If you're a regular on the OC3D site you'll no doubt have seen the review of the DS1 just a few short months ago. What you may not be aware of though is that Nanoxia have a mark II version of this case which can be had for about £20 less.
Thankfully Nanoxia do not appear to have changed too much (if it isn't broke, don't fix it) staying with the formula that made the DS1 such a success. Like the DS1, the DS2 is a "silent" case, with simple blocky aesthetics. Sound insulation is in abundance coupled with 3 of Nanoxia's own low noise 1300rpm fans. There's ample storage and expansion options as well as the ability to accommodate E-ATX Motherboards. Couple this with native watercooling support and it's tempting to think that this could well be another hit for the German Manufacturer.
Don't go thinking though that the DS2 is an exact clone of the DS1, there are some subtle but important differences which to an extent explain the £20 drop in price.
|Form factor||E-ATX, ATX, Micro ATX, Mini ITX|
|3.25"/2.5"||7 internal 1 external (5.25")|
Front, 2x120mm included, 1x140mm optional
Front internal 2x120mm optional
Rear 1x120mm included
Roof, 2x120mm or 2x140mm optional
Side, 1x120mm or 1x140mm optional
Base, 1x120mm or 1x140mm optional
|Max CPU cooler||165mm|
|Max GPU length||370mm (345 with internal bracket attached)|
Up Close: Exterior overview and front
The Nanoxia Deep Silence 2 is available in Black, Anthracite, Silver, and of course (which will keep a certain person happy) White. The sample we have for review today is presented in Anthracite. With simple clean lines there is little to offend the eye in what has become something of a de-rigueur style for silent cases. The chassis is 0.7mm steel panelling. The front of the case is plastic finished with brushed effect panels corresponding with the colour of the case. There are slotted intake vents towards the lower section of the front of the case as well as fan vents in the roof and left side panel. by default these are blocked off with sound absorbing material.
Opening the magnetically closing sound insulated top door of the DS2 reveals the 5.25" bay area. As with the DS1 there are 3x5.25” bays, however with the fan controller now a slim line affair as opposed to occupying what was essentially a 4th 5,25” bay Nanoxia have managed to shave some 50mm of the overall height of the case. The meshed bay covers are removed by way of catches to the right side, and are easily re-inserted. The fan controller has two independently controlled channels with each able to handle 18W offering native support by means of clearly labelled connections for up to six fans. Each channel enables high or low speed operation.
Unlike the DS1 the lower section of the front panel cannot be opened as a door. To access the front 2x120mm fans you're going to have to pull off the whole front of the case. Handily this is easily accomplished with no feeling that it'll only take a few pulls before the plastic pegs snap off. The included 2x120mm fans in their distinctive Nanoxia acid Green are attached by screws to the fan filter which is in turn screwed to the case front making it quite a long drawn out affair to both get at and clean the fan filter. In doing away with the lower door and quick release fans of the DS1 we're guessing that this is one of the areas where Nanoxia have managed to make some cost savings. Savings which have then been passed onto you the consumer in the form of a cheaper retail price on the case.
The case front remains tethered to the main body of the case by the cables pertaining to the front I/O and the fan controller. fortunately there is enough slack in the cable to enable the front to be moved far enough away to allow access
Both sides of the case are internally covered in sound absorbing material, with the left hand panel having a removable panel should you wish to install a fan in this location. Even the removable panels are given the sound absorption treatment.
Up Close: Roof, Rear and Base
It's in the roof of the case that we find the most immediately obvious differences between the two models. Gone are the Air chimney and pop up front I/O panel in favour of a more conventional approach. With many feeling the pop up I/O was at best a little flimsy and the chimney a bit gimmicky (although undeniably cool in more ways than one) this is then no great loss. The stealthed in front I/O panel is a little light on USBs, with just 2xUSB3 and 1xUSB2 but does at least have a pair of audio connections to bolster the feature count.
The rear of the case is conventional in layout as is largely determined by the ATX specification. Two rubber grommeted tubing holes sit above the rear fan mount. Fitted with another green bladed 120mm Nanoxia fan. From the look of the pre drilled holes the area is also able to accept smaller case fans, although we can't for the life of us think why you'd want to do this.
