Table of Contents
Nanoxia has supplied computer enthusiasts with fans since 2006. In 2012, they brought out their first case, the Deep Silence 1 and its “Air Chimney” design of improved ventilation for computer cases. They followed up with the Deep Silence 2, a mid-tower case. In 2013, Nanoxia introduced the Deep Silence 4, 5 and 6 cases. The Deep Silence 6 brings us an advanced Air Chimney, complete with fans. It is available in White, Anthracite, and Deep Black. As you can see, when Nanoxia says Deep Black, they mean deep, dark black. To stop noise, they made the walls of 1 mm thick steel and padded it with their Nanoxia dual layer of bitumen and acoustic foam. This damps vibrations and noise, but adds weight to the walls. So the Deep Silence 6 is a big, heavy case. Today we will examine the DS6, investigate its air cooling powers, and explore its accommodations for radiators.
Deep Silence 6 Features
In thoroughgoing fashion, Nanoxia describes the features of the DS6 in great detail here, under the Product Description tab. Abridged, here is what Nanoxia says about their “gigantic big tower:”
With the Deep Silence 6, we present a truly gigantic HPTX case of the next generation of silent PC cases.
Prominent features of our Deep Silence case series:
- Classic design – Made in Germany
- Particularly quiet thanks to its integrated sound dampening system and focused design
- Highly efficient, stealthy ventilation system
- Maximum functionality and adaptability
… The front of the case is equipped with two soundproof doors: Behind the upper cover the user will find four 5.25 inch bays, a 2-channel fan control (with sliders) … Magnets integrated in the doors ensure a fast closing and easy opening.
… As many as 4 x USB 3.0, 2 x USB 2.0, Mic, and Audio connectors are available. The panel can easily be embedded in the cover if the connectors are not needed. The cover also mounts the unique “Active Air Chimney” for effective, active case ventilation. Again, this is easily retractable. …
… As with all the Deep Silence cases, the side panels and top cover are fitted with specially designed, noise reducing insulation materials to minimize and absorb any noises. … The solid front doors use sound absorbing materials …
The hard disk drives of the Deep Silence 6 are mounted using rubber suspension … The power supply rests on rubber mounts, with a suspension frame available on the back. The case stands on rubber suspended feet …
Also responsible for the quietness of the case are the five pre-installed Nanoxia fans of the brand new “Deep Silence” series … The Deep Silence 6 case is fitted with a 2-channel fan control for up to 8 fans …
Intelligent ventilation system
… At 14.4 dB(a), the Nanoxia Deep Silence 140 – 1100 fans generate an air flow of about 68.5 CFM and a static air pressure of 1.08 mm H²O…
You can mount a total of three 120 or 140 mm fans under the top cover and operate them with the Active Air Chimney.
In order to optimize the cooling of the graphics card, two additional 120 or 140 mm fans can be mounted in the left side panel. At the bottom of the case, either one 140 mm or two 120 mm fans can be accommodated. All air intake openings of the case equipped with effective dust filters.
A unique feature of the Deep Silence 6 is the special designed Mounting Bracket … The Mounting Bracket is perfectly suited to mount a 120/140 mm or 240/280 mm radiator and equip it with up to four fans.
… The top cover offers special lateral attachment points which provide maximum compatibility, especially when using very thick radiators. Those can be used to install 120/140/240/280 and 360 mm radiators …
The mounting bracket behind the HDD-cage allows the internal assembly of a water cooling system (120/140 or 240/280 mm radiator) and up to four fans between HDD cage and motherboard – without colliding with the motherboard or power supply …
A special feature of the case is the mounts for the front fans. Behind the lower door, 2 dust filter equipped holding frames can be found, each receiving one of the 140 mm fan. A simple pressure on the holding frame (it works using the push-pin principle) releases the anchoring, the flap can be opened, and dust filter and fan can be removed and cleaned very easily …
As can be expected, the optical drives can be mounted without requiring tools. Two 5.25 inch to 3.5 inch adaptor is included to permit for example the installation of a card reader. If you want, you can use those to mount additional hard disk drives.
