NZXT S340 Elite Case Review
Ever since I first looked at the NZXT S340 I have to confess to being a fan of this small, compact and good looking ATX Case. Since its launch its also been released in Special Edition guise that only went to further enhance those good looks by way of some tasteful LED lighting. Well now the S340 has seen another update, now we have the NZXT S340 Elite.
The Case is (still) made predominately made from steel and weighs in at around 8 kg, so it’s put on a little weight since we last saw it. The S340 Elite is available in black (as we have here) and red & white . The case comes equipped with two 120mm fans one in the back and one in the roof. In addition to this the NZXT S340 Elite features USB 3.0 support, filtered intakes (front and PSU) and there’s a rather useful PSU shroud helping you to keep that install as clean as possible. There’s also support for a dedicated radiator in the front of the case, supporting radiators up to 280mm in length, meaning that it’s perfect for an NZXT Kraken X61 Watercooler, well there’s a surprise! 😉
What’s new though is the full size tempered glass window, an additional SSD bracket and new cable management clips in the back. In addition to this support for VR has been improved by way of an HDMI pass through, two additional USB 2.0 ports and a cable management/headset mount for the front/side of the case.
The NZXT S340 Elite arrived at pcG in a smart white/purple box with a large image of the case on the front. Showing off not only that large tempered glass window but also the VR headset mount too!
There’s not much on the other sides of the box, but on the right there’s a general specifications (see Specifications/Features below) table and over on the left side (shown above) NZXT highlight the Ultra-clean Interior, Giant Window, Detailed Engineering and the fact that this Case Gets Better With VR.
In the box other than the case itself there’s a small NZXT branded white box and an additional plain white box. In the first box we find a basic user guide, SATA power extension cable, a plastic bag containing a plethora of screws etc, a handful of cable ties as well as a stand-off insertion tool. The smaller plain white box contains the magnetic headset mount.
At the time of review, the NZXT S340 Elite is retailing for approximately £90 at Overclockers UK and comes with a 2 year warranty.
courtesy of NZXT
|Dimensions||W: 203mm H: 474mm D: 432mm|
|Material||Tempered glass side panel, Steel, ABS plastic|
|Motherboard Support||mini-ITX, MicroATX, ATX|
|I/O Ports||1x Audio/Mic
2x USB 3.0
2x USB 2.0
HDMI with VR Support
|Drive Bays||Internal 3.5″: 2+1
Internal 2.5″: 3+1
|Fan Support||Front: 2x 140/2x120mm
Top: 1x 140/120mm (1 x 120mm FN V2 Fans Included)
Rear: 1x 120mm (1 x 120mm FN V2 Fan Included)
|Radiator Support||Front 2 x 140 or 2 x 120mm
Rear 1 x 120mm
|Clearance||GPU Clearance With Radiator: 334mm
GPU Clearance Without Radiator: 364mm
CPU Cooler: 161mm
Cable Management: Lowest Point – 17mm; Highest Point 168mm
Well obviously we’ve seen the NZXT S340 before, but the Elite version is undeniably the best looking one so far. It was already a good looking Case, but now thanks to that premium looking full sized tempered glass window it looks better than ever. Ok, it’s not got the lighting of the Special Edition, but it has got a raft of other improvements though, let’s take a look…
As you can see from the image above the left side of the case is no longer dominated by a large window per se as the whole panel is a single sheet of tempered glass. Not only does the glass panel feature a smart chamfered edge, that helps it blend in with the edge of the case. It also has a black surround on the glass itself, that helps to further improve the overall aesthetic.
The right side of the case is effectively featureless and simply consists of a steel panel. The matte black paint finish is particularly nice, although it seems a little prone to chipping from what we’ve seen. Both panels are secured by way of two captive (meaning they stay attached to the panel) thumb screws.
The rest of the Case is basically unchanged from the original S340. Taking a look at the top of the case we can see the top 120mm exhaust fan at the back, held in place (rather disappointingly) with those nasty self tapping fan screws.
Taking a closer look at the control panel we can see that the NZXT S340 Elite has a couple of additions, but still doesn’t feature a reset button. But it’s not the first of a new batch of Cases that seemed to have dropped the trusty (and dare I say, much used) reset button! Working left to right first we have a drive activity indicator (white) followed by the audio ports (microphone & headphone) and then the (new for the Elite) HDMI pass-through. This allows easier access to an HDMI source deigned for VR headsets such as the HTC Vive and Rift. Next up we have x2 USB 3.0, ports and x2 new USB 2.0 ports. Finally we have the main power button features a circular ring around the outside that illuminates white while the case is on and flashes when in stand-by.
