Is it a PC case or a danger to shipping? When the new DS6 from Nanoxia arrived we felt we ought to notify the Coast Guard. They usually like to know about things this big and white near the coast. How big is it? Well it stands just under 645mm tall. It has a dry weight of 20Kg, and it took two chaps to deliver it, that's how big it is. Ok so maybe it's not going to sink an ocean liner, but it sure as heck nearly sank us reviewing it.
The DS6 is the new Daddy of the Nanoxia range of low noise PC cases, and as you might imagine with all that size comes a great deal of usable space. Not only can the DS6 accept the largest motherboards on the market and take any GPU you care to chuck into it, it can do so while providing native water cooling support for large rads in the roof and the front and while still housing up to 13 HDDs and 4 5.25" devices. All this comes at a cost though, £200 is a lot to pay for a case, so it had better be good.
|Form Factor||HPTX, E-ATX, XL-ATX, ATX, Micro-ATX, Mini-ITX|
|Colours||Black, White, Anthracite|
|5.25 inch drive bays, external||4|
|3.5 inch drive bay2, external||2|
|2.5/3.5 inch drive bays, internal||13|
|Case Fan (Front)||2 x 140 mm (1,100 rpm), supplied|
|Case Fan (Rear)||1 x 140 mm (1,100 rpm), supplied|
|Case Fan (Top)||max. 3 x 120/140 mm, 2x 140mm supplied|
|Case Fan (Bottom)||2 x 120 / 1 x 140 mm|
|Case Fan (Left Sidepanel)||2 x 120/140 mm|
|material||Steel and Plastic|
|Max CPU Height||200mm|
|Max GPU length||400mm|
Roof: Up to 280mm or 360mm Radiator with push pull set up, 89mm of space available.
Front: Up to 240 or 280mm Radiator with push pull set up, 160mm of space available. (will affect max GPU length and Motherboard support).
Up Close: Exterior Overview and Roof
The Pictures below don't really begin to portray the sheer size of the Nanoxia Deep Silence 6. Standing 644mm tall, with a width of 250mm and a depth of 655mm, the clean cut lines the DS6 lend it an imposing monolithic presence on your desk top. That is of course provided your desk top can support the 20.8Kg mass of the case, and that's before you've even built a system into it. So assuming you've got the space and have erected some scaffolding under your desk you might be interested to know the options available to you. The sample we have for review is the white non windowed version, but if that doesn't float your boat it's also available in Black and Anthracite, with each having a windowed option. You might also be pleased to know that as with other Nanoxia cases we've looked at, the paint finish is just as good King Wenceslas would have liked it, Deep and crisp and even.
The surfaces of the DS6 are so devoid of features that the DSLR we use to take the review pictures actually had trouble locking on with its auto focus. Aside from a few strakes down the front edges which act as air intakes, there really is very like else to report. Only a barely detectable shut line in the left hand panel hints towards the option of having side fans mounted with its removal.
The front of the case is also similarly devoid of any external features, save for the recognition that there's an upper and lower door section, the detail behind which we will look at on the next page.
At first view the roof would also appear to be a barren and desolate plane. Lest the overview become a diatribe of "Move along now, nothing to see here", thankfully for this reviewer there is actually quite a lot going on here. Nanoxia have seen fit to re introduce the Air Chimney present on the DS1 but sadly absent on the cut price DS2. Not only that, but the sliding switch on the upper edge of the case side panel that lifts the air chimney also turns on the pair of 140mm Nanoxia fans which nestle underneath and are otherwise dormant. The pop up Front I/O panel also sees a welcome return, with no less than4xUSB3.0s and a brace of USB2.0s. There's also the usual couplet of audio jack sockets here, with the power button itself living off the pop-up panel towards the front edge of the case. Sadly all is not as good as it could be up here, the slider switch which elevates the two roof panels and tuns on the fans is ridiculously stiff, and when retracting the panels back in hey don't sit quite right leaving ugly shut lines. The problems don't end there though, the pop-up front I/o panel only just about pops up enough to access the USBs, requiring a bit of assistance from a strategically placed fingernail to coax it up enough to inset a USB device, and as for the front audio connections, well owing to a jack plug having a plastic collar on it, there's no way on Bobs green earth that you're going to get one to insert all the way. Don't believe us? take a look at he images on Nanoxia's own website and you'll see that the case they've used for PR also has a fairly recessed pop up I/O panel. We'd also perhaps question whether the sort of user who's going to insert devices into 6 front panel USB sockets at once is by definition the sort of person who'd be that bothered about having a "stealth" panel.
