NZXT Noctis 450 ATX Mid-Tower Case Review

Smart fan control, LED lighting, large radiator support and partially-obscured vent panels help NZXT's Noctis 450 stand out, but does the case still perform?


NZXT's Noctis 450 (aka N450) is no phantom, but aesthetic comparisons to the Phantom 410 are obvious. The naming isn't quite as clear, as the Noctis (latin for Night) is also available in white. Phantoms, as I understand them, can appear as anything from a shadow to a puff of white smoke. Perhaps NZXT is referring to the optimal viewing conditions for the N450's lighting?

Naming aside, the black version's shell invokes various powerful images, ranging from the pop-out spoilers of certain high-end cars to the flaps of a stealth jet or even Darth Vader's luggage. Regardless of whether your interests lean towards real-world technologies or sci-fi fantasies, the Noctis 450 should stir an opinion.

Specifications

Interior And Exterior

The front panel connector section is near the front of the top panel and tilts slightly towards the user, assuming that the PC is placed to your left. Two USB 3.0, two USB 2.0 and headphone jacks rest beside a lighted power button. There is no reset button.

A magnetic dust filter covers three 120mm fans behind the front panel, which can be replaced with two 140mm fans. The Noctis 450 manual indicates that a triple-120mm-fan or dual-140mm-fan radiator will fit here, but we didn't find room for the tanks of the triple-fan unit.

Two 2.5-inch drive trays reside above the power supply bay and lighted NZXT logo. Five more drive trays are found on the opposite side.

Radiator tank space is less crowded on the top panel, which is again rated for dual-140mm and triple-120mm radiators. Space above the motherboard opens from 1.8" at the case edge to 2.2" at the fan mounts to avoid any collisions with motherboard components, and the case even supports "sandwiching" fans by placing another set between the top of the steel chassis and the snap-away cover panel.

The N450 gets a little more interesting from this angle, as we can see the five 3.5-inch drive trays, the slide out power-supply dust filter, the removable power supply mounting bracket, the slotted fan mounts for positioning 120mm or 140mm single-fan radiators for optimal fitting clearance, and the dual round pass-through holes for external liquid cooling.

Each hard drive tray is completely removable, and all of these must be removed if the builder wants to use the front panel as a second large radiator mount. All five 3.5" trays provide rubber bushings for mechanical drive vibration damping, plus a second set of holes without bushings for 2.5" SSDs.

Remember that we teased "smart fan control" at the beginning of the review? The Noctis 450 isn't smart, but instead relies on the motherboard's "brains." A PWM-to-voltage fan control converter supports up to seven case fans, using the CPU fan's header signal to ramp these up and down based on the motherboard's CPU fan profile. The white connector feeds the PWM single through to the original CPU fan.

A small button in a top corner of the back panel controls case lighting, including a rear light above the I/O panel. The lighting controller is found on the back of the motherboard tray just forward of the button. Pushing it once turns the rear light off, pushing it again dims the ground-effects lighting, pressing it a third time disables the ground-effects, and pressing it a fourth time disables all lights.

The Noctis 450's installation kit includes a bundle of cable ties, in addition to its mostly-useful pictorial manual, screws and stand off.

Panel headers include USB 3.0, USB 2.0, HD-Audio and Power/LED. The case lighting and fan adapter connect to a single SATA power cable, and the fan controller also includes a signal input cable (for the CPU fan header) and fan power extender (for the CPU fan).

After removing the power supply mounting plate, the power supply slides in cables-first through the N450's rear panel. We installed the SATA SSD to one of the 2.5"-only trays inside the motherboard cavity.

N450 "ground effects" lighting is actually a far darker hue than shown: Such are the problems of capturing the light without nullifying the darkness.

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  • vagrantsoul
    Just put a system together in one of these (white / blue version)... person loved it... one complain I have is the front panel does NOT want to come off pulling from the bottom, i even attempted to shim and push the pins from the inside fo the case... Upon being too afraid of snapping either the IO for the usb or breaking the plastic pins... i've left it alone. This seems to be semi common with the case after a little digging around... glad we went with a tower air cooler vs a rad... would have been a little difficult not being able to get to the top or front of the case.

