Over a year ago, when NZXT announced its H440 chassis, we were a little blown away with its optical-drive lacking design. Although it was a bold move, the case was very well received by the public. The design was rather basic, however, leaving those with a more extravagant taste in the cold.
Today, NZXT announced the Noctus 450, a case inspired by the H440 but with an exterior design change along with a couple other incremental updates.
The Noctis 450's external design steps away from the almost Scandinavian minimalism of the H440 to a more angular aggressive appearance, although it hasn't lost all of the elegance. The side panels are now made of a different material too -- it's now thick painted plastic, which according to NZXT makes the surface much more resistant to scratches and fading.
The internal design of the case is actually identical to that of the H440, offering room for an ATX motherboard, thee dual-slot graphics cards up to 294 mm long with the hard drive cages installed (or 406.2 mm without), CPU coolers up to 180 mm tall, six 3.5" drives, and two 2.5" SSDs.
Space for cooling fans, surprise surprise, hasn't changed either, with three front 120 mm fans and a single rear 140 mm fan installed by default. Additionally, there is room for another three 120 mm fans up top as exhaust. All intake ports are filtered, and the front and top panel design has been opened up a bit.
Where things get interesting in terms of updates is the new fan hub. On the H440, the fan hub was simply a 12-V splitter, which made all the 3-pin fans connected to it run at full speed. Considering how useless that made the hub, along with the criticism it received, NZXT has updated it to a PWM hub. The new hub takes a single PWM signal from the CPU fan header on your motherboard and converts this PWM signal to a voltage signal to drive all your 3-pin fans.
You can also opt to connect it to your Kraken hub, which will place all of the case fans on a single PWM channel for easy control. Considering that it still sends out a voltage signal instead of a PWM signal, that's not an ideal solution, but it's heaps better than the non-regulated hub, and for a case at this price point, we doubt many users are willing to invest in all-PWM fans. Thus, NZXT struck a nice balance between features and cost here.
Front I/O is handled by two USB 2.0 ports, two USB 3.0 ports, the standard set of HD audio jacks, and a power switch with an LED-lit ring around it. The rear I/O also has a couple of LEDs to light it up for when you need to plug devices in when it's dark, and the case comes with underglow LED lighting for some extra bling.
From the get-go, NZXT is building two variants of the Noctis 450: a black version with red lighting, and a white version with black accents and blue lighting. Both of the cases are available for pre-order immediately through NZXT's Armory and will cost you $139.99.