Looking at the base of the Case we can see that the S340 Elite has four large (and surprisingly tall) legs with rubber feet, also at the back there’s a Power Supply filter that has been improved over the original basic mesh grill design. At the front again we can see what appears to be a hand-hold, this is actually to allow the front panel to be removed and to allow air into the front of the Case. DON’T pick the case up by this, as it’s likely to end in tears as the panel comes off in your hands. In the middle of the two front legs there are a handful (well eight) mount points allowing an additional (or the third) HDD to be mounted to the bottom of the Case itself.
There’s not much to see at the front but that’s ok as the S340 has that subtle yet elegant look, with a simple glossy black logo at the bottom.
Looking at the back of the NZXT S340 Elite we can see the main motherboard I/O shield slot at the top left, with the other 120mm fan to the right hand side. This fan is also setup to exhaust air from the case, the same as the top one. Below this we can see that the S340 Elite features seven expansion slots. Finally at the bottom we can see the mount for the Power Supply, note that this uses a bracket that needs to be fitted to the PSU first, this is then held to the case by way of the four captive thumb screws.
Removing the left side panel allows us to see within the S340 Elite, as you can see there’s decent amount of room in here and the Case seems to be nicely uncluttered. This is mainly due to the bottom PSU shroud that dominates the bottom of the Case. We can also see that the S340 Elite features a nice large CPU cut-out, two pre-installed 120mm fans and seven expansion slots. In the image above left we can also begin to appreciate how much room there is in the front of the case for water cooling. What is rather strange is NZXT’s Grommet-less cable management bar that is there to hide your cables from view, yet it’s just a simple strip of metal, and it’s not boxed in. But from past experience we know it actually works, rather well in fact! Another addition here for the S340 Elite is the additional SSD bracket found at the bottom right.
Removing the right panel allows us to see into the back of the NZXT S340 Elite where we can get a better look at the cable management bar. Cable management depth is adequate for a case of this size and there’s also a handful of well placed cable tie points. New here on the Elite model is the inclusion of some cable clips to help keep all of that knitting in order. At the bottom left we can see the main 3.5″ (HDD) drive cage, allowing up to two drives to be installed (with and additional one beneath). Although I’m unsure why NZXT didn’t just make the cage bigger!?
New for the NZXT S340 Elite is the inclusion of what NZXT call a Cable Management Puck, a useful magnetic device that can be simply placed on either of the steel (front & right) panels. In fact what it’s best used for is to hang a Headset on, or even a VR headset.
Above right we can see an image of the three SSD brackets aboard the S340 Elite. Note that the one bottom right is new and only present on this (Elite) version of the case. It’s also a great mounting point should you wish to show off your SSD for any reason, if only SSDs looked better eh…
Taking a closer look at the HDD cage (below left) allows us to see that it’s pretty difficult to get all four screws in to secure the drive. This would be especially difficult when the system is fully built. Interestingly the user guide shows only two screws also, the ones accessed by removing the front panel, hmm…
By default the NZXT S340 Elite comes with two pre-installed 120mm fans. Both fans are acting as exhaust fans with one at the back and one in the roof. There’s room in the roof for a 140mm fan and it’s a shame (and a little disappointing!) that NZXT have chosen to only fit a 120mm. Two addition fans can be fitted to the front of the case with both 120mm and 140mm being supported.
The front panel can be removed just pull (gently) at the base, where there’s effectively a hand hold. This then allows access to the front air filter that’s held in place by magnets. Should you wish to fit any fans up front you’ll also need to remove this panel and filter to allow access to the screws. Note the fans go on the inside of the Case as there’s not enough room on the outside.
Those (new for the S340 Elite) cable management clips are well placed and extremely useful, but the clipping mechanism seems rather weak. I guess we’ll have to wait until the install to see how well they work…
Flapping around the inside of the new NZXT S340 Elite we (rather unusually) find an HDMI cable!? This cable is simply a pass-through to the front of the Case and is designed to make it easier to hook the Case up to VR equipment.
