NZXT Source S340 Mid Tower

Cases|Damping
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AUDIO RECORDINGS

These recordings were made with a high resolution, lab quality, digital recording system inside SPCR's own 11 dBA ambient anechoic chamber, then converted to LAME 128kbps encoded MP3s. We've listened long and hard to ensure there is no audible degradation from the original WAV files to these MP3s. They represent a quick snapshot of what we heard during the review.

Each recording starts with ambient noise, then 5~10 second segments of product at various states. For the most realistic results, set the volume so that the starting ambient level is just barely audible, then don't change the volume setting again while comparing all the sound files.

FINAL THOUGHTS

Given the similarities with the Fractal Define S, I was expected great things from the NZXT S340. Without drive cages in the way, the two cases have effectively unimpeded front intakes. The Define S uses traditional vents along the sides of the bezel while the S340 opts for a large gap running down the entire front panel. Sadly, the S340 runs slightly warmer and moderately louder under our testing parameters. The difference may be due to S340's more restrictive exhaust system or the Define S' larger, potentially more efficient 140 mm fans (or a combination of both). Compared to other sub-$100 cases, the S340 is not a poor performer, it's just not a standout.

From a silencing perspective, the S340 takes some user intervention to cut down on noise. Fortunately, the fans don't have to be replaced as the stock models sound absolutely sublime. Hard drive vibration is the biggest issue as the drive cage isn't particularly well secured and 3.5 inch drives fit too loosely inside. Adding some damping material to the sides of the drives helps considerably as does bracing the intake gap of the front bezel.

The S340's aesthetics are simple yet classy and the external build quality is more than you can expect from a budget tower. Furthermore, minimal effort is required to make the interior look clean through the side window — the internal design hides the less attractive portions of the case and this is complemented by good cable management. The size of the case is also refreshing, not overly large like most models these days. Cutting back on drive support allowed NZXT to reign in its dimensions, though I wish they had made it slightly wider on the left side for better CPU cooler support. I hope one day they take it a step further and produce a microATX variant as the ATX form factor itself is oversized for the majority of PC users.

The S340 has its fair share of flaws but as it sells for only US$70, they can be mostly forgiven. It punches above its weight class, looking and feeling like a pricier model. That is about as much as you can ask for from a budget case.

Our thanks to NZXT for the Source S340 case sample.


The NZXT Source S340 is recommended by SPCR

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