NZXT S340 Special Edition Case Review
We may have seen the NZXT S340 here at pcG before, but we’ve not seen this NZXT S340! This is the NZXT S340 Special Edition a Case that Razer have had some input into, so you know what that means!? That’s right: Green! Although to be fair there’s not that much green, well not from first appearances anyway. From the outside in fact there’s very little to give away the fact that this is a special edition at all…
The case is (still) made predominantly from steel and weighs in at around 7kg, it features a single side window on the left side and is available in black only. It comes equipped with two 120mm fans one in the back and one in the roof. In addition to this the NZXT S340 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! 😉
The NZXT S340 Special Edition arrived at pcG in a smart black box with a large image of the case on the front. The only give-away that this is the special edition is the Razer logo top left and of course the logo on the front of the case itself.
There’s not much on the other sides of the box, but on the left there’s a general specifications (see Specifications/Features below) table. On opening the box we can see that the NZXT S340 is well packaged and protected by way of a plastic cover as well as sandwiched between two polystyrene blocks.
In the box other than the case itself there’s a small NZXT branded white box. In here we find a basic user guide, and a plastic bag containing a plethora of screws, a handful of cable ties as well as a stand-off insertion tool that’s always useful.
At the time of review, the NZXT S340 Special Edition is retailing for approximately £75 on Amazon and comes with a 2 year warranty.
courtesy of NZXT
|Drive Bays||External 5.25″: 0
Internal 3.5″: 2+1
Internal 2.5″: 2+1
|Cooling System||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
|Dimensions||200mm x 445mm x 432mm|
|Material||SECC Steel, ABS Plastic|
|Motherboard Support||Mini-ITX, MicroATX, ATX|
|External Electronics||1 x Audio/Mic
2x USB 3.0
|Product Weight||7.29 kg|
|USB 3.0 Ports||2|
First impressions of the NZXT S340 Special Edition are, somewhat obviously similar to the last time I saw one. The NZXT S340 may be square but it is still a thing of beauty, although beauty is in the eye of the beholder, of course! It is a simple yet elegant case, one that most of us would like, it’s not got any external bells ‘n whistles, it’s just a rectangular case with a window in the side, there’s very little to dislike to be honest and I’m a fan of the less is more approach when it comes to cases. The only visible addition to this Special Edition is the Razer logo on the front, I wonder if it illuminates? 😉
As you can see from the image above the left side of the case is dominated by a large window that almost covers the entirety of the panel. While the right side of the case is 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 I’ve seen so far. Both panels are secured by way of two captive (meaning they stay attached to the panel) thumb screws.
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. It’s disappointing as they’re all in at a bit of an angle, this cheapens the look of the top of the case, which is a shame as its soft touch surface is really rather nice. At the front we have the main power switch, two USB 3.0 ports, audio ports (headphone & microphone) and a Storage activity LED (green). Note, there is no reset button!? The gap at the front of the case looks kind of weird but it not only allows you to remove the front panel, but also acts as an air intake should you fit fans and or a radiator in the front.
Taking a closer look at the control panel we can see that the NZXT S340 doesn’t feature a reset button, I find this kind of odd! 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! The main power button features a circular ring around the outside that illuminates green (this is the Special Edition after all!) while the case is on and flashes when in stand-by. Note the rather clever use of green USB ports too, I like that! 😉
Looking at the base of the case (hey that rhymes!) we can see that the S340 has four large (and surprisingly tall) rubber feet, also at the back there’s a basic Power Supply filter. 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 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. But here on the Special Edition we also find two white strips running along the underside of the Case, more illumination maybe and it has to be green right!?
There’s not much to see at the front but that’s a good thing as a Razer logo takes centre stage and quite rightly so! But this is no ordinary logo as it’s actually sunk into the body of the front panel so it’s almost flush with the front of the Case, it’s really well done too! Having already removed the front panel I can tell you now that this will illuminate and it should look great…
Looking at the back of the NZXT S340 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 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 four thumb screws.
Removing the left side panel allows us to see within the S340 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 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; we shall have to see how well this works…
Removing the right panel allows us to see into the back of the NZXT S340 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. At the bottom left we can see the main 3.5″ (HDD) drive cage, allowing up to two drives to be installed (with one below). Although I’m unsure why NZXT didn’t just make the cage bigger!?
Here on this Special Edition we also find a nice green (obviously!) logo on the grommet-less cable management bar, which is a nice touch. Although no illumination here unfortunately…
On the top of the PSU shroud are two 2.5″ (SSD) mounts that are really rather cool. Just fit the bracket to your SSD (using four screws) and secure in place with a single thumb screw.
