Nanoxia Deep Silence 1 Case Review: You Asked For It, You Got Itby Dustin Sklavos on November 27, 2012 12:01 AM EST
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.