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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?

Test Results And Conclusion

How We Test

We continue to use our reference PC with its reference overclock for case testing, apart from replacing the X99S XPower AC with the X99S Gaming 7. That replacement has allowed us to compare tighter "Standard ATX" cases, since the XPower motherboard is oversize.

Noise is measured .5m from the case's front corner, on the side that opens. The numbers are corrected to the 1m industry standard -- used by many loudspeaker and fan manufacturers -- by subtracting six decibels.

Drivers And Settings

ChipsetIntel INF 9.4.2.1019
CPU4.2GHz (42x 100MHz) @ 1.2V Core
MotherboardFirmware 17.8 (02/10/2015)
RAMXMP CAS 16 Defaults (1.2V)
GraphicsMaximum Fan for Thermal Tests | Nvidia GeForce 347.52

Comparison Cases

Test Results

The Noctis 450 presented several testing challenges, which began with its reliance on the CPU fan header and fan for proper speed control. Our CPU cooler is too small to operate properly with its fan slowed, and doing so would have produced improper noise results when comparing other systems. Bypassing the CPU fan from the N450's controller didn't work, as the most easily-reached fan on the rear panel didn't slow at all, though the front fans then had an operating range of 840 to 1200 RPM. That's not to say there's anything wrong with NZXT's fan control method, only that it's not a good pairing with our test hardware. We suggest using a larger CPU cooler, or a less power-hungry CPU, or a liquid cooling system to take full advantage of NZXT's fan controller design.

Another test problem was that normalizing temperatures inside the N450 took four hours; most of the previously-tested cases only took around two hours. The CPU temperature climbed by around 1 degree every 10 minutes during the last two hours of testing, but the GPU temperature climbed by 1 degree total before these temperatures were recorded.

Noise levels were far better than heat levels, though the well-featured Noctis 450 is still a little noisier than the cheap Z11 Neo.

Those last two hours of "heat soak" also took a toll on the N450's acoustic efficiency.

In spite of its apparently-reasonable price, the "heat soaking" problem with our specific hardware kept the Noctis 450 from reaching its optimal performance-value rating. We might be willing to give up a little value for the sake of added features however, and the N450 includes a motherboard fan-control extender that would probably be best paired with a higher-capacity CPU cooling system.

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Thomas Soderstrom is a Senior Staff Editor at Tom's Hardware, covering Cases, Cooling, Memory and Motherboards. Follow him on Twitter.

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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.
    Reply
  • 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.
    Reply
  • Crashman
    17397228 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.

    Reply
  • dudmont
    That fan control setup is great, assuming you only run 1 type of fan, and then only 7 of them.....
    Reply
  • juanjovargas
    So cute.
    Reply
  • WildCard999
    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.
    Reply
  • 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.
    Reply
  • 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.
    Reply
  • 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..
    Reply
  • vagrantsoul
    17397964 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.
    Reply