NZXT are well-known in the industry for their ultra high end enthusiast chassis, with products such as the Phantom 820 and the H630 simply blowing us away with their no compromise, feature packed designs. There is of course just one big downside to their more epic creations, a price tag that can really hurt your wallet. NZXT are well aware that they have a big fan base that can’t afford many of their products, so it looks like they’ve gone back to the drawing board and come up with something that packs all the big NZXT features, but for just under $90 / £70.
That isn’t exactly cheap I know, but it’s easily one of the hottest and most popular sections of the chassis market, there are countless offerings in this sector from all the major players that are incredible chassis, so it will be interesting to see just how competitive the Source 530 is in this area. As you can see from the specifications below it certainly packs a lot of features and with extensive cooling support, loads of room for storage and room for huge graphics cards to name but a few, it’s certainly sounding great on paper, so let’s get to the real deal and see how it holds up to inspection.
I normally add a photo of the packaging here, but my sample arrived in a brown box, so we shall skip over that. In the box I found the usual assortment of screws, bolts and cable ties to ensure we can fully install all major components and hard drives, as well as a simple owners manual to guide you through the process.
The main body of the chassis is finished in a powder black paint job that gives the case a dull matte look. The side panel is held in place with a pair of thumb screws and features a huge window that will give us a great view of the chassis interior.
The right side panel is also held in place with thumb screws, but doesn’t have any stand-out design features.
The front panel features HD audio ports and a pair of USB 3.0 ports, interestingly no USB 2.0 ports along side them. There are three 5.25″ bays that are covered with quick release covers for easy access. The lower half of the front panel is ventilated and features a washable dust-filter behind it to provide any front mounted cooling with clean air.
There is a small LED back-lit logo on the left, while the power indication is recessed into the frame near the top right corner.
The edge of the front panel is a really glossy and somewhat cheap looking and feeling plastic, I’m not sure why NZXT chose this finish here. The side features the reset, power and rear LED light switch.
Around the back we see another common NZXT feature, the long screw mounts from the rear fan. There is a 120mm fan pre-installed but you can also install a 140mm one here if you wish. The long screw holes allow you to adjust the height of the fan, handy if you need to room for a small water cooling radiator. Further down we have 8 expansion slots, two water / cable routing holes, a bottom mounted PSU cut-out and plenty of extra ventilation holes.
The top of the chassis features a multitude of long screw mounts for 3 x 120mm or 3 x 140mm cooling fans, certainly more than enough room for large water cooling blocks.
The base of the chassis is well equipped with dust filters that cover both the PSU area and the additional 120mm fan mounts in the base of the chassis.
The interior looks a lot like many other NZXT chassis, featuring the huge CPU cooler mounting cut-out at the back, multiple cable routing cut-outs and pre-installed motherboard stand-offs. We can see NZXT haven’t included rubber grommets for the cable routing holes, but they do have smooth edges and doesn’t look particularly untidy.
the base features six large rubber stumps that will provide a good seat for our PSU, these should help with airflow and also help reduce vibration. To the right we have a pair of 120mm fan mounts, although you would need to slide out the bottom HDD bay to take full advantage of both.
There is a single 120mm fan mounting in the back and each of the 8 expansion slots comes fitted with quick release thumb screws and a re-usable ventilated cover.
There are three 5.25″ bays with snack-lock metal clips for easy installation and removal of drives. Below that we have three HDD bays in a 3+2+1 modular format, each can be removed and changed around to suit your needs, or all removed completely to free up space for a front radiator. There is also an extra 120mm / 140mm fan mount on the left side of the top HDD bay, perfect for pushing more air toward your GPU.
There is plenty of clearance above the motherboard for a radiator or cooling fans. However, long radiators will conflict (at least) the first optical drive bay.
Around the back we see even more classic NZXT features. Quick release thumb screws on the HDD bays, drive trays that slide out to the rear side of the chassis and a load of cable tie down loops.
In the centre we have a 10 port fan control hub to help you power the 9 fans that you can install in this chassis, not to mention any extra fans you may have on CPU cooler / radiators. To the right of the we have a handy 2.5″ stealth HDD mount.
Cable management should be super easy with 25mm of behind the motherboard.