Up Close: Front, Rear and Base
As we alluded to on the previous page, the front of the DS6 is split into two sections, each of which opens independently of the other. In addition to housing 4x5.25" drive bays the upper section is also home to a two channel fan controller. Each of the two channels has its own independent switch and is able to control up to 4 fans up to a maximum 18watts per channel. The 5.25" bay covers are of a contrasting black mesh having foam backings to guard against dust. The are easily and simply removed by means of small latches on the right hand side. The doors themselves although plastic are pretty weighty, the affect of which is aided and abetted by the soundproof foam lining afforded to them.
Being a "Silent" case there's not a lot in the way of apertures. In fact, if it weren't for the slanted slits down the side of the front panel this case would be pretty much hermetically sealed. The slits might not look like they're going to provide a great deal of air, and granted this isn't a High airflow case, but experience has shown that it won't be a problem
The closing mechanism for the doors isn't so much smoke and mirrors, as magnets and metal plates. Effective none the less it could perhaps do with a bit more foam dampening on closing. Like the upper door the lower door is foam lined to aid in sound absorption. Opening it up reveals a set of removable dust filters linked to hinged assemblies which swing open to allow access to a pair of 140mm 1100RPM Nanoxia fans.
Although the rest of the case might be pretty smooth and uninterrupted the rear is as busy as you might expect it to be. Up top there are 4 rubber tubing grommets, a bit of an odd inclusion for a case that has as much native water cooling support as it does. The standard rear I/O cut out looks almost lost on the rear panel, with even the 140mm rear fan grill looking small in comparison to the rest of the case. Moving down we count 10 black vented PCI covers, the first external appearance that this case is able to accept some monstrous motherboards, and finally at the base there's the standard, if slightly lost looking PSU cut out.
If you don't want local geologists knocking at your door informing you that seismographs have identified your property as the epicentre of a recent earthquake, then we suggest you get some one to help you lay it over on is side. Doing so will enable you to see the near full length removable dust filter as well as the four proportionately quite small rubber capped, chromed plastic feet. The screws that locate the three bay HDD rack are also located under here.
Up Close: Interior Overview and Drive bays
How many cable management holes? 1,2,3,4,5....11,12..S#!t loads that's how many. And how many CPU cooler motherboard cut outs? yup, there's two, which goes some way to explaining why the interior of the case appears to have been shot-gunned with rubber grommets. The reason, if you haven't already guessed, worked it out, or for that matter read the technical specification on the first page, is that the is DS6 is part of quite an elite club as it can house some of the largest motherboards on the market, including HPTX, E-ATX and XL-ATX. You can of course still fit a standard size ATX, and rather bizarrely Nanoxia have also provided mounts for both Micro-ATX and Mini-ITX. The spacing and distribution of the cable management holes is excellent, with special mention going to the row of holes across the roof edge. The only real down side of the second smaller CPU cut out utilised with larger twin socket Mobos is that half of it will remain visible when a standard ATX board is used.
Moving to look at the interior in more detail we'll start with the four 5.25bays. Finished in white to match the rest of the interior the bays are fitted with black plastic tool free mechanisms on both sides. The lower bay comes with a removable 5.25" to 3.5" adapter to enable the accommodation of smaller external drives and devices. The roof of the bays is left open which is of particular interest to those wishing to put a large rad up there, but we'll cover this in more detail later.