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 comes with two pre-installed 120mm fans. Both fans are acting as exhaust fans with one at the back (above centre) and one in the roof (above far right). 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. Surely this Special Edition should have been fitted with two green 140mm fans in the front, don’t you think… 😮
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…
Overall I’m as impressed as much as I was the last time I looked at an S340. Yet when it comes to this new Special Edition S340 the asethetics have been improved a little thanks to a Razer logo and a splash of green here and there, subtle but tasteful I’d say. Therefore it looks a little better than the standard S340 and we’ve not even turned it on yet! 😉
- Test Rig Setup
|Case||NZXT S340 Special Edition||Power Supply||Corsair AX760i 760W|
|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||HyperX FURY 120GB|
The first task was to install the Corsair AX760i Power Supply, this was a simple affair with the first task being to attach the NZXT PSU bracket to the back of the Power Supply. With this done the PSU was fitted fan side down, taking advantage of the PSU fan filter already fitted to the S340. I then plugged in all of the necessary PSU cables for the build – ATX 24-pin, CPU 8-pin, a single PCIE 8-pinx2, Molex (for the fans) and a SATA power cable. Personally I would prefer to see the fans powered by SATA rather than Molex, as most of us will use SATA power in our build by default.
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!) and I didn’t have any issues with the screws this time around.
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 atop the PSU shroud with its associated bracket was also a breeze and shows off the SSD nicely (if only SSDs looked a little more exciting!).
The final task was to fit our test Graphics Card and 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 oversize EVGA 980Ti, meaning that it was easier not to fit it, although to be fair it doesn’t really do anything anyway. With that done final cabling was completed and as you can see the end result, especially inside the motherboard area is pretty good and I could even get the back panel on with ease.
The above image really doesn’t do the S340 Special Edition justice as the illumination (activated by a switch at the back) is simply great. The illumination of and the look of that (flush fitting!) front Razer logo its easily worth the extra cost that this version demands over the original IMHO! As you can see from the image above you can even get a couple of Graphics Cards in the S340 also and damn good it looks too! Apologies for the red illumination (I know, I know!) that’s a Sound Blaster ZX card. 😮
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) 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|
As you can see from the results above the NZXT S340 Special Edition 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 71 degrees (39.0 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.
|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|
|be quiet! Silent Base 600||22.00||81.00||59.00|
Graphics Card thermal performance was also pretty good with our EVGA GTX 980Ti reaching a maximum temperature of 79 degrees (57 Delta). 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 wish that NZXT had done this in the first place to be honest…
The NZXT S340 is easy to understand and measure when it comes to acoustics as there are two 120mm fans at full speed all of the time. This is due to the fact that they simply connected to a Molex power connector inside the Case, so there’s really no choice, which again is a bit of a shame. 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.
The NZXT S340 was already a good Case, but in this new Special Edition guise it’s now even better. Quite simply it is now more desirable, with its illuminating Razer logo and under case illumination (green of course!) the S340 lifts itself up just that little bit higher…
The NZXT S340 Special Edition came well packaged in a smart black box, and once out of the box appreciation for this little ATX case immediately began to grow. Maybe there’s something about small things (ask my misses! 😉 ), but there’s just something about the S340 that makes it desirable from the get go! It’s not the shape either as let’s be fair it’s a square (well rectangular actually) box, but it still looks good. Of course this is helped by the fact that the S340 has no external drive bays, this helps to keep the exterior of the case clean and tidy. Of course for some this may be a drawback, but not for me, I love the idea personally…
The feature set is impressive too for such a small case, with a soft touch surface, USB 3.0 in Razer Green, fan filters (front & PSU) and a perfectly placed side window. Inside there’s room for three 3.5″ drives and two 2.5″ drives with the latter being shown off by way of a smart bracket that sits atop the PSU shroud that itself covers the bottom of the case. Add to this the support for water cooling by way of the ability to fit up to a 280mm radiator in the front of the case and it would appear that NZXT have a real winner on their hands.
Installation of our Test System into the NZXT S340 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 top of the PSU shroud too, great for showing off your SSDs.
Performance wise the cooling of the NZXT was impressive considering that it only features two 120mm exhaust fans (x1 back & x1 top), although I’m sure better results could be obtained by adding a couple of fans to the front, green ones at that.
It’s funny, on the one side this Special Edition is not really that different from the standard S340, yet thanks to the addition of some LED illumination it manages to lift itself even higher in the desirability stakes. The front Razer logo is particularly smart as is the green under-lighting and the end result is that a good Case has simply become better and it now looks even more expensive than it is.
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Many thanks to NZXT for providing this sample for review