One of the problems that BigAkita had with the Guardian was that the front panel I/O cords were a little on the short side. Needless to say with the Nemesis and the Nemesis Elite, they lengthened them somewhat for easy reach on an ATX design, but left little excess. I would prefer to have the unneeded excess for one of those "just because" reasons and you can always stash that excess when it's not needed.
The USB on both cases were already wired up into a nice plug for your motherboard headers; however, on the Elite, they broke the IEEE 1394 header down into individual plugs, giving the buyer flexibility in deciding on which motherboard to install. Another great find is that the I/O signals header plug was already installed, but spliced off individual plugs in case you just wanted to use some of the features (i.e., just the mic and not the headphones). On installation, I'd highly recommend that any novice take care in studying their motherboard manuals to make sure that they get the individual plugs onto the right header.
Now we begin to get to the "flash" behind the Nemesis and the Nemesis Elite and what makes them so appealing to the hard-core gamer. Not only do you get a unique front panel for your case, but you also get the added benefit of some attractive LED placement. On both cases, the "eyes" of the Nemesis is a row of LEDs placed behind a clear plastic piece. The Nemesis doesn't give you any options as far as color while the Elite gives you a total of seven different colors (red and green were my favorites). I've only included pics of the blue, green, and red variations because not only is my digital camera slightly colorblind, but I couldn't tell that much difference with the naked eye between such colors and blue and teal, for instance. Unfortunately, NZXT took a backward step in this design as you have no options for different flashing patterns as you did with the Guardian. As sweet as this case is, I would have much rather preferred the option of selecting different patterns (such as a pulsing glow) than the variety of colors.
For the hard drive activity light, NZXT went with something unique by using a red LED to light up the Nemesis logo on the front of the case. While unique, it can be somewhat of a distraction due to its placement, brightness, and irregular activity of the hard drive. Finally, both cases included a clear 120mm fan with four blue LEDs on the side panel in the acrylic window. They improved upon the "Pokemon" looking fan grill we all noticed on the Guardian with a slick looking NZXT chrome colored fan grill. Looking closely, you can see that it forms a large "N" inside the grill. The fan grill is backed with a plate of vented metal that just doesn't quite look right with its corners cut off. It probably would look much better without the vented metal plate all together.
The "About NZXT" page on their website states that their company is "built upon gamer's dreams" and that their objective "is to provide gamers with a case they can identify with". That holds true today with the release of the Nemesis and the Nemesis Elite computer cases. A lot of research and development went into the design of these cases and it shows from the moment you open the box. The less busy design of the front and side panel makes the Nemesis line look more adult and hardcore than the Guardian while still allowing room for some personal modifications here and there. Both cases performed very well during my grueling review process and came out with more positives than negatives.
- More adult looking aesthetically
- Improved "face" design
- Improved air flow
- Screwless design of drive bays and PCI slots
- No sharp edges inside
- Included thermal monitor (Nemesis Elite only)
- Choice of LED color (Nemesis Elite only)
- No removable motherboard tray
- Too little support for the power supply
- Lack of options with front panel LEDs
- No room for adding a rheobus (Nemesis only - not needed with Elite's thermal monitor)
- Thermal monitor panel seemed too fragile (Nemesis Elite only)
- Placement of the front I/O ports (Nemesis Elite only)
With the Nemesis, I think that there is a little room for improvement in the design with little things here and there that would make a world of difference. One of those would be including a 120mm front intake fan rather than having it as an option in addition to adding another external 3.5" bay. As is, I think that the Nemesis is a strong competitor in the gamer's market and priced in the $80.00 range with some online retailers. If I were to build a computer for my nephews, this is the case that I would definitely go with. Saying that, I award the Nemesis an 8 out of a possible 10 with the We Approved award.
(8.5 pimp hats)
Thanks to NXZT for providing these new cases to We for review.