In and Around the Nanoxia Deep Silence 1

Producing a good case design doesn't necessarily mean strictly deviating from established convention in favor of something new, and what Nanoxia has done with the Deep Silence 1 is smartly integrate some of the better design choices from competitors alongside some innovations of their own. This case obviously wasn't developed in a vacuum, but as you'll see, the combination of design decisions is incredibly smart.

In terms of building materials, Nanoxia opted to use a combination of thick SECC steel and soft-touch-finished plastic (similar to what BitFenix enjoys). Unfortunately they weren't able to match tones quite as well as BitFenix tends to, but it's a minor complaint.

The front of the Deep Silence 1 is probably one of the most striking parts of the design. Silent enclosures traditionally feature doors, and BitFenix and Corsair opted to install doors that opened in either direction. Nanoxia's only open one way (hinged on the right side), but they actually split the door in two, with the top door handling access to the fan controller, reset button, and external bays while the bottom door hides the intake fans. To ensure the intakes are properly fed, Nanoxia also ventilated the sides of the fascia. Additionally, the intake fans themselves are on hinges, allowing you to easily pop them open and clean the dust filters. There are a lot of little things going on here but it adds up to a series of smart, practical descisions that nonetheless allow the case to maintain a very attractive face.

Keeping with that clean but functional design, the top of the case features the power button (interestingly, the power light which circles the power button glows green instead of blue) and two hidden features. The first is the port cluster, which is hinged and hidden away until it needs to be popped up and used. Even open, it doesn't really disturb the aesthetic. The other is Nanoxia's "chimney," which is mechanically raised and lowered by a switch on the left side. Nanoxia cites the chimney as being good for allowing excess heat to silently exit the case, but I found the claim specious and similar to how SilverStone claims the 90-degree motherboard rotation allows for heat to more efficiently be transferred outside of the case. SilverStone's 90-degree cases work because they have intake fans that blow directly on the hottest components; convection has virtually nothing to do with it. By the same token, I think the chimney is probably more appropriate for ventilating the top fan mounts when those mounts are occupied.

Side panels are held to the Deep Silence 1 by thumbscrews, and they slide in on unfortunately old-timey notches. This is something that could and should've been brought up to modern standards by using hinges to hold the panels in place. When you do get inside the DS1, though, you'll find a design that's an excellent refinement of existing case design conventions.

There are a grand total of three drive cages, two of which are removable, and you can mount one to the bottom of the case (above the intake mount) or remove that mounting entirely to install another fan. If you remove both cages you're still left with three drive sleds, which for many users should be more than adequate, and this leaves one of the intake fans completely unblocked. Nanoxia also includes toolless locking mechanisms for the 5.25" drive bays, and better still, they've included routing holes in the motherboard tray not just for ATX boards, but for Micro-ATX as well. It's actually a really smart decision; if the end user is using a smaller board they can still keep things clean, while larger boards simply block the unneeded holes.

Finally, I'd like to point out that Nanoxia includes a wealth of conveniences in the package for the DS1, including an extension cable for the AUX 12V line, an adaptor tray and shield for one of the 5.25" drive bays to allow installing a 3.5" external peripheral, and even grommets to completely block the liquid cooling routing holes in the back of the enclosure. There's also a healthy amount of space inside for installing radiators to the top, back, and bottom, and the DS1 is one of the only cases I've seen that supports 140mm/280mm radiators.

Introducing the Nanoxia Deep Silence 1 Assembling 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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