NZXT Tempest EVO Case

The main advantages of a mid-tower case over a SFF case for a file server are...

  1. Potentially mount a larger number of hard drives for greater storage capacity. The SFF file server we detailed has room for six HDDs, giving us 12 TB with 2 TB WD GP drives... but now that WD has released a 3TB version, the maximum potential capacity of that system just jumped to 18 TB. Presumably, you'll want to have at least 8-9 HDD capacity if you're going for a bigger case — for a maximum potential capacity of >24 TB with 3 TB drives. We don't know how people fill such storage space... but they seem to.
  2. Have the system be just as quiet (as our 20 dBA SFF 6-HDD file server) by mechanically decoupling the HDDs. This is the goal, anyway. We'll see if it can be achieved.
  3. Possibly run a serious gaming rig with a high power video card, given the extra space and airflow potential of a bigger case. While still being ultra-quiet, of course.

So... the first order of the day was to get our hands on an appropriate case. A few, mostly by Antec and Silverstone, have come through the lab; alas, they are no longer with us. A spate of emails to potential sample providers resulted in the prompt receipt of a NZXT Tempest EVO, which we had identified from web photos to be suitable. It was the first suitable case sample to arrive, so we jumped in.

The NZXT Tempest EVO sample we received is a steel mid-tower gamer case with a fan on the side window, a back panel fan, and dual fans on the top panel. The top-position control and i/o panel makes it clear the case is meant for floor placement.

This photo shows some of the key features of the Tempest EVO: Bottom mounting on rubber nubs for the ATX power supply with bottom intake vent, opening under CPU socket and multiple cable holes in motherboard tray, and top-to-bottom optical drive cage. It actually has two modular cages to hold 3.5" HDDs in the big ODD cage, but we will not be using them.

While we are here, a shot from the other side.

Confirmation of the big ODD cage.

The fairly sturdy front bezel is a friction fit that pulls of with a pop (don't do it too many times lest the fit gets sloppy), revealing fans equipped with dust filters (that are not easy to get off without removing the whole assembly). The two 4-HDD cages slip out easily from the front.

As you can see from the above series of photos, the NZXT Tempest Evo proved to be a perfectly suitable canditate. The sheet metal was a reasonably sturdy 0.8 mm thickness, and the only place where it seemed a bit flimsy was on the side panels. All the edges were rolled, and amazingly, not a single cut or drop of blood was exacted by the case in the course of this project —and there was ample opportunity!

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