NZXT Source 530 Full Tower Cabinet Review
Model Number: NZXT Source 530 (CA-SO530-M1)
Warranty: 2 Years
Seller: Prime abgb
Retail Price: Rs. 6,000
Official Product Page: Link
For full specs and unboxing video check out our first impressions page.
NZXT is a California based company that specializes in building system towers and cooling accessories, with prime focus on a no nonsense approach for hardware which then has made them a strong choice in many countries. However, they do not have a strong presence or brand recognition in India. The Source Series at first time builders who are thinking of a gaming grade tower with a non flashy aesthetic, offering a system building experience that leaves much room for change and upgrades.
” The NZXT Source series was created to offer all of the essentials with a focus on affordability and simplicity. With the new Source 530, NZXT aims to prove that high performance doesn’t have to mean a high price tag. “
With a price tag of Rs 6000 it’s not exactly cheap, but fits perfectly between High end – Obsidian 750D and Low tier – Antec One S3, I used an amature mid tower called Thermatake WingRS 201 till now, which served well as a basic starter kit, but felt restricted in terms of upgrading the number of components I could fit inside as the belly of a typical gaming PC started getting fed.
For those who have never dealt with a full tower before, beware the size of these monstrosities will laugh at most of your moderately spaced computer tables. With almost 20 inch height this is not something you can just place anywhere on your setup but requires proper planning. Something closer to the ground would be preferable as well as this weighs like a truck mounted on the roof of a tank at 9.2 kg weight on empty (14 kg fully loaded). A tank would not be too far off in comparison as every inch on the outside scream functionality, but that did not stop NZXT from adding small curves and angular corners on the case that acts as small accents adding personality to a metal box. This empowers the concept that we look professional, but we like to have fun and honestly is the best design choice in my humble opinion.
The front panel has 2 x USB 3.0 ports, a headphone and a microphone jack. Although the ports are both black so you would need some muscle memory under low light to remember the left is the headphone. The power and reset switch are on the right bezel with a very useful I/O light panel that lights up the ports on the back, powered by a sata power socket inside. The nzxt logo next to the headphone slot lights up as a power indicator and there is a long white HDD indicator light on the top bezel.
The front panel is removable, by pressing the release latches from the inside, revealing slots for your choice of either 2x140mm/ 120mm or 1x200mm fan, coupled with a dust filter that supports a custom mesh. The top however, has a much more open design, but only houses one fan out of the box, so unless you plan to purchase additional fans the lack of filters here is a serious down sight. Also, since the focus of the design maximizes airflow the top has been made with enough vents, however, this also makes it vulnerable to liquid damage in case you spill something.
The left side holds a small plastic window to peek inside the tower. With a few colorful lights this makes for great potential Diwali decorations. However the design is unusual as it shows me a lot more of my optical drive than I care to see, but that is negligible at best. The plastic is of shoddy quality and was smudgy and unclear, and the thin, clear plastic sheet included with the box to cover it up from scratch was very unclear and made the view foggy. The right side is just plain and boring metal sheet.
The back has slots for the I/O panel, expansion card slots, grommets for water cooling and for a bottom mounted PSU. There is a small white light on top of the I/o and the expansion slot panel.. For… That one night where you want to plug in a USB at night maybe. However, I find the light a welcome addition but just feel it necessary that they have to take up a sata power port inside and not use the built in power hub for fans.
The panels used on the sides both have an outwards curved grip that makes it very comfortable to remove. The screws used on the back for the side panels are all thumb screws with a rubber Washel to reduce vibration and the base has rubbered soles with about 2 cm of ground clearance. Also, you will find slots for 2x120mm fans (none included) and 2 removable dust filters (included).
Opening the tower do you realize the reason to get a full tower. It’s spacious and clean like a well organized room. There were a bunch of cables bundled together, some which were not immediately familiar, but a quick look at the guide showed me what they were for. Now when I did open the tower there were screws dancing all around and in all corners because of a loose ziptie and I had to fish them out. It would have been better if they had just placed these in the small paper box which hosted the plastic sheet.
There were 3 drive bays with 1,2 and 3 trays from bottom to top which can host a 3.5″ or 2.3″ HDD. Since I set up the system I got a new HDD and the convenience of adding one was astonishly simple, however since the cable goes through the right side I had to open both side panels. Left for the cables and right to mount the HDD. The optical drive tray was even better to fail-proof opening, lace in the front the drive fit into the slot near perfect with no space around the edges making it look embedded in the design, with a seamless finish.
My micro-atx motherboard and GTX 560 fit easily with room to space. The clearance on them are as follows:
CPU Cooler: 183mm
VGA Card: 282mm (With Cage & Pivot Fan), 310mm (With Cage), 444mm (Without Cage)
Making use of the clever zip ties I was able to get a fairly clean setup, with enough of them available packed with the tower and also a few I got from the power unit. Now I had cable grommets in my previous tower as well, but what made the difference here is the 1.5 inch of space on the right to make sure that once the cables are in place there is plenty of space for them to lay without blocking the right panel from closing.
The biggest draw of the tower is the cooling with support for water cooling up at the top, bottom and if you remove all the HDD trays, in the front as well.
We tested the CPU using prime95 and read temperatures using RealTemp and CPUID hardware monitor. For GPU, Furmarks was used on a 1080p test. Fans included were the ones shipped alongwith. The room for testing was at 23 C.
CPU – 10 min small ppt test with Prime95. (Distance to TJ max, Lower is better)
The system reached a peak at 63C which is also due to a lower processor (i3 2120). Out of the 3 times I ran the test the system crashed once. Overall the results showed that while at stock the cooling may not be very efficient there is a potential of increasing fans and that would make the difference in longer gaming sessions.
GPU – Furmark is more stressful on the system than running games while keeping the system on, so I did expect the temp to be on the higher side, but the idle temp is fairly adequate to make up for the higher temp at peak performance. Now, while the GPU did reach a higher temperature due to the stress testing, what is important is that it went back to near 30 degrees in under 2 minutes.
Overall System specs with min (idle) and max (after test) values.
The minimum values represent the temp at idle settings and the max was the peak obtained in testing.
Noise (in db lower is better)
Under the idle setting all applications were closed and the sound was recorded. The only noise I could hear was the fan on the top and that too was fairly ignorable. Under stress testing both the CPU and GPU practically the noise was about the same, but I could feel a slight vibration, like that of an engine running under the hood. While my ears could not hear much of a difference the sound test proved otherwise. Now also the reason for these low numbers is the lack of extra fans and the quite Corsair power supply. When I added my extra fans which I had lying around, the noise did ramp up significantly, but that was the fault of the dirty noisy fans which I need to clean.
For a package that already includes a lot, the very small annoyances like the lack of more filters out of box and odd placement of the power button are something that we would be willing to ignore. It is very evident that the NZXT Source 530 is meant for the enthusiast who does not want to spend and arm and a leg to get proper cooling for his/her gaming rig. This is also for the professional who wants functionality over style. This gives you all the features that you may want from a top of the line tower with great design, full support for many push pull cooling needs, easy to setup and versatility. If you are into upgrading from mid tier computing to high end, without a big budget this is your best friend.Annoyances aside, the NZXT Source 530 has a lot going on for it, and for that we present to it the iLLGaming Silver Award.
- Supports a large number of fans and many options for liquid cooling
- Neat and clean design
- Great cable management
- Odd placement of Power buttons
- Lack of dust filters for the top
- Only 2 fans in the box