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Reviewed by: Trevor Flynn [03.12.04]
Manufactured by: NZXT


The Inside Scoop

Opening things up and peering inside we see both some good and bad. First up the good. The Guardians tool less drive rail retention mechanism is nothing short of genius. While typically you have to attach individual drive rails to each device before installation, here the rails are built right right into the drive bays themselves.

For 5.25'' device you simply match the screw hole of the drive with the drive bay holder, making sure it's lined up where you want it, and then locking it in place by first pushing drive rail towards the front of the case then locking it into place by pushing the little thumb button downward. I had concerns at first that this method might not work as effectively with auxillary drive bay devices, however I was able to install a Vantec Nexus with absolutely no problems.

The rear fan cage comes equiped with a single black silent 80mm fan and has room for one more. The cage itself is not completely tool less as there are two screws that have to be tackled before removal.

If you look closely at the rear fan cage you can see that ther grill/fins are angled downwards.

This is nice as it ensures that no matter whether you have your rear fans set up as intake or outtake that they will be influancing the area directly above your CPU.

In keeping with a tool less desing, the PCI slots use plastic retention clips. These are not the cheap clips you see on some cases and were able to work with a full sized Nvidia card, however I know that some people absolutely loathe these things. If you are one of those people don't fear, there are still screw retention holes there to act as a backup.

Now for the bad. Fist off, the front intake fan bay (there is only one) is an absolute pain to get at. You have to slide the fan in through the hard drive cage and then stuff your hand in there as well in order to hold it steady while you attach screw from the other side.

Once installed the fan is a tight fit against any hard drives that get installed, although admitedly when the front bezel is installed there isnt' really much room for air to be drawn in anyway so you're probably better off using the fan attached to the side windowed panel as a fresh air intake.

The other only major flaw of the Guardian is it's lack of a removable motherboard tray. For those who install once and never worry about their hardware again this isn't a big deal. For those of us with serious hardware addiction issues though it can be a major annoyance as swapping motherboards becomes a major process. 

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