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Review: NZXT Source 530

by Parm Mann on 20 January 2014, 15:00

Tags: NZXT

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Inside the Source 530

Before putting forth extra features and unique design choices, full-tower enclosures need to fulfil a primary ambition: they need to be able to accommodate high-end hardware with ease.

That, really, is where the Source 530 comes up trumps. The hinged side panels are removed after undoing a couple of thumb screws (they're not quick-release, sadly) and in doing so you reveal access to a spacious interior that's logically laid out, configurable and brimming with fan mounts.

We know that NZXT is looking to mix it up with forthcoming layouts, but for the Source 530 everything is where you'd expect to find it. The PSU sits in the bottom corner atop six rubberised standoffs, the eight expansion slots are all thumb-screwed, there's a huge cutout in the motherboard tray to help with CPU cooler installation, and plenty of cable-routing holes as well as over 20 tie-down points.

It's a shame the routing holes aren't rubber grommeted - that really would have been a treat at this price point - but on the flipside there's just over 30mm of space between the motherboard tray and side panel, so storing excess cables neatly shouldn't be too difficult.

Just inside the filtered front panel, the Source 530's storage column is comprised of three tool-free 5.25in bays at the top, followed by half-a-dozen 2.5/3.5in trays split across three modular cages. These can be removed independently or entirely to pave the way for front-to-back airflow or, better still, a couple of radiators. NZXT's pull-out drive trays are still built of plastic, however they feel more robust than on previous models, and we like the fact that the 2.5in mount is central so SSDs can be installed with ease.

What's particularly handy is that there's a separate 2.5in drive tray attached to the rear of the motherboard tray. This is ideal for users who want to install a single, large SSD, and remove all six internal drive trays to free up space. Just alongside this 2.5in tray is a basic 10-port fan hub that, despite lacking any speed control, could prove essential if you intend on using all of the available mounts.

Let's talk about that cooling potential. Out of the box, NZXT has just two fans installed - a top 120mm exhaust and a height-adjustable rear 120mm exhaust. We're surprised to see that the top fan wasn't used as a front intake instead, but the manufacturer is clearly content with the air supply from the mesh openings.

The default setup isn't anything to write home about, but there's plenty of room for expansion. You could, if you wanted, remove the forward cover and put a 200mm fan up front, or dual 120/140mm intakes. There's space for dual 120mm fans at the bottom, the rear exhaust could be upgraded to 140mm, there's a 120/140mm pivoting fan mount attached to the inside of the drive trays, and in the roof of the chassis you'll find room for two 140mm or three 120mm fans. Got all that?

And all those fan-mount locations result in ample liquid-cooling possibilities. Take out the drive cages and you'll find provisions for a 360mm radiator up top, and a 240mm radiator up front.

Our dual-graphics Intel Z77 test platform went in with no problems whatsoever. The Source 530 is spacious and easy to work with throughout, and there are enough cable-tie-down points to keep things reasonably tidy. Rubber-grommeted holes would have really helped neaten things up, but it's still a good-looking build. Sweetening the deal just that little bit more, we're also treated to hinged side panels: they take away the need to align multiple points and slide on with ease.

NZXT has managed to get most things right in this budget full-tower package. There are few features to get genuinely excited about, yet the Source 530 serves up no complications and is, above all else, easy to work with. Let's now see how it performs.