- Test Rig Setup
|Case||NZXT S340 Elite||Power Supply||SilverStone Strider Platinum 750W|
|Motherboard||ASRock Fatal1ty Z170 GAMING K6||CPU||Intel Core i5 6600K|
|CPU Cooler||Noctua NH-U12S||RAM||G Skill Ripjaws 4 16GB|
|Graphics Card||EVGA GeForce GTX 980Ti Classified||SSD||Kingston SSDNow 200 v+ 60GB|
The first task was to put together the motherboard assembly (MB, CPU, CPU Cooler & RAM) for this review. This consists of our test Motherboard an ASRock Fatal1ty Z170 Gaming K6, an Intel Core i5-6600K CPU, a Noctua NH-U12S CPU Cooler and x2 4GB G.Skill Ripjaws 4 RAM modules. This Motherboard assembly can be seen above left.
The next task was to install the new SilverStone Strider Platinum 750W Power Supply as our old Corsair PSU failed, this was a simple affair with the first task being to attach the NZXT PSU bracket to the back of the Power Supply by way of four screws.
With this done the PSU was fitted fan side down, taking advantage of the PSU fan filter already fitted to the bottom of the S340 Elite. I then plugged in all of the necessary PSU cables for the build – ATX 24-pin, CPU 8-pin, a single PCIE 8-pinx2 and a SATA power cable. The fans are actually pre-attached to a Molex connector (not sure why, SATA would be better) but this was removed as the fans will be connected directly to the Motherboard.
With this done I then added the additional stand-off required for the ASRock Fatal1ty Z170 Gaming K6 Motherboard using the handy tool provided by NZXT. The motherboard assembly (MB, CPU, CPU Cooler & RAM) was then installed. The Motherboard was then simply screwed into position (after fitting the I/O shield!).
The next task was some basic cabling that went well, and I was genuinely shocked at how well the Cable Management Bar hid all of the cabling! Fitting the SSD in its new location (for the S340 Elite) with its associated bracket was also a breeze and shows off the SSD even more than before (if only SSDs looked a little more exciting!).
The final task was to fit our test Graphics Card an EVGA GTX 980Ti Classified and the good news is that this literally fell into the Case as there’s simply so much room. The bad news is that the S340 features a PCI slot bracket/cover that goes over the top of the screws, now I have to confess I’m unsure why it really has this but I have seen this on other Cases in the past. But here it fouled with the oversized EVGA 980Ti, meaning that it was easier not to fit it, although to be fair it doesn’t really do anything anyway.
Finally cabling was even easier with the S340 Elite thanks to the new dedicated cable management clips. In fact I’m sure someone else could make a far better job than I did, but the clips do really help and hold surprisingly well, despite initial concerns.
Note the odd looking cable, this is the HDMI pass-through that links to the socket on the top of the Case. This is of course to help facilitate VR setups, so this cable can be omitted (tucked away) from your build should you wish. There is in fact a small dedicated hole in the side of the Case allowing the cable to exit and be plugged into your Graphics Card’s HDMI socket.
At pcGameware we use Prime95 and ASRock’s F-Stream utility to evaluate CPU temperatures and voltage, and we use MSI Afterburner to evaluate the GPU temperatures. Of course Prime95 being a CPU stress test also helps to generate heat for us to check the case thermals. We also use UNiGiNE Heaven 4.0 for GPU temperature testing.
CPU performance testing is carried out using Prime95 (Small FFT) to stress the CPU. Each run is timed for 15 mins and the maximum temperature is recorded for all cores and then the average core heat is taken. Testing was carried out with an overclocked Intel Core i5-6600K at 4.4GHz courtesy of the ASRock UEFI.
GPU performance testing is carried out by running UNiGiNE Heaven 4.0 for 15 minutes and then by recording the maximum GPU temperature.
* All case fans (x2 in the case of the NZXT S340 Elite) and the CPU Cooler (Noctua NH-U12S) are run at 100% throughout testing. To ascertain case noise levels, the GPU fans are set to their lowest setting and the CPU Cooler fan is unplugged, whilst the dBA is recorded from 1m away.