The chassis is designed for a total of up to thirteen 2.5 inch or 3.5 inch hard disk drives in the Deep Silence 6. By using the 5.25 ” to 3.5 ” adapter, you can even install a total of 15 HDD …
A second pair of mounting holes is available to mount the hard disks in the carriages with the connectors pointing to the front, which can be useful, if frequent changes of the hard drives are on the agenda …
Whew! And that is the abridged version! Some the product details above are included in the specs, so they were deleted.
|Model||Deep Silence 6|
|EAN Dark Black||4260285296604|
|Case Type||Big Tower|
|Form Factor||HPTX, E-ATX, XL-ATX, ATX, Micro-ATX, Mini-ITX|
|5.25 inch drive bay external||4 x|
|3.5 inch drive bay external||2 x (optional)|
|2.5/3.5 inch drive bay internal||13 x|
|Case Fan (Front)||2 x 140 mm (1,100 rpm)|
|Case Fan (Rear)||1 x 140 mm (1,100 rpm)|
|Case Fan (Top)||max. 3 x 120/140 mm, 2 x 140 mm included (1,400 rpm)|
|Case Fan (Bottom)||optional 2 x 120 / 1 x 140 mm|
|Case Fan (Left Sidepanel)||optional 2 x 120/140 mm|
|Height (Approx.)||644 mm (25 inches)|
|Width (Approx.)||250 mm (10 inches)|
|Depth (Approx.)||655 mm (26 inches)|
|Weight (Approx.)||20,8 kg (46 lbs)|
|Maximum installation height of CPU coolers||200 mm|
|Maximum VGA Card Length||400 (370) mm|
For a very detailed look at the Deep Silence 6, see their online manual, here. The manual is also a step-by-step guidebook on how to use this case. With this, Nanoxia has raised the bar on manuals of all kinds. Even if you have no interest in this “gigantic Big Tower,” you should read this to see how a world-class manual is made.
The DS6 was shipped in a large cardboard carton that fitted snugly over the retail box. The retail box, illustrated below, has pictures of the case on the front, with features of the case on the back.
But wait! What looked like forklift damage on the outer carton was transmitted to the inner box, shown below. Inside the box, the case was protected by Styrofoam end caps and a plastic bag. The end cap on the opposite corner from the box damage showed that it “took one for the team.” Did it survive?
In the right picture is the corner where the box was damaged. On the top left of the case’s rear is where the cap was split. There is no damage, no dimples; nothing but a pristine case. The Air Chimneys are elevated and intact. The covered side panel for fans is intact. Sweet. We now have graphic proof that the packaging protected this big, heavy case… exactly as it was designed to do.
Moving to the front of the case, the plastic fascia is covered by a stick-on plastic layer for further protection. The result is that the clean look is well-preserved.
The Grand Tour
The Deep Silence 6, like all of the Deep Silence series, is remarkable for its clean lines. Slide the little tab forward, and up come the Air Chimney covers.
A front view shows us a black rectangular object, very like the black monolith that appeared and reappeared in 2001, A Space Odyssey. However, it is not quite a monolith: we can see a horizontal stripe, less black than its surroundings.
It turns out that there are two doors on the front. Opening them reveals the fan controls, 5.25” bay covers, and two 140 mm intake fans. The opened doors reveal they are lined with foam – heavy foam.
A closeup shows the sliders that control the fans and the reset buttons. Inside the case, the output lines from the two sliders are marked A1 through A4 from the top slider, with B1 through B4 from the bottom slider.
The slot cover is a mesh, so that if the top cavity behind the door were vented the way the bottom is, you could put an intake fan in the top three slots to feed a heatsink. On the slot cover, there is a latch that makes it easy to remove and insert a 5.25” device.
Behind the lower foam-backed door are the two 140 mm front intake fans. Press on those indentations on the left, and the doors spring open. You can then slide out the filters to clean them. Press the doors again and they click shut. Neat.
Those fans are held by clips extending from the front doors. That makes them easy to remove. You can also slide out the front filters if you want to wash them. They are high quality filters.
Side views, left and right. Note the vents for the front fans. The darker panel on the left side can be removed from inside to let you mount two 140 mm fans that will blow on your graphics cards.
Carefully positioning my camera, I got a shot of light peeking through the front vents. This is Nanoxia’s way of getting air to the front fans while blocking noise. Will it work? Stay tuned.