The 7 vented expansion bay covers of the Deep Silence 2 sit to the left of a second set of tubing holes with a small meshed area above providing additional ventilation. Nanoxia provide rubber blanks to swap with the grommets enabling all the tubing holes to be sealed off. The theory here is that this will reduce the sound escaping from the case, and is without doubt a nice touch. It is though a little hard to understand why such efforts are being made when the expansion bay covers are vented and there is an additional meshed area just above the tubing holes which will surely negate any efforts provided by the rubber bungs to seal in the sound.
The case is supported by 4 quite tall chrome finished rubber capped feet, ensuring good ventilation and sound deadening. A single long dust filter slots into rails proving filtered air to the PSU and base fan location area.
Up Close: Interior Overview and drive bays
At 588mm deep Silence 2 is some 56mm deeper than the DS1. This might not sound like much but crucially it does mean you can shoe horn in the large E-ATX form factor motherboard. However being 13mm slimmer the case is no longer able to accept the 185mm coolers of the original case. All is not lost though as you can still slip in coolers up to 165mm in height, which should be plenty of room for all but the largest on the market. More cable routing holes than you can shake a rubbery stick at should give the owner a good chance of making a decent fist of their cable management, and with the E-ATX form factor in mind Nanoxia have added in a second vertical row. Heck there's even a rubber grommet covering the 12 pin CPU power cable hole and a separate small hole to bring your front panel, USB and audio connections through. "Nanoxia, with these grommets you are spoiling us"
As tends to be the norm these days the 5.25" drive bays are of the tool-less type. The catches are sturdy if perhaps a little stiff. When inserting devices into this area it's going to be necessary to either lift up or re route the front I/O cables as they pass directly through it. What is nice to see, as it shows almost pathological attention to detail is that all the cables within the Deep Silence 2 are either black or braided in black. Why pathological attention to detail? Well there's no window so it's not like they're going to be seen is it!
The Internal bays are in the form of a single 7 bay rack, with each having a metal tray capable of mounting either a 3.5" or 2.5" drive. An extra set of holes enable 3.5" drives to be mounted back to front giving quick access to the cabling. Unlike the Deep Silence 1 the rack is fixed in place by means of rivets so gone is the flexibility of drive bay configuration.
One benefit of the fixed drive bay rack is the means, via an included bracket to add either a 120 or 240 radiator to the inside of the case. The bracket has sufficient depth to allow fans to be mounted on it's reverse side as well as attached to the radiator itself bringing you push pull happiness. With 65mm of room before the inner edge of the distal routing hole and 95mm to it's outer edge it may also be feasible to mount rads up to 60mm in depth in push pull without totally eclipsing the cable routing holes. You're going to have to plan carefully though and give special consideration to your SATA cables depending on how and where they exit your motherboard. Another consideration is the effect that mounting thick rads and twin fans will have on the available GPU length. Still with 345mm to the closest point of the bracket and 370mm in total with the bracket removed there should be room aplenty for a slim rad in push pull and a monster GPU.
Up Close: Base Rear and Roof
The base of the case is a spacious area with room for even the longest of PSUs. Large mesh areas provide PSU ventilation as well as intake for a floor mounted 120mm or 140mm fan (if you absolutely insist) For a "silent" case the rubber topped PSU isolation feet are surprisingly small, we'll have to see if this is to it's detriment when we come to testing.
The vented expansion bay brackets are held firmly in place by black knurled thumb bolts. Above these we find an acid green bladed 120mm fan. The fan is identical to the two units in the front of the case and is one of Nanoxias own 1300RPM units. Performance wise the fans generate 60.1CFM and a static pressure of 1.27mm H20, with a given noise level of 14.2dBA. Unlike the retail fans however they are not secured with rubber anti vibration pages but rather normal fan screws.
There's barely an inch of the Deep Silence 2 that isn't covered in the thick sound dampening material, and the roof is no exception. The padding upstairs is split into 3 separate sections with the two rearmost being removable should you wish to fit fans in this location. Unlike the original case there's no water cooling support up here which is something of a shame.
With the blanks removed we see that despite the absence of the chimney there is ample ventilation to be had via the roof. The image below left shows the grommeted access hole for the 12 pin CPU power cable.
Up Close: Reverse side
We've been trying to think of a polite way to put this, but this is the best we can come up with. The sides of this case are an absolute bitch to get off. So much so that at one point we thought that they'd been put on in the factory when the paint was still wet. A fair amount of force and lot of huffing and puffing and a few choice "naughty" words later and we're in. Not painted shut, just a really really tight fit. Needless to say we're not looking forward to having to get them back on!
