NZXT Tempest Steel Midtower
Author: Frank Stroupe
Editor: Shawn Knight
Date: 06-02-2008
Provided by: NZXT

Test Rig:

Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 45nm
Asus Striker II NSE nForce 790i
Crucial DDR3-2000 2GB Dual Channel Kit
Asus EN9800GTX Top
OCZ EliteXStream 800 Watt PSU
Kingwin 12025 CPU Cooler

In preparation for the build, I installed the offsets and put the I/O shield that came with my motherboard in place. Then I installed the DVD drive. The ODD locks work pretty well; there is a small amount of play on the right side, but not enough to make any difference. The ODD drive bay cover panels are best removed and replaced by removing the bezel.

Then I installed the locking rails on the hard drive and placed it into the case. The rails didn't lock in place on the drive like others I've seen, and it was kind of hard holding the rails while getting the drive positioned to slide it in. I thought that it would be a pain getting the drive into position in the case, but it wasn't. This is an innovative idea that I'd expect other case manufacturers to use in the future.

Next, I installed the power supply. I've been building rigs for about six years now, and though I find cable management a real pain, I have basic things I do with every rig, and most of them involve the PSU being at the top of the case. With the PSU at the bottom, I am now presented with a new set of problems in hiding cables. During the build, I realized that the Tempest is best suited for a modular PSU. I have a couple, but since I had already planned on using the OCZ power supply that isn't modular, I stuck with it. The extra cables that are normally easily hidden by placing the optical drive in the second position and cramming them on top are all now in plain view.

The only really strange thing I found with the case was the lack of an opening for a screw in the lower right corner of the PSU. It's not a problem, I often am only able to use three screws because of mismatched holes, but this was the first time that a case totally lacked one hole.

After that, I put the motherboard in place and start running some wires. The screws provided for mounting the motherboard are black, possibly the first black ones I have gotten out of the 20 or more cases I've had. Yeah, I know, black screws sound pretty insignificant, but it is the little thoughtful things that I appreciate from a manufacturer.

I mentioned earlier the openings in the case for cable management. To use the openings in the motherboard tray, first you have to get the wires through the openings beside the drive bay. This was an extreme pain, and I nearly gave up on it. The openings are nearly inaccessible, and the only way I got wires through them is due to a very long curved pair of tweezers I happened to have. Trying to get an SATA plug through the openings was nearly impossible. I appreciate the thought, but maybe the openings could have been a little larger… maybe twice as large. I did finally get wires run through the openings though.

I had to re-run the HDD LED wire as it was on the left side of the case. I decided to do that behind the bezel instead of in the case. It was plenty long enough to accomplish that. Often the case header wires are so short that you have few options in rerouting them.

Something I noticed with the bezel, the lower locking pins just didn't lock securely. Upon close inspection, I realized that the bezel lighting wires were routed around both lower locking posts, preventing the posts from completely seating in the intended holes. I was able to move one of the wires, which helped, but the other was tightly glue-gunned into place, and I was afraid to try to move it.

Then I installed the video card and ran the final wiring. The 9800GTX installed with ease; plenty of room in the Tempest for long video cards. As I mentioned earlier, I think this case length will eventually become the midtower standard.

And that's it. Not the cleanest build I've done lately... the bottom-mounted PSU definitely poses some new cable management problems, mainly what to do with the ATX12v cable. If I had thought about it, I could have run it under the motherboard, I will probably change that later. The wad of unused wires at the bottom is very noticeable, but that could be corrected with a modular PSU.

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