NZXT H2 Silent Mid-Sized Tower
aka NZXT CS-NT-H2-B or H2-001-BK
Conclusion: Seems great!
NZXT H2 Silent Mid-Sized Tower
This is a very texty review, sorry. I need to get into practice, so this is more about features and comments than something meant for traditional review-entertainment.
Overall impression ∞
It has a little room for improvement, but I like it.
Unfortunately, I can't give a proper review because I cannot compare it to its contemporary peers. I'm replacing an old case which can't compete in most areas.
A mixed design which is mostly-plain, but fancier from all the commonly-viewed angles. It looks good.
Mixed plastic and metal isn't that great, but the metal is a very impressive matte finish which I love.
The back has a nice place to pick it up, but there is no equivalent at the top, sides or front. I have to rock the case back and pick it up from the bottom, which is awkward. I'm not even comfortable doing that.
Stuff at the top of the case means it cannot be rested on its head.
The power and reset switched at the top beg for an accidental press. The general design of the top of the case is very useful, but generally prevents it from being used as a surface for putting stuff.
The hard drive mounting system is absolutely terrible. The only advantage is its low cost. If one can struggle with them, or just use screws, then it's fine. The drives are so closely packed that I could only comfortably fit four in the case. The fans being right there is a big help, as traditional hard drives get very fucking hot. I really wouldn't want to have eight drives in there.
This case is certainly not "silent", nor is it quieter than an original Antec Sonata. One would need special considerations for CPU cooling, perhaps video card cooling, and use SSDs instead of traditional hard drives. Those things do more than this or any case ever could. The three included fans are spectacular, and very quiet. The fans alone are worth some significant money.
This case was refurbished, which explains the two things which were damaged. It was quiet inexpensive, although shipping was horrible from my vendor. With all the extras this case has, I'm pleased with the value I got.
The top dock isn't rated for hot swapping. A big warning sticker is underneath its lid which says to power off the system. I recall that I was once able to slap in a hard drive when the system was on, but now I cannot use it even if I power down before inserting a hard drive. The damned thing just doesn't work.
The front door reproduces an odd set of warning/error messages at my console when I close it. I poked around and it's the bottom-right or bottom-middle being hit which causes this. I have no clue what's going on but it seems I have to pull this case open to figure out what the fuck is going on with it.
All the handy stuff was put into the top, at the front of the case. This is so that the door can stay closed.
Because of the handy stuff, and a couple of lids, this case cannot be rested top-down.
Inside the case there is a spot at the top for either an exhaust fan, or a radiator/fan combo for water cooling.
- I'm uncertain of the side. Perhaps 120mm only.
- It is covered by a plastic cover which was made to blend in reasonably well with the matte metal. It is ribbed though. It is held in place by reasonably-secure magnetic attachments. It's too fancy for my liking, and I'd rather have screws attaching it.
- Maybe the magnetic attachments are so that one can clip it to the outside of the case or some such. I'd hate to scratch the case though.
SATA docking station
- It has a simple plastic clip-on cover. It's not magnetic like the fan cover.
- Its wiring is already done right, and is routed into the case ready to be attached to the motherboard.
- It feels very wrong to use. Drop a hard drive in, and push it to the rear to connect and power it on. I'd be more comfortable with a lever and power switch. I also don't like having to pry the hard drive out and have it disconnect and power off. This to me is bad.
- Note that technically every SATA drive is hot swappable.
A little doodad-area nearest the front of the case:
- Power button.
- Headphone jack.
- I only have headphones to test, but they worked as expected when plugging in the front audio connector block.
1x USB 3.0 and 3x USB 2.0 ports.
- Their wiring is already done right, and is routed into the case ready to be attached to the motherboard.
- My third USB port was damaged. Maybe I can repair it, but I don't care right now. Plugging its connector into the motherboard had my system fail to boot. As there is no speaker, I had to fool around until I learn what the problem was.
A 30W 3-step fan control switch.
- 40% / 70% / 100%
- This just magically worked for me. I've never worked with fan speed controls before, so it took some fiddling to get the wiring to work properly. I'm still not sure how I managed.
A reset button.
- Mine was damaged, and closing the case would reset my machine. Fun. I unplugged it.
- This is probably related to some other odd issue I'm having with closing the door.
It appears possible to rest this case front-down, but I wouldn't. The shiny surface seems prone to scratching. It's plastic so it's not strong.
The front door:
- It looks fairly good. Not great though.
- It's shiny plastic, which I don't particularly like.
- The main area is inset, and there is also a silver border inset from its edge.
- It's not square. The bottom-right looks like it's dripping out. This could have been made entirely rectangular, but opening the door shows that the front of the case is designed like this too, perhaps to flow into the right-hand side of the case.
- It closes with magnetic attachments. Although it has a helpful inset along the right-hand edge, it can be easily opened from any position.
- That inset allows air flow for the included fans.
- It opens from right-to-left and is not reversible.
- It cannot open past 90 degrees, and seems to have door hinges begging to be broken (Hi, Antec Sonata!). Thankfully the case design means the door doesn't need to be frequently opened.
It has sound-dampening foam built-in.
- It's thin, dents easily with my fingers and doesn't seem all that great.
