Introducing the Nanoxia Deep Silence 2

Just recently we had a chance to review Nanoxia's Deep Silence 1, arguably the most impressive silent case we've ever tested. Nanoxia was able to produce an enclosure capable of delivering substantial air flow to components while still containing fan noise. In a market where silent cases usually lose a lot of their luster once overclocking enters the picture, the Deep Silence 1 was a breath of fresh air and proof that you could build a powerful system that you never had to hear.

In a bid to capture some of that sweet, sweet boutique volume, Nanoxia has refreshed the Deep Silence 1 into a slightly less expensive enclosure: the Deep Silence 2. The DS2 is an odd bird; it's a trimmed down DS1, but not heavily so, and in certain ways it can feel like a refinement. That all sounds incredibly promising, but did Nanoxia lose some of the potency of the original chassis in the process?

It's interesting testing the Deep Silence 2 so soon after the first one. This kind of refinement, starting with a top end product and gradually working things out as you make your way down the price ladder, is becoming less and less unusual. Corsair had a good thing going for a while, and NZXT just blew up their own top end with the Phantom 630. Yet when you look at the DS2, there isn't a whole lot that seems to differentiate it from its predecessor.

That's not a bad thing; the DS1 is one of the most attractive and functional cases I've tested. The DS2, by comparison, makes a few relatively safe trims: the bottom fan door is gone and replaced with just a solid fascia, the chimney is gone and replaced by a pair of 140mm fan mounts (with removable acoustic panels blocking them off, of course), and the flip-up I/O cluster on the top of the case has been eliminated in favor of just organizing the I/O around the power button.

Nanoxia Deep Silence 2 Specifications
Motherboard Form Factor Mini-ITX, Micro-ATX, ATX, E-ATX
Drive Bays External 3x 5.25" (plus included 5.25"-to-3.5" adapter plate)
Internal 7x 2.5"/3.5"
Cooling Front 2x 120mm intake fan (optional 2x 120mm fan mount behind drive cage)
Rear 1x 120mm exhaust fan
Top 2x 120mm/140mm fan mount
Side 1x 120mm/140mm fan mount
Bottom 1x 120mm/140mm fan mount
Expansion Slots 7
I/O Port 2x USB 3.0, 1x USB 2.0, 1x Headphone, 1x Mic
Power Supply Size ATX
Clearances HSF 165mm
PSU 200mm
GPU 13.5" / 345mm
Dimensions 18.42" x 8.15" x 23.15"
468mm x 207mm x 588mm
Weight 24.2 lbs / 10.96 kg
Special Features Removable fan filter
USB 3.0 via internal header
Analog dual-channel fan controller (three fans per channel)
Acoustic padding on the interior and side panels
Price 89 EUR; expected US MSRP $99

I had the Deep Silence 2 sitting near the Deep Silence 1 on the floor of my apartment, and I actually had a little bit of trouble discerning the differences between the two. Amusingly, the spec sheets are extremely helpful in teasing out how different these cases actually are.

First, the Deep Silence 1 is, overall, slightly larger than the DS2. That's owing to a reduction in height; the DS2 loses a drive tray and expansion slot along with the chimney and XL-ATX compatibility. The DS2 is also thinner than the DS1, losing 20mm of CPU cooler clearance and trading down to a 120mm exhaust fan instead of 140mm. Yet the DS2 is actually deeper than the DS1, presumably a result of the added internal fan mounts. That increase in depth is enough to make up the difference in weight; the DS2 is nearly as heavy as the DS1, and to be clear, these are unusually heavy cases for this segment of the market. Nanoxia doesn't cheap out in building material: they use thick steel and fairly durable plastic for these cases.

Importantly, and thankfully, we do keep the dual-channel analog fan controller from the DS1. I've been pretty gung ho about integrated fan controllers as of late because they add a lot of value to a case for not much expense. If you want your case to run as cool as possible, you need not bother with them, but if you'd rather tune for a balance of silence and performance, they allow you to do that. Many fans have an inflection point where their noise level increases substantially compared to cooling performance, and being able to tune for that point is handy.

In and Around the Nanoxia Deep Silence 2
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  • Sabresiberian - Thursday, February 14, 2013 - link

    Seriously?

    You can buy a case today that will allow you to pop in a couple of high-end video cards without the need for even buying additional fans. A decade ago, you could hardly run one card without pulling off the side cover and setting up an external fan to blow into the case.

