When NZXT announced they were releasing World of Warcraft themed PC cases, I was immediately intrigued. At the time I was in the market for a new case for my main gaming/work PC and have experience using the NZXT 510 before since it’s the case that houses my daughter’s gaming rig. In the end, though, the NZXT 510 Alliance case is really cool – but does come with some drawbacks if you’re looking for a more robust overall package.
But first, some specs:
- Dimensions: W: 210mm H: 435mm D: 428mm (without feet), W: 210mm H: 460mm D: 428mm (with feet)
- Material(s): SGCC Steel, Tempered Glass
- Weight: 6.6 kg
- Motherboard Support: Mini-ITX, MicroATX, and ATX
- Front I/O Ports:
- 1x USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-A
- 1x Headset audio Jack Front
- I/O internal header:
- 1x USB 3.1 Gen 2 Internal Header
- 1x USB 3.1 Gen 1 Internal Header
- 1x HD Audio Header
- Filters: All Air Intakes
- Drive Bays: 2.5”: 2+1, 3.5”: 2+1
- Expansion Slots: 7
- Radiator Support:
- Front: 2x 140 or 2x 120mm with Pull
- Rear: 1x 120mm
- Fan Support:
- Front: 2 x 120/ 2 x 140mm
- Top: 1x 120mm/ 1x 140mm (1 Aer F120 Case Version included)
- Rear: 1x 120mm (1 Aer F120 Case Version included)
- Fan Specs: Aer F120 (Case Version)
- Speed: 1200 ± 200 RPM
- Airflow: 50.42 CFM
- Noise: 28 dBA
- Bearing: Rifle Bearing
- Clearance: Cable Management: 19-23mm
- GPU Clearance: Up to 381mm w/o front watercooler installed, up to 325mm with front watercooler installed
- CPU Cooler: Up to 165mm
- Front Radiator: 60mm
- Rear Radiator: 60mm
- Reservoir & Pump: Up to 180mm (Along cable bar), Up to 86mm (Along bottom panel)
- Included Accessories: Installation screws, 10x Cable ties, 1x Headset Audio Jack splitter (4 pole to 3 pole)
- Warranty: 2 Years
- Price: $199.99 via Official Website (Expected to ship Jan 2020)
At First Glance
The Alliance artwork on the side of the case is eye-catching. The case does come either decked out for the Alliance or the Horde, so if you grab one you can choose the side which you’ve supported the most through your Warcraft lifetime. It’s also not just the artwork on all sides of the case meant to catch your eye – the front panel also has an RGB emblem of the side you choose – so in my case it’s a blue LED of the Alliance Lion.
In every other respect, though, this is a standard case – one that unfortunately is too small for my main rig to fit since I run two 240mm radiators to cool my CPU and GPU. However, I did need a new case for my media center PC downstairs (and also our VR rig when company is over), and thankfully the NZXT 510 Alliance was perfect.
I especially like the cable management channels in the back of the case – something I’m terrible at doing without the simplest of guidance. The bottom of the case is massive as well, giving plenty of room for your power supply, whether you are using a modular or standard PSU. The case also sports multiple drive bays for your storage either in the bottom area with the PSU or attached to the back panel.
The two fans included with the case are 120mm and while they do provide some great airflow through the case, I feel like they are lacking compared to the overall package. It seems like a lost opportunity to include non-RGB fans in what is considered to be a collector’s item. Indeed, they needn’t even be full RGB – blue fans would have looked absolutely striking and matched the Alliance motif.
Additionally, and this might just be me nitpicking here, but the instructions manual with the case isn’t all that informative either. The front panel supports up to two 120/140mm fans – however at first glance there isn’t a real way to get them situated on the case. You actually need to detatch the inside panel and literally pull it out of the case to screw in the fans – but this isn’t really made clear in the instruction manual. However, once I figured it out getting the fans situated was a breeze, but I’m pretty sure I wasted 10-15 minutes just trying to get a handle on how that part of the case worked.
Is It Worthy Of The Alliance (Or Horde)?
The selling point of this version of the case is the Alliance or Horde artwork. Each case is numbered with a placard inside of the case showing your case’s position in the production. The decals cover the case except for the tempered glass side panel, and I find myself as I walk past the PC each time just stopping and looking at it over and over. It’s a very pretty case – and the RGB at the front of the case definitely pops.
But in all other respects, it’s a pretty nondescript case. It’s a shame NZXT used the 510 as the model for this collector’s item instead of the more advanced 510i or the 510 Elite. The lack of integrated lighting and fan control using NZXT’s own suite of software with the Alliance case is pretty disappointing.
Essentially, the 510 Alliance case is $130 more than the basic 510 case (which sells on the official website for $69.99) – and while it is eye catching and looks great on display, I can’t help but wonder if the package would be more impressive if it came with features standard on many cases nowadays – especially at the $199 price point. The inclusion of the USB Type C in the front I/O and the Alliance logo emblazoned on the front in RGB is rather nice, but it still feels lacking compared to the features of NZXT's other 510 cases.
The lack of built in RGB strips present in the 510i (which is $30 more than the standard 510), as well as the basic case fans when everything else about the collector’s case screams premium is baffling. Again, it wouldn’t even need to be a fully customizable strip – keep it the color of the Alliance or Horde depending on the case itself to add to the atmosphere of the case itself.
This might be nitpicking, but when you can buy a case, such as the Razer Lian Li 011 Dynamic that comes replete with RGB that works seamless with Chroma for less money than the NZXT 510 Alliance – the latter of which while it looks nice doesn’t have any of these features, nor does it integrate naturally with the NZXT CAM software, it makes me question the overall value.
This isn’t to say that the 510 Alliance is a bad case – I really think it’s a good case in the end. I use the standard 510 already and will continue to use the Alliance 510 in my media rig. Temperatures and air flow are fantastic within the case itself and building in the case, other than the front panel, was a breeze. I actually find it easier to build in smaller cases than the larger ones, like the aforementioned O11. And for most gaming rigs out there, this is the perfect size.
There was also plenty of clearance for my Cooler Master 212 EVO CPU cooler, and the front panel of the case would have been perfect for even up to a 280mm radiator for liquid cooled devices. And thanks to the channeled cable management, this is actually the cleanest build I've ever done - even compared to my Ryzen set up in my standard 510 case. The addition of the USB-C connection on the top-I/O has proven actually more convenient than I first thought as I'm able to connect my Pixel 3XL and some external storage easier than my other PCs as a result.
The NZXT 510 Alliance case is definitely interesting in terms of the value proposition. On one hand you’re getting a collector’s case that looks fantastic and pays homage to one of the factions of World of Warcraft, effectively MMORPG royalty. On the other hand, though, I can’t help but feel the case cuts corners in terms of what the consumer gets as part of the overall package compared to other cases at its price. For $199.99, the 510 Alliance isn’t a small chunk of change, and while the artwork and the front panel LED RGB is great to look at and provides some much needed character to what could otherwise be another bog-standard case, I can’t help but feel that the overall package would feel more worth that premium price in a slightly more advanced case, such as NZXT’s 510i.
If you’re a massive World of Warcraft fan in the market for a quality case to show off your Alliance or Horde colors, the 510 Alliance (or Horde) case isn’t a bad option. The (mostly) ease of use when building the rig makes it one of the more accessible cases on the market for consumers getting into PC building, and the Alliance or Horde logo really pops when lit up, making the case stand out in any room its in. While I wish it had some of the features of its more advanced cousins, it’s not a bad case overall and worth a look if you’re looking for a World of Warcraft themed case to show off your WoW pride while you game.
The product described in this review was provided by the manufacturer for evaluation purposes.