Nanoxia Deep Silence 1

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The Nanoxia Deep Silence 1 has all the hallmarks of a classic noise conscious case as well as a few added features to distinguish itself. Smooth sounding fans, limited/selective ventilation to prevent noise from escaping, and noise dampening material lining the panels are par for the course for such cases. What differentiates the DS1 most from its many competitors is extra features.

The included fan controller is more capable than most, powering up to three fans on each of its two channels. It's a wonderful complement to the stock fans because they generate similar noise levels. Not having to worry about one fan drowning out another, hooking them all up together perfect sense, leaving a second channel free for a different set. In some "silent" cases, the fans have very low maximum speeds, limiting their effectiveness with more demanding system configurations. The DS1's stock fans have more reasonable top speeds and thus a more versatile fan speed range.

Like many enthusiast cases, the drive cages are removable, a feature that allows users to install extra long video cards. In the DS1, doing so also greatly improves airflow as the cages are very restrictive to airflow, choking the front intake fans. The ability to move one of the cages to the bottom is nice when using two long graphics cards. The cages fit snugly against one another but that doesn't make them completely stable as a whole. The outside material is thinner than most modular drive compartments and without extra support, there's some horizontal wiggle room. It's simply not as solid as having a fixed cage with riveted supports along the sides.

The chimney vent is another compromise. It hides the top fan vents from view, giving the case more aesthetic continuity and can be raised when the need arises to increase ventilation. Unfortunately, we found it made just a slight difference and only when under a heavy power load, at least without a top fan installed. [Editor's Note: Another use model is to add a couple of top panel fans and turn them on with the extra channel in the fan controller only when the chimney cover is up. At high loads, this should provide extra cooling, while keeping noise down in normal use. It would mean more noise under load, however, and the need to manually set the top panel fans as well as the chimney cover.]

The finish on the outer surface is a bit problematic as the paint streaks when scratched with anything remotely abrasive, leaving grey marks behind. The overall build quality is above average. The interior frame is especially sturdy and the side panels feel solid, though this is more to do with the stiffness of the material lining them.

The Deep Silence 1 is currently being sold at only one major retailer, QuietPC, for £74.99 (excluding VAT) in Europe. We're in the dark about what the pricing will be when it lands on the other side of the Atlantic but based on price comparisons of the rest of QuietPC's catalog, we estimate it will cost around US$120. This would be a decent value. It is an ambitious first case attempt, but in the end, we have to conclude that the DS1 isn't as quiet as the quietest cases, nor as cool as the coolest ones.

Our thanks to Nanoxia for the Deep Silence 1 case sample.

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