Review of the NZXT BETA Chassis

Summary: The NZXT BETA is an economical chassis with great possibilities when it comes time to install a system. It has good materials and very striking aesthetics.


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We have the chance to present to you one of the latest launches by a manufacturer that is rather new to us, NZXT. This American company has been in the market for a long time, achieving great success with its products, above all in the market for PC chasses.




INTRODUCTION


Here, we’ll examine its BETA chassis, its most recent product, which it launched in the market along with its Panzerbox. Both concepts are very different, and in the BETA’s case, what interests us most right now is that it is a very economical mid tower, to which NZXT has given features usually reserved for advanced cases. Let’s take a look at the specs:


NZXT BETA

Size

Mid tower (200 X 430 X 501 mm = 7.9 X 16.9 x 19.7″)

Materials

Steel chassis and panels, plastic front

Expansion Bays

4x 5.25″ and 5x 3.5″

Expansion Slots

7

Motherboard Support

ATX, MICRO-ATX, BABY AT

Cooling System

Up to 4 120 mm (4.7″) fans: 1 front, 1 rear, 2 sides; includes a front-mounted fan

Weight

7.28 Kg (16.1 lbs)


These specs may not stand out beyond what other similar cases offer, but there’s something that caught our attention: the weight of only about 16 pounds makes the BETA a light case, which is perfect if you move it often.





FIRST IMPRESSIONS


NZXT has chosen simple packaging for the BETA: a cardboard carton whose serigraphy is limited to the NZXT logos and the BETA’s features. We’ve mentioned that this is an economical chassis. What better way is there to minimize costs from the start than this packaging? When you open the package, you see the front of the BETA, one of the product’s most eye-catching features. The packaging is perfect, protecting the contents with two pieces of Styrofoam and a plastic bag that keeps the chassis from being scratched.


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The accessories that NZXT provides with the BETA are in a smaller box inside. It’s worth taking a look at them before examining the BETA in depth. They’re what you’d expect: mountings for 5.25″ and 3.5″ units, screws, a speaker, and a thank-you note from NZXT for its clients’ loyalty.


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(The note says “Thanks for buying the NZXT BETA chassis. If you want more information on installation and specifications for this chassis, visit our Web page at www.nzxt.com. The direct link to the product is http://nzxt.com/products/beta. There, you can find the manual in various languages in the download section. Please don’t hesitate to send any question or doubt to the address service@nzxt.com.”)


It’s time to look more closely at the BETA, since it’s what interests us most, after all.




A DETAILED LOOK AT THE NZXT BETA: THE EXTERIOR


At first glance, the NZXT BETA is a pretty standard chassis in terms of its configuration. The only thing that stands out is the front, which is striking and perhaps a bit aggressive, aimed at gamers. As emphasized in its specs, the BETA is built of steel, except for the front, with its molded plastic.


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The BETA’s side panels are also made of steel, although they don’t seem very robust. The left side has two openings for 120 mm (4.7″) fans, to blow fresh air over the most sensitive components: the graphics card, chipset, and processor.


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The back side of the case has a standard configuration, although there are some interesting details, such as outlets for liquid cooling tubes or the possibility of installing various sized fans, something that might seem obvious, but which not all cases have. You can also see that the power supply must be installed at the top, and that the inside of the case is finished in black. This seems a constant in NZXT’s cases, and it greatly improves the aesthetics of this one.


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We’ve left the most striking thing about the BETA for last — it’s front. For us, it’s a very aggressive design. Although it may not please everyone, we liked it. The front is clearly divided into two areas. The lower one has a grid that brings in air for the case’s included 120 mm (4.7″) fan. At the top are four 5.25″ bays, with holes to maximize airflow to the inside of the case.


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The ON/OFF and RESET buttons are located just below the 5.25″ bays. They perfectly compliment the aesthetics of this case. The NZXT logo appears in white at the upper right, contrasting greatly with the front side’s dominant black.



