No one can accuse NZXT of slacking off when it comes to releasing new PC cases. We’ve got three of their latest offerings in our office, and we’ll be bringing you full reviews on each over the next week or so. First up is their M56 Classic Series ATX Mid Tower chassis.
NZXT has always found a good balance between price and performance. The M56 falls into what I’d consider the mid-range of cases in terms of pricing. But the real question is whether or not the hardware is worth the price. Read on for my full review.
The M56 has room for up to 5 fans, and includes a pair of 9-fin rifle bearing fans to keep things cool. If liquid-cooling is your thing, then you’ll be happy to find pre-drilled holes and support for a dual radiator at the top of the case. You’ll also find punched holes for cable management and quick access to the back of the motherboard (where the CPU would normally be). One of my favorite features is the included brackets for dual SSD drives. With prices coming down on SSD’s, this is soon going to be a necessity on all future cases.
This case is all about angles. The front has a nice zig-zag shape, which is just rounded enough to give it an interesting look. It’s almost refreshing to see a case that’s not either perfectly square or rounded outwards like most others. The M56 is black, inside and out, with blue LED accents in just the right places. The power button has a soft blue ring around it (not a bright blinding light as I’ve seen on other cases) and you’ll find an LED bar just above the optical drive bays. It’s almost completely hidden from view, since the top sticks out a bit. However, it gives off a soft glow so that you can see your USB, eSATA and audio ports on the front when you’re gaming in the dark.
Like many other cases out there, you’ll find a window on the side. Unlike most cases, the window is a smoked color, leaving the inside of your case a bit of a mystery. The side-mounted fan also has a soft blue LED glow, letting onlookers get just a peek at the enclosed hardware. Personally, I think that it could do with one more set of LEDs for the perfect lighting, but that’s just me. Inside you’ll also notice that the power supply is mounted on the bottom, rather than the top. Many cases are going to this style, due to the better airflow
One of the most important things to consider in a case is how easy the installation process is. After all, a case can outlive the the components by a long time. Well the M56 makes things about as painless as it gets. First, there are no sharp edges in the case (I’ve yet to find one from these guys that I’ve worried about cutting myself on) which is a big deal. The pre-cut holes in the back of the case (where you’ll mount the motherboard) are perfect for running cables and keeping them out of the way.
I’d like to take a second to point out the giant hole over which your CPU will eventually sit. This is such an awesome feature. Why? If you’ve ever decided to add a liquid cooling solution to your system, you know that you have to take the entire motherboard off, just so you can change out the heatsink mounting brackets. This eliminates the need to remove the board, thus making installation a breeze.
I’d also like to note that instead of trying to implement some sort of screwless solution for the hard drives and optical drives, NZXT just supplied a crapload of thumbscrews. 16 to be exact. I’m not a big fan of most screwless solutions, so I welcome the bag of thumbscrews. You’ll also find room for larger graphics cards, up to 10.5-inches long. The last thing I’ll mention here is the mounting brackets for SSD drives. It’s really not anything too special, just a pair of rails that slide into a 5.25-inch bay. It’s simple and effective.
The M59 Classic Series Mid Tower chassis is yet another solid offering from NZXT. These guys are constantly updating their line of cases, but rarely are they simple cosmetic changes. The pre-cut hole beneath the CPU and inclusion of a SSD bracket prove that these guys know what consumers want and need. At $59, this case has a lot to offer without breaking the bank.
[ NZXT ]