Once we get the side panel off we can see that the interior is identical in appearance to the exterior. This is a feature that we have been seeing a bit more of lately, and it is a welcome addition to be sure. When a manufacturer takes the time to paint the interior with as much care as the side that everyone is going to see, it shows a certain amount of attention to detail that is often lacking. The entire interior surface area is painted a flat black and the coating is everywhere. This helps set off the entire design and also makes your lighting more effective if you decide to make use of a color scheme. It is just a nice touch that I enjoy seeing in modern enclosures.
Another nice feature is the use of twin compartments that keep heat-producing components slightly separated. This aids in cooling efforts in that you can have two completely individual cooling setups to keep everything running like it should. The lower compartment contains the power supply (or power supplies if you run two) and one of the hard drive bays. The upper compartment handles the remaining components. This dual setup allows you to keep cool air flowing over your hot components and help lower overall case temperatures.
As noted above, the upper compartment handles most of the components and is where you will be spending most of your time during the build. From this angle you can get a good look at the even paint scheme and understand how a lighting effect could look better than having some painted and some silver colored metal areas.
Given the size of this case, there is plenty of room inside this compartment and you should have few problems with the installation, even if you have large hands like me. The mainboard tray is large enough to work easily on the system and is capable of handling motherboards up to the ATX size standard.
A new feature that NZXT has made use of is an internal mounting bracket that can house up to three 120mm fans. While this doesn't introduce cool external air from the outside, it does keep a massive amount of air flowing exactly where you want it to go; namely, over the graphics and processor subsystems and aimed toward the back of the enclosure where it can be properly exhausted from the box. For those who find this to be too cumbersome, you can easily remove the mounting bracket by getting rid of a couple of screws.
Also of note is that these three fans are the only ones in the system that do not come with the default configuration of the enclosure. You will need to populate the mount with your own fans, but this shouldn't be too much an issue since it allows you to decide how much cooling potential (and noise) you want to add to the system.
In the standard setup, you get five optical drive bays. The top two bays feature a hinged "stealth" door that allows the CD carriage to slide out when the button is pushed. As long as you have a standard optical drive, you will be fine. A very few drive, such as the blue fronted TDK series of burners, will sometimes hang due to the larger than normal size of the carriage bezel, but these type drives are the exception and not the rule. A vast majority of the optical drives currently being sold will work flawlessly with this hinged door system.
From this angle you can also see the 3.5" conversion tray. If you happen to need this feature, the tray can be used to suit your needs. If not, simply remove it and store it aside to give yourself another usable optical drive bay. This much room will allow you to easily have 2-3 drives plus have a pair of bays reserved for an internal reservoir for those making use of water cooling. You really get a lot of flexibility with this design.
Moving down the drive tower brings us to a pair of removable hard drive cages. Each of these aluminum boxes can be removed from the enclosure by simply removing a couple of screws and pushing the entire box out the front bezel. The cage itself will hold up to four hard drives and each bay has a rubberized strip to handle any vibrations made by the drive when it spins up. Let's take a little closer look.
From this angle you can also see that the drive bays are actively cooled. They are also properly filtered so you can keep your system as dust free as possible. The fan used is a 120mm model that also includes a blue LED lighting effect. Both fans have this lighting in place, so you will be getting color coming from the front of the box when you turn it on.
The way that the two bays are positioned also helps in the overall cooling plan. One of the drive bays is set up in the top compartment and the other is located in the lower one. This gives ample airflow coming into the enclosure that effectively produces cool air into both of the primary areas of the box. The bottom section will exhaust out with your power supply and the upper will exhaust out of the two included fans, one on the back panel and the other at the back portion of the enclosure top. While some may wonder about the twin exhaust fans within the top compartment, rest assured that this will work well under normal circumstances but will become vital if you decide to make use of that central fan tower and fit it with three fans.
Most of our readers who keep up with our enclosure reviews may be wondering why I have not been harping on the concept of a removable motherboard tray. Even in larger cases, the ability to get into the middle of the build is always a nice feature but many manufacturers omit it due to design, cost, or just lack of good planning. While this model does not have a removable tray per se, it does take on a new concept with regards to an easier installation. When you remove the opposite side panel you have access to a couple of screws that secure the motherboard tray in its normal position. When you remove those screws, you can shift the tray forward a bit then flip it downward. It was a bit awkward at first, but once I got accustomed to the angle it was very easy to get at every area of the motherboard. Just my opinion, but I think this is going to be one of those things that you either like or you don't. Regardless, it is effective and makes getting those components in their proper place a breeze.
To round out our tour of the interior, we will take a little closer look at the power supply bay. As noted earlier, you can install two standard power supplies and use the included adapter cable so they can be used together without the need of coming up with some means of powering them up together. You will also note that there is a vented area on the bottom panel to allow for those power supplies with fans built into the bottom.