quickly go over the basics of our new methodology.

Professional testing requires the simulation of real-world workloads but with repeatable results; this means that a perfectly controllable test setup and environment are required, especially for truly comparable results. Testing the thermal performance of any case with a real-world PC setup technically limits the comparability of the results to that configuration alone, as an active system interacts with its environment and the change of a single component alters many variables.

To accomplish this, we've developed synthetic loads that simulate the thermal output of real systems, with the benefit being that the outputs and loads are passive, steady, and quantifiable. This will allow us to focus on the thermal capabilities of the case alone, as the case has to deal with the entire thermal load by itself, regardless of the system that would be installed inside it.

Laboratory data loggers are used to monitor the PT100 sensors and control the safety relays, which are fully accessible via our custom softwareThree such loads have been developed for testing cases: mini-ITX, micro ATX, and standard ATX; we'll use the latter here. The ATX workload simulates a 200W CPU, 50W VRM, 30W RAM and 4 × 120W GFX card thermal load. Finally, three 3.5" HDD dummy loads have also been created, with each of them converting 30W of electrical power to thermal, bringing the total thermal load of the ATX test setup up to 850 Watts.

This is a rather extreme thermal load designed to "separate the men from the boys" as it were, and only the best of cases will be able to handle it for more than a few minutes. We also have a second less extreme workload that consists of a thermal load of 400W, with all of the aforementioned components except the HDD drives at about 42% power, which is more suitable for the majority of cases.

Thermal testing has been performed with all of the case's stock fan operating at maximum speed. Noise testing has been performed with a background noise level of 30.4dB(A).

Results and Discussion

As expected, the thermal performance of the Nanoxia Deep Silence 6 is exceptional. Even with a thermal load of 850W, the temperature readings stabilize relatively quickly, indicating that the stock cooling options of the case can cope with massive thermal loads without the temperatures rising too far above ambient. The space, multitude of ventilation openings, and ample airflow of the stock 140mm fans are sufficient for a continuous thermal load of 850W over 90 minutes.

The temperature of the HDD drives stabilize very quickly and at low temperatures, as the intake fans blow right at our dummy HDD thermal loads. Similarly, the temperature within the GPU area stabilizes quickly, only this time at relatively high temperatures due to the lack of any direct airflow. (Note that blower-style GPUs could help here.) The CPU area meanwhile is caught in the wake of the top and rear exhaust fans, and thus takes the longest time to stabilize but does so with very good final readings. 

The temperature of the air exiting the case at the end of our test is at 34.2 °C, 16.1 °C over ambient This is an excellent figure for such a massive thermal load, though this will become more noticeable as we test additional cases; for now you'll have to take our word for it.

Reducing the load down to 400W simply demonstrates the enormous thermal inertia of the gigantic case, which outside of the HDD loads has not stabilized even after several hours of testing. This is part of the reason for using such a large thermal load, as it helps to more quickly distinguish the cooling capabilities of various cases.

The noise levels of the Nanoxia Deep Silence 6 are not as low as we expect from a case with such a name. The five 140mm fans are easily audible from one meter away, with the meter displaying over 42 dB(A). In real-world terms, the Deep Silence 6 is not overly noisy, yet it's clearly audible with all of its fans running at 100%. It's likely that a fair percentage of users might find it overly loud for everyday usage.

After reducing the speed of all installed fans down to 70%, the noise level drops significantly, down to just over 37 dB(A), which equals to a drop of over 50%. After the first speed drop, the case remains audible but comfortable for all but the most sensitive eared users. Finally, halving the speed of all the cooling fans drops the noise levels dramatically, below 32 dB(A), making the Deep Silence 6 very discreet though not yet inaudible in a perfectly quiet environment.

We should note that closing the "chimney", which shuts down the top 140mm fans, has a dramatic impact on the noise levels of the case as well, dropping it down to 32.4 dB(A) with the rest of the fans running at maximum speed. That of course will also reduce the thermal performance of the Deep Silence 6, which may not matter much when you're not running a heavy load on the system, especially considering the size of the case and the remaining ventilation. However, this is not a viable option if a liquid cooling radiator has been installed on the top panel. Obviously reducing the fan speeds will also affect thermal performance, but ultimately the DS6 can cater to either end of the noise/cooling spectrum.