The reverse side of the motherboard area is finished to the same high standards as the rest of the case, with no evidence of sharp rivets or unpainted steel. Unusually the reverse side of the 5.25" bay area is also of a tool free nature which is a nice little touch, and again shows a quite obsessive attention to detail. There are a total of 8 well spaced cable tie points, not a huge amount granted but we've seen worse, and we have a hunch that the way they've been distributed will lend itself to a tidy build.
Having already mentioned the rubber grommeted management hole for the 12 pin CPU power cable we thought a picture of it from the reverse side was in order. A bit of a git to pass though at the best of times I guess we'll find out if the grommet makes it any harder. The most worrying thing though is the scarcity of space back here. 19mm isn't a great deal at the best of times, but factor in a good 5mm of sound dampening material and we think you might get the picture.
Accessories and Instructions
Along with a big bag of screws Nanoxia provide a slack handful of cable ties. There's also a 5.25" to 3.5" adapter so you can fit your floppy drive (seriously?) or other 3.5" device externally. The inclusion of a 12pin adapter is a nice touch and should hopefully make it easier to wiggle things through that grommeted hole. Finally the set of 4 rubber blanking discs which we talked about earlier.
The instructions that come with the Deep Silence 2 are some of the best we've seen in a while. With both explanatory text and full colour images to guide the case builder on their way. We do have one problem though, nothing serious but it needs mentioning. Brace yourselves...The English language instructions are not first? NOT first!!!! Behind the Germans!!! I don't think so. Still, at least we're before the French! Anyone would think this was a German manufactured case and we were being a touch xenophobic.
Lets remind ourselves what we have here shall we? A good sized interior with plenty of cable management holes. A little tight around the back perhaps and a fair smattering of cable tie points. It's a bit iffy but things should be ok, but wouldn't it be nice if Nanoxia (and others) put the screws in separate bags instead of just one big one. Anyone for a lucky dip trying to find the Mobo screws in this lot?
PSU going in first, no problems getting the supplied thumb bolts to locate, even with the foam antivibration gasket at the rear. We've chosen to use grommeted holes closest to the rear of the PSU, but if yours is a little longer and occludes this hole you have the option of using the other hole.
With all the cables pushed through to the rear of the mobo (aside from the fan leads which will be sorted later) we can see that the PSU area remains tidy. If you're planning on putting a fan in the floor here bear in mind your PSU length will impact on this mounting point. Round the back we find the challenge of taming medusa's hair. We're more than a little concerned that this lot is going to need a bit more than a lathering of Loreal to be worth it.
Although it is tight there's enough room around the edges of the case to route a few of the cables and enough small and large holes in the rear to route cables so as to emerge as close as is possible to their destinations. The worries we had about feeding the 12 pin CPU power cable through from the rear proved to be unfounded with the cable going through with a great deal more ease than it does on a lot of cases.
With the Motherboard in it's now time to route through to the front. The images below show the tight space between the motherboard and the top of the PSU. As it turns out the gap is just perfect for USB and others to slip through meaning that things can be kept nice and tidy. We've already discussed how Nanoxia's attention to detail has lead them to braid or colour all their cables black in a case with no windows. Shame then that the last 2 inches of the black cables are missing the outer sheath and so expose their coloured inner cores. But like we said, there's no window so it don't really matter does it, unless you're like us of course and the mere thought of exposed coloured cable will leave you rocking and dribbling in your chair.
Before and after CPU cooler installation gives a bit of an idea of how much room there is to work in this area. With a lot of AIO coolers having 30cm of tubing we think it's feasible to fit one in here, but you will need to be aware of the distance to the rad location.
At 160mm in height the Havik 120 fits into the Deep Silence 2 with room to spare. Although it might seem that Nanoxia's max CPU cooler height of 165mm might seem a little conservative we do need to remember that the sound dampening padding on the door will intrude some 5mm into the case interior. Best stick with the manufacturers recommendations we think chaps.
Although we were a smidge concerned that we would struggle to get the cables routed and the rear of the case back on we needn't have been. The selection and spacing of the management holes and cable tie points made for what we felt was a tidy build. In the end to achieve the result below we used only 4 of the supplied cable ties.
When looking at the Deep Silence 2 you can't help but compare it with the more expensive DS1 model. Remembering of course that this case is not intended to replace it, but rather to offer some of the same qualities at a lower price point. For those of you that haven't read through the whole review we shall re-cap on what these changes are, reflecting on their impact and leaving you guys to decide on whether or not the changes matter to you.
