NZXT Guardian 921 Mid Tower Steel PC Case Chassis Review


In the world of geekery what you bring to the LAN party is the socially inept version of a peeing contest. The more pretty lights and useless LED displays you have the more impressive and formidable opponent you are. Thankfully the pretty lights actually attract women, my wife for one likes the purdy blue lights n my PC’s. Now for all of you poor single geeks out there if you could only find a way to trick yourself out with some pimp 120mm fans and copious amounts of useless lights to attract the ladies. Till NZXT and Thermaltake start making gaming ware you will just have to work on your charms. Or even better get a gaming case and live in your basement. Now you can do this in style with the NZXT Guardian 921 Mid Tower Steel Gaming Chassis. Let’s get a better look at the goods and see if this case is a good fit for all you LED loving fan boys out there (myself included):

Provided by: NZXT

Closer Look:

The packaging of the NZXT Guardian 921 Mid Tower Steel PC Case Chassis is fairly standard packaging like most gaming based case packing. It is very well designed and had all the information one would need in order to make an educated purchase.

Just like all the other NZXT Cases it comes secured in Styrofoam and plastic wrap to keep scratches and dust off of the case during shipping. It is a good thing because by the time these cases get to Canada the box is pretty banged up.

I love the look of the NZXT Guardian 921 Mid Tower Steel PC Chassis, it looks like something straight out of transformers. The addition of a side intake fan is an awesome bonus for cooling purposes and the over all design of the case screams “gaming” which is awesome. So if you are down with the deceptions you will love sporting this case at a lan party.

All of the screws and tool-less brackets you will need are included. Also included are stand-offs for your motherboard and the manual for installations. You will need your Motherboard manufacturer’s manual for proper bolt pattern. Never put standoffs where there isn’t a hole for them because improperly place stand offs can short circuit your motherboard if not properly installed.

Let’s look at the components:

Closer Look:

Two features I like on this case are the ports for water cooling and the external audio, eSATA, and USB ports. There aren’t very many mid-tower cases out there like the NZXT Guardian 921; the ability to water cool without case modding is a great option.

Included with all of the standard cables for hooking up the front panel and the motherboard, is 3 temperature sensors you can place in your HDD slot, your CPU heat sink and for me the system sensor goes on the top of the case for ambient case temps.

There is a plethora of potential potent air pushing power. There is some alliteration for you. With the addition of a total of 3 120mm fans stock with this case you get all of the cooling you would want in a mid-tower case. There is one for your CPU, one for the exhaust, and one for your HDD’s.

If you are a fan of tool-less like me you will love this case. There are thumbscrews, HDD and ODD tool-less by rail or built in tool-less, and you get expansion slot tool-less. I do not trust the expansion slot tool less my self this style seems a little cheap so I end up using screws because I am a bit paranoid.

Let’s check out the specs and features on the NZXT Guardian 921 Mid Tower Steel PC Chassis:

Specifications:

MODELGUARDIAN 921
CASE TYPE MID TOWER STEEL CHASSIS
DIMENSIONS (W x H x D)206X459X522 mm
COOLING SYSTEMFRONT, 1 X 120 mm BLUE LED FAN [Included]
REAR, 1 X 120 mm FAN [Included]
SIDE PANEL, 1 X 120 mm BLUE LED FAN [Included]
DRIVE BAYS9 DRIVE BAYS
3 EXTERNAL 5.25″ DRIVE BAYS
2 EXTERNAL 3.5 ” DRIVE BAYS
4 INTERNAL 3.5″ DRIVE BAYS
SCREWLESS RAIL DESIGN
MATERIAL(S)SECC STEEL CHASSIS
EXPANSION SLOTS 7
POWER SUPPLY400 WATT PS2 ATX 12V ( OPTIONAL )
WEIGHT8.2 KGS (W/O Power)
MOTHERBOARD SUPPORTMOTHERBOARDS: ATX, MICRO-ATX, BABY AT

Features:

  • NZXT Crafted Series Design: NZXT’s latest addition to the Crafted Series takes cues from gaming culture with elegant curves and a newly designed clear side panel
  • Spacious Interior and Solid Construction: Built from solid .88mm and 1.00mm steel, the Guardian 921 gives the user ample space for large, high-end video cards and space for up to four internal hard drives
  • Constant Temperature Monitoring: Three temperature probe monitoring system allows the user to constantly gauge thermals within the system at all times to prevent overheating
  • Multimedia and peripheral inputs: E-SATA, Intel HD audio, mic, and two USB inputs are standards with the guardian 921 allowing for maximum peripheral input
  • Silent Cooling: Comes standard with 3 120mm fans installed to maximize cooling performance with minimal noise

Let’s get into the testing:
Testing Setup

  • CPU – Intel Core 2 Duo E6600
  • Motherboard – Asus P5B
  • RAM – 2GB Kingston PC2-5300
  • Video Card – Asus EAH 4850
  • Power Supply – 500w
  • OS – Windows XP Pro SP3
  • Ambient temperature – 28 degrees Celsius

Testing:

I will be taking note of the HDD, CPU, GPU, and ambient case temps under both idle and load conditions. The cases I will be testing against each other will be the Guardian 921 mid tower, Thermaltake M9 Mid tower, and the NZXT Zero 2 Full Tower Case. The room temps will be regulated at 28 degrees in order to provide a fair testing grounds. Let’s light these bad boys up and see which one blows (the best). In almost any other competition this would be a bad thing but not for high flow cases like these let’s checkem out:

Idle Temps:

Chassis

CPU

GPU

Case Temp

Hard Drive

M9

35

79

31

35

Zero 2

29

77

28

34

Guardian 921

32

80

28

34

 Load Temps:

Chassis

CPU

GPU

Case Temp

Hard Drive

M9

54

80

31

35

Zero 2

51

81

29

32

Guardian 921

49

80

29

34

The NZXT Guardian 921 Mid Tower Steel PC Case did incredibly well compare to the other two cases. The Zero 2 did beat the Guardian in a number of the tests but what you need to remember is that the Zero 2 is a much larger case and has two massive exhaust fans and a lot more area for hot air to be dispersed. Let’s see the final thoughts:

Conclusion:

Over all the NZXT Guardian 921 did incredibly well for a mid tower case. I love all the little extras like the lcd display and the temp sensors. The over all design was great especially if you are a transformers fan as I mentioned before. The blue LED’s make this case look great and the whole case is well made. The only draw back is the tool-less expansion tabs, they seem a little on the cheap but that is my only qualm about this case.

Would I recommend this case? Yes, if you are part gamer and part anal retentive this is the case for you. Not only do you get incredible stock cooling but you also get the ability to know what your PC temps are in real time without relying on your (Not always accurate) motherboard sensors.

Pros:

  • Price
  • Quality Cooling
  • Tool-Less Design
  •  3 x 120mm Fans Stock
  • eSATA
  • Multiple Fan Expansion Slots
  • Blue LED’s
  • Magnetic Front Panel
  • LCD Display
  • Sensors

Cons:

  • Expansion Slot tool-less Seems a bit Cheap

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