The first picture below shows the rear of the case. On the top are four grommets for an externally mounted radiator’s hoses to pass through. The grill below them hides a 140 mm fan. Seeing a 140 mm exhaust fan is a good thing, because that generally means you can install a larger than normal heatsink tower, such as a Thermalright Silver Arrow and its progeny. Below that are ten (10) expansion slots. The PSU gets installed at the bottom of the case. Normally, a bottom-mounted PSU would help stabilize a case, but here it is not going to contribute much to the overall mass.
The next two pictures show the filter on and off the bottom of the DSD6. The filter pulls out to the rear. That is an unfortunate design choice. When you are done building a system in this case you will not want to move it to get at that filter. The completed system will be way too heavy. It would have been better to draw the whole thing out the front.
The second picture shows that with the filter removed there is grilled space for the PSU intake fan and either two 120 mm fans or a single 140 mm bottom fan. Unlike the front fans, all of these will be behind grills. True, the grills are not very restrictive, but they are there.
Finally, the last picture shows the top from above, with both the Air Chimneys and the IO panel raised.
A view of the top from the front of the DS6, gives you a view through the raised Air Chimneys. When the chimney tops rise, a switch turns on the top fans.
The picture on the right shows the IO panel raised. If your motherboard will support them, this case has four USB3 and two USB2 ports. You might dismiss USB2 ports, but the bandwidth needed for wireless keyboards and mice is low, so you can plug your transceivers into USB2 ports and leave the USB3 ports free for devices that need speed.
Inside the Deep Silence 6
Lifting off the left panel tells you that it is quite heavy. In fact, the expanse of 1 mm steel combined with the weight of the acoustic insulation (bitumen is not light) weighs a lot: about nine pounds (4.1 kg) on the left and 8 lbs. (3.6 kg) on the right. That 17 lbs. (7.7 kg) significantly contributes to the mass of this case. In fact, you would do well to remove both sides whenever you move the case and its contents. The case alone drops from 46 lbs. to under 30.
The left picture is a close-up of the bitumen layer with its foam topping. The right picture shows the whole left panel. You can see the space for two 140 mm fans. It is filtered so you can use it for intake fans. You can also get an impression of how the open hinge fits to the front of the DS6. Because the panel is so heavy, its bottom edge fits onto a sill in the case. To close a side panel, you fit the front edge at a small angle to the front of the case, resting the panel on the sill. Then you press it shut.
Looking inside the main cavity, we will start with the PSU mounting hole and work clockwise. We can see that the ten expansion slot covers are fastened with thumbscrews. I don’t know about you, but I find it difficult to use thumbscrews in such confined spaces. And when you try to use a screwdriver with a magnetized tip, the screws are too heavy and usually fall off. Thumbscrews are more of an annoyance than a help here.
Next up is the 140 mm exhaust fan. On the top you can see the cables of the two top exhaust fans hanging down. In the right upper corner we find four tool-free 5.25” device grippers. Below that are the cages for ten 3.5” drives, fronted by the two 140 mm intake fans. On the downwind side of the cage is the bracket that allows you to mount pull fans for your hard drives, or fans and a radiator. Bottom center is a cage for three more 3.5” drives. The cage is movable and removable, as we shall see. Next are 15 pass-through grommets. And in the upper center are two CPU windows in the motherboard tray, showing that Nanoxia has readied the DS6 for dual CPU systems.
Behind the motherboard tray you can clearly see the 15 pass-through grommets. You have already seen the ten HD slots, but note that the tool-free 5.25” grippers are on this side, too. Nanoxia did not skimp here; you have grippers on both sides. At the top, the power cables from the two fans installed on top run to the fan hub. In the upper left-center we see that fan hub.
A close-up of the fan hub requires a little explanation. The J2 power wires connect to the B2 line from the lower front sliding fan control. The J1 switch wires go to the switch on top. The terminals on the right go to the two installed top fans, with provision for a third fan. In essence, voltage control from the lower front slider goes here. The top switch interrupts the power when the chimneys are closed, and the hub distributes the power to up to three top fans. Since there are already a lot of wires running around the backside, the hub tends to keep it cleaned up by reducing the clutter a bit.
Here is the 3.5” adapter for the 5.25” bay. It is grabbed easily by the tool-free 5.25” grippers and sports holes for a 2.5” drive in addition to 3.5” devices.