    But case design is largely based on mainboard format, and the rest of the components that go into the build. Those haven't changed much in 20 years, so the appearance and function of cases is going to remain similar. How I'll agree with you is to say the ATX format isn't serving us well today (particularly those of us interested in building high-end rigs). No mainboard form factor advance is something of a limit to advances in case design.
    Reply
  • Tech-Curious - Thursday, February 14, 2013 - link

    Having recently assembled a build in a circa-2001 case that was collecting dust in my basement, I'm a bit torn. Tthere've been innumerable QoL advancements in case design; 120mm fans, more flexible fan mounting options, more general recognition of cable management, fewer hard edges, and so on and so forth.

    My old case works surprisingly well, but it was also an unusually expensive product at the time, and I searched high and low for it (and I don't even remember which company manufactured it). Even so, it's noisier than it needs to be simply because it uses 80mm fans. Cable management is nonexistent; I had to bundle up and toss every loose cable into the drive cages. I had to jury-rig my own fan filters.

    As others have pointed out, there's only so much true innovation anyone can impose on the ATX standard. If I have one complaint about current-day cases, it's that they all seem to come with a bottom-mounted PSU, which is fine if you plan to place the box on a hard floor or on your desk, but even a well-filtered down-facing PSU makes me extremely nervous when I'm placing the computer on a carpeted floor. Call me paranoid, but I'd like more options there.
    Reply
  • crimson117 - Thursday, February 14, 2013 - link

    Dustin,

    I'm digging your reviews lately, but I really with you'd use an ATX sized motherboard instead of a mATX.

    With an ATX motherboard in certain cases, it may be cramped / difficult to access:
    - the SATA ports, when pushed up against the hard drive cage(s) (especially those mobos with SATA ports pointing sideways off the board)
    - the front case header connectors on the motherboard, when pushed against the lower portion of a case
    - the rear side of the 5.25" bays

    Even if you continue testing with mATX for consistency, would you please consider temporarily placing an ATX motherboard in each case, taking a picture, and commenting on whether any issues arise compared to an mATX board?
    Reply
  • crimson117 - Thursday, February 14, 2013 - link

    *I really wish, not with. I don't have a lisp IRL. Reply
  • anynigma - Thursday, February 14, 2013 - link

    I completely agree. With any case that fits an ATX motherboard, I want to know if I will have any issues with Sata cables and long graphics cards specifically, and everything crimson mentioned above as well.

    Dustin can you please follow up with an ATX space analysis, or as a bare minimum, a picture. as crimson describes above?
    Reply
  • crimson117 - Thursday, February 14, 2013 - link

    Especially in these enthusiast cases like the Phantom 630 - who would use an mATX board in that thing? Reply
  • niva - Thursday, February 14, 2013 - link

    And here I was thinking if it won't fit an EATX I'm not interested. Very valid point, test the biggest possible board the case was designed to fit. Reply
  • Hrel - Thursday, February 14, 2013 - link

    Agreed, mini boards are for "normal" people. Reply
  • Dustin Sklavos - Friday, February 15, 2013 - link

    Part of the problem is that there's no major incentive to use an ATX board in general anymore. I have one in my desktop, but even if I used SLI I'd still only need four slots total. :|

    The clearance thing is admittedly worth considering. I'm not sure how well I can address this without trying to acquire an ATX board to test with, and then you have to keep in mind that some ATX boards are not as wide as others; meanwhile, our Micro-ATX board is actually *wider* than most mATX boards are. So when you're looking at the depth of the board and its proximity to the drive cages (including the side-oriented SATA connectors), that actually *is* what a conventional ATX board's clearance will be. Our mATX board is as deep as a standard ATX board.

    I'm pretty sure you guys are going to chop my head off and crap down my neck when you see what I'm planning for my super high stress testbed, but a lot of this is a matter of using what will fit the widest number of builds and allow me to get the most testing done.
    Reply
  • crimson117 - Friday, February 15, 2013 - link

    I'm rockin' a Sonata III with the popular GIGABYTE GA-Z68X-UD3H-B3 (12" x 9.6") and it's nearly impossible to access the SATA ports due to the hard drive cages - especially while my modest 6850 GPU is installed.

    Sonata III is an old, tiny case, but that's where I"m coming from, anyhow.

    >when you see what I'm planning for my super high stress testbed

    Mini-ITX stapled into an engineering-sample 900D? ;-)
    Reply

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