Midtower cases these days are a dime-a-dozen. Every manufacturer has one and each has their own way of doing things and features that try to make theirs stand out from everyone else's. But the ones that do stand out are those that are innovative and inexpensive - a sometimes hard recipe to get right. Will the latest offering from NZXT get it right? Read on to find out...
The Tempest 410 Elite is the latest addition to the Tempest line of Crafted series midtowers from NZXT. It started off with the Tempest, then the Tempest EVO, and now the 210, 410 and 410 Elite, which we'll be taking a look at here. The Tempest series of cases has long been praised for it's high airflow characteristics, featuring lots of fans and lots of ventilation. This fits it's nickname of "Airflow King." Let's see how their latest offering fits in the lineup.
The Tempest 410 Elite comes packaged in a simple brown cardboard box with black text and logos. It's different from most cases these days that come in full-color glossy boxes. But if it saves a few bucks it's worth it as I'm not the type to need huge flashy pictures on something that's going to get tossed in the trash anyhow.
The right side of the box (or left, depending on how you choose to look at it) shows the case, model, manufacturer and a graphic design to make it look a little more appealing.
The opposite side lists detailed info about the case as well as a few pictures to help illustrate the details.
The ends of the box are both identical, showing specifications and a small image of the case at the bottom.
Once the box is removed you find a nicely packaged case that's wrapped in plastic and capped in styrofoam - pretty much the norm for shipping cases these days.
Once the case is removed from it's packaging materials you get to see the full beauty of this case. You'll also notice a sticky plastic on BOTH sides of the window to protect it from scratches in transport.
Looking at the front of the case you'll notice 3 5.25" bays, 2 120mm intake fans, power and reset buttons, USB 2.0 AND 3.0 ports and a mic and headphone jack.
The back side of the case is just a smooth steel panel. No stamped design like the Tempest EVO had, presumably to save costs. Again no big deal for me as I seldom look at that side of my case anyhow.
Looking at the rear of the case you'll notice a 120mm exhaust fan, 7 PCI ports with vented covers, a bottom-mounted PSU and 2 water cooling grommets. Another nice touch is that BOTH panels have thumbscrews. No need for tools to get your panels off.
The bottom of the case features a removable filter for the PSU intake, but not one for the optional 120mm fan. You'll also find 4 rubber feet that absorb vibrations and help lift the chassis to allow airflow to the PSU and optional 120mm fan.
With the side panel removed you'll notice the accessory box, the internal cables, wiring grommets and no less that 15 thumb screws secured to the drive bays, and 7 more on the PCI covers along with the tool-less 5.25" system, which is the same as that used on the Phantom. Again, no tools here!
|Model||Tempest 410 Elite|
|Case Type||Mid Tower Steel|
|Front Panel Material||Plastic/Steel|
|Dimensions (W x H x D)||215 x 481 x 496mm|
|VGA Clearance Maximum||315mm w/o HDD, 290mm w/ bracket, 250mm w/ HDD installed|
|CPU Heatsink Clearance||170mm|
|Cooling System||Front, 2 x 120mm @ 1200 RPM (2 included)|
|Rear, 1 x 120mm @ 1200 RPM (1 Included)|
|Top, 2 x 120mm or 2 x 140mm (not included)|
|Bottom, 1 x 120mm (not included)|
|Drive Bays||3 External 5.25"|
|8 Internal 3.5"/2.5"|
|Screwless Rail Design|
|Materials||Steel With Painted Interior|
|Motherboard Support||ATX, Micro-ATX, Mini-ATX, Flex-ATX, Mini-ITX|
The specs are pretty nice compared to your typical ATX Midtower case. This beast holds 8 internal hard drives and/or SSDs!
A Closer Look
The 3 5.25" drive bay covers are a snap to remove and install (literally). Simply slide the latch towards the center of the case and the panel pulls right out. This also is the same system used on the Phantom.
The two front intake fans are also MUCH easier to review than the ones on the Tempest or Tempest EVO. For either of those you needed to pull the front panel off and remove the four screws holding the fan holder to the chassis, then unhook the fan's 3-pin connector. But not on the 410 Elite! Simply grab the fan holder by the two latches on the side, squeeze and remove. Yes, that's it. Done. The tool-less theme is flowing VERY well through this case!
