Remembering back to CES 2013, as I was in the Swiftech suite looking at all the new goodies as well as the H220 kit they had on display, Gabe invited a friend to share his suite. His friend just happened to be from Nanoxia. The reason this partnership was put together at that time was due to all of the four test systems that Swiftech had on display had to be in some sort of chassis. The choice of cases was the Nanoxia DS1 chassis, and for the testing it worked rather well for Swiftech. Once that presentation was complete, I looked behind me and saw a new Nanoxia case sitting on the bar. It was at this time I was introduced to the Nanoxia representative, and schooled on this new case design.
At my first glance, I could see that the main concept had been kept intact, but there were some obvious changes as well. The front bezel has been redesigned, and the front I/O was changed as well. The top of the chassis lost the plastic cover for the Air Chimney system, and the optional fan position in the left door panel. What is more obvious is that the DS1 has a more usual chassis shape, where this newer design is a long and low design that stretches the chassis from front to back. Inside things have drastically changed as well. There is more room now, but there are a few other things that have changed or are new additions to the latest chassis from Nanoxia.
The chassis we are looking at today is the Nanoxia Deep Silence 2. While a lot has changed there is one important thing about these chassis designs that did stay the same, and that is the near silent operation of these chassis offerings. With a name like Deep Silence, this should be expected from these cases, but in the past that hasn't always rung true. Today I plan to get up close and personal with the DS2 so that you can see if the new additions and changes fit your needs.
I know I like what I have seen, I just hope in this review I can transfer what I like and what is so cool about this chassis into text so that you all can appreciate what has been brought forth in this new design.
Specifications, Availability and Pricing
The Nanoxia Deep Silence 2 is available in four versions - Dark Black, Silver, Anthracite and the White version we are going to see today. In all of the colorations, the design is almost identical minus any metals applied to the front bezel. All of them are built from 0.7mm steel that is painted inside and out, and offer compatibility for E-ATX, ATX, Micro-ATX and Mini-ITX motherboards, all within the mid-tower classification. On the outside there isn't much going on, but the bezel does offer a front door to access the three 5.25" bays and their removable bay covers. The lower section loses the door of the original, but still offers ventilation through the sides to allow air into the front of the chassis. At the top of the bezel is where you will find the front I/O, and here you have connectivity for USB 2.0, USB 3.0 and a pair of 3.5mm audio jacks. On the inside you can store up to seven 3.5" or 2.5" storage drives, and in the back there are seven expansion slots that will allow for video cards up to 345mm in length.
To cool this chassis, Nanoxia ships it with three fans. There are two just behind the bezel that are green 120mm fans. In the rear of the chassis is where the third fan is placed, and again it is a green blade fan that is used. As far as optional mounting is concerned, there are three in the chassis we are about to see. You can remove the sound deadening pads in the top of the chassis and use either a pair of 120mm fans or 140mm fans. Then there is the option to set one 120mm or 140mm fan on the floor in front of the power supply. The last option is to add a pair of fans to the rack that is built into the side of the HDD rack closest to the motherboard, and will also support a radiator here, if desired. Dust won't be much of an issue either. The front of the chassis offers a dust filter for the pair of 120mm fans, and there is a long dust filter under the chassis that slides out the back. This dust filter under the PSU extends to also cover the optional fan mounting position in front.
For US buyers, you will have to keep waiting to obtain this chassis at the moment. While the chassis is widely available on the other side of the pond, I could not find a single listing for this chassis on this side. For those of you with access to purchase this chassis, I found it listed at a few places for 79.99 euros including VAT. If I were to do a direct conversion of the current rate of exchange, that is right around $121 US dollars for the Deep Silence 2. Most times products arrive in the States with a direct dollar for pound conversion. At $120 this case is pretty good, but if it arrives at $80, this case is truly amazing.
If this chassis impresses you as much as it did me, I suggest you might want to go to Nanoxia and let them know there is the demand on this side of the pond, and maybe they should put a bit of a rush on getting them here, so that you can enjoy what I got to see.
The packaging for the DS2 is much the same as I remember it from the DS1. This time there's a longer chassis pictured on the front, and next to it are five yellow boxes covering some of the features found in this design.
On this side of the box there are three listings of the specifications chart in various languages, and at the bottom right corner there is a check box denoting which of the four versions is inside the box.
On the back we don't just get one look inside the chassis, but rather six smaller images to pinpoint the features. Things covered here are not major features, but things like a PSU gasket, the additional fan rack inside, the amount of room, and tool-free capabilities are nothing to scoff at.
The last side of the packaging is a direct copy of what we were given on the other side panel, with nothing new to discuss.