With the Deep Silence 6, Nanoxia attempted to super-size their first design, the Deep Silence 1,turning it into a spacious, high performance behemoth. The end result is certainly very good, with the high quality a user would expect from Nanoxia and excellent thermal performance. As for space, the Deep Silence 6 has it in spades. Dual CPU and multi-GFX systems will easily fit inside this case, as will multiple liquid-cooling radiators. If desired, it would be possible to fit as many as five 1 × 140mm radiator liquid coolers in the Deep Silence 6 (one at the rear, two at the top, one at the front and one at the bottom of the case), enough for a dual CPU/triple GFX system.

Aesthetics are a subjective factor; while some (including the author) will love the clean, refined design of the Nanoxia Deep Silence 6, others will criticize it and most likely compare the appearnace with that of a refrigerator. Still, we would not go as far as to describe the design as "classic", as Nanoxia does. In fact, the organized lines and clean surfaces of the Deep Silence 6 are the very definition of a "minimalistic" design. A "classic design" and a "design classic" are two entirely different things and Nanoxia is most likely aiming for the latter. The only diminishing factor, if you purchase the version with the side panel window that is, is the second motherboard tray opening, which definitely is functional for users with dual CPU motherboards but will leave a large opening next to any ATX or smaller motherboard.

As with every product ever made, the Nanoxia Deep Silence 6 is not perfect. The most obvious flaw with this case is the massive weight, which will likely result in many of its users looking for gym registrations. Even when empty, the case is almost impossible to handle by anyone without some upper body strength. A set of wheels to replace the feet of the case would be more than a welcome addition, or even selling these as an optional extra. A second minor complaint would be the quality of the rubber grommets around the motherboard tray; they did feel flimsy, so we decided to stress test one by forcefully moving back and forth a bunch of cables through the hole. Soon afterwards, it started cracking. The vast majority of users will never notice such a problem but those who frequently upgrade their systems (or are clumsy at doing so) are likely to end up with a damaged grommet or two.

Super-sizing an existing design can also have significant side effects on the mechanical cohesion of, well, everything. The Deep Silence 6 is no exception; the chassis of the case is exceptionally sturdy and this is why the case is so heavy as well, yet this approach backfires because this chassis bases its structural integrity solely on the metallic frame and the side panels, without any serious support between the four main exterior panels of the chassis. While this probably worked fine with their smaller designs, elongating all of the main panels and doubling the weight of the case weakens the mechanical strength of the design significantly.

As a result, once the side panels are removed, the (empty) chassis frame twists by quite a few minutes, perhaps even over a degree, on its own. This is apparent when installing/removing the side panels, which will not align with the main body of the case until they're screwed in tightly. This is far from a major problem, and the Deep Silence 6 is certainly strong enough to withstand a lot of punishment, yet it is easily noticeable and gives the feeling of a bad mechanical design. On the other hand, extra supports would not only reduce the interior functionality of the case but would probably restrict certain features, such as the front liquid cooling radiator bracket, and they would also increase the weight of an already ridiculously heavy case even further.

Overall, Nanoxia did a great job with the Deep Silence 6, even though it is essentially is a super-sized Deep Silence 1 with added features. It is well made, the design is attractive, it is ludicrously spacious, and it's very versatile. Priced at 199 EUR and currently available for $230 USD or in white for the same price -- though neither option is widely available in the US at present — the Deep Silence 6 is rather competitively priced, steering clear of the price range of other monstrous contraptions like the Corsair 900D and the Cooler Master Cosmos II.

Still, a case of such size and pricing is far from mainstream and has a very specific target audience, which is small and often very demanding. If you're part of that target audience, the DS6 may be precisely what you're looking for. The DS6 does well, and while it's not a clear winner in every respect it also manages to avoid having any serious flaws. If you have the desire (and the requisite muscles) for this sort of case, it's certainly worth a look.

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