The Bottom Line
- Does A Very Good Job Of Keep Noise Levels Low
- Excellent Airflow From Raised Case Bottom
- One Of The Most Affordable Silent Cases
- Routing Cables Behind The Tray Requires Longer Power Supply Cables
- Longer Graphics Cards May Limit Use Of Some Hard Drive Bays
- USB 3.0 Port Uses A Pass-Through Cable Rather Than Internal Header
- Rolled Steel Frame
- Steel Side Panels With Noise Dampening Foam Interior Layer
- Three External 5.25" Bays, Eight 3.5"/2.5" Bays
- Three 120mm Cooling Fans With External Fan Speed Switch
- Fits Up To Standard ATX Motherboards
- 3.5" External SATA Drive Bay
- Rubber Grommeted Ports For External Liquid Cooling Solutions
- One USB 3.0, Two USB 2.0 and Audio In/Out Ports
- Cable Organization Behind Motherboard Tray
- 18.3" x 8.5" x 20.5"
Guide Review - NZXT H2 Classic Silent Midtower PC Case
May 10 2011 - Priced at $100, the NZXT H2 Classic is probably the most affordable midtower case on the market that is designed for low noise or silent operation. In order to achieve this, they do have to cut a few corners compared to the Performance One offerings from Antec which is their primary competition.
The case construction is almost entirely a mix of steel and plastic. The frame uses rolled steel as well as with the two side panels. Noise reