NZXT Trinity - IntroductionIntroduction
Some may recall NZXT as a company that makes gaming cases for those who don't really want to do their own mods to their enclosure. With some pretty futuristic moldings on the front bezel, they generally stand out in a crowd.This time around, however, the folks at NZXT are looking for something that still appeals to those who want an interesting look, but also has a more docile overall appearance. This doesn't mean that the case is automatically a dud, only that it doesn't glare at you with a robotic or alien face.So lets take a little closer look at the latest enclosure to wear the NZXT moniker, the Trinity. We'll look at features, cooling potential and ease of use to help you make an informed buying decision.
NZXT Trinity - ExteriorThe Exterior
One glance and you already see that the tone of the Trinity is a good deal more tame than previous models put out by NZXT. While it may look a bit more traditional, it was still created by a group of folks who aim their product toward gamers and enthusiasts. But before we look at these interesting tidbits, lets take a gander at the outside of the box.The front bezel is all plastic as is the front door panel. A faux chrome covering has been added to the front to give it a more elegant look, but there is no metal here. This is one of the few failings of the enclosure in my opinion. A metal front wears better than plastic and also gives a bit more balance to the entire system once it is installed in the case.But even with the plastic front, it still strikes a good-looking pose as far as sheer appeal is concerned.
Once we open the front door we can see what we have to work with as far as optical devices are concerned. You'll find no real lack in this area, as there are five 5.25" bays available for your building pleasure. There is also a single externally accessible 3.5" bay so you can still have that floppy drive that is so handy when it comes time to Flash the mainboard BIOS. It was good to see only one small bay on this model. Zip drives have become very rare these days and there isn't a lot of reason to waste space for a second 3.5" external device.
As we look a little lower on the front bezel we see a small LCD display that allows us to monitor the interior temperature. This display is connected to a single thermal probe that you can attach anywhere, so you can use it to keep tabs on the processor temperature, the video board, the hard drive, or just the inside temperature of the case.Also of note is that the triangular shaped button is your power switch. This gives you the ability to start up your system without having to open the front panel. The reset button is inside the door and is circular, so it shouldn't be too hard to tell them apart.
Moving to the side of the enclosure shows us a full sized window as well as a NZXT custom fan grill over the lighted 80mm fan. While the case itself is made of steel, you'll find more of the false chrome plastic surrounding the window. It doesn't add any structural integrity to the case, but it does give it a flashy look that isn't bad looking at all.
Turning the corner to the back side of the enclosure shows us a pretty standard layout. We've talked about this before; there isn't too much innovation you can use here without taking away the ability to accommodate an industry standard motherboard. But there is one item of interest...
Take a closer look at the rear fan mount. Those diagonally positioned holes allow you a great deal of flexibility with regards to the fan you use here. While the default enclosure is shipped with an 80mm fan, this mount will also fit a 92mm or 120mm fan of your choosing. This is also a handy feature if you're thinking of adding a water cooling setup with a case-mounted radiator.
Finishing up our tour of the exterior of the Trinity brings us to the right side and the front I/O ports. Included here you see a pair of USB ports (2.0 of course), a headphone jack and a microphone jack. An IEEE1394 Firewire port is missing from the picture, but it seems that this is another one of those little things that are falling by the wayside anymore. From an enthusiast viewpoint, one of the few reasons to even consider this port is an external storage device.You'll also see another vent for cooling. Hiding under the side panel is a space for either an 80mm or 92mm fan. Just be careful in using this mount, however, as it is close to the front fan mount. While it can be used to add cooling for the hard drive bays, a fan with too much power could disrupt the airflow from the front fan.
NZXT Trinity - InteriorThe Interior
Once you crack open the side you are greeted with a wide open realm of possibilities. While not the largest of case designs, you'll still find plenty of room inside to begin play.
As mentioned before, there is room for up to five optical devices. All five bays are externally accessible so you can do almost anything you want. This gives you room for a DVD burner, a couple of CD burners, and even room left over for baybus devices or fancy gauges like the Cooler Master Musketeer. There is plenty of room for expansion here.Also of note is that the bays all use a screwless drive rail system. You simply snap the rails into place on the drive and mount them. This type of mounting makes installation a snap, so I have really come to enjoy this feature.
Moving down to the lower portion of the drive tower shows us the hard drive bays. They are mounted sideways like some of the expensive enclosures. Like the optical devices, NZXT employs a screwless rail system for the hard drives. Even better is that the default configuration for this enclosure also includes enough rails to fill up the drive bays! This isn't something that is always included with rail-mounted enclosures.The drive bay can be removed by taking out the bottom thumb screw and unlatching the lever on top of the bay, but the only reason you really need to get it out is if you're going to use the fan mount that sits behind the drives. As mentioned earlier, be careful with this fan mount as you can interrupt the airflow from the front fan.
