ATX Case Final Thoughts
So, we’ve established that for fans of Razer peripherals and those users that like to have everything match it doesn’t get much better than the Razer Edition of the NZXT S340…but let’s try and add some improvements anyway. It’s fine as is, but I think it could be improved even more by:
- Making the Razer logo on the cable management bar LED backlit as well
- Adding a hex/texture pattern to certain surfaces to make the case match the Synapse driver aesthetic – front panel plastic insert or portions of the window itself, for instance.
- Chroma lighting – why settle for green? (No points for predicting this one ahead of time…seems only natural – I’m betting we’ll see a Chroma edition by next year’s holiday season.) NZXT has already experimented with HUE lighting controls anyway…
Small icons for the headphone/mic/usb ports are marked in gloss black instead of silver like the other S340s, making them next to impossible to read in low (or any) light – I feel NZXT/Razer missed an opportunity to add another splash of green, which would add some much-needed contrast to tell those headphone/mic jacks apart in the dark. I suppose most audio drivers will allow you to select the device you plug in anyway, perhaps this is a non-issue…but why mark the icons at all then?
Through it all, I couldn’t stop myself from thinking: why no regular green S340? I’m assuming it would cannibalize sales from any Razer version, but I have to believe (Razer’s marketing aside) there are people out there that like bright green that aren’t necessarily fans of any particular peripheral. Of course, it’s entirely possible green just isn’t a profitable enough color (purely subjectively, it seems to sit right behind red and blue with orange even further down the line – NZXT is one of the better manufacturers for providing color choice in their chassis, I’m sure they have the sales data to back up their decisions). For that matter, why not sell those light bars in different colors for the red/blue S340 owners as an add-on? Taking that a step further, just make a NZXT HUE edition that can change colors!
While I’m being quite critical, the fact remains that the NZXT S340 is a superb chassis for its original price point. I’m not convinced that the Razer treatment has added $30 of value to the S340, but that value is quite literally in the hands of the consumer – there just isn’t an option (besides the H440 and modding) for anything Razer-branded in the desktop chassis world, and for that I’m sure there are enough customers that find value in this NZXT S340: Designed By Razer case.
NZXT S340 Designed By Razer Conclusion
I can’t complain about the S340’s performance. The no-obstacle interior design makes airflow direct and effective, and the two bundled FN V2 120mm fans do an adequate job of keeping everything cool and quiet enough for a case with its origins as a budget chassis. A fan controller could help tune this balance even further, but this S340 is already reaching into H440 territory; it’s understandable why one would be omitted.
It certainly doesn’t look the part of a budget chassis though, and the Razer treatment just adds to the overall aesthetic (for those that like the Razer look, that is!). The relatively conservative use of bright green and extensive application of matte black means this case could easily match most systems; green just seems like the logical choice. It’s really quite impressive, when you stop and think about what NZXT has achieved with what amounts to a rectangular box – it’s simple, straightforward and elegant. The Noctis almost seems like a more natural fit for the Razer treatment due to the edgier styling, but the S340 was a great starting point for any design, really. Custom Razer branding is just another check in the box.
The Razer version doesn’t add any new construction features to the S340. Other than a new PCI slot bracket, this S340 feels exactly the same as the others, with perhaps slightly better matte paint (it could still use a boost in durability; it’s still somewhat easy to scratch like the other matte S340s). It’s perfectly adequate for (again) a case with its origin as a budget enclosure, but remember you’ll pay a premium for the Razer branding and LEDs.
That premium adds some functionality, even if it is only cosmetic in nature – none of the other S340 enclosures use any sort of LED lighting, and the type used underneath the Razer version is very well done. It’s evenly diffused and very bright. The Razer logo on the front panel is also very evenly lit, with no hint of dim sections around the edges – even turned off, a green background clearly communicates that this chassis is part of the “Designed By Razer” program. Any other functionality is due to the S340 itself – the open interior, secluded PSU shroud, easy cable routing and smart, simple design all make a re-appearance.
The S340 Designed By Razer edition was released in October of 2015 and could be found online for $99.99 (Amazon | NewEgg). For the second “Designed By Razer” chassis in existence, it’s a relative bargain over the $149.99 H440. I’m not sure if the value is there for the S340 though, since the main selling point of the original S340 is what you get for that $69.99 price. Change that part of the equation, and now the value story changes – of course, that depends on how much value the Razer branding has for the interested consumer. Sure, a few of these features you could add yourself (barring the green USB plugs and laser-cut logos), but you’ll spend at least $10-20 on LEDs and the time spent wiring it all up. The most frugal modders already equipped with spare parts might be able to do it for less…but then, that’s not really the target market for a chassis like this (those users likely already have a “Razer” case). Long story short: it shifts the value proposition of the S340, but if you want to match up your Razer peripherals as a set it’s a relative bargain.
Overall, if you’re a fan of Razer, it’s hard to go wrong with the excellent S340 as the canvas for the Designed By Razer treatment. It makes quite an impression – regardless of how you feel about any particular brand, the program itself has resulted in some great collaborative efforts between NZXT and Razer. I’d still like to see a standard S340 in green as an option, and it really feels like this S340 is just begging for the Chroma treatment…but no doubt there’s more than a few Razer fans excited for this case. For those dedicated fans, and with the NZXT S340 at its core, there’s no reason this S340 Razer Edition shouldn’t deserve a Benchmark Reviews Recommended Product award. As for me, I’ll hold out for a Chroma/HUE version…
+ Completes a Razer desktop setup
+ Easy to build system into
+ Very accommodating
+ Bright, even lighting
+ Adds a Razer touch to an excellent chassis
+ Doesn’t require Synapse to function
– Only available in green, not really a con, considering…
– Increasing the price $30 loses the budget appeal
Final Score: 8.50 out of 10.
Recommended: Benchmark Reviews Seal of Approval.
COMMENT QUESTION: NZXT S340 By Razer -Yay, or Nay?