Nanoxia DS6 Deep Silence 6 Review
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.