We just reviewed the CyberPower Gamer Xtreme XI system with a 4.0GHz QX9770 and SLI GTX 280s that comes in an NZXT Khaos case. We thought it would be good to provide a separate look at the case since it has some cool features and looks quite nice. The Khaos case has been available for several weeks now. It is a full-tower offering a lot of space, with five 5.25" drive bays and eight 3.5" drive bays for hard drives. The front has two large 120mm fans preinstalled. In the top-back are two additional 120mm fans that will provide additional airflow to the CPU area, one venting upwards and the other blowing out the back.

Two of the 5.25" drive bays have faceplates that cover your installed optical drives. Looking at the rear, we see two small openings where the tubes of an external water-cooling device can enter/exit. At the bottom are two mounting areas for power supplies. As we noted in the CyberPower review, users can install two power supplies. NZXT also delivers a Y-cable so user can run both power supplies off of one wall socket. There are two wheels at the front of the chassis while the back has two rubber stoppers that keep the case in place. To move the case you lift up the handle at the back and wheel it around. (Mind your fingers, though.)

Internals

The inside looks like a standard ATX full-tower, but there are a few extras. The motherboard fits in the upper-left section and the power supplies as mentioned are at the bottom. Hard drives, optical drives, and anything else that uses the 3.5"/5.25" bays is at the front of the case, as usual. Between the drive bays and the motherboard is a small bracket where users can choose to mount three additional 120mm fans. There are two hard drive cages, each capable of holding up to four hard drives. Each of the drive cages has a 120mm fan preinstalled, so completely filling a cage and making a hard drive sandwich shouldn't cause any temperature concerns. If you want to remove the drive cages, you will need to take off the front bezel first. Motherboard installation on the other hand is made easier by the inclusion of a motherboard tray that can swing out with the removal of a few screws.

Installation

It's very easy to install all the components into this case. The motherboard tray helps users with the installation of the motherboard, graphics card(s), and additional expansion cards. However, it's worth nothing that certain larger CPU coolers may make it difficult or impossible to open the motherboard tray, in which case you would have to install component the old-fashioned way. Our Xigmatek HDT-S1283 that's around 6 inches tall couldn't fit through the opening when we tried to move the tray back into position. We were lucky since we could just remove a little plate to pass the cooler through, but wider/taller coolers will have problems - anything taller than around 6 inches will need to be installed after the motherboard is locked into its final position. There not much space between the bracket for the three additional 120mm fans, so we recommend removing it if you aren't planning to install these fans. Above the power supply is a square opening that was large enough even for all that cables for our triple-SLI setup. This helps keep the cables clean and out of the way. However, after we closed both sides of the case, we noticed that the mass of cables pushed against the right side and created a little gap between the case and side panel. A modular PSU (or PSUs) could help here, as you wouldn't have as many extra cables tucked into a small area.

Quick Thoughts

NZXT gets this case from the same factory where Hiper produces their Anubis and Osiris cases. The factory is located in Dongguan, China, and in fact I just visited this factory six months ago when we were invited to look at this and SevenTeam's power supplies factory. The build quality is very good and there is little negative to discuss. The only problem we encountered with our case is that the wheels at the front were a little damaged - we couldn't roll the case because the left wheel got jammed against the plate above it. NZXT should strengthen the base of the wheels a little more to prevent this problem from occurring. There are also ridges like you would find on a heatsink on the top and bottom of the case, but they are simply for appearance and don't really help improve cooling performance. Finally, the fans on the front, top, and back panels are clearly audible, and if you run multiple GPUs you will end up with a noisy system. The Khaos case has a lot of good elements, but the price starts at $399 and around €399 in Europe, which is quite high. A case like this is a long-term investment and some will be willing to pay the price of entry, though we can only hope prices will come down to a more affordable range.

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  • theangryintern - Friday, September 05, 2008 - link

    it kinda reminds me of the new case Dell is using for the XPS machines Reply
  • Tindytim - Sunday, August 31, 2008 - link

    Did they make those out of recycled TIE fighters?

    I don't think liking straight lines is 'old school'. The next case I'm getting will be an Antec:
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N8...">http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N8...
    Reply
  • steveyballme - Friday, August 29, 2008 - link

    Now I understand why people buy Macs!


    http://fakesteveballmer.blogspot.com">http://fakesteveballmer.blogspot.com
    Reply
  • teryan2006 - Friday, August 29, 2008 - link

    I agree. This has to be one of the ugliest looking case I have ever seen. Reply
  • Christoph Katzer - Saturday, August 30, 2008 - link

    Alright folks I will come up with some others ones soon ;) Reply
  • yyrkoon - Thursday, August 28, 2008 - link

    Call me old school, or whatever, but I like clean lines on my case exterior, and this one seems to attempt to be too trendy. I have to agree with the first poster, Lian Li makes much better looking cases, and for cheaper.

    The interior however I feel was extremely well thought out. I like the hinged motherboard tray, and the 120mm fans on the drive cages are really nice. This case seems to have taken the best things about the Antec p182, and built on them.
    Reply
  • mmntech - Friday, August 29, 2008 - link

    I don't know about trendy. I thought the mainstream was moving away from full tower units. I think the Khaos is pretty ugly. It looks like the old IBM server chassis. That's what I think this is, a server case that they're attempting to remarket at gamers. The modular design is handy though. A removable motherboard tray is something that should have been integrated into all enthusiast cases a long time ago. Reply
  • Omega215D - Thursday, August 28, 2008 - link

    For the money I'd rather have my CoolerMaster Cosmos S than the NZXT case. Reply
  • nubie - Thursday, August 28, 2008 - link

    Nice, but a Lian Li is better looking (my opinion) and just as well put together (possibly better), for less money.

    Can you remove the hinge pin on the motherboard tray to install the heatsink first? The way it looks to me is that you could put the extra large heatsink on the motherboard with the tray completely removed. Then attach with top screws and finally put the hinge rod back in.

    But this may or may not be easier depending on your heatsink. I put a Scythe Infinity Mugen on a P5NE-SLi with a bolt kit and it was nearly impossible to install even with the motherboard out of the case. If the Scythe came with a bolt kit and holes through the fins so you could use a long screwdriver it would be nice. (I know I know, there are better heatsinks, this one cost $45 with fan and was for overclocking a Celeron 430.)
    Reply
  • nubie - Thursday, August 28, 2008 - link

    Actually, this case does look pretty cool, but for the price I don't think I would spring for it. $250 or so and it will be a pretty popular case though. Reply

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