NZXT is a company that we have all come to admire in one way or another. If it wasn't the small and compact nature of the Vulcan, or the very unique looking Phantom, NZXT has many other products that should still pique your interest in them. Testing almost everything they offer has shown that NZXT has a plethora of ideas that they are incorporating into products that not only improve the looks of chassis', but also offer practicality in some of the others.
Since NZXT has made just about every case style imaginable, they, like many other companies, are doing quite well with case accessories. They have already offered the Sleeved LED kits, and I seem to see them in quite a few case mods these days. Whether under the motherboard or around the open side of the chassis as case lighting, they have been a great success. There was also the IU01 USB Expansion device that offers connections for up to three more USB connections from the front panel, but also added a pair of USB 2.0 connections on the end. The idea was to add a power line to dedicate more power to drive all the devices we tend to hook up to our computers these days.
Speaking of USB connectivity, that brings me to the product we are taking a closer look at today; the Bunker from NZXT. This device not only will add four USB 2.0 connections to the front of any chassis via the use of a 5.25" bay of your choice, it also adds security built right in. NZXT offers a 20 Key system to vary the keys that ship in the box. So even if the guy next to you at a LAN has a Bunker, he only has a one in twenty chance of a matching key. The thick plastic and metal construction makes this device strong, yet light and easy to use.
I was informed that the Bunker would release at the beginning of January, but have yet to see it listed anywhere in Google shopping. I was given the MSRP from NZXT, and that pricing was set at $24.99. To be real honest, that is a really good price considering you not only get four additional USB connections, but some serious security for any of the peripherals attached within the Bunker once the door is closed and locked in place. Now that we have the finer points out of the way, let's delve deeper into the Bunker and see what provisions are in place for our peripherals survival.
The Bunker arrived in a small brown box printed with multi-coloured, brown, camouflage. NZXT places the company logo in the top right, and a large "BUNKER" at the bottom. There is no information on the sides of the packaging, just more camouflaging.
On the bottom of the packaging NZXT does offer a fair bit of information on the Bunker. At the top is a brief description of the product just above an image of the Bunker. This is followed by the features and diagrams of the Bunker with the door open and closed. There are two important figures here to look at. One is the limitation of a 2.2cm head length for USB devices if you want to lock the door, and secondly is the 4.2cm that the USB plate will surrender into the unit as the door closes.
Inside the box, the Bunker comes shipped in a re-sealable bag. In a smaller bag you will find a pair of keys for the lock on the Bunker. Folded up and placed on top of the device, you will find the instruction sheet. These instructions are helpful, but seriously, who doesn't know how to mount a 5.25" device and plug in a USB header?
Here we get to see all the contents spread out. Now to get into some detail.
The NZXT Bunker USB Locking Device
From the front you can see just about all the aspects of the Bunker. A large lock can be found on the left to keep the door closed and keep people from borrowing you headphones, Mic, or anything else you may want to connect here. The door covering the four USB 2.0 connections you can see through the mesh has a slot at the bottom to allow the cords of the devices to pass through, but thin enough not to allow the connector of said device through.
Turning the lock to the unlocked position scared me when I first unlocked it. I wasn't aware at first glance that the door was in fact spring loaded, and once the lock is turned it opens quite fast. As the door opens, a mechanism inside also slides the ports forward to allow for easier connectivity. In the reverse, when closing the door, the same mechanism will slide the ports back to allow for the connections.
With the door closed and the ports sitting the full 4.2cm back from the front of the device, we can get a better look at the connectivity. In the plastic bracket, NZXT takes four USB connections, solders them to a PCB with the appropriate components, and then simply uses a motherboard USB connection for connectivity of his device.
The bracket sits on a pair of tracks, which combined with this arm and spring, allow for the movement of the bracket containing the USB connections. I repeatedly opened and closed mine just to see how it all functions. At no time did I even run into the slightest binding of the unit. This design is well thought out and very functional.
Since there are moving parts in the unit, NZXT added a little wire restraint to help keep the USB connection to the motherboard in place. This will also keep you from accidentally using too much wire elsewhere, so as not to tighten the wire too much so it wouldn't allow the door and tray to function properly. I only wish it was placed on the opposite side of the device; over here it leaves the wire exiting on the open side of my chassis, requiring me to take some extra steps to hide the wire properly, and almost leading me to not having enough length.
Speaking of the length of the wire, there is right around 20" of length to the cable. That sounds like a long cord, but as I mentioned, I ate up five to six inches of that just getting across the bays. Connecting this device is simple, as it uses a typical USB connector found on any motherboard.
I was looking through my devices to stick into the ports for connectivity images and came up with this. On the left is a typical thickness wire from a USB mouse. Next to that is a thicker charging cable for my cellular phone. That leaves the handy little 8GB thumb drive I have for just such occasions.
Closing the door and locking it in place was easy, even with the thicker cable of the charger and the thumb drive still in place. While my connections and drive are hidden for the most part, the cables pouring out the front are a dead giveaway that I have things plugged in. This device will in no means stop someone from getting inside the plastic door with a screwdriver, but it will deter a thief to bother trying and hopefully he moves on to the chassis next to you for an easier prey target.
Mounting the Bunker is simple, especially in cases with tool-less drive bays. There are four holes in either side of the Bunker that will line up with any cage and allow the Bunker to sit flush with the front bezel. I found the Bunker is slightly skinnier than the actual bay width of 5.25". In this chassis the gap is slightly more apparent with the light coming in through the windowed side panel on the left, but it makes the Bunker slide easily in and out of the chassis for mounting.
Even with the thicker bay covers of this chassis above and below the bunker, once unlocked, and the bracket in the forward most position, attaching any device is super simple.
Yet another great addition to the NZXT lineup! - I know not everyone is going to have the need to protect your peripherals while at the next LAN; I mean not everyone even goes to LAN events at all. Even so, The Bunker having four USB ports within easy access, versus the rear of the chassis is a plus to any case build. Even if security isn't a concern at this point, if you live in a dorm at college, or even if you have little kids in the house, this will keep your peripherals where you last left them, and not hidden in the toy box, or now attached to a computer on another floor of your dorm.
Functionally wise, I like the Bunker. Its lightweight construction of mostly plastic components with just the right amount of metal made it very easy to install and use. Mounting is easily handled with any tool-lees mechanism, and if screws are needed with your chassis, the plastic is soft enough to thread easily. Once the Bunker is securely in place, you just grab the key, one of twenty variations, and open the Bunker door for access. Simply plug in almost any USB device, as long as it isn't longer than the 4.2cm that the USB bracket moved back, move the cords and close the door, and then lock it to keep the door shut. It's really that simple! - With the textured black finish and steel mesh insert, there aren't too many chassis' on the market that the Bunker won't blend in with and feel right at home, as if it came with the chassis in the first place.
NZXT does show the Bunker on their site under chassis accessories, and as I said I was told the products released at the beginning of January so that we could take a look at it, and bring it to you. However, I have yet to see it listed online at any of the shops I frequent. Google shopping turned up nothing as well, but rest assured, the Bunker is on the way soon and should start to fill shelves any day now. With a suggested retail pricing of $24.99, the Bunker is worth that in just the additional four USB 2.0 ports; adding security to the unit was a foremost thought in design, but almost seems to be a free add-on with this sort of pricing. With a lot of high end chassis' starting to design with this feature built in, it is nice to see NZXT step up to the plate and offer everyone the added connectivity and security, even if you don't have the money to buy a chassis with it already incorporated.
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