When it comes to PCs most people don’t care what they look like as long as they work right? There are some of us though that don’t like the same old, same old, and like to be unique and when it comes to PC cases we’ve got a plethora of choices on the market today. Not all though are created equal, just like any product some are better than others, and the designs vary greatly between companies. With all of these choices we’ve got the chance to find one that fits not only our needs but our unique style as well. NZXT has been around for a bit now and they make some of the best cases out there, they’re known for quality and aesthetics and ease of use.
Today I’m taking a look at the NZXT Guardian 921 Crafted Series chassis. It’s a mid-tower case that is full of features, looks and usability. The Guardian 921 is a sleek black case, with a side window and a built-in temperature monitoring system. It features three 120mm fans, and tool-less installation for your hard drives and 5.25" devices. Read on to learn more about this case…
The Guardian 921 comes in a brightly colored box, and it’s packaged very well.
It also comes with plastic coverings over the front bezel and the side window for protection during transit, once removed we can get a better look at it. The left side windows has sort of an ‘X’ shape to it with a 120mm fan mounted right in the middle for cooling. the right side of the case is just plain black.
The side of the case is also where the USB, e-SATA and audio connectors are, they’re conveniently located I think.
The front bezel is a plastic door that opens to reveal the drive bays, above the door is a temperature monitor unit and the the power/reset buttons, along with power and HDD activity LEDs. Inside the door on the front is also the metal NZXT case badge that we’re familiar with. There are only three accessible 5.25" bays on this case, and there are two 3.5" bays, below the bays is a meshed area behind which is a 120mm cooling fan.
On the back of the case we find the usual stuff including an installed 120mm cooling fan, with the exception of the water cooling inlets near the bottom. On the bottom of the case are four rubber feet.
The left side door is held on with two thumb screws, while the right side panel uses regular case screws.
Looking inside of the case we find the accessory envelope and a bunch of wires including those for audio, e-SATA, USB, the standard motherboard headers, three temperature probes and power connectors for the fans and the lighting. Inside of the accessory envelope we find drive rails, screws, a couple zip ties and a user manual.
There’s room for three hard drives in the HDD cage, and there’s actually five 5.25" bays inside of the case, as opposed to three being only accessible from the outside. Inside one of the bays is a 3.5" to 5.25" adapter. All of the bays are tool-less, for the 5.25" devices you just slide them in and lock them in place with the slide locks, for the hard drives you need to use the rails of course.
Here’s a quick look at the back panel, not much interesting here:
Mid tower steel chassis
NZXT, a company built on realizing the dreams of gamers worldwide, is proud to announce the Guardian 921, a gaming chassis in the NZXT Crafted Series. Building off of the original Guardian’s success, the Guardian 921 features a robust set of features for the budget conscious PC Gamer. Designed with a futuristic and sleek curves, the Guardian 921 is the perfect chassis to show off your gaming chassis.
* NZXT Crafted Series Design: NZXT’s latest addition to the Crafted Series takes cues from gaming culture with elegant curves and a newly designed clear side panel
* Spacious Interior and Solid Construction: Built from solid .88mm and 1.00mm steel, the Guardian 921 gives the user ample space for large, high-end video cards and space for up to four internal hard drives
* Constant Temperature Monitoring: Three temperature probe monitoring system allows the user to constantly gauge thermals within the system at all times to prevent overheating
* Multimedia and peripheral inputs: E-SATA, Intel HD audio, mic, and two USB inputs are standards with the guardian 921 allowing for maximum peripheral input
* Silent Cooling: Comes standard with 3 120mm fans installed to maximize cooling performance with minimal noise
MODEl: GUARDIAN 921
CASE TYPE: MID TOWER STEEL CHASSIS
DIMENSIONS (W x H x D): 206X459X522 mm
FRONT, 1 X 120 mm BLUE LED FAN [Included]
REAR, 1 X 120 mm FAN [Included]
SIDE PANEL, 1 X 120 mm BLUE LED FAN [Included]
DRIVE BAYs: 9 DRIVE BAYS
-3 EXTERNAL 5.25" DRIVE BAYS
-2 EXTERNAL 3.5 " DRIVE BAYS
-4 INTERNAL 3.5" DRIVE BAYS
-SCREWLESS RAIL DESIGN
MATERIAL(S): SECC STEEL CHASSIS
EXPANSION SLOTS : 7
POWER SUPPLY: 400 WATT PS2 ATX 12V ( OPTIONAL )
WEIGHT: 8.2 KGS (W/O Power)
MOTHERBOARD SUPPORT: ATX, MICRO-ATX, BABY AT
Installation is easy, there’s more than enough room to work. The motherboard tray is not removable and neither is the HDD cage, at least without a little work. I found the 5.25" bays a bit loose, when I put my DVD drive in there, it seemed locked down, but it moved around a bit.
Overall the case is nicely made and there’s plenty of room for most mid-range systems in there, though a large video card might be a tight fit.
One thing that does bug me though is that there are no fan grills on the fans, this has also been a pet peeve of mine, catch a wire in a fan and it will bother you as well. With the front fan it’s not a big deal, and the back fan I can live with usually, but the side fan really needs one on there. I just ran the rear fan power wire across the case, and it crosses right in front of the fan, not to mention any other loose wires that might get caught in there, it can be a bad thing.
When you power on the Guardian 921 you’ll notice two things, it’s quiet and it’s very bright. There are lighting accents on the front of the case, the front and side 1200mm fans both have blue LEDs in them.
The front temperature monitor is a nice touch, but it only shows whole numbers, I personally like to see at least one number past the decimal point, especially where PC cooling is concerned. The monitor does seem accurate, I used my infrared thermometer to compare to and they were both very close, at least the whole numbers were the same.
The overall design is visually appealing but the bright lights might turn off a few people, they are very bright, personally I would be snipping the LEDs from the side fan.
One small note is that the front bezel is a high gloss black plastic while the rest of the case is an almost flat, eggshell finish, textured black painted metal, it kind of clashes, and that glossy finish picks up fingerprints easily. It’s a bit too flashy for me honestly.
The NZXT Guardian 921 PC case is a well made case that’s chock full of features most people can appreciate. The included temperature monitoring system can be useful is letting you know what’s going on with your system, and the tool-less bays make installation that much easier for you, even though there’s plenty of room in here to work.
There are a few downsides though to the Guardian 921, and they may be personal opinions, but I feel the lack of fan grills and the inability to show a more accurate temperature reading is something that needs to be addressed. It’s easy to throw some fan grills on there, and an upgrade to the monitor should be easy as well for NZXT to take care of.
The case looks nice, it has a sleek design and black fits most anywhere, but the lighting is a bit bright, and some might agree that it’s just too bright.
Overall though it’s a great case, for about $90 you can get a very well made case, that’s got a lot of features to it.
+Integrated temperature monitoring
+Three fans included
+Nice looking side window
+3.5" to 5.25" adapter included
-Motherboard tray not removable
-Might be a bit flashy for some
-LCD Only shows whole numbers
-No fan grills
-Only three 5.25" bays accessible from outside