The front panel will take 2 x 120mm, 2 x 140mm or a single 200mm fan. Unfortunately there isn’t one pre-installed here but at least NZXT have included two fans on the chassis, so you could always move one if you wish.
The front panel features a light mesh covering, but behind it you will also find a washable filter, it’s not the most accessible dust filter ever, but I’m happy to see there is one.
With the build complete we see that the Source 530 looks stunning on the interior, the cable management is excellent and this is thanks in a big way to the large number of cable tie loops behind the motherboard. The only issue I see here is that the internal fan mount near the GPU is a little close and long graphics cards may conflict with it in this configuration, you could of course move the HDD bay down, or take it out completely though so all is good.
There is a lot of clearance here for our cooling and airflow is unobstructed throughout. More than enough room for a multi-GPU configuration here and certainly enough room for an extra radiator on the rear fan mount.
Our NZXT X60 CPU cooler fits nicely, but it does so at the cost of the top 5.25″ drive bay, but that is a small price to pay for a large AIO water cooler.
The only thing that I would have liked is an extra cable routing hole in the centre top section, as this would make it easier to route any cables from top mounted cooling. Also, a slim radiator here is fine with either a push or pull fan configuration, but you will struggle to get both push and pull fans here as components will begin to conflict with the motherboard.
With the side panel back in place we can see just how clear that side window is, lucky the cable management is easy to maintain because with such a clear view, presentation is everything.
The front panel features a nice little NZXT logo that lights up, not sure the case needed this but I know some will like the little touch of light here.
NZXT have really done something incredible in terms of price, this many features at this price point is borderline incredible and for $90 you’ll be hard pushed to find anything better in terms of component compatibility. not all international retailers have stock at this time but the case can be ordered directly from the NZXT Armory for $89.99 or from OCUK for £79.99 here in the UK.
I’m at a crossroads with the Source 530, in many ways I absolutely love what NZXT have created, but at the same time I don’t like it at all. There is good reason for both too, so let’s get the reason why I don’t like it out of the way first. I think it looks horrible, the exterior design looks cheap from the front panel and the plastic trim on the front panel is cheap also, I just don’t think it would look right next to my desk, it is as simple as that.
Yet I have to confess, there is a reason it looks cheap, especially when compared to other NZXT gaming chassis, it IS cheap(er)! However, looks can be deceiving because build quality is spot on through out, there are no thin cut panels, no corners cut on the paint job and any compromises that may have been made as far as the overall visual design goes is simply to accommodate a colossal number of features within a certain price point, something I don’t think any other chassis on the market (in this price range of course) can compete with.
We’ve got three modular hard drive bays with slide out drive trays, as well as a stealth SSD mount at the back, support for a total of 9 fans and a fan hub to help keep them all running, then we have enough space for radiators in the front, back and top of the chassis, enough room for several of the biggest graphics cards on the market, loads of cable routing space and plenty of dust filters to help keep it all in check. Put simply, this is more than you can get for your money anywhere else, albeit at the small cost of exterior style.
I’m not saying this chassis can’t look great though, style is such as subjective quality anyway and even I have to admit that our build on the interior looks stunning, the side panel window gives a great interior view and there is no doubt that it can handle a monster gaming rig on the interior. The extensive cooling options do mean that it won’t be very sound proof, but that’s to be expected with such an open design as this, it’s built to hold high end components, not to tame them.
If you’re looking for a nice, quiet, day to day work rig, then this likely isn’t for you. However if you’re wanting to spend as much money as you can on high end graphics cards while still getting the best chassis you can afford to cram them all in, then the Source 530 manages to be both high-end and budget friendly at the same time, perfect for your next gaming rig.
- Extensive feature set and component compatibility
- Loads of room for cooling and airflow
- Airfilters on all major intakes
- Good build quality
- Modular storage bays
- Robust cable routing options
- Front panel looks cheap
- Front dust filter involved removing entire front panel to clean
- Could get noisy due to open design (dependant on your configuration)
“NZXT have always been listening to what gamers want in their chassis and its great to see that even when they hack a large chunk of the price off their high end models, they don’t cut out any of the features that make NZXT cases so great to work with.”