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HARDWARE

NZXT H440 Semi-silent-themed Case

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Remarkably clean, and limited, too

We love the fact that NZXT bills this semi-silent-themed case as a "hassle-free experience.” We wonder if the company was using the same case that we were, because we encountered quite a bit of hassle building a standard configuration into this smaller-than-usual chassis.

For starters, the case itself ships with no printed manual - at least, ours didn't. We only hope that's an oversight with our early review unit instead of a standard feature of the chassis itself, because there are definitely some features of the H440 that warrant a bit of instruction, especially for neophyte builders.

Description: NZXT H440

NZXT H440

Case in point: There are absolutely zero 5.25-inch bays to be found on the H440, which is a good thing to know before you start attempting to pry off the H440's front. We know, we know, the optical drive is dead, long live the optical drive - but is it too soon? To be honest, there’s an upstart contingent here at Maximum PC who think it's a plus, while some cranky old farts think it's a minus. Additionally, installing the power supply might evoke a bout of head-scratching at first, as there’s seemingly no way to just stuff it into the chassis thanks to how it's been compartmentalized on the case's bottom. This does build on the case's motto of '‘remarkably clean," though, by hiding your messy PSU cabling.

This leads us into one of our major gripes with this chassis: There's a lot of screwing. We pretty much pulled out the thumbscrews in the case’s side, which are supposedly designed to not do that. Beyond that, you have to unscrew a panel to slide the power supply in, you have to unscrew the standard PCI slot covers for any devices you want to install, and - most frustratingly - you have to first unscrew the case's steel drive trays (up to six total) just for the privilege of being able to screw in your hard drive. Clean, yes. Toolless, no.

The case feels a bit small on the inside, but it adequately supported our standard test setup (including an Nvidia GTX 480 video card) without any cramming or wedging. We like how the case s three rubberized cable-routing holes fit perfectly with a standard video card setup - when using the top-most PCI Express x16 slot on our ATX motherboard, our video card didn't block any of the much-needed routing holes.

Description: NZXT H440’s back

NZXT H440’s back

That said, cable routing is a bit of a challenge in the H440. There’s already not that much room between the rear of the motherboard tray and the case’s side panel. Amplifying the claustrophobia is a layer of soundproofing foam adhered to the side panel. We love that NZXT cares so much about our ears, but it makes for a less-than-pleasant smashing of cables against the case's side (especially since there’s only one provided hole for power-supply cables to route through otherwise). Cable-management options feel more constrained by this case than others we've tested.

The foam surrounding the case's insides has quite a bit of work in store for it, too. No fewer than four of NZXT's next- gen case fans grace the inside of the chassis: three 12cm fans on the front and one 14cm fan on the back. When we fired up the system with no components inside it, the soundproof-themed case was a bit audible. A full system only adds to the din, and while we appreciate NZXT's efforts toward keeping the volume dial at a three instead of an eleven, it seems to be a bit of a lost cause.

Description: NZXT H440’s right-side

NZXT H440’s right-side

NZXT seems to think this case is perfect for liquid cooling. For some all-in-one setups, sure; for customized loops, you're going to be in for something of a tubing nightmare. Best of luck!

Specifications

·         Price: $120

·         Drive Bays: External 5.25": 0; Internal 3.5"/2.5": 6+2

·         Cooling System: Front: 2x 140/3x120mm (3 x 120mm FN V2 Fans Included); Top: 2x 140/3x120mm; Rear: 1x 140/120mm (1 x 140mm FN V2 Fan Included)

·         Filters: Front Side(Included); Bottom Front (Included); Bottom Rear(Included)

·         Radiator Support: Front 2 x 140 or 3 x 120mm; Top 2 x 140 or 3 x 120mm; Rear 1 x 140/120mm

·         Clearance: GPU Clearance With HDD Cage: 294mm; GPU Clearance Without HDD Cage: 406.2mm; CPU Cooler: 180mm; Cable Management: Lowest Point - 17.7mm; Highest Point 32.5mm

·         Dimensions: 220mm x 510mm x 475.3mm

·         Material: SECC Steel, ABS Plastic

·         Motherboard Support: Mini-ITX, MicroATX, ATX

·         Expansion Slots: 7

·         External Electronics: 1 x Audio/Mic; I/O Panel LED On/Off

·         Product Weight: 9.75 kg

·         USB 3.0 Ports: 2

·         USB 2.0 Ports: 2

·         Warranty: 2 Years

Verdict

·         Pros: Excellent placement of (limited) cable-routing holes; ample air cooling; lovely looks; USB 3.0 support.

·         Cons: Limited cable-management space; fans overpower soundproofing; too many screws; expensive.

·         Rating: 6/10

 

 

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