|Case||Ambient Temperature||Max CPU Temperature (core average)||Delta Temperature|
|Lian Li PC-X510||22.00||58.00||36.00|
|Cooler Master HAF XB||21.00||58.00||37.00|
|Corsair Carbide 600C||23.00||60.00||37.00|
|Cooler Master MasterCase Pro 5||22.00||60.00||38.00|
|NZXT S340 (Special Edition)||22.00||61.00||39.00|
|be quiet! Silent Base 600||23.00||62.00||39.00|
|NZXT S340 Elite||24.00||64.00||40.00|
As you can see from the results above the NZXT S340 Elite does a decent job of keep our overclocked (4.4GHz @ 1.3v) Intel Core i5 6600K cool with a maximum CPU Core average temperature of 64 degrees (40.0 Delta). There’s no doubt that it would be cooler still if we were sucking in a little more cool air, but unfortunately the Case has to be tested as supplied with just two 120m exhaust fans. Note also that the temperature recorded is a little higher than that of the NZXT S340 (Special Edition), but it still remains within the margin of error.
|Case||Ambient Temperature||Max GPU Temperature||Delta Temperature|
|Lian Li PC-X510||23.00||77.00||54.00|
|Cooler Master MasterCase Pro 5||22.00||77.00||55.00|
|NZXT S340 (Special Edition)||22.00||79.00||57.00|
|Corsair Carbide 600C||23.00||80.00||57.00|
|Cooler Master HAF XB||22.00||79.00||57.00|
|NZXT S340 Elite||24.00||82.00||58.00|
|be quiet! Silent Base 600||22.00||81.00||59.00|
Graphics Card thermal performance is best described as ok with our EVGA GTX 980Ti reaching a maximum temperature of 82 degrees (58 Delta) Celsius. I must admit to being quite impressed with the level of cooling the S340 offered as with only two exhaust fans as I wasn’t expecting it to be this good. Of course it would likely be even better if we were to fit a couple of intake fans in the front of the Case. I still wish that NZXT had done this in the first place to be honest…
The NZXT S340 Elite is easy to understand and measure when it comes to acoustics as there are two 120mm fans at full speed all of the time if you use the supplied (and fitted) Molex adaptor. With our test equipment we measured approximately 39dBA which to be fair isn’t too bad all things considered and is fine for everyday Gaming, especially if wearing a Headset. Although I would suggest (strongly) that you discard the Molex adapter and use your motherboard PWM headers instead, if possible.
I have to confess that if I were recommending a build the NZXT S340 is likely the Case that I would recommend. Now in its updated NZXT S340 Elite guise the Case not only looks better, but it’s easier to install into and packs some additional features that are perfect VR. It’s still good value for money too…
The NZXT S340 Elite came well packaged in a smart box with the contents well packaged and presented. Once out of the box the updates to the S340 were soon apparent with the new full sized tempered glass side panel giving the Case a real premium look. In fact in matt black (red & white also available) it looks especially stealthy and also somewhat elegant.
The feature set is impressive too for such a small case, with a soft touch surface, USB 3.0 & USB 2.0, HDMI pass-through (for VR), fan filters (front & PSU), that lovely tempered glass side panel and the new cable management clips. Inside there’s room for three 3.5″ drives and now three 2.5″ drives with the latter being shown off by way of a smart bracket that sits facing outwards in the corner of the Case. It would seem that NZXT has managed to make an already great Case better. Respect!
Installation of our Test System into the NZXT S340 Elite was easy too, despite its small size. Yes some areas of the Case were a little tight but there were no gotchas! Installation was a breeze, even the Cable Management Bar was far more useful than one would have thought, successfully hiding all of the main power cables. I love the 2.5″ (SSD) brackets on the PSU shroud too, great for showing off your SSDs. The new cable management clips helped too, despite the fact that initially they felt a little flimsy.
Performance wise we have to judge the S340 Elite in the format that it arrives, namely with two 120mm exhaust fans. Obviously with no cool air being drawn into the Case cooling is best described as ok. This can obviously be improved and I would suggest fitting two 140mm fans to the front of the Case for optimal cooling.
It’s no secret I’ve always been a fan of the NZXT S340 Case and now in this latest Elite guise it’s better than ever. It’s a good looking Case, it’s not only easy to install into it’s also easy to get a tidy build too! The new tempered glass panel really helps to show off your hardware and show off just how clean a build can look. Among other improvements the addition of the HDMI pass-through, additional USB 2.0 ports and the cable management Puck (READ: headset holder) makes the S340 Elite simply perfect for the VR enthusiast. But VR or not this new NZXT S340 Elite is my current go to ATX Case and I don’t think I need to say more than that…
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Many thanks to NZXT for providing this sample for review