For several years now I have used my trusty Antec LanBoy case for my primary PC. After plastic pieces kept breaking (the front fan cover) I decided that it was time to make a change. Thankfully, NZXT was kind enough to send me their recently released Hades case for me to review. At a first look, the Hades looks menacing. Containing four fans with a spot for one more, it certainly has no issues keeping the internals cool. Two of the fans are a whopping 200mm, there's a 140mm on the top, and a 120mm on the rear. The steel case features a bottom mount power supply, serious cable and water cooling management, and quick access drive holders. Also included are three thermocouples and a LCD display on the front in order to monitor system temperatures.
Compared to most other cases I have ever used, this thing has some serious cable management. With no less than three large rubber grommets for tunneling cables through the right side of the case and tons of zip ties, NZXT is takes extreme consideration into good airflow and a clean look. The bottom mounted power supply allows air to be drawn from the bottom vent and exhausted directly out the back so hot air from inside the case won't reduce its life. Unfortunately, my large 850 watt power supply is slightly too long to fit well in the case and ended up having an awkward fit while slightly bending one of the cable feeds. The case has provisions for up to four hard drives (includes 1 2.5" drive adapter) and four 5.25" drives. Unfortunately, there are no 3.5" drive adapters for floppy drives or card readers which I found a little disappointing. Not too many people still use floppy drives but many do use internal card readers so it would be nice for NZXT to include an adapter or two in the future.
The ports are standard fare with a headphone and microphone port on the top along with two USB ports and an eSATA port. At the back there are two grommets for water cooling hoses. The front panel flap of the case has a small red-colored LCD display to show internal temperatures along with a magnetic retention mechanism for when it's closed. Conveniently, it is shaped so that when closed it does not obstruct airflow through the front 200mm fan.
The drive retention system makes inserting and removing drives a piece of cake. Instead of using 4 screws to keep a 5.25" drive in the case, a locking system is used with just a simple twist on both sides of the case. You can still use screws if you prefer, but this system is excellent. 3.5" drives are mounted in a carrier which is then locked to the case.
Overall, the best part of this case is the cable management system. With the ability to route almost every cable behind the motherboard tray, the system looks very clean and airflow is improved greatly. I saw a 4 degree C drop in system temperatures from my old LanBoy case. Of course, the extra fans helped but the cable management also benefits the entire system keeping the hard drives, videocards, and CPU cooler. For those with water cooling, you will no longer need an expansion slot tunnel in order to get water through the system.
I would recommend the NXZT Hades to anyone who wants a solidly built case with lots of features. My only issue with it is the lack of inclusion of 3.5" adapters as well as small build issues including the lack of longer power supply fitment as well as included thumbscrew quality, some of which had the screw not properly centered in the plastic. If you can overlook two small issues such as those, you will be delighted at the value you get from the NZXT Hades and you will indeed love the excellent cooling capabilities and intriguing looks. One more thing: It took me forever to find the power switch. It's located secretly at the middle of the front flap at the top of the vertex underneath the HDD and Power lights. Hopefully this will save you from beating the case with a hammer when the reset switch (which looks like a power switch) fails to turn the computer on.
[NZXT Hades ] – $84.99