The DS6 will hold a total of thirteen 3.5" or 2.5" drives, with accommodation being split into banks of 10 and 3 respectively. Unlike the smaller 3 drive rack, which can be removed and re positioned the main 10 drive rack is fixed in place by rivets. Although we appreciate that water-cooling radiators can still be accommodated inside the case to the posterior of this rack, and that even with it in place at 400mm there's still a prodigious amount of space for GPUs, we'd still like for it to have been modular, or at the very leas removable in its entirety, especially as we note that the rivets holding it in place are black indicating that the drive rack was powder coated separately then installed meaning it was only a small step and cost option for Nanoxia to use screws instead of rivets. The radiator accommodation we mentioned is facilitated by the white bracket seen between the two drive racks. Again we'll cover this in more detail when we get to the build and cooling options, but suffice to say if you're looking to put a rad in here you're going to have to lose or reposition the 3 drive rack.
Thankfully the 3 drive rack is easily removed, although access is from underneath by means of undoing 4 screws, so be prepared to brace that hernia when turning the case over. Alternatively, if you wished, on removing the 3 drive rack you could put 2x120mm or 1x140mm fans down here.
Up Close: Interior, Base, Roof and Reverse
Interior, Base, Roof, Reverse......Interior, Base, Roof, Reverse.....Eat Sleep Rave Review.....Eat Sleep Rave Review. (Think a certain reviewer might have had too much coffee). Anyways, the PSU section of the DS6 is particularly well appointed. No thin rubber pads here, Instead your PSU will be cushioned, supported and dampened by four substantial rubber...well...Nipples, and erect ones at that. A large filtered mesh area in the base allows for ample ventilation, while a foam gasket around the cut out further serves to reduce the effects of noise and vibration
If you've got a large case able to house large motherboards it stands to reason that you'd expect to have a decent abount of PCI slots. The DS6 doesn't disappoint, with no less than 10 in total there should be no problem setting up a multi GPU system in this case. The covers though, rather than being solid and unvented, as you might think would be the more obvious solution for a case which puts so much effort into being silent are actually made of a rigid mesh material. Great for letting excess heat out of the case, not so good for keeping the noise in and rather makes the gasket around the PSU cut out seem a little superfluous.
Nanoxia certainly haven't scrimped on fans. In addition to the 2x140mm units in the front there's also a 140mm fan in the rear and 2x140mm fans in the roof. We're still not sure how we feel about Nanoxia's signature Toxic green blades, and wonder how likely they are to fit with the colour scheme of a potential build. Still, at the end of the day they are better than some no-name OEM black fans, and are actually quite decent in their own right. looking at the pair up in the roof and remembering that they're 140mm units you get an idea of how much space there is up here.
Summoning some help we turn the case round to look at the reverse. On the face of it thirteen cable tie points might seem more than generous, but remember how large this case is and how much hardware it's likely to be housing. We're a little concerned that with a shed load of gear in here you'd struggle to tame it all. On the plus side there's a positively cavernous 30mm of space to play about in.
The small PCB seen on the image below left is the business end of the DS6's two channel fan controller, whilst below right we can see stacked rows of small cable management holes which allow for the wires to pass though to those connections on the bottom of the motherboard. Which row you need will be determined by the size of the motherboard you're using. Having two rows is a nice option and shoes attention to detail as it would have been all to easy to have just missed out the upper row resulting in the builder having to trail their cables across the front.
Up Close: Stripped
Both the front and rear plastic fascia are held in place with plastic lugs and require quite a degree of force to remove. As the cables for the front I/O remain hard wired to these you're going to have to be very careful ensuring that all cable ties are released and take great care in feeding the cables through. As the build quality on the rest of the case is on the whole quite high we were surprised to see some really quite shoddy glue gun work back here as seen on the image below left. with an eye to water-cooling , when we first removed the top cover we were quite keen to see if there was enough room to fit 120 or 140mm fans, and although there is plenty of space up here, as the mechanism for the air chimney lives in the roof void, sticking fans or a rad up here is a bit of a non starter, as the cross braces would be restricted from moving and activating the chimney.