    I've built in about 3 h440 cases, and 2 s340s and neither had issues with the front panel, nor did any of the phantoms... might have just gotten a fluke case.
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  • Onus
    No reset button = dealbreaker. Yeah, you could Dremel one, but that should not be necessary. It looks like no HDD LED either, which I also prefer to see included.
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  • Crashman
    Anonymous said:
    Just put a system together in one of these (white / blue version)... person loved it... one complain I have is the front panel does NOT want to come off pulling from the bottom, i even attempted to shim and push the pins from the inside fo the case... Upon being too afraid of snapping either the IO for the usb or breaking the plastic pins... i've left it alone. This seems to be semi common with the case after a little digging around... glad we went with a tower air cooler vs a rad... would have been a little difficult not being able to get to the top or front of the case.

    I've built in about 3 h440 cases, and 2 s340s and neither had issues with the front panel, nor did any of the phantoms... might have just gotten a fluke case.
    We didn't have trouble getting the front off, but wouldn't know if a manufacturing tolerance problem existed by having only one case.
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  • dudmont
    That fan control setup is great, assuming you only run 1 type of fan, and then only 7 of them.....
    1
  • juanjovargas
    So cute.
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  • WildCard999
    Quote:
    Just put a system together in one of these (white / blue version)... person loved it... one complain I have is the front panel does NOT want to come off pulling from the bottom, i even attempted to shim and push the pins from the inside fo the case... Upon being too afraid of snapping either the IO for the usb or breaking the plastic pins... i've left it alone. This seems to be semi common with the case after a little digging around... glad we went with a tower air cooler vs a rad... would have been a little difficult not being able to get to the top or front of the case.

    I've built in about 3 h440 cases, and 2 s340s and neither had issues with the front panel, nor did any of the phantoms... might have just gotten a fluke case.


    The issue isn't just with your case as I stumbled upon the same issue as it takes quite a bit of force to remove it and does feel as though you might break something off. I ended up removing the two tabs near the middle of the front part of the case since it seemed as though they weren't lining up correctly. By doing this it does make taking off the front a little bit easier but it still feels like I might damage the case everytime I remove it to clean the filter.
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  • Pixdawg
    As with Onus, the lack of a reset button is a dealbreaker for me, especially on a case this spendy. Not sure what makes it worth all that money.
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  • Max_x2
    Interesting case. It looks amazingly good, and you can turn off the lighting for that "non-rice" look (I hate case lighting with a passion). And it's very quiet. About the temps... Did you guys try to switch the fans directions in order to get better temps through a different air flow? That'd be worth a try. I'd try that, then return it if it doesn't help. I have a Thermaltake frio with dual 120mm in push/pull (supposed to be #8 for intel cooling), so that would help I guess. The only other caveat I see is the case window... Mine as one, and i kinda regret that. But that's personal preference.
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  • SamSerious
    This is the first NZXT that looks fine really for me. But an ATX sized case without an ODD slot is always odd. It doesn't have to be on the front of the case if there is place for a radiator. But as a slim ODD on the bottom (several InWin) or the backside (like the Evolv), somewhere has to be an ODD in such a big case..
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  • vagrantsoul
    Anonymous said:
    No reset button = dealbreaker. Yeah, you could Dremel one, but that should not be necessary. It looks like no HDD LED either, which I also prefer to see included.


    I typically have been wiring the pled in as the hdd light in a lot of instances anymore, seeing as LEDs and noise from the internals signals that the power is on. This case was one of those which ended up wired that way, so was the corsair spec 01 i used for my niece.
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  • vagrantsoul
    Anonymous said:
    Anonymous said:
    Just put a system together in one of these (white / blue version)... person loved it... one complain I have is the front panel does NOT want to come off pulling from the bottom, i even attempted to shim and push the pins from the inside fo the case... Upon being too afraid of snapping either the IO for the usb or breaking the plastic pins... i've left it alone. This seems to be semi common with the case after a little digging around... glad we went with a tower air cooler vs a rad... would have been a little difficult not being able to get to the top or front of the case.

    I've built in about 3 h440 cases, and 2 s340s and neither had issues with the front panel, nor did any of the phantoms... might have just gotten a fluke case.
    We didn't have trouble getting the front off, but wouldn't know if a manufacturing tolerance problem existed by having only one case.