It's doubtful that the change in the DS2s overall dimensions will give aesthetic cause for concern, although they do have an impact on the internal layout and ultimate flexibility, The DS2s additional depth for example enables the accommodation of the larger E-ATX motherboards. The DS2 is also squatter which might go some way in helping us understand why the roof rad is no longer an option. If you want to get wet however all is not lost, as the DS2 offers native 240 and 280 rad support in the front of the case thanks to a handy dandy bracket that secures the rads on the motherboard side of the HDD rack. While on the subject of HDD racks, unlike the DS1 the DS2 does away with the option of flexible HDD rack configuration, leaving you with a single solid 7 bay rack that can only be removed with a hand-drill and a degree of determination. If the thought of custom water makes your bottom twitch like a bunnies nose then you'll be delighted to know that the DS2 should be able to accept a great many of the 120 and 240 rad AIO systems out there. We say should as you'll need to check the distance from your CPU to the rad isn't greater than the tubing on your AIO, We tested with the recently reviewed Cooler Master Seidon and Corsair AIOs finding that their 30cm of tubing reached...but only just. If you're thinking of buying this case and keeping with air cooling then like the DS1 it comes resplendent with 3 of Nanoxias trademark acid green fans. Want to get to your front fans in a hurry to clean the filters? then the DS1 is the case de jour with it's opening lower door and tool-less fan access. If you're not that fussed about rapid fan filter access then the DS2 is the better option. The 1300rpm fans themselves are quiet units even at full tatt and can can be slowed and quietened still further by the either of the 2 built in 3 channel fan controllers. The last real difference between the two cases are the changes made to the roof of the case. The front I/O panel is now a more traditional affair at the leading edge of the roof, with the pop up fan vent in the rear of the roof now being replaced by removable sound dampened blanks.
By now you should have a good idea of the variances between the two cases, so with that out of the way lets focus in on the DS2 in it's own right. Starting as we often do by looking at build quality it's fair to say the DS2 is tank like. Nanoxia have used 0.7mm steel for the panels and have covered everything but the rear of the case in sound and vibration dampening material. The one criticism we do have is that both the side panels were ridiculously hard to remove, so much so that we were almost convinced they'd been closed while the sleek black coating was still wet and had dried in place. Rest assured they weren't, as Getting them back on was an equal struggle, not because of a poor fit, everything lined up nicely, just because they're so damn tight. On the plus side, with the fit being so tight you're not going to have to worry about them rattling are you!!!
Building into the DS2 was a pleasure in no small part down to the copious and well spaced grommeted management holes. It would have been easy for Nanoxia to lose the inner set of vertical holes that run down the inside of the mobo requiring the builder to use just the outers provided for the E-ATX form factor but Nanoxia chose not to, factor in that they have also coloured or braided all their cables black in a case that has no window so they won't be seen and you begin to get an idea of Nanoxias obsessive attention to detail. Round the back of the Mobo we were a little worried that the 19mm or so of space would be limiting, especially with the further reduction of 5mm as a result of the padding on the door. As it happens all went swimmingly needing only 4 cable ties to route our cables tidily, and a tidy cable job means the case side goes on without bulges.
Designed as a "silent" case the Nanoxia Deep silence 2 doesn't disappoint. A faint whisper can be heard from the case with the fans at their max settings but this all but disappears when they are stepped down. Overall ventilation is good, and can be improved with the addition of extra fans but remember the more of the sound dampening padding that is removed the less silent the case will be. Personally we feel that if you want balls out tip top ventilation and airflow, then buy a high airflow gaming case. If you want a silent case, buy a silent case and don't make holes in it.
While the market is not quite so awash with Silent cases as it is with gaming cases the Deep Silence 2 is not without significant competition. Both the Fractal design Define R4, the Silencio 650 and for that matter Nanoxia's own DS1 offer much of what the DS2 is able to, albeit at a higher price point, and it is really this higher price point that separates the DS2 from the others.
It looks very much like Nanoxia have looked that the DS1 with a view to making a less expensive model. Their design spec appears to have been to remove any frippery whist at the same time keeping core functionality and quality. Have they succeeded? We think they have. Now all we need is a windowed version to show off all that lovely interior.
Thanks to Quiet PC for sending the DS2 in for review, you can discuss your thoughts in the OC3D Forums.