What I do like about the packaging is the lengths taken to protect the chassis on the inside of the box. Along with some static cling plastic on the front bezel, the chassis is then layered with the plastic liner. Once that is in place, Nanoxia not only uses high density foam at the top and bottom with the end caps, they also take the time to set in two panels of Styrofoam to protect the front and back of the chassis further.
Nanoxia Deep Silence 2 Mid-Tower Chassis
The front of the white version we received is pretty plain. This time only the top half has a door to access the drive bays behind it. The bottom is part of the bezel, and to clean the dust filter behind it, you need to remove the whole bezel to gain access.
With the top door opened, you can see the sound deadening material on the back of the door. In the front of the chassis you can see the Nanoxia name above the three removable bay covers. Off to the left is the reset button for the chassis and below the bays is a pair of three channel fan controllers.
Just above that door panel, built into the top of the bezel is where you will locate the front I/O panel. Here you have all of the connectivity you need, along with a large power button with a ring around it that will illuminate green when powered up.
This shot gives you a better idea of the depth of this chassis, but I took this to talk about the top. Here you do have a pair of holes for fans, but currently they both have sound deadening panels installed. You can put fans here without issue, but the noise levels will dramatically go up removing the panels.
The left side of the chassis offers a solid panel without access to install a fan in the door as the specs chart shows. What you do have visible is the large feet at the bottom and the ventilation on the side of the bezel to redirect fan noise away from the user while still allowing the chassis a way to breathe here.
Around back the DS2 offers four water cooling holes, two at the top, and two on the right side. It also offers room for the 120mm fan, seven black expansion card slot covers, and the large hole for the PSU at the bottom.
The right side of the chassis is exactly the same as the left. Here again you see a solid panel and the ventilation at the side of the front bezel.
Under the chassis you get two larger feet in the front, and it allows for the dust filter to be removed out the back, Nanoxia places smaller feet in the rear. As you can tell, this dust filter does cover both the PSU and the optional fan position in front of it.
Inside the Deep Silence 2
Removing the panels gives you a great view inside of the DS2 and we can see that the wiring is bundled and currently resting near the storage drive rack. As for the hardware, that is kept in the top drive tray for transit, and the manual is shipped outside of the chassis.
The three 5.25" bays have these slide and lock, tool-less clips on both sides of the bays to keep the optical drive, card readers or reservoirs solidly in place.
At the bottom half, you have two 120mm fans in front of the hard drive rack, and inside of it there are seven trays that hold either 3.5" or 2.5" drives. Off to the left there is a removable fan support that will allow you to put fans between the rack and this mount, and will also allow you to mount a radiator to it.
The top of the chassis offers room for fans, but in place there out of the box is a pair of sound deadening panels that cover them. Just to help keep all noise levels low, they also add a panel in the front that runs all the way to the front of the chassis.
The motherboard tray can handle boards from Mini-ITX on up to E-ATX. It also offers seven wire management holes with grommets and seven places visible here to tie wiring to.
The lower half of the tray by the PSU offers two more much larger holes with grommets to make that wiring disappear almost immediately. Speaking of the PSU, there is a casket at the back to isolate it as well as rubber pads on the floor.
In the back of the chassis there is a 120mm exhaust fan that has even been installed with the power wire nearest the wire management hole, something a lot of manufacturers never think of. As for the expansion slots, these use the standard of thumbscrews for securing the cards properly.
Behind the motherboard tray there is plenty of room for wiring with the 30mm offset. Things are a bit tight near the bays at the front as the steel is rolled for strength and cutting the space down a bit, but I didn't run into any issues with the wiring, as you will soon see.
I like that all of the wiring has been sleeved in black to make everything more unified when you do wire the chassis. Here you have a pair of fan leads from the front of the chassis, six fan power leads from the two fan controllers with its Molex connection for power. On the right you have the power, reset, and power LED wiring along with the Audio, USB 2.0 and native USB 3.0 connections.
Accessories and Documentation
All of the hardware is included inside of this handy box that was found in the hard drive bays. Considering all that comes with the DS2, I am a bit surprised to see it all fit in here.
Inside of a bag in the box you find the bulk of the hardware. Here you have the standoffs, fan screws and thumbscrews on the left. In the middle you have the motherboard screws, zip ties and a handful of screws for 3.5" drives. On the right there are the PSU screws, 2.5" drive screws, and to be honest, I don't know what the last four screws are for.
Also found inside of that box is what you see here. There is a bay drive cover to turn the 5.25" bay into a 3.5" bay for card readers and such. Then there is an 8-pin extension to get the PSU to the top of the motherboard, and you also get four rubber plugs to replace the grommets if you don't plan to use them for water cooling.
