Nanoxia CoolForce 2 Review
It has to be said that the Nanoxia Coolforce 2 surprised us a bit. Too be honest we weren't expecting anything particularly ground breaking, but this case has actually put a bit of a smile on our face. now that's not to say it's perfect, it's not, but as with many cases the reason it's not perfect isn't because it has failings as such, but more that it could have easily been much better. Let's start with the good stuff, then move onto how we think it could have been, or, if you're a bit of a modder, still can be a very much better case.
First up, for a case than manages to pack so much in, it's not exactly massive and at only 200mm wide isn't going to rob you of too much desk space. From a storage perspective there's lots of options. The case can take up to four 3.5" drives and no less than 6 2.5" units. There's also an allowance for a pair of 5.25" drives, although with the case aimed at the entry level water cooler it's more likely that Nanoxia have bay reservoirs in mind more than ODDs. The CoolForce 2 also has pretty decent cooling credentials, with 2x140mm fans fitted in the roof and another in the rear. Should you choose the roof will also take 3x120mm or 3x140mm and the floor an additional 120mm unit. The only limiting factor we can see is the potentially restricted airflow in from the front of the case. As the case is aimed at the the budding water cooler it's nice to see that it's possible to put a thick 280 in the front as well as a 240 or 360 in the roof. There are a few provisos here but we'll come to those in a minute.
The CoolForce 2 is also able to accept a wide range of motherboards, from M-ITX all the way up to XL-ATX. There's good cable management with rubber grommeted holes spaced not just for the larger boards, but also the smaller M-ITX and M-ATX boards. The case is also able to take CPU coolers up to 185mm tall and GPUs upt to 300mm, rising to 430mm with the Moduwand removed.
ModuWand? What the hell is a ModuWand. Well it's a bit of a daft name for something that we at first thought was a bit gimmicky but actually turns out is a pretty neat idea. in simple terms its a detachable vertical section on the interior of the case. To the ModuWand you can fit a whole host of things, be it a pair of HDDs, a pair of 120mm or 140mm fans. And as the ModuWand also has slotted mounts all over its surface it's perfectly reasonable to be able to mount a whole host of watercooling pumps or reservoirs. These can of course be attached to the front or reverse side and with this in mind Nanoxia have actually put a rubber grommet management hole in the ModuWand to pass through cables or tubing as the builder sees fit. With the ModuWand in place and nothing attached to it the max GPU length is 300mm which should be plenty, however if you want to stick a longer card in the ModuWand can be removed raising the maximum up to 430mm. Removing the Wand also enables thick 240 or 280mm rads to be placed in the front of the case, although you will also need to remove the two 3.5" drive bays from their floor position.
Nanoxia also appear to have a nice little eye for detail. Not only is the case well put together but there are a few little design and aesthetic treats awaiting the owner. The front of the case is plastic but does a very good impression of line brushed Aluminium. The front bevel is aesthetically gapped at the bottom corner to allow placement of a switch that controls the Green lighting of the Nanoxia logo and exterior LED strip lighting. There's a small case window on the left side, with both panels being sound deadened, and the top cover is removable to allow for either a sleek look or higher airflow as desired.
And so we come to the not so good stuff. There's nothing really winds us up here at OC3D quite as much as a missed opportunity. With regards to the CoolForce 2 this missed opportunity is simply that for whatever reason Nanoxia haven't allowed nearly as much off-set in the the roof as they should have done and indeed actually could have done. OK, so you can get a 360 up there, but only just. Take a look at the pictures on page 6 and you'll see that there's literally just enough room for the Rad and fans to clear the standard height RAM. Another coat of paint and neither would have fitted. Nanoxia aren't alone in this, we're reviewed other cases where the same mistake (deliberate design choice) has been made, so they're in good company. The only other real issue we have with the case is that as it has the ModuWall and space up front for Rads, with three show off mounts for SSDs, it's a shame the window stops at the edge of the motherboard. Still, if you're handy with a dremel you can soon pop in a bigger window to show off your beautiful hardware.
So what of the competition? Well the thing is, there are cases out there such as the Enthoo Pro M and the SilverStone Kublai that offer nearly the same water cooling capabilities as the CoolForce 2 but at a much lower price point. We say "nearly the same", as although both the cases we've mentioned can take the same sort of radage neither of them have anything quite like the Modwand or for that matter quite the same level of overall features as the CoolForce 2 so it's for that reason we're not being too critical of it in this respect.
All in all we do still like the case, and although we've moaned a bit, there's nothing really that wrong with it, like we say, just a few missed opportunities that could have made it even better.