Once we get the side panel off we can see what we are dealing with inside the box. The interior is larger than many mid-tower cases we have seen before and this extra room allows it to fit even those large Extended ATX mainboards. This extra space also comes in handy of you happen to be running a couple of monster graphics cards. You will be able to install them with a whole lot less effort than in some smaller enclosures.
From this angle you can also see a small problem I ran into; the lack of any ventilation on the bottom of the box. If you are going to use a modified BTX structure and mount the power supply on the bottom of the case, you really need to have some sort of ventilation, especially since a vast majority of the power supplies being manufactured nowadays have a large fan in the bottom of them. But wait, this is where it gets even more strange...
The plate that holds the power supply firmly in place can be set to mount the unit in either an upside down or right side up manner. In the default configuration, this plate is set to allow you to mount the PSU in an upside down orientation. While this addresses the issue of the lack of lower ventilation, it has a serious drawback; it forces the heated air being produced by your high performance components to be drawn through your power supply!
Yes, I realize that this is already the case with most power supply installations in use, but why go to the effort of creating a bottom mounted PSU and not following through and letting it draw cool air from outside the case to better optimize cooling? This is an oversight in design, I'm sure, but it should have been addressed on the drawing board.
Getting back to business, above you will see that they layout for the optical drive bays is nicely done. From this angle you can also see that all the bay doors are filtered with a fiber material that does very well in collecting dust and dirt. NZXT appears to have figured out that if air can come into your system, so can dirt. A filter is a very welcome sight for a box with the open construction of the Tempest.
You can also see from here that you have a choice of either three optical drives or two opticals and a floppy. While this may seem a limiting factor, I know of very few individuals who actually make use of more than a pair of DVD burners, so it should still suit the needs of most users.
Oh, and for those who may be concerned about not having a bunch of drive bays for use with an internal radiator setup, here is another nice feature of this enclosure; the two fans we talked up earlier are already pre-drilled for a dual radiator installation. It is compatible with the Swiftech MCR220, the Asetek Dual and the Thermaltake TMG2.
We have seen this before in the NZXT line and it works very well. The little knobs shown above are the retention mechanism for the optical drives you install. Just a quarter turn and your drive is firmly in place and won't move around on you. While the entire case is not necessarily set up as a "tool-free" solution, this portion of the enclosure certainly is. Installation is a breeze and I have yet to have any issues with this type of retention device.
Moving down the drive tower brings us to a very large and impressive hard drive bay area. There are two separately ventilated boxes that can accommodate four hard drives each. Better yet, the configuration out of the box includes two more 120mm fans, one properly sitting in front of each of these drive boxes. This allows you to have a large amount of active cooling for your hard drives. This means that even if you are running units with very high spindle speeds (and a proportionately high operating temperature), you are going to have no issues with overheating the drives.
Installation is also tool free and consists of inserting the pins of the rails into the drive, then sliding it into place until it clicks.