Note: More pictures will be added here in this week.
Recently Nexus has added two new case in their selection. Caterpillar is their cheaper model. 0.7-0.6mm Secc steel case and plastic frontal panel.
What I noticed first when I took case out of case: It was light! Whole package weight 8,4 KG's and case is stated to be around 5,5 kg according the info text in package. Its very light, good thing for gamer, not sure about silent enthusiast. Heavier case deadden the vibrations well
Anyway onwards we shall go. Case looks pretty stylish all black form. Front is covered by black mesh entirely and hydraulic self closing door. When pressing door down, it requires some strength and isn't silent but relatively quiet.
Beneath the door are rest button, one accessable 3,5" expansion slot and three 5,25". Not bad, not great either. Now back panel shows some surprises. Entire construction is upside down and I have to open the case from the "wrong side". The locking mechanism is intresting. Consisting two pieces: A clear plastic locking system and a screw. Luckily there is small text "lock" and arrow. Naturally I took screws of and pressed opposite direction. They came off. Side panel open.
Inside the case:
The other side panel is one with the top and riveted close permanently.
Inside, well, I soon noticed something probelamtic: A lot holes in bottom. Makes filtering hard. Package also said 4 ventilated HDD palce. I counted 3 and one extra ventilated place without any seemingly sturdy attachment for the fourth.
Only partial of floor is covered with noise absoption mat and you see HDD rack and bottom holes:
In this point I started to look manual. Nothing. Only piece of paper was brown anti.moisture paper inside the case. Now this is problematic. Inside the taped pastic bag you had your usualy screws, stand offs three special plastic tupe with screw one end and hollow another end and two pieces of intresting steel pieces. I think last two are somehow related attaching the fourth HDD but without manual its regular puzzle how to do it.
There is no anykind HDD dampening in the case. Little disapointing when it comes to Silent System case.
I also noticed that only partial of the floor is covered by sound dampening mat.
The case ventilating is done by two soft mounted Nexus Real Silent 120mm fans. The finger guard are large square wholes. Seeming to offer very good passage for the air with minimal resistance. Still too much for me so I will remove them with cutting pliers. Not impossible task due 0.6 mm secc steel they are.
Front panel after removing fan grils:
After removing back fan gril:
At this point case seemed pretty ok. Lighter and less sturdy than I'd like but peoples moving their case will probably enjoy the lightness.
The assembly: Look the siggy to see my components.
First problem came when installing my modular PSU, the HDD rack was very tight fit. It took some time to make my modular PSU fit with necessary cables. Adding cables to PSU is impossible aslong PSU is attached and secured. Antec Phantom would not fit in this case. The PSU is placed so that fan is towards the ceiling. There are light rails and space between bottom and psu so in theory I coul use PSU otherway around. But everything in case and Nexus support told me that with 120mm bottom fan PSU must be placed so fan is towards the ceiling and system.
Oh, no, problems?
Cable routing was pretty easy. The 4-pin 12-c additional power plug was bit hard to put but rest cables were easy to put and there was nicely space to route the cables best way.
I suspended HDD by putting bike innertube hanging from 3,5" expansion slot, securing it with two zip ties and voilÃ¡ HDD is suspended. Everything else went smoothly. The quick release/attachment for the expansion slots were bit troubelsome for VGA card. but after few minutes and re-setting vga card was locked in its place. Not as securily as with screw but decently. I'd still remove VGA card fro transposrt if you have big VGA card or heavy cooler.
in test I noticed my akasa fan control JR knobs were too big for the hydralic. Well, with sharpknife and sandpaper I took off about 1mm of plastic from the hudraulic door and its a perfect fit.
In test run, I noticed that I had mis connected HDD and Power leds. Oh, well. But the case is very quiet. With all minimum I hear nothing over ambedient. After closing window and door, I hear faint hum.
Everything works as they should and I take a look temperatures in window by using Speed fan and Asus probe II. There was quite shock waiting for me: CPU was 33-36 degree's C while in my SLK 3000B it was 37-40 degree's C. My motherboard was between 40 to 45 degree's in SLK 3000B and in Nexus Caterpillar its 33 degree's C. So at the best I saw 12 C drop in motherboard. Which leads me 4 conclusion:
1) Motherboards temperature sensor was damaged during change. ( I accidently bent one copper fin in mosft cooler when I removed 12-v additional power plug from motherboard but that should not affect it )
2) Motherboards temperature sensor is not able fully to read temperatures while mounted upside down
3) Caterpillars ventilation is far superior towards SLK3000B
4) Nexus case fans have far superior static pressure wich cools better than Noctua's case fans. With design this could provde far superior cooling to motherboard.
Edit: After opening the case and touching the small copper cooler on motherboard I found out that the motherboards passive cooler was burning hot, like in SLK3000B but somehow Speed fan and Asus Probe II tell that motherboard runs 10 degree's cooler than in SLK 3000B. I suspect that upside turned system somehow makes the motherboard sensor off by 10 degree's. Wether its something to do with gravity or that sensor gets hit the case air flow, the copper cooler is burning hot like in SLK3000B so the cooler is about as hot as before. CPU still shows 2 to 3 degree's lower results than in old case.
Wtih 76,50 â‚¬'s which I paid for Nexus Caterpillar case is pretty decent price. You get two black and white Nexus 120mm fans soft mounted. With all the troubles I went thru with this case and initial slight disapointment with lack of manual, lack of filters and bottom holes this case has surprised me. It is indeed quiet case, if you make standard modding like suspending Hard drives and cut fan grills.
Cases quality is not Antec's level but it is decent. I would have like sturdier superstructure but case is sturdy enough for everyday use.
+ Pretty affordable price
+ 2 x Nexus Real Silent Case fans Included
+ Light, peoples moving a lot their case will appreciate this.
+ Noise absorption mat already placed
+ Good and quiet cooling
+ Surprisingly much room if you don't use many hard drives
+ No PSU
- Not as sturdy as most antec cases.
- No HDD suspension or silence
- Not all PSU will fit. Most Modular PSU's are probably very tight fit. Be Quiet! Dark Power Pro 430W was extremely tight fit (its slightly longer than regular PSU thanks to Modular connections). Anything bigger than that will not fit without dremel
- No Manual
- No Filters
- 3 HDD places and one extra ventilated. Lack of manual will hinder using 4th place effectively
- Not much space for several suspended HDD's
- Tooless expansion card locks bit flimsy
- Noise absoption mat doesn't cover entire case
- Potential vibration issue if using regular HDD attachment instead suspending your HDD.
Nexus caterpillar is good choice for person who is looking light and quiet case. Price in Finland wasn't terrible, 76,50 â‚¬ including postal feeds. However case requires some modding to fully extract its full potential. But its very good case to start your silent project. Even case might feel bit flimsy and bezel is plastic, does this case has suprsingly much potential