- I don't know how effective it could be. The fans are quiet, but all the hard drives are right there.
The top-right of it has a window to show the white LED at the top-right corner. Even when the front door is closed, that LED can be seen from the crack at the top-right of the door.
Behind the front door:
- 3x 5 1/4" external bays. Their covers are nice.
- No 3 1/2" external bays.
Two 120mm 1200 RPM front fans are included.
- They are high-quality and very quiet.
- They can be entirely pulled-out, fans and all. They separate perfectly cleanly, and have flat contacts to power the fan.
- They say "NZXT." (yes, with the period) in the middle of them. It's inset writing, and not a sticker. It's very hard to see at any distance or angle. The door will be closed most of the time, so it's fine.
- They have washable filters, but I've been afraid to pull them out. I'm afraid I'll snap them.
The top-right has a white hard drive activity LED.
- When the front door is closed, it has a little window at its top-right to show this light.
- When the front door is closed, the light shines through the cracks around the top corner of the door. This really sucked.
- I found this bright and annoying, and disconnected it.
Left/Right panels ∞
- Plain black matte metal.
- While not particularly sturdy, they don't have to be. They're light.
- Not sharp.
Thumb screws - ribbed for hand-use, and have combined flat-head and phillips screwdriver slots.
- Unfortunately, these are the sort which fall out when loosened. Some manufacturers are now making side panel thumb screws which don't fall out.
Has sound-insulating foam. Seems slightly thicker than the front door's foam. Again, I don't know how effective this would be.
Inside, left ∞
(i.e. looking down at the motherboard from above)
The interior is very spacious!
- Fits a Micro ATX / ATX / Baby AT motherboard.
- 170mm CPU Heatsink clearance
- VGA Card clearance is 310mm w/o HDD, 250mm with HDD
It already has motherboard mounting pegs installed in common locations.
- Embossed into the inside of the case is some sort of labelling thing for the pegs. I didn't understand any of it and didn't need the help.
- They are tight. I had to use pliers to unscrew them for their relocation.
The case insides are black on black, with black and a little black on the side. Cast completely in shadow, everything inside is invisible even and sometimes especially when using a flashlight.
- They even gave black screws to further piss me off. They should have given basic silver screws.
- There is no window, so the insides don't need to be shown off.
- One of the USB 2.0 motherboard connectors is a block for two USB ports. The other is a block the same size for just one USB port. This means that the connection is unnecessarily reserving a potential USB port. That third (rightmost) USB connection should be a half-block. As it turns out, the USB port which was broken used that dumb double-block, so I just left it disconnected. Yay?
The power supply is bottom-mounted.
- This turns out to be inconvenient for my motherboard. My power cable couldn't be routed under the motherboard as it was too short. I don't know if I'll ever have a power supply with cabling long enough for this, but I have another one being shipped in.
As the power supply has a vent out the bottom of the case, a power supply which also has grilling can theoretically get fresh air from the bottom of the case. This wouldn't be possible if the power supply was at the top of the case.
A box of stuff. ∞
A cardboard box placed where a hard drive might go, it was annoyingly difficult to remove.
A fold-out (map-style) #manual[not existing].
A bag of seven medium-length cable ties.
- I'd rather have twist ties.
Another baggie of bits.
- A little booklet
- Some of it is basically an advertisement for the thing you just bought. It has other products.
- 6-32 screw Hexagon
- A large pile of screws which could hold down the motherboard into the motherboard stands. I think this screw type is also used for mounting devices (5 1/4", hard drives, etc)
- M3*5 Flat
- Another largish pile of screws, whose use I can't determine. Maybe for hard drives, although I don't usually use this type of screw.
- 6-32 screw
- Four hexagonal screws that worked for mounting my power supply.
- kb 5*10 screw
- Eight screws of a type I've seen before but don't know what they're for. Maybe these are for mounting certain power supplies, water cooling gear or fans. Probably fans, but most people would use rubber holders.
- Thumb screw M3
- A fucking outrageous amount of thumb screws. Not only were there already thumb screws for the panels, there were thumb screws for every panel covering a card slot. I don't know why I'd need more than a couple of spares, so.. wow. Just wow.
- Eight motherboard stands. You already have a bunch screwed in place in the case.
- Another thumb screw, for some reason.
Inside, right ∞
(i.e. looking up at the motherboard from below)
- There is cable routing underneath the motherboard.
The existing wiring is cable-tied, which turns out to be annoying if you need to move their wires around. I almost damaged a wire when freeing part of the bundle.
- Instead, everything should be twist-tied. I take back my impression of ties.
There is a grill above where the cards are.
- If this is expected to be a quieter case, then why do this?
The plates to cover the card holes, for slots which have no card, are grills.
- If this is expected to be a quieter case, then why do this?
There is a 120mm 1200 RPM fan included above where the motherboard ports would go.
- The metal case has a plastic attachment on the bottom which raises it off the floor. This is because..
- There is an area for air intake for the bottom of the power supply.
- There is an area for an intake fan (not included).
There is a removable washable filter.
- It is removed from the rear of the case. This is inconvenient.
Unfortunately, they don't supply appropriate pictures for both white and black cases.