NZXT is more than just a new company in the modding scene. They are an innovative company with many amazing new ideas. Today we are looking at NZXT’s first case, the Guardian.
Case Type: Mid-Tower
Material: All metal construction (SGCC)
Drive Bays: 5x 5.25", 2x 3.5", 3x 3.5"(Internal)
Expansion Slots: 7
Front Ports: 2x USB2.0, Audio Ports
Power Supply: 400W
Cooling System: 1x Tri-color LED Fan (side panel), 1x 80mm Fans in rear
Motherboard Compatibility: ATX, MicroATX, Baby AT, Mini ATX
Dimensions: 8" D x 21" W x 17" H
Packaging and Contents
The Guardian case arrived in perfect shape, well wrapped and boxed. The top and bottom were fitted with typical dense foam covers, and the whole thing wrapped in an anti-static bag.
The Guardian comes with the typical case bundle and a something extra. The Guardian includes a power cord, a bag of screws, a rear PCI bracket cover as well as a user manual. It also came with an NZXT t-shirt (a very nice touch, which you don‘t expect).
The Guardian's case design is a take on a knights armour and looks quite impressive straight out of the box. Yet, this may not appeal to everyone’s tastes.
NZXT has given you the opportunity to choose from an remarkable amount of colors for your Guardian. Everything from the more conservative silver, black and blue, to the more playful green, yellow and orange.
The side panel is very unique, and quite impressive. Never have you seen a window design like this. Also, there is an exclusive fan grill, with modders mesh behind it, to keep your fingers from finding a way in, yet keeping amazing airflow.
One side note - The Guardian is not an aluminum case. The panels are made of steel and thus the case has a substantial feel to it (though the front door panel is made of hard plastic) though it's not overtly heavy either.
As with most cases today, the Guardian has front sound and USB ports. These are hid pleasingly behind sliding panels which are easily opened and closed. Unfortunately, there are no front firewire ports, which may be an issue if you have a digital camcorder or other device.
One of the greatest features of NZXT’s Guardian is the patent pending animated eye. The blue LEDs light up immediately upon power-on and then continues for approximately ten minutes. After this period, the case will go into a rest mode which means that all the LEDs stay lit but no patterns are displayed. After the 40 minutes are up, the cycle repeats and the Guardian Eye begins to animate once again. In the future NZXT plans to provide a way for users to modify the motion and color of the eye later on in the future.
Another small, yet very innovative feature, is the addition of an extra layer of plastic/paint where you’d put your finger as you open the door. It’s very nice to see this small addition, as this spot easily gets worn down from daily use of opening and closing the door.
The NZXT Guardian is a very easy case to work with. To get into the chassis, you need to remove the two thumbscrews securing each side panel of the case. You can remove all four thumbscrews (two for each side) but you really only need access to the left panel and not the right side. Once the left side panel is off, it's a matter of installing the motherboard standoffs into the appropriate form factor holes and then screwing the motherboard down into the case. Now here's a very pleasing touch, NZXT labels all the motherboard standoff holes for the various motherboard form factors. It seems like a small thing but it simplifies installation since you won't have to keep checking whether a hole on the case matches a screw hole on the motherboard.
The Guardians tool less drive rail retention mechanism is nothing short of genius. While typically you have to attach individual drive rails to each device before installation, here the rails are built right into the drive bays themselves.
For 5.25'' device you simply match the screw hole of the drive with the drive bay holder, making sure it's lined up where you want it, and then locking it in place by first pushing drive rail towards the front of the case then locking it into place by pushing the little thumb button downward.
In the back of the case you can find a fan enclosure. Four plastic clips and two screws hold this securely in place. One of the two spaces for 80mm fans is occupied in the case's default configuration, with a fairly average black 1.7W fan.
The NZXT Guardian case is indeed "crafted gaming armor". This case has it all - it's simple to use, expandability, ample drive bays for additional storage, has a tool-less chassis design, includes a 400W Power Supply and is reasonably priced. On top of the functionality that the Guardian brings to the table, the case is just pure eye candy for anyone who owns it. It's unique design featuring animated lights and amazing window is sure to turn heads.