The last thing to mention is the external ports and connectors. They’re located on top of the unit, which may be the best possible place. They include 2 USB ports, an E-SATA port, and audio-out and mike-in connectors. We’d have liked to see a Firewire port, but we’ll leave that aside, since that standard isn’t widely used.


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A DETAILED LOOK AT THE NZXT BETA:THE INTERIOR


It’s time to delve deeper into the NZXT BETA, so let’s take off the side panels and look at the inside. As we mentioned with appreciation earlier, the chassis is completely finished in black. We like the great aesthetic improvement this gives to the case as a whole.


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Looking at the expansion bay area, we see four 5.25″ bays with a standard configuration. In the case of the five 3.5″ bays, 1 of the cutouts is oriented in the same direction as those for readers, while 4 are in a separate rack and oriented perpendicular to the others. This makes it very easy to install hard disks, as well as providing more interior space. That’s something valuable if you plan to install a large graphics card.


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NZXT has designed the BETA very well. This is reflected in the details, such as the cabling of the doors and front controls. The cables for the external ports come out at the top and don’t interfere with any other component. This also makes it easy to hide the cables. The front cabling is well hidden, and if you work at it a little, you can make it disappear completely.


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NZXT has provided a stock front-mounted 120 mm (4.7″) fan. It consumes 2.4W and runs at 12V. Interestingly, it can be powered through a 4-pin Molex or 3-pin connector, as the user chooses. Maybe NZXT should also include a rear fan, but given the price of this case, we shouldn’t ask for too much.


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The center of the case includes enough space to install the motherboard and power supply, along with the freedom to work with the cabling and install everything cleanly. The back has 7 expansion slots with perforated plates to maximize cooling.


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In general, we think the BETA is well designed, roomy, and has many interesting features. Our only complaint is that it’s not very rigid.




INSTALLING EQUIPMENT


To install equipment in the NZXT BETA, you start by installing the clips for the 3.5″ units, which must be screwed onto the hard disk. For the 5.25″ units, they must be placed in their corresponding slots and their mountings installed. Both these anchoring methods are secure and can be performed quickly.


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Installing the motherboard and power supply is extremely easy, thanks above all to the ample space that the BETA provides. When it came time to connect the power supply and data cables, it was easy to hide them, producing an impeccable system installation.



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When we started up the system, we noticed the front-mounted blue LEDs. Along with other blue system lights, this creates a very pleasant look that will doubtless be attractive to many users. Another strong point is that the included fan draws hot air out through the rear of the case. By installing all the fans, we achieved great airflow and excellent cooling of our equipment.




CONCLUSIONS


Our first experience with a NZXT product made a good impression on us, even though it was a low-range case. The BETA is aesthetically attractive, above all for its front and interior finishing. The only thing we’re not convinced about is its robustness.



This case has great possibilities. There’s no problem with long graphics cards, which fit perfectly. Cable management is another of the BETA’s strong points, especially since this is an unusual feature for cases in this price range. Something else we liked was the cooling system. Although it only includes one fan, it provides direct ventilation for critical system components.


NZXT has convinced us with its BETA chassis. Keeping in mind its very low price of about $70, we feel it’s one of the models to keep in mind when you build a new system or want to replace a generic chassis. It’s a well-made case, which offers high quality and great options.


Strong Points

Weak Points

Excellent materials

Not very robust

Very attractive front


Cooling system


Ample space, with room to manage cables


Price



Packaging

0.5/0.5

Accessories

0.7/1

Materials and quality

1/1.5

Special features

1/1

Interior room

1.8/2

Noise level

2/2

Price

2/2

Total

9/10



The final score is 90 out of 100 owls, and we give the “NZXT BETA Chassis” our Editor’s Choice Award.


TestSeek Labs Editor's Choice 2009 Award


Thanks NZXT for supplying us with the BETA chassis.


Author: Manuel González Fernández

Translator: Ed Winograd

  1. Emille
    August 30th, 2009 at 19:51 | #1

    Great review guys. I bought this case and I just want to know if the board you tested it with was an ATX board. If so, then that’s good news for me because that board you used didn’t cover up the cable management holes at the side – which I’ve seen pictures of.

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