The Tempest from NZXT features a solid black exterior with a steel frame and a plastic front bezel. The front panel is all about ventilation since all bay covers are made from a breathable mesh material. Considering the claim of "Airflow King" noted above, this is a good starting place. NZXT has obviously learned that cooling means more than just adding more fans. The ability to allow air to move will go far in the overall cooling of an enclosure.
The overall layout of the Tempest allows for three optical drives, one externally accessible 3.5" drive (at the expense of one of the optical drives), and a total of eight internal 3.5" drives. This allows for a huge amount of flexibility for even the meanest of power systems.
Sitting on top of the enclosure is a raised area where you will find the power and reset buttons as well as the front I/O ports. The power and reset buttons have a similar appearance, but the larger of the two will be for your primary power. The front ports include a pair of USB 2.0 ports, the expected speaker/headphone and mic ports, and a very welcome addition, an eSATA port. This last is becoming more common feature, but not nearly common enough. With SATA becoming the industry standard, the ability to use this bus to connect external devices is huge. Our previous tests have shown data transfer speeds to be basically the same as if the external drive was installed within the system. The ability to access this type of connection without having to resort to a PCI expansion device is nice.
Moving to the side shows a full-sized window. It has a small amount of beveling along the edge to give it a bit of class and also includes a large 120mm fan set into the side panel. This fan works as an intake of cool air and is properly filtered. It isn't the removable fiber-type filter, but the mesh used is tight and will do a good job in collecting most of the gunk that tries to get sucked into the case. A quick swipe with a vacuum cleaner hose and this fan will be clean and ready for action. The fan is also equipped with a blue lighting effect to set off your internal components. If blue is not your color, the sizing is industry standard and any 120mm fan based in this guideline will fit easily.
Moving around to the back of this enclosure shows a pretty standard setup, but a quick look will show that cooling is still on the minds of the folks at NZXT. The power supply is located at the bottom of the back plate and at the top is another 120mm fan that helps with the task of exhausting all that heat being created by your energy-gulping components.
Another nice addition is the inclusion of a pair of ports with rubber grommets to accommodate those enthusiasts who make use of an external water cooling solution. The grommets are smaller than some that I have seen, but will handle 1/2" OD tubing with no problems. The grommets have flaps so if you don't use this type of cooling you won't mess up your airflow. I like it when companies are forward thinking with regards to the needs of their consumers.
We don't often continue our tour of the exterior with the top panel, but in this case we really need to. Mounted in the top of this enclosure you will find a pair of 120mm exhaust fans. Since heat naturally rises, this is one of the best ways to get rid of it. There is a mesh covering the two fans to give an appealing look and it kind of reminiscent of some of the Antec products we have seen in the past. It has shown itself to be a very productive method when it comes to keeping your system cool.
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