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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  • Dustin Sklavos - Tuesday, November 27, 2012 - link

    I think there's a reasonable chance the R4 would be much more competitive, either with Nanoxia's fans or with a pair of 140mm be quiet! fans on the intake.

    The issue the R4 runs into, for me at least, is that it has virtually no clearance in the top for a radiator. What they need to do is what SilverStone did with the Temjin TJ04-E; shift the mounts towards the left side of the case to clear the motherboard.
    Reply
  • ImSpartacus - Tuesday, November 27, 2012 - link

    You guys not only keep your review samples, but you give them to your friends!? I thought it was good form to give away review samples if you have no long term use for them (except in a test bed or something).

    I feel like I misinterpreted this comment. Could you clarify the policy on what happens to review samples after a review goes up?
    Reply
  • Grok42 - Thursday, November 29, 2012 - link

    My company reviews products completely unrelated to computers. We footnote what we did with each sample at the bottom of the review. 50% of the equipment we send back at the request of the manufacturer. Of the other 50% we give away about 40% to our readers. I will say that giving them away takes a lot of time and expense. This is why 10% ends up going to internal staff or in a broom closet. I will say that when you review a lot of equipment you completely lose any sense of cost in a weird way so I wouldn't worry too much about it influencing a reviewers review. You still put yourself in the place of a customer when evaluating value but in your mind that $500 piece of equipment is worth $0 since you have 40 similar ones lying around collecting dust. Reply
  • Grok42 - Thursday, November 29, 2012 - link

    Gunmetal finish?! Did I miss that in the review? I see they have white and Silver too but I think the Gunmetal is the best. The contrast of color makes it look a bit less German. I didn't think I'd be interested in owning a case like this but I have to admit I want one now. Certainly will keep it in mind for my next server. Reply
  • dawp - Tuesday, November 27, 2012 - link

    I have a couple of fans (the fx-1250) that are are dead silent on low and are quite on high, they seem to be good fans but one interesting marketing ploys is that they will run submerged in water. if you look on youtube you can find several vids of them doing that.

    I got them at crazypc
    Reply
  • dawp - Tuesday, November 27, 2012 - link

    no edit: the model is fx12-1250 Reply
  • SilentRunning - Tuesday, November 27, 2012 - link

    This is a case that appeals to me on many levels. But what it appears to lack is any ventilation for the upper half of the front. I always put hot swap bays in and some ventilation is a must. Reply
  • FRUNOBULAX - Tuesday, November 27, 2012 - link

    After so many rigs for which I paid pros to assemble, the Nanoxia DS1 was my choice for the first system to build from scratch with my own bare hands (figuratively, of course; but I did indeed not need my screwdriver often). While I did experience most of the issues mentioned (except the sticky I/O hinge at the top), I found none of them difficult to overcome, and the end result is sheer beauty. The combination of price and performance, I was simply wowed.
    What then really made the case an outstanding experience as a customer was the result of an inquiry I had sent them (some newbie question on audio headers and power switch connectors). I mailed it off on Sunday night from their website. I received the most friendly, competent and comprehensive answer I have yet received (in such combination) from a manufacturer or vendor, on Monday, 9:18 am.
    Should I ever need anything in the future that is also available Nanoxia, you bet they'll be my first choice.
    (Let me mention I'm German, yet I hold myself to have no tendency to fawn, or favor German products for nationalist considerations)
    Reply
  • stratosrally - Tuesday, November 27, 2012 - link

    Go to http://www.nanoxia-world.com/ to see more details about the DS2 (and the DS1). Seems to be a misconception here that the DS2 will be the improved version of the DS1 - it's actually a simplified and smaller case.

    It's a midtower, has 7 expansion slots, 165mm CPU clearance, no chimney up top (just 2 fan mounts), a single large HDD cage, and USB/audio on top that is not hidden. It seems to me that the main item of interest is that it will accept a 240/280mm radiator mounted to a bracket behind the 3.5" bays - or an additional pair of fans.

    BTW - sure seems to me that all 3 HDD bays are removable on the DS1, Dustin.
    Reply
  • araczynski - Tuesday, November 27, 2012 - link

    can't say i'm impressed, not sure why everyone's still using those ancient drive cages/sleds. especially in a case that focuses on efficiency. a smarter solution would be 4 independent vertical rails, just wide/thick enough to be rigid. Reply

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