With the fascia removed we get a much better idea of how the case is put together and how easy things will be mod or change should we feel we need to. It's mostly rivets unfortunately so if you're planning on a total strip down best get the drill out.
The roof is so large we feel we could stretch out and go to sleep on it. If we did though we'd be left with a rather embarrassing mesh mark from the large expanse of perforations that make up the roof ventilation.
Although the front fan filters can be removed we've left them in place to give you a better idea of how they work. Fortunately as the lower section of the fascia has it's own door there's no need to remove it as we have to access the filters.
The DS6 comes with a booklet of extensive instructions, which are informative and easy to follow (even if they do put the German language section first). Nanoxia haven't scrimped on the accessories either, along with all the screws and bits you will need for assembly you also get a set of 4 rubber blanks to totally seal off the perforated grommets that come fitted, an external 5.25" to 3.5" adapter (finished in black to match the 5.25" bay covers), a slack handful of decent length cable ties and last but not least, recognising that the dimensions of the DS6 might outstrip the cable lengths on a good many PSUs, Nanoxia have added a 24-pin ATX and an 8-pin CPU cable extension to the bundle.
On with the build then and with no worries about fitting in all our cables we were non the less diligent about our cable management. The PSU went in first resting firmly on its supportive rubber isolation nipples and lining up perfectly with the holes in the cut out.
Cable management was a piece of piddle, with no need for us to use the extension cables provided. Had we been putting in a larger mobo though we'd have had no choice and would have been very grateful for them. There's no trough along the upper edge to run and stash fan cables and the like, but fortunately there is a row of cable tie points.
A huge deep trough at the bottom hides a multitude of sins and a good spread of cable tie points and more than ample management holes enable us to pull of a tidy job.
No we haven't just fitted an Mini -ITX board into a standard mid tower chassis, however the sheer size of the DS6 does make our trusty old ASUS P6-T Deluxe V2 build board look more than a little lost in there. As protagonists of proportion we have to say it does look ridiculous so unless you're going to fill up the rest of the space with water cooling kit and other exotic hardware we suggest one of the larger boards this case is able to accept would look much better. Even with the inner row of cable management holes we're still having to drag a length of 24 pin across the white expanse of case to the socket, and the large second CPU cut out does rather mar the aesthetics of the otherwise stunning interior.
Before we move onto the sexy wet stuff lets first have a look at good old air cooling. As you might imagine with a case this size you're not really going to have to worry about whether your tower CPU cooler will fit. If it's under 200mm (yes 200mm) it will fit just fine. As always in order to add continuity to proportion we've shown the case with our NZXT Havik 120. We had to take it out after a few minutes as it started suffering from Agoraphobia.
Of course this case is all about big motherboards and the ability to take large radiators internally without modification. A few pages back we alluded to the DS6's being able to house 240mm and 280mm rads and fans internally without the need to remove all of the drive bays. By sacrificing just the removable bank of 3 bays, rads and fans can be fitted to the removable bracket shown below. Slotted screw holes mean that rads of varying inter fan spacing can be fitted easily, with the bracket then being re inserted into the case being held in place by four thumb bolts. The only downside here is that the distances involved may negate the use of AIO coolers but to be honest if you're buying this case it's not very likely that you're going to be putting an AIO in it.
We've shown the assembly below with a 35mm thick XSPC RS240 and standard 25mm thick 120mm fans. A push pull set up is certainly on the cards here even if you choose a thicker rad, and although we're sure you've noticed, it would be remiss of us not to point out that thicker rad/fan assemblies are going to proportionately reduce the max 400mm GPU length available.
If you're wondering just how much room you have got the set of images below should be of help. The total distance from the surface of the bracket to the edge of the motherboard is 160mm so theoretically you could fit one of the 80mm thick NexXxos Monsta rads with a set of fans in push pull and still have room to spare. You are however going to cover up the majority of the lower management holes but there's always ways round such inconveniences. If you're going to be using one of the larger HPTX or E-ATX motherboards then the room available drops to 80mm, which let's be honest is still plenty enough for a slim rad push pull set up.