    I think it might just be a few runs here and there, someone else below mentioned the same problem, as did a bunch of other forums... not a huge dealbreaker. Once i get the panel off for the user if/when installing anything else I will probably dremmel out the pin holes ever so slightly to ease removal.
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  • Imareal Whinestein
    The Noctis is wonderful. Don't have a clue why your page says it costs $285 but the link goes to page that says $139.99.
    This is my first NZXT case so I'm not a fanboy when I say your review was weird: making up hypothetical problems (about dual radiators and such) that weren't tested by you, not part of your setup. Wazzup with that? I installed 2 other fans (top, intake) I had laying around that are nothing special at all and I can only hear the air blowing through the case pleasantly (and it's on my desk about 2.5 feet from me). I run all fans as intake except the rear and it's crazy good at cooling, not coming close to needing a radiator with i7-4790K, Cryorig H5A (why are you using that cpu 5930?? I hear it's not very efficient but to each his own, though most mortals looking at a case like this wouldn't be picking something for super duper multi-thread video rendering, just sayin, and folks using that 5930K seem to need watercooling to overclock it to even 4Ghz, hungry beast that it is).
    Oh, the Zalman you keep comparing it with is nowhere near as sexy or as good. Do y'all even read newegg reviews? It has no screen over the top so anything can fall or climb right into it. The side fans suck out the air the front fan is blowing in - no wonder it's quiet, there's no air moving through it.
    Who in the heck uses a reset button anymore? The power button does the same job anyway (maybe it's a linux thing?).
    Yeah, yank that darn front panel off, don't hesitate, don't be scared, just grab it and yank! It's annoying because the case is so pretty that one doesn't want to hurt it in any way; next time I clean filters I'll probably dremel out the holes a bit, as others have suggested, to ease the worry of causing distress to my beauty.
    Oh, I have the white one and it's a great color; never had anything but black and it's a welcome change and even in a dusty shop nothing sticks to it.
    When I bought it I was shopping for airflow and dust filters, both of which it does very well. Looks are just a sweet bonus. I have an external DVD drive I've used twice last year, normally lives in a drawer. Before getting that I once opened the side panel, set a 3.5 drive on that lovely shelf above the power supply, and connected it that way (left it in there till I got the external but don't use either anymore, just USB). So mostly the case is empty and a perfect wind tunnel from the front to the cpu cooler and video card to the rear exhaust. Perfect.
    Oh, forgot to mention the PWM controller: works perfectly for me, sorry for your problems and your "heat soaking". Did you block or leave in all the trays? You said you were just using the 2.5" drive so didn't need them at all - removing any unnecessary trays does help much.
    Your motherboard, as with mine, has 2 CPU fan slots. The directions included with the Noctis describe using these so that you can control the main cpu cooler and the PWM fans separately. Give it a try next time or get someone who likes to read well thought out instructions.
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  • Crashman
    Anonymous said:
    The Noctis is wonderful. Don't have a clue why your page says it costs $285 but the link goes to page that says $139.99.
    This is my first NZXT case so I'm not a fanboy when I say your review was weird: making up hypothetical problems (about dual radiators and such) that weren't tested by you, not part of your setup. Wazzup with that?
    Easy answer: The measurements dictate which parts fit. I don't need to own every part in the world to say that the ones that measure over the amount of space won't fit. When a hypothesis is proven it's no longer hypothetical.

    Anonymous said:

    Oh, forgot to mention the PWM controller: works perfectly for me, sorry for your problems and your "heat soaking". Did you block or leave in all the trays? You said you were just using the 2.5" drive so didn't need them at all - removing any unnecessary trays does help much.
    Your motherboard, as with mine, has 2 CPU fan slots. The directions included with the Noctis describe using these so that you can control the main cpu cooler and the PWM fans separately. Give it a try next time or get someone who likes to read well thought out instructions.
    Oh, yeh, YOU should read the instructions because the things your saying don't work. Read the article to find out why. You need the feedback signal from a PWM fan in order for the controller to operate at its full range, and there is no PWM fan in the case. Period. Look all over your case. There isn't one.
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  • Sunderas
    Overpriced in my opinion...
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  • vagrantsoul
    Anonymous said:
    Overpriced in my opinion...

    a bit high, assuming it's to cover the slightly different LED selector switch + LED running lights+ plastic panels. After building in all three, still prefer my h440, then s340, then the noctis. The front panel difficulties turned me off, but it certainly has it's unique look. What really took it down a peg was the material on the matte black being such a pain to keep clean + not using rgb leds in the running lights like the enthoo luxe by phanteks (which is cheaper, and imho better build quality)
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