Installation of the system into the Guardian was simple and straightforward. Though not a totally tool-free process, their use is minimal. As a matter of fact, once you have the power supply and motherboard in place, you can pretty much get rid of the screwdriver since everything else goes in freely and without difficulty. The drive mounts and PCI clips worked flawlessly, even with tall peripherals.
Once everything was firmly in place and the system was fired up for the first time, I was impressed with the very low noise levels it put out. Of course, there are only two fans in the default configuration so there wasn't much there to cause a lot of noise. Temperatures also suffered due to this, but they did not get to a point where I was overly concerned. As I stated beforehand, make sure to add an extra fan to the front of the enclosure when you install the system.
For many users out there, the plain old everyday beige beast of yesteryear suits their needs just fine. But then, these aren't the type of folks who are likely reading this article to begin with. For those of us who want to create a system that not only performs but also makes a statement at the same time, there are manufacturers like NZXT who make it their business to make us happy.
Overall I was impressed by the new look brought to the board with the Guardian series enclosure. It is offered in six colors and can be found for $99 USD including a 400 watt PSU. This isn't a bad price for a full-featured case to begin with, let alone with a power supply included.
Looks aside, the mounting systems included with this case were something new as well. They were simple to use and held drives and cards firmly in place with no problems during either installation or operation.
On the down side are front airflow and sharp edges. There are a few holes to allow breathing of a front fan, but not enough. Considering this case is aiming at gamers and enthusiasts, airflow for effective cooling is simply too important to be a second thought. Besides, it makes no sense to purchase a case this unique and then have to mod it.
As for the sharp edges issue, I ranted about this before so I'll let those comments stand. Just a little attention to detail would take care of this problem with ease.
Bottom line... If you happen to be one of those gamers who is always looking for that little something special to set you apart from the average Joe, let me take this opportunity to introduce you to the NZXT Guardian. While not a perfect specimen, it offers great looks with some very workable special features that make it stand apart from others in its class. Old fuddy-duddies need not apply.
Excellent eye appeal
Unique lighting effects
Good tool-free mounting systems
Not enough venting for front airflow
Rating - 9 out of 10 and TweakTown's "MUST HAVE" Best Features Award
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