The DS6 also has native support for rads up in to roof. It's entirely feasible to put a 240mm, 280mm, or even a 360mm up here without any need for modification. We've left the 140mm fans in for images below to help add a sense of scale and show you just how much room there is.
Although the fans are actually positioned in default screw holes additional sets of holes are available off set some 48mm from the plane of the motherboard, which in simple terms means that if you if you don't have motherboard attached hardware higher than 48mm you can exceed the 89mm max distance we measure from the roof to the edge of the motherboard. In practice we find that it's best not to exceed this roof to mobo edge measurement unless you're very experienced and are very sure of your measurements and tolerances. At the end of the day 89mm is actually very generous and should be plenty for a decent thick rad or push pull set up. Sadly though we think Nanoxia have missed a bit of a trick, as although the roof fascia allows for an additional 40mm of space it's not possible to locate fans or rads up there as the cross braces from the active air chimney would foul any hardware in the roof.
Well we're pleased to say the Coast Guard replied to our enquiry and although they felt the Nanoxia DS6 didn't represent a danger to shipping we still feel that at 20kg it's still a danger to your intervertebral discs or any latent hernias you might have pending. Risk of prolapsed discs and things in the nether regions going twang aside, if you're planning on giving a home to the DS6 you'd better free up a fair bit of real estate on your desk as at 644x250x655mm (HxWxD), it's going to need quite a bit of space. If you're planning on keeping it under the desk it might also be wise to check just how much space you've got down below, including any strengthening cross braces that might lurk under the desk surface.
So large is the DS6 than in reviewing it we weren't sure whether to image it with the DSLR or strap on a Go-Pro and abseil in. But assuming you've got the space we figure you're going to want the specs. Having read the technical specification at the start of the review you'll know that the DS6 is able to accept not just ATX and XL-ATX boards, but also the larger E-ATX and HPTX format. Bizarrely it's also able to accommodate the teeny weeny M-ATX and microscopic Mini-ITX boards. We're not entirely sure why Nanoxia saw fit to ensure this high level of compatibility as even a standard ATX board looks lost inside, but regardless of any reasons or rationale as to why, they have.
As you might imagine the big numbers don't stop with the motherboards, the DS6 can house up to 13x3.5" or 2.5"drives as well as GPUs up to 400mm in length and CPU coolers up to 200mm high, so yeah, pretty much anything really. If you're thinking home or small business work server then all that HDD capacity means that if you opt for 3TB drives there's a potential for just under 40TB of storage in there.
The feature count doesn't stop there though. With all this internal real estate comes some quite impressive native water cooling support. Up in the roof there's room for 240mm, 280mm and even 360mm rads. With 89mm of space between the roof and the edge of the motherboard this means anything up to a 60mmthick rad and a single row of 25mm fans is an easy fit. However, in an effort to improve compatibility with thicker rads Nanoxia have, like a few other manufacturers, offset the roof mounting holes away from the plane of the motherboard by 48mm, giving you that little bit more room to play with provided you don't have anything on the upper edge of the motherboard higher than 48mm. In practice we tend not to place too much importance on these off sets and certainly don't recommend you take the figures as permission to assume you can just sling any huge rad up there, as there are a fair few variables to consider, not least of which is being able to reach your RAM release tabs and the 8 pin CPU cable.