Here we have the manual that was shipped inside of the plastic liner, but outside of the chassis. I do like that the front of the manual is in English, but on the inside you aren't given instructions in English.
When you first open the manual, you do get an exploded view of the chassis with the insert. Once it is unfolded you get to see how the chassis comes apart and what you should be able to remove from the chassis with just screws or pulling on the front bezel.
As you can see, they do at least offer a section to verify you have the correct amount of included hardware. I know unless you take a lesson in German, you are going to be pressed to know exactly what the screws are for, but with experience and a bit of trial and error, I got all the right screws in the right places.
This shot is just to show how the drive trays work with the 3.5" drive and the larger screws on the left. If you plan to use 2.5" drives, you need the smaller screws, and you use the holes without the grommets to mount those.
In the bottom bay of the 5.25 inch bays, you will find this 3.5" conversion already installed there. There are large holes on the side to mount the device on the inside, and with the holes near the edges on the sides, the tool-free locks will hold this in place without issue.
The Build and Finished Product
I sort of screwed up by managing the wires before this image, but it works out to show you a great point. Since most users will do a bit of management anyways, you need to keep in mind that to gain access to the dust filter covering these fans, you need to leave a bunch of slack in the wiring to allow the bezel to be removed.
With the ODD now in place, it doesn't really matter if it looks great or not, because you simply close off the door panel and make it go away visually. What I will say is that the pair of tool-free clips now in use is very sturdy, and the drive doesn't move around at all.
With everything inside, using a full ATX motherboard, and a pretty long video card, you can see the DS2 has plenty of room for the E-ATX if you want to use that. If not, you do have room to mount a radiator in front and not cause any issues.
In the back, the dust shield, the card, and the PSU couldn't have been much easier to install. Even the gasket the PSU was not an issue, but I did have to flex the back of the chassis slightly to align the cards screw holes with the support bracket.
I do really like the management offered behind the tray. Even with a bunch of wires coming from the front of the chassis, including the fan controller wiring, you do end up with a really clean finished product. This didn't even take much thought or effort on my part, it just sort of fell into place.
Now that the case is all back together, without powering the system, there is nothing that changes about the aesthetics, unless you are looking at the back of the chassis, from what we were given out of the box.
Since there is only a slight hum from the chassis when it does get powered up, if it weren't for the green LED ring around the power button, it would be tough to tell if the system was even powered on at all.
From this distance the Deep Silence 2 is almost inaudible, and with the angle of this image, it is almost impossible to see the green ring that is currently lit on top of the chassis. This is not bad, but good, because with this chassis being placed in a bedroom or maybe a home theater environment, the lighting isn't going to annoy users at all.
With a chassis like the Nanoxia Deep Silence 2, there are a lot of things to consider. This chassis does offer you silence in its operation, it is super simple to work with, it offers a good feature set, offers water cooling options, and it looks very basic on the exterior. There aren't any windows or side panel fans, but that would defeat the purpose of having a silent chassis in the first place. With all the sound dampening materials on the inside of both side panels, inside of the front bezel, and in the roof of the chassis, any messing around with these pieces will only end up with a louder chassis, even if you don't add another fan and are just wanting to remove the top panels for passive ventilation.
Of course people who tend to buy a chassis for its silent capabilities aren't willing to mess with a good thing. Once you get used to the very limited noise levels of this chassis, you won't want to change anything and screw that up. The only time I even got a more normal noise level out of the chassis was when I was adjusting the fan controllers, and even here it was because the front panel was open to do so. Once I closed the door on the bezel, even at high speed, the chassis is really quiet.
While the DS2 is classified as a mid-tower chassis, Nanoxia stretches this to its fullest extent by increasing the length of the chassis from front to back, but keeping the height within the specs for this classification. In all honesty, this is more along the lines of some of the server chassis designs I have seen over the years. With all the extra room afforded inside of the DS2, you now have the option for E-ATX motherboards, which most mid-tower cases don't offer, and it offers room for a radiator built right into the hard drive rack. I didn't ever mention adding water to the top of the chassis, but it can be done as long as you use a thin radiator. Anything thick and you will run into issues clearing the motherboard heat sinks or memory. There is a flip side to this though, if you did want to water cool with more than just the dual 120mm option the drive bay affords, with the holes in the rear of the chassis, it is simple enough to just hang a triple radiator off the back, outside.
Without a solid listing with a price inside of the US, I can only speculate that these will cost either the same $79.99 going dollar for pound with what I have seen in the EU market. To be honest though, even if they go with the current exchange rate and offered the chassis in the US for more near the $120 range, I think buyers will easily pay it.
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