With the two front fans removed you'll notice something else...they've added tension connectors for each fan's power, so you don't have to find and unplug fan cables to remove and clean the front fans! Also you'll notice the 8 drive trays nestled in behind the fans, but more on that in a sec.
Each front intake fan has a fine mesh filter that is easily removable. Simply lift up on the tab and the filter pops out for easy cleaning. When you're done, slide it back in and snap it into place.
The 8 drive trays are plastic and, of course, tool-less. Simply squeeze the two tabs inwards and the tray slides out the front of the case. Simple and clean. Without drives installed the cages are a bit flimsy, but I don't see it as being a major problem as typically the only time you'll be using them is to install a drive.
The top of the case features a nice storage area. The open the lid, press down on the front center and it'll pop up. The hinge is also indented to hold the lid up - another nice touch.
The storage area has a removable divider so you can put large items in or several smaller ones and keep them separated. You'll also notice the two groves in the corners. These are to run a USB cable through. You plug your keyboard, mouse, headphones, etc. into the ports on the right, then run the cable through the channel, through the storage area and out the other channel.
The top panel is easily removable as well. Simply push down on the latch on the rear and slide the panel back then lift it out This allows access to your top fans or radiator (240mm radiator ready!) for easy cleaning. Sad to say there are not top fans installed form the factory, most likely another cost-saving feature.
With the right hand side panel removed you'll notice the wiring all pre-run from the factory and run through one of the grommets to the interior. You'll also notice the large CPU backplate cutout in the motherboard tray.
NZXT also left plenty of room behind the motherboard tray for cable management. There's about 1.75" next to the drive bays and nearly a full 1" at the rear of the case. There should be no problem at all running your cables back there.
Looking at the front I/O panel you'll notice the top-mounted power and reset buttons, a power and HDD activity LED's, 3 USB 2.0 ports, 1 USB 3.0 port (with the now-standard internal connector) and the headphone and microphone ports. The headphone and mic ports are not labeled on the panel nor are they color-coded, but the top is the headset and lower is the mic.
Looking at the contents of the accessory box you'll find a detailed fold-out instruction manual and several bags of hardware, all labeled.
NZXT must have taken a cue from Cooler Master and decided to put a standoff installation socket in with the standoffs. A very nice addition that makes is super easy to install your standoffs.
The drive bay trays are plastic and feature rubber mounts for vibration absorption and holes for mounting 2.5" HDDs or SSDs as well. Again these are tool-less. Simply bend the tray outwards, insert the drive onto two of the metal standoffs and slide the other two into the other side of the drive. The metal standoffs do require a fair bit of force to seat them into the drive properly. They also need to be fully inserted into the drive in order to insert the tray back into the case.
Installing a system into the case was a breeze. There's plenty of room inside and on the backside for my big hands to get in there.
The CPU cooler cutout was also very large and made it a breeze to install this particular cooler.
Now all that room behind the motherboard tray comes at a price. You get 170mm of CPU cooler clearance. This Cooler Master V6GT JUST BARELY fit as you can see here. There is ~1mm between the cooler and the edge of the case and subsequently the side panel window. Plan accordingly when purchasing your CPU cooler.
Overall the Tempest 410 Elite is a wonderfully thought-out case. Details were spared on things like packaging to be able to add features to the case itself, which is always a good thing in my eyes. The case is well built and sturdy. The tool-less EVERYTHING on this case is an amazing feat for a sub-$100 midtower. Speaking of sub-$100, the Tempest 410 Elite can be had at NewEgg for the incredible price of just $89.99 plus shipping. Not a bad deal at all for such a feature-packed case. If you're not crazy about the window you can drop the Elite and get the standard Tempest 410 for just $79.99 plus shipping at the time of this writing.
Overall this case is all win. Tool-less (and wire-less) intake fans, storage compartment, water-cooling ready, and a sub-$100 price tag all raise the score on this case. The airflow potential is high with the ability to have 6 fans installed. There were just a few minor things that kept me from giving the Tempest 410 Elite a 10/10, namely the fact that it's got the standard internal USB 3.0 connector but only 1 external USB 3.0 port. Also the fact that the headset and mic jacks are not easily discernible at a glance can cause some frustration. Label the jacks and add a second USB 3.0 port to that connector and it'd be a solid 10. Definitely check out this case for your next build!
This product was provided free of charge by the manufacturer for purpose of review.