Here was a nice little feature that I haven't seen utilized; an insulated clip for those pesky spare cables. This is a nice touch and allows you to tuck some of the extra wiring out of the way so it doesn't droop down and possibly get into the fan blades. It also lets you keep your normal cabling under control and lets you keep everything neat and orderly. I had no problems running the standard Molex strands through this clip and then setting them up where needed.
As far as motherboard compatibility, this model enclosure will work with ATX, Micro ATX and Baby AT. It uses a standard brass standoff mounting system and even includes fiber grommets for use between the mounting screw and the motherboard. This is something that a majority of manufacturers seem to have forgotten over the years, but I still like to use them since it minimizes the chance for shorts between the case and the mainboard. Kudos to NZXT for remembering there are still some old schoolers out in the world.While the grommets were a nice addition, there seems to be something missing; like a removable motherboard tray. Granted, one of the concepts for this design was a low price (I'll talk about pricing later), but in smaller enclosures, a removable tray is really nice. For those with large hands like me, it can be a challenge to install a system inside a case like this. Not a huge issue, but one I like to make mention of.
NZXT Trinity - Installation NotesInstallation Notes
When it comes time to install your system, its good to know what we're going to face. Below are a few items to take note of.
I mentioned before that all drives make use of a screwless rail system. While this is a really good thing, there is another facet that was brought into the light when I began putting everything together. You have to remove the front bezel to get those devices installed into the enclosure. While I would agree that this method allows the front bezel to have a more close-fitting and smoother appearance after the installation is complete, it is also a pain in the rear to have to remove the bezel to add in any components you didn't have handy when the initial build was taking place.On another note, you'll see that the front fan mount is like the rear in that you can use either an 80mm, 92mm or 120mm fan of your own choosing. Since quality airflow starts low and in the front, this can be the beginning of a very good cooling setup.
With all the tool free capabilities of this case, I was a little surprised to see a standard PCI mounting setup. Not that this is a bad thing; the setup works fine and is simple in any board installation. I just wasn't expecting to see this.
This is something that I have seen on NZXT enclosures since their beginning; illustrated installation labels inside the case. While a manual is included with your enclosure purchase, how many of you will actually read through it if you come across a feature that you're not familiar with? If you answered honestly, odds are good you said something along the lines of "Who needs a manual for a case?"Well, for those who fall into this category, NZXT adds these little labels inside the case. They are always mounted in an area close to what they are showing and are simple to understand. Nice touch!
NZXT Trinity - ConclusionConclusion
NZXT from the beginning has had the gamer in mind when designing their product line. While the Trinity doesn't make use of the fancy molded fronts like previous models, it still has a lot of features that show the true nature of their targeted market.To sum things up, we have a steel enclosure that still maintains a light weight. While the metal used is a thinner material than we've seen before, it is still an SECC specification and there were no issues with strength or structural integrity. The case is well built and sturdy. The side window adds some flair to the overall design, but I would have preferred to see a metal front bezel or at least door plate. It just wears so much better than plastic and stands up to a good deal more abuse.As far as cooling is concerned, there are plenty of options for excellent airflow. Both the front and rear fan mounts allow you to make use of a variety of fan sizes and even the mount on the right side gives you the choice of either an 80mm or 92mm fan. Unfortunately there are only two fans included and both are of the 80mm variety. The lighted fan can only be this size, but the rear 80mm fan is the only other included in the default configuration.
While there are other pros and cons mentioned in this piece, one item I haven't talked about yet is price. You may recall that I mentioned the fact that one of the goals was a reasonable price and I think that in this area, NZXT did an excellent job. We're talking about a price tag of about US$85 and this includes a 400 watt power supply. This is what you would expect to pay for a bottom of the line enclosure with this type PSU included, not something that has features like those available here.Bottom line... If you happen to be looking to build a new gamers rig and are looking for a case with features and good cooling capabilities but don't want to pay a small fortune just for that exterior covering, take a hard look at the NZXT Trinity. You'll be hard pressed to find a better value for your hard-earned upgrading dollars.- Pros
Fits up to four fansVariable sized fan mountsScrewless drive rail systemIllustrated installation labelsExceptionally low price that includes PSU- Cons
Only comes with two fansPlastic front bezelRemoval of bezel to install optical devicesNo motherboard trayRating - 8.5 out of 10 and TweakTown's MUST HAVE Best Value Award!