NZXT's Source series of chassis has always been a budget line, offering basic amenities in what amounts to a stripped-down version of the company's higher-end Phantom and Switch cases. Source chassis have offered gamers and builders simple, demure style for relatively little money with somewhat austere black, white or black-and-white designs, but NZXT is touting its latest entry to the family, the mid-tower Source 340, as a "reimagining" of the Source series.
"The S340 is a breakaway from our typical Source cases with the designer eschewing the usual heavy use of mesh and lack of window," NZXT's Mitchell Podlaha told Tom's Hardware. He said that the new chassis was built from the ground up, "allowing us to focus on getting the most we could for our money rather than trying to gut a higher end case to an acceptable level."
"We like to think of the S340 as a budget enthusiast case, rather than just a run of the mill basement budget case," he added.
The all-steel (well, 90 percent steel) S340 supports up to ATX motherboards and boasts thicker side panels for more durability, grommet-less cable management (via a full-length cable bar) and filtered intakes.
The chassis has "2+1" 3.5-inch internal drive slots, with the cage positioned at the bottom of the case, parallel with the PSU. Slanted vents just above the drive cage presumably allow for some better airflow over the 3.5-inch drives. There are also two 2.5-inch drive mounts available on top of the aforementioned cable bar, separating them from the larger drive cage and placing them in the main cavity of the case.
It appears that the CPU backplate cutout is nice and large, which we're pleased to see because cases such as the Source 220 had some issues on that front. NZXT also made a point of noting the compactness of the Source 340, which measures 200 x 445 x 432 mm.
The front of the Source 340 supports two 140 mm or three 120 mm fans, which are not included, while the top and back sport stock 120 mm fans. You can mount a 140 mm or two 120 mm radiators on the front of the case or a 120 mm radiator on the rear.
The Source 340 supports 161 mm CPU coolers and 334 mm GPUs with a radiator installed (or 364 mm without), and there are 7 expansion slots. Extra I/O is nestled at the top of the case and includes a pair of USB 3.0 ports, HD mic and audio jacks, and the power button.
NZXT notably omitted a 5.25-inch optical drive bay from the Source 340; although there seems to be less need for an optical drive every day, surely there are plenty of users that will want one at least on occasion.
However, NZXT believes that's not a big deal and that in fact cutting the optical drive bay makes cable management easier. "Our H440 is the first case to gut the ODD bay and it seems to be working out pretty well," said Podlaha. "After a good amount of market research, we realized only 20% of users cared about the ODD bay and ultimately we decided to take a chance with removing it."
If you're wondering whether NZXT will slowly kill off its current Source series cases in light of the newly-designed Source 340, the answer is no; the company will keep the lineup intact and will simply add to it.
The Source 340 costs $69.99 and comes with a 2-year warranty. That's just a bit pricier than most of the Source cases -- the Source 210 ($39.99), Source 210 elite ($49.99) and Source 220 ($49.99) are all cheaper -- but it's less expensive than the full-tower Source 530, which comes in at $89.99.
With some of the Source cases you get what you pay for a bit, but NZXT is confident that the Source 340 is a new breed of budget chassis.
You can pre-order a black or white S340 today from NZXT's store; shipping will begin September 15th.