Back in the motherboard cavity, looking down reveals the rubber nubs to reduce vibrations from the PSU, the case wiring, and the three-bay supplemental HD cage. The floor of the DS6 has open grill work for the PSU and two fans. We can see a bit more of the bracket. On the far left there is a foam PSU gasket. We will take a closer look at that later.
That bracket was designed to have flexible uses. We will see more of it when we start building a system in the DS6, but for now we will show it in place. One of the HD sleds has been run out a little to show how it fits in its cage. Note that the outer parts of the case are washed out in this picture, just to see the bracket. Yes, the inside of this case is deep black.
The case wiring is fairly straightforward. We could quibble about including the AC’97 audio plug, but I have found that these make nice grips to pull the HD Audio plug from the motherboard. The two dual USB3 plugs are labeled 1 and 2. The Molex terminal marked 3 leads to the fan controllers in the front of the case. The numbers were added to the photographs; they are not on the actual plugs.
The accessories for this case came in a nice box with the screws in plainly labeled resealable bags. Below we can see the front 3.5” adapter to host card readers and such. Below it are rubber plugs to replace the grommets in the rear. There is an ATX24 extension cable, an EPS12V 4+4 extension cable and a few zip-ties.
For the most part, we’ll be working without the supplemental three bay HDD Cage. Here is how to remove or reposition it. Nanoxia shows six positions for this on page 11 of the manual.
Fit Testing and System Building in the DS6
Putting a system in any case involves planning. You decide what you want to do with your computer, and how much you want to spend for it. Then you decide on CPU, RAM, etc. You may decide on water or air cooling. When you have that all figured out, you finally decide on which case best fits your needs. One value of case reviews is to help you decide whether a case will hold all the gear you want to put in it.
Usually a reviewer builds a system in the case being reviewed, and you make your decisions based on the reviewer’s experiences. In this section however, we will examine how various components and indeed various systems fit into the Deep Silence 6. Only then will we install the test system.
We begin by turning to fans that live under the top of the case. The first picture shows the top and rear exhaust 140 mm fans that come stock with the DS6. As you can see, there is significant room at the top for wider fans. It is clear there is also enough room for radiators that have 140 mm fans. One thing we have to ask, though: with the top covered, why is there a grill up here? Why not leave it open under the plastic?
The next pic shows us the underside of the top, padded with a noise-deadening lining. The side-to-side bracing adds stability to the top cover. And to the right we see lots of cables. The flat ones lead to the IO panel. The red arrow points to the switch that turns on the top fans when the air chimneys are opened.
The first picture shows the stock 140 mm fans right-left centered at the top of the DS6. Unlike some cases, they cannot be installed off-center. Note that the positions for 120 mm fans are also right-left centered.
The surprise comes when you remove these fans. Nanoxia has gone to the expense of installing their 140 mm babies with fan gaskets. Have you priced a fan gasket? Now, price a 140 mm fan gasket. And think of the touch labor. If you have ever installed a fan gasket, you know that it is a touchy, sometimes frustrating business. Nanoxia really had to want a silent case to install these fans with gaskets.
Go back to the left picture and look carefully, and you will see the fan gaskets. Did you miss them the first time you looked? Don’t feel bad: you might never notice they were there unless you had reason to remove a fan.
Now we will remove those two fans, unclip one from the front, and line the three of them up on the top of the case. This illustrates that there is room for three 140 mm fans, and some extra space besides. Will your 540 mm radiator fit under here?
Finally, while we’re sizing the top, let’s look at even larger fans. Here is a pair of 200 mm fans. The case does not provide for 200 mm screw holes, but 180 mm screw holes work just fine. This is a very flexible case for air cooling. Water cooling? Stay tuned.
If you like putting fans in the bottom of a case, the DS6 provides opportunity for that. The pictures below show a single 140 mm fan frame and a pair of 120 mm fan frames.
You can install a 120 mm fan on the left when the secondary HD cage is mounted on the right. Otherwise, if you want a 140 mm bottom fan you must remove the secondary HD cage. If you want to put in two bottom fans, you must remove the secondary HD cage and the bracket that normally fits on the side of the main HD cage.
The Mounting Bracket can hold up to two 120 mm or 140 mm fans. This will allow you to fit up to a 280 mm radiator on the bracket. The pictures below show a 240 mm rad on the bracket with 120×25 mm fans inside the bracket.
