Introducing the Nanoxia Deep Silence 1

When I reviewed the BitFenix Ghost, some of you requested we take a look at the Nanoxia Deep Silence 1. Nanoxia isn't selling on American shores yet, but there's been a lot of buzz going around about this case, and Nanoxia has been steadily making inroads towards getting it into our hands. If you couldn't tell from the name, the Deep Silence 1 is designed for quiet, efficient running, and in many ways it looks like exactly the case I requested at the end of my review of the Ghost: same principles, just bigger and better.

As it turns out, Nanoxia wanted us to look at the Deep Silence 1 as well. I was initially reluctant as you can't actually buy it in the States yet, but hopefully this review will help change that. While the Deep Silence 1 isn't the grand slam some people make it out to be, it is very close, and demonstrates a real evolution in the way silent cases are designed. So what did this small German firm do with the Deep Silence 1 that makes it so different from other silent cases? A few things, as it turns out.

In my experience, cases engineered for silent running can oftentimes be chasing the wrong vectors. They're seldom bad cases, but acoustic padding can't make up for efficient airflow, and having to close off ventilation can actually cause more problems than it solves. It's entirely possible to produce a silent, well-ventilated case, but getting the design right means dodging a veritable minefield of decisions that will threaten to undermine your intended goal.

The result, thus far, has been that while cases like the BitFenix Ghost and Corsair Obsidian 550D aren't necessarily bad, with our testbed they've had to expend more effort on trying to smother the noise generated by high fan speeds rather than keeping the components cooler in the first place. Users interested in building a system designed to run quietly will have less trouble (they'll be more apt to use quieter-running parts), but the underlying issue persists, so the question is...was Nanoxia able to do the unthinkable and balance the equation?

Nanoxia Deep Silence 1 Specifications
Motherboard Form Factor Mini-ITX, Micro-ATX, ATX, XL-ATX
Drive Bays External 3x 5.25" (plus included 5.25"-to-3.5" adapter plate)
Internal 8x 2.5"/3.5"
Cooling Front 2x 120mm intake fan
Rear 1x 140mm exhaust fan (compatible with 120mm)
Top 2x 120mm/140mm fan mount
Side 1x 120mm/140mm fan mount
Bottom 1x 120mm/140mm fan mount
Expansion Slots 8
I/O Port 2x USB 3.0, 2x USB 2.0, 1x Headphone, 1x Mic
Power Supply Size ATX
Clearances HSF 185mm
PSU 200mm
GPU 12.4" / 315mm
Dimensions 20.35" x 8.66" x 20.94"
517mm x 220mm x 532mm
Weight 25 lbs / 11.34 kg
Special Features Removable fan filters
USB 3.0 via internal header
Analog dual-channel fan controller (three fans per channel)
Toggleable "chimney"
Removable drive cages
Acoustic padding on the doors and side panels
Price 109 EUR; expected US MSRP between $109-$129

Even just unboxing it, what struck me the most about the Deep Silence 1 is how heavy it is, and that was my first clue that it might be a bit better at its job than some of the other silent cases I've tested. It's appreciably heavier than both the BitFenix Ghost and the Corsair Obsidian 550D due to the use of both the acoustic padding and, frankly, a heavy steel frame. This is not a cheaply built case, and the thicker materials used in its construction should go a long way towards containing noise.

In and Around the Nanoxia Deep Silence 1
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  • Grok42 - Thursday, November 29, 2012 - link

    Sounds like an interesting concept. Can you give an example of a case that does this? My pet peeve are external bays but I also think internal ones could be designed better and have been trying to find someone doing something new in this area.
  • Death666Angel - Tuesday, November 27, 2012 - link

    Don't you guys have import in the US? I can buy stuff from all over the world and have it shipped to my door step in Germany. :D
  • karagiosis - Tuesday, November 27, 2012 - link

    Just a small errata. On the noise level chart (overclocked) the labels for the fans at low and high speed should be swapped
  • Dustin Sklavos - Tuesday, November 27, 2012 - link

    Nope, it's correct as posted. The higher fan setting for the case improves airflow so much that the CPU and GPU fans don't spin as high.
  • dehemke - Tuesday, November 27, 2012 - link

    Where are the Antec Performance One series in the comparison charts?

    This thing looks like a P18x/28x inspired design, I'd like to see how well it stacks up against those.

    I'm still running a jet black P180 and a Mirror finish P182, but I had to do some modifications to get them to play nicely with the new longer PSU's and video cards.

    Is this the right successor?
  • jjwa - Wednesday, December 12, 2012 - link

    I am still running my main rig in a P180 :). It rocks. And it's used for gaming, playing server and everything else at the same time. While overclocked. The only problem I have now is that I have put so many HDDs into it (replacing the upper stock HDD cage) that I reduced it's air intake too far :(.
  • mascotzel - Tuesday, November 27, 2012 - link

    What is the high low significance in the review?
  • Galcobar - Tuesday, November 27, 2012 - link

    It's explained in the first paragraph of the Noise and Thermal Testing section, just above the charts.
  • mascotzel - Wednesday, November 28, 2012 - link

    so why are the fans on low noisier than the same fans on high in the charts?
  • flyingpants1 - Wednesday, November 28, 2012 - link

    In my opinion, the only sources of noise in most modern computers should be two 140mm+ fans: The CPU fan and the PSU fan. The 140mm CPU fan on a 120mm heatsink can be ducted to the rear exhaust port - no need for case fans. SSDs make no noise. Hard drives make no noise when idle, and when running they require no active cooling, see the Google hard drive study. Integrated GPUs obviously don't need extra cooling.

    It's possible to eliminate the PSU fan by using a fanless PSU, but this limits your GPU choices. As for high-end GPUs like a GTX680, one could easily imagine an aftermarket GPU heatsink with a 140mm which spins at inaudible speeds on idle.

    Combine all that with a quiet case and an inch of soundproofing stuff, and your computer will be literally inaudible by human ears when idle.

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