If you are looking to find a home for an uber thick rad, don't despair as the roof isn't the only place this case will take a rad. Internal to the main HDD stack there's a mounting bracket which will permit 240 and 280 rads to be fitted. After first removing the three drive HDD rack, with a standard ATX board there's a whopping 160mm of space between the internal edge of the bracket and the motherboard which should be enough to satisfy anyone's mega rad cravings. It is however worth remembering that thicker rads and push pull combinations will reduce the max GPU length, but as you're starting with 400mm it'll be a while before you cause a conflict. It also goes without saying that should you opt for one of the larger E-ATX or HPTX motherboards the available space drops to a still quite reasonable 80mm. We also think, that although the bracket isn't designed for it, if you're willing to extend beyond it by attaching fans directly to the rad it's entirely feasible to accommodate 360 and 420mm rads. You are going to lose a few of the 5.25" bays, but with ODDs on the decline and the DS6 having its own 2 channel fan controller we're a bit pushed to think what you might need all those bays for anyway. Although there's ample internal space for large rads to be accommodated, we do feel that perhaps Nanoxia have missed a trick by not making the main 10 drive HDD rack removable, especially as it's held in place by black rivets, indicating that it was powder coated and attached as a separate item and as such could quite easily have been screwed in for very little additional cost. Perhaps Nanoxia feel that as the rads can be attached internally with the drives still in place there's no need for this functionality, however we feel it would have been nice to have the choice. While on the subject of missed tricks, you've perhaps wondered why we've not mentioned how to utilise the good 40mm of roof space within the top of case plastic fascia. Why aren't we saying put the fans up there in order to get a bigger rad underneath? The reason is simple and really quite annoying in that the mechanism that coordinates the active chimney system lives up there and because of the way the various levers and push rods have been laid out, it makes impossible to fit any hardware without it fouling the mechanism.
One thing we've yet to mention in this conclusion is the DS6's "silent" characteristics. Nanoxia have gone to some lengths to keep the sonic signature down. Both side panels are lined with sound and vibration absorbing bitumen fabric, both doors have foam linings, the PSU sits on tall rubber nipples being sealed at the rear by a foam strip. Nanoxia have also fitted the case with no less than five of its really quite decent, if a little brashly coloured toxic green 140mm 1100RPM fans, at full tat these fans kick out 68.5CFM of air while producing only 14.4dB(A) of noise. Last but not least there's the active air Chimney we alluded to above. With the air chimney closed the roof fans are automatically shut down (worth bearing in mind if you have a roof rad up there) sliding a small button on the upper edge of the case raises the air chimney panels in the roof and automatically switches on the fans enabling the user to choose to a degree between lower noise and higher performance.
So far so good then, but here at OC3D we don't just look at things superficially. Unlike a lot of review sites we actually take the case apart and look at the build quality and materials used. On the whole the DS6 presents itself well, however it appears that the group of bods responsible for making the plastic top and front fasciae didn't go to the same quality standards meetings as the guys who made the rest of the case. For starters we found that the nifty pop up front I/O panel didn't quite pop up far enough, the access to the mini jack sockets being especially limited. In opening and closing the air chimney we weren't convinced that the shut lines shouldn't be a little better on a £200 case. Granted they don't stick out by much, but neither are they as flush or as even as you would expect. We also think it would be nicer to give the chap who glues the magnets into the rear of the front door panels a bit more time to do his job, or at the very least teach him how to do it quickly so as not to have great globules of what appears to be heat gun glue oozing out of the joints. We know this part of the case will never be seen, and if we hadn't told you, you would never have known, but we're OC3D for a reason.
Taking as read that £200 is a lot of money to invest in a case you might want to know what else you can get for your well-earned moola. At the budget end there's the excellent but dating Xigmatec Elysium at £149. Spend a bit more and you can nab yourself a NZXT Phantom 820 for £198 or if you're feeling particularly flush there's always the 800D at £245. All of these cases offer much of what the DS6 does with regards to motherboard, GPU, HDD and water cooling support, they are though perhaps more performance centric with less of an emphasis on keeping the noise levels low, so if that's a prime factor in your choice the Nanoxia may need to be high up your list.
On the whole we're very impressed with the DS6, however it's few flaws and inconsistent quality prevent it front taking the top honours reserved for the very best in class. So Silver I is and a well deserved "Silent" award for truly excellent sonic performance.
Thanks to Quiet PC for the DS6, you can discuss your thoughts on the review in the OC3D Forums.