The only real difficulty you might find is that as shipped, the bracket is held on by thumbscrews. There is not really enough room to get your fingers between the bracket and the case bottom, and the thumbscrews are too heavy to stay on the tip of a magnetized screwdriver. Instead, use those thumbscrews for your PSU, and attach the mounting brackets with the “PSU screws” from the accessory bag. You will need a magnetized screwdriver for the task, but you should have one of those anyway.
In the Deep Silence 6, hard drives and SSD’s are screwed onto sleds. You slide the completed units into the HD cages wherever you like. The picture below shows a mounted SSD, a mounted hard drive and an empty sled. Although there are mounting cushions for 3.5” drives, if you put a 2.5” spinning-disk HD on a sled, it will not be cushioned. The mounting screws for 2.5”” drives are short and make no allowances for cushioning.
To dampen vibrations from the PSU, the DS6 has two features. We have already seen the rubber-tipped bottom supports. The pictures below show a foam gasket where the PSU meets the back of the case.
The Deep Silence users manual tells us that we can mount a number of motherboards in this case: Mini-ITX, mATX, ATX, XL-ATX, E-ATX, and HPTX. Below we can see an ATX motherboard mounted, with enough standoffs left over to mount one of the larger motherboards.
The DS6 has 30 mm clearance behind the motherboard tray. This is enough room for cable and plugs. In the motherboard chamber you have 200 mm from the motherboard to the side panel.
Here is a graphic display of just how much space there is, that is a full tower heatsink you see. That means you will have no trouble putting in an extra-tall heatsink. The arrows are there to mark the edge of the case and the top of the heatsink, a parallax view would otherwise leave you no clue.
The second picture shows you how much room there is between the top of the motherboard and the fans at the ceiling of the case. Note the double cable coming from the EPS12V plug. Unlike other cases where you might struggle to get an EPS12V plug to the motherboard, in the DS6 it simply goes through a top grommet. Zero struggle.
Looking at the back of the system we just built, this view from behind the motherboard shows a number of interesting features. The cables cascading down from the upper left are the USB and other IO cables, all bundled up and still plenty of length left over. Across the top, cables run from the fan hub to the upper exhaust fans. The main CPU window shows plenty of margin around this CPU and the case can accommodate a slightly different placement of the CPU. There is a lot going on back here, but the DS6 makes room for all of it.
We will now pull out the air-cooling and see how radiators fit. Below we can see two 240 mm radiators fitted with 120×38 mm fans. There is plenty of room for both. In the first picture we can see the brass standoff marking where a larger motherboard would fit. The lower radiator clears that, even with 38 mm pull fans. If you look carefully, you can see a pair of 120×25 mm push fans located inside the mounting bracket. So, now we know we can mount an extra-thick radiator with push-pull fans and still have plenty of room.
The second picture shows a closer view of the top radiator. There is 2 cm between the fans and the edge of the motherboard, which would give us room to mount push-pull fans on a standard radiator, or 38 mm fans on an extra-thick radiator.
To assess the cooling power of the Deep Silence, I recorded the temperature using a fanless NH-D14 for a heatsink. Sound measurements were taken then, to record how much noise the DS6 makes all by itself while the case fans were running at low and high. This is how I test all cases for these reviews.
The setup has changed a little, however. The new setup uses an mATX board. Such a small board looks lost in this case, but it is small enough to fit in cases like the upcoming Deep Silence 4. We will be able to compare case cooling on a consistent basis by using the same motherboard.
|CPU||Intel i7 860 HT enabled, LLC enabled; ran at 2.93 GHz|
|Motherboard||Gigabyte GA-P55M-UD2; supplied 1.1125 Volts to the CPU|
|RAM||4 x 2 GB G.Skill low profile DDR3-1600 at 10x (1333 MHz)|
|Graphics Card||PowerColor AX3450 Radeon HD 3450 (fanless)|
|Solid State Drive||Kingston V+ 100 64 GB|
|Hard Drive||Toshiba DT01ACA100 1TB 7200RPM SATA3|
|Power Supply||SeaSonic X650 (fan mostly doesn’t run) 650 Watts|
|Heatsink||NH-D14, fanless and with NF-P14 + NF-F12|
|Stress Software||OCCT 3.10; logs temperature readings|
|SSD Software||CPUID HWMonitor; keeps track of max temperature readings|
|Tenma 72-942 Sound Pressure Level Meter|
|Digital TEMPer USB Thermometer with dedicated logging software|
Core temperatures were obtained by running the system for an hour. The temps rose for some 20 minutes until they leveled off. CPU and GPU core temps were recorded and averaged for the last half-hour of each test run. The sound was measured at an actual distance of 1 meter in front of the case. This is the industry standard for noise, so we will use it.
