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Maximum PC Staff Jun 05, 2009

NZXT Zero II

A strange mixture of big talk and budget pricing

The NZXT Zero II’s got a pretty face, but the body ain’t much.

Installing a system in the NZXT Zero II is like taking a trip back to the first half of this decade. Although the front panel cover is nice—all smooth, curved lines and blue lighting, with a handy magnetic clasp—the interior of this 21x21.1x8.2-inch case seems downright primitive and unfinished compared to the other cases in this roundup. The five 5.25-inch drive bays as well as the two external and six internal 3.5-inch HDD bays are toolless, albeit utilizing old-fashioned clip-in rails rather than an in-case mechanism or fancier bracket.

The NZXT Zero II is much more spartan than the rest of this roundup.

The case comes with three fans and slots for six more—four on the door, one on the bottom, and one on the top—but the net effect is that it looks incomplete. The Zero II is built of flimsier metal than the rest of the cases covered here, although the Zero is roughly a third of the price of Cooler Master’s offering, and less than a sixth the price of the ABS Canyon.

The hard-drive mounting system is a blast from the past. At least it’s screwless.

They say that the devil is in the details, and we found the Zero’s generally lacking. The front (technically top, in this case) panel features a measly two USB ports, audio in/out, and eSATA. At least we get eSATA! PCI expansion slots are covered with dinky bits of metal that are, without an extra-long, skinny screwdriver, very hard to remove. The front bezels are stamped in and need to be pried off manually. Even the thumbscrews manage to look cheap.

If you’re a modder or you provide your own fans, you might not mind the slip-shod paint job or the lack of fans here.

The Zero is decent for a budget case, and not bad looking. Modders and folks who bring their own fans will appreciate the mounts waiting for them. But compared to the level of detail and build quality of the other cases in this roundup, the Zero doesn’t measure up.

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THE VERDICT

NZXT Zero II

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