Conclusion: We Need the Nanoxia Deep Silence 1

If it seems like I nitpicked the Nanoxia Deep Silence 1 in this review, it's only because the case itself is actually an incredibly strong design. It's not a perfect one, but Nanoxia did a heck of a lot right, and in many ways they're reminding me of another small company that was looking to break through in the US not too long ago: BitFenix. Together with BitFenix, Fractal Design, and Corsair, Nanoxia threatens to be part of a new wave of case designers that will shake the old stalwarts out of their complacency.

Before I start gushing about the DS1, it's only fair that I highlight some of the issues that the enclosure does have. As I said, it is by no means perfect. While Nanoxia assures me the I/O pop-up hinge has been fixed, that's not something I can readily test and prove (at least not until they send me another review unit) so I have to take them at their word. The old style mounting grooves for the side panels mean you'll be resting your body on the side of the case as you try to replace the panels, and it feels like the measurements for the motherboard tray seem ever so slightly off. Nanoxia's default fans are also obviously efficient, but because you have to push them to their fastest settings to get good thermal performance out of the case (great, even), that means there's very little room to grow without adding or changing fans. Finally, I'd like to see Nanoxia do a better job of matching the tone of the plastic fascia with the tone of the steel sides.

With all that said, while I was testing the DS1, I was expecting it to run $150 at the least due to the sheer weight and durability of the materials used, and at that price I felt it would've been competitive. It's feature rich (I'm particularly bullish on the integrated analog fan controller), mostly user friendly, and offers solid performance in a very comfortable acoustic envelope. When they told me they were looking at a substantially lower price range, my first thought was "well, that's an editor's choice award right there." Thermal and acoustic performance meet or beat every other silent enclosure I've tested, build quality is good, and features are generous.

BitFenix's Ghost and Fractal Design's Define R4 are both less expensive, but they don't perform as well either, and they're not as solid. Corsair's Obsidian 550D is more expensive and performs worse. The Deep Silence 1 could still use some refinement, but for the targeted price, it's going to be very tough for other manufacturers to beat. To me, that's Bronze Editor's Choice Award material. It doesn't quite live up to the hype, but it comes very close.

Noise and Thermal Testing, Overclocked
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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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