Looking at the test setup, we can see how clean it all is. Airflow is essentially unobstructed.
With all the acoustic dampening Nanoxia put in this case, we need to see how well it all worked. Accordingly, the NH-D14 was decked out with two fans. Noise was recorded using the SPL meter at 10 cm from the side panel, and again with the side panel taken off.
Nanoxia supplied the Deep Silence case reviewed today. Enermax supplied the 200 mm fans. Cooler Master supplied the Eisberg AIO and the Jetflo fans. Noctua supplied the NF-F12.
Results of Testing
A basement may seem to sound silent as a tomb. But still there is around 30-31 dB of noise we can’t hear, but the SPL can measure. Using the same SPL meter, we can measure the noise a case makes. If the case makes 31 dBA of noise and the ambient makes 31 dBA, the case is essentially silent. If it makes 33-34 DBA, you can just hear it.
Below we see the net temps produced inside the Deep Silence 6. With the case fans set to Low, not enough air passed through the fan-less NH-D14 to keep the cores cool. When the core temps hit 86° C, the test stopped. With the fan controllers at high, the passive system – despite the hugeness of this case – kept the cores cool. When the Air Chimneys were lifted, they got cooler still. And the whole thing stayed quiet.
The second chart shows the effect of various fan speeds on drives at the front of the case.
Now, we know that you would not need to buy a padded case to run a passive system in it. So, I measured the noise a quiet heatsink makes with the side panel on and off to see how well the DS6 attenuates noise. With the side panel on, the SPL meter measured 37 dBA 10 cm from the side. That’s like putting your ear up to a door to hear a whisper. With the side panel off, the SPL meter register 41 dBA. Still not noisy, but 4 dB louder. Clearly, the panel did its job.
The Deep Silence 6 is a premium case. Handsome, capacious and flexible. It is so easy to work in that I did not need to take notes; except that the tilt-out side panels make it really easy to get into it, make adjustments, and get out quickly.
With ten expansion slots and generous acreage on the motherboard tray, you can install very large motherboards, even up to the dual-CPU HPTX. For single-CPU motherboards, the CPU window is just right. The Deep Silence noise dampening lets you sit next to it while your system labors away. And though it doesn’t go nuts about it, the DS6 can also accommodate lots of water cooling.
Throughout the case, you find nice touches, like 15 internal grommets, sliding independent fan controllers, a fan hub, and pairs of tool-free grippers for each 5.25” slot – touches that remind you that this is a premium case. The hideaway IO panel and the drop-down air chimneys can make this case oh so demure as it sits in its elegant blackness.
That said, no case is perfect. The bottom filter, for example, slides out the back of the case. Now, really! Once you have built a system in this case, it will weigh upwards of 60 pounds (27 kg). More, if you cool with water. Who will be moving such a beast to get at a bottom filter? There are some unnecessary top and bottom grills, but they are not unduly restrictive. Other than that, no quibbles.
Overall, it’s a great case. For $230 (at Newegg or Amazon) it’s a really good price, too.
And here is a bonus – a family picture of all the Nanoxia Deep Silence cases, starting with the DS1 on the left, moving to the DS2, finding the tiny DS4 in the middle, then the DS5 and finally the DS6, which we reviewed today:
Deep Silence 6 Pros
- Clean, elegant lines
- 140 mm fans and fan spaces throughout
- Lots of room to work in
- Perfect for radiators and up to 13 hard drives
- Really easy to work in with lots of small conveniences
- Side windows are coming
- World class users manual – it’s fun to look up and read even if you don’t “need” the case
Deep Silence 6 Cons
- This is a big, heavy case – know what you are getting into
- Long bottom filter slides out the back, making it hard to use
Click the stamp for an explanation of what it means.
-Ed Hume (ehume)