Introducing the Nanoxia Deep Silence 1

When I reviewed the BitFenix Ghost, some of you requested we take a look at the Nanoxia Deep Silence 1. Nanoxia isn't selling on American shores yet, but there's been a lot of buzz going around about this case, and Nanoxia has been steadily making inroads towards getting it into our hands. If you couldn't tell from the name, the Deep Silence 1 is designed for quiet, efficient running, and in many ways it looks like exactly the case I requested at the end of my review of the Ghost: same principles, just bigger and better.

As it turns out, Nanoxia wanted us to look at the Deep Silence 1 as well. I was initially reluctant as you can't actually buy it in the States yet, but hopefully this review will help change that. While the Deep Silence 1 isn't the grand slam some people make it out to be, it is very close, and demonstrates a real evolution in the way silent cases are designed. So what did this small German firm do with the Deep Silence 1 that makes it so different from other silent cases? A few things, as it turns out.

In my experience, cases engineered for silent running can oftentimes be chasing the wrong vectors. They're seldom bad cases, but acoustic padding can't make up for efficient airflow, and having to close off ventilation can actually cause more problems than it solves. It's entirely possible to produce a silent, well-ventilated case, but getting the design right means dodging a veritable minefield of decisions that will threaten to undermine your intended goal.

The result, thus far, has been that while cases like the BitFenix Ghost and Corsair Obsidian 550D aren't necessarily bad, with our testbed they've had to expend more effort on trying to smother the noise generated by high fan speeds rather than keeping the components cooler in the first place. Users interested in building a system designed to run quietly will have less trouble (they'll be more apt to use quieter-running parts), but the underlying issue persists, so the question is...was Nanoxia able to do the unthinkable and balance the equation?

Nanoxia Deep Silence 1 Specifications
Motherboard Form Factor Mini-ITX, Micro-ATX, ATX, XL-ATX
Drive Bays External 3x 5.25" (plus included 5.25"-to-3.5" adapter plate)
Internal 8x 2.5"/3.5"
Cooling Front 2x 120mm intake fan
Rear 1x 140mm exhaust fan (compatible with 120mm)
Top 2x 120mm/140mm fan mount
Side 1x 120mm/140mm fan mount
Bottom 1x 120mm/140mm fan mount
Expansion Slots 8
I/O Port 2x USB 3.0, 2x USB 2.0, 1x Headphone, 1x Mic
Power Supply Size ATX
Clearances HSF 185mm
PSU 200mm
GPU 12.4" / 315mm
Dimensions 20.35" x 8.66" x 20.94"
517mm x 220mm x 532mm
Weight 25 lbs / 11.34 kg
Special Features Removable fan filters
USB 3.0 via internal header
Analog dual-channel fan controller (three fans per channel)
Toggleable "chimney"
Removable drive cages
Acoustic padding on the doors and side panels
Price 109 EUR; expected US MSRP between $109-$129

Even just unboxing it, what struck me the most about the Deep Silence 1 is how heavy it is, and that was my first clue that it might be a bit better at its job than some of the other silent cases I've tested. It's appreciably heavier than both the BitFenix Ghost and the Corsair Obsidian 550D due to the use of both the acoustic padding and, frankly, a heavy steel frame. This is not a cheaply built case, and the thicker materials used in its construction should go a long way towards containing noise.

In and Around the Nanoxia Deep Silence 1
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  • Dustin Sklavos - Tuesday, November 27, 2012 - link

    I think there's a reasonable chance the R4 would be much more competitive, either with Nanoxia's fans or with a pair of 140mm be quiet! fans on the intake.

    The issue the R4 runs into, for me at least, is that it has virtually no clearance in the top for a radiator. What they need to do is what SilverStone did with the Temjin TJ04-E; shift the mounts towards the left side of the case to clear the motherboard.
    Reply
  • ImSpartacus - Tuesday, November 27, 2012 - link

    You guys not only keep your review samples, but you give them to your friends!? I thought it was good form to give away review samples if you have no long term use for them (except in a test bed or something).

    I feel like I misinterpreted this comment. Could you clarify the policy on what happens to review samples after a review goes up?
    Reply
  • Grok42 - Thursday, November 29, 2012 - link

    My company reviews products completely unrelated to computers. We footnote what we did with each sample at the bottom of the review. 50% of the equipment we send back at the request of the manufacturer. Of the other 50% we give away about 40% to our readers. I will say that giving them away takes a lot of time and expense. This is why 10% ends up going to internal staff or in a broom closet. I will say that when you review a lot of equipment you completely lose any sense of cost in a weird way so I wouldn't worry too much about it influencing a reviewers review. You still put yourself in the place of a customer when evaluating value but in your mind that $500 piece of equipment is worth $0 since you have 40 similar ones lying around collecting dust. Reply
  • Grok42 - Thursday, November 29, 2012 - link

    Gunmetal finish?! Did I miss that in the review? I see they have white and Silver too but I think the Gunmetal is the best. The contrast of color makes it look a bit less German. I didn't think I'd be interested in owning a case like this but I have to admit I want one now. Certainly will keep it in mind for my next server. Reply
  • dawp - Tuesday, November 27, 2012 - link

    I have a couple of fans (the fx-1250) that are are dead silent on low and are quite on high, they seem to be good fans but one interesting marketing ploys is that they will run submerged in water. if you look on youtube you can find several vids of them doing that.

    I got them at crazypc
    Reply
  • dawp - Tuesday, November 27, 2012 - link

    no edit: the model is fx12-1250 Reply
  • SilentRunning - Tuesday, November 27, 2012 - link

    This is a case that appeals to me on many levels. But what it appears to lack is any ventilation for the upper half of the front. I always put hot swap bays in and some ventilation is a must. Reply
  • FRUNOBULAX - Tuesday, November 27, 2012 - link

    After so many rigs for which I paid pros to assemble, the Nanoxia DS1 was my choice for the first system to build from scratch with my own bare hands (figuratively, of course; but I did indeed not need my screwdriver often). While I did experience most of the issues mentioned (except the sticky I/O hinge at the top), I found none of them difficult to overcome, and the end result is sheer beauty. The combination of price and performance, I was simply wowed.
    What then really made the case an outstanding experience as a customer was the result of an inquiry I had sent them (some newbie question on audio headers and power switch connectors). I mailed it off on Sunday night from their website. I received the most friendly, competent and comprehensive answer I have yet received (in such combination) from a manufacturer or vendor, on Monday, 9:18 am.
    Should I ever need anything in the future that is also available Nanoxia, you bet they'll be my first choice.
    (Let me mention I'm German, yet I hold myself to have no tendency to fawn, or favor German products for nationalist considerations)
    Reply
  • stratosrally - Tuesday, November 27, 2012 - link

    Go to http://www.nanoxia-world.com/ to see more details about the DS2 (and the DS1). Seems to be a misconception here that the DS2 will be the improved version of the DS1 - it's actually a simplified and smaller case.

    It's a midtower, has 7 expansion slots, 165mm CPU clearance, no chimney up top (just 2 fan mounts), a single large HDD cage, and USB/audio on top that is not hidden. It seems to me that the main item of interest is that it will accept a 240/280mm radiator mounted to a bracket behind the 3.5" bays - or an additional pair of fans.

    BTW - sure seems to me that all 3 HDD bays are removable on the DS1, Dustin.
    Reply
  • araczynski - Tuesday, November 27, 2012 - link

    can't say i'm impressed, not sure why everyone's still using those ancient drive cages/sleds. especially in a case that focuses on efficiency. a smarter solution would be 4 independent vertical rails, just wide/thick enough to be rigid. Reply

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