Easy installation; ample space for drives, water cooling, and fans; great cable management; handy LED light on rear.
Source Code (the movie)
Poor cooling; no fancy adornments.
It’s understandable that NZXT left a few bucks off the price of its Source 530 case, as this full-tower chassis is really more a midrange offering than something you’ll be taking out a second mortgage for. We’re big fans of that, especially since the case’s interior contains all of the usual NXZT-esque features that have graced many of company’s previous cases we’ve reviewed.
Think of the Source 530 as a more sedate Phantom 530.
Beyond the side-panel screws, which were a real beast to remove, installing a system inside of this decently roomy chassis couldn’t be much easier. Motherboard standoffs on the Source 530 come pre-installed on the tray (yes!), an ample cutout exists behind the CPU cooler for any aftermarket fiddling you might want to do, and there’s just about an inch of space between the tray’s rear and the (other) side of the case for cable management.
Storage-wise, the Source 530 uses drive trays to give you a speedy installation path for up to six 3.5-inch drives at once. They’re split into three separate cages that fit one, two, and three drives each, which you can remove from the case in an effort to “improve” airflow within your chassis. Why quotes? We’ll get to that in a moment.
The three bays for optical drives (or fancier fun, like all the ample water-cooling this case can support) use built-in locking mechanisms to hold your components in place; the more timid among you can also use two screws to secure each device from the other side. A single 2.5-inch drive mount sits behind the motherboard tray for any SSDs you want to stuff vertically. Additional 2.5-inch drives can be mounted into the 3.5 trays, too.
Installing add-in cards in the case is your typical, mildly annoying affair—thumbscrews hold the covers in place and you’ll likely need (or want) a screwdriver to take them off. The motherboard tray itself has six major cable-routing holes drilled into it, which do a great job of assisting you when you go to string wires every which way. Our standard test build for cases—which includes the use of an Nvidia GTX 480 video card—left us with plenty of room to maneuver and hide our cables around the chassis (thanks to said holes).
Here’s where it gets troublesome, however. The case comes with two fans pre-installed. However, NZXT slaps a 12cm fan at the rear of the case’s inside, and a 12cm fan on the rear-top—both exhaust. We’d prefer to have a dedicated intake fan for stronger cooling, and we’re slightly worried that the HDDs won’t get adequate cooling (though NZXT does give you the option to use your own 12-, 14-, or 20cm fan). Yes, we know there’s research to indicate that, despite popular belief, drive temps don’t really impact life span, but we get uncomfortable without some air moving over our HDDs, especially in the stifling-hot summers.
Rounding out this chassis are two USB 3.0 ports on its front, and a button that controls a lovely, SATA-powered LED light on its rear. Quaint touches for an otherwise roomy, easy-to-use, sub-$100 full-tower chassis. Still, you can pack quite a party in NZXT’s chassis; what it lacks in bells and whistles, it makes up for in raw simplicity.
Note: This review was originally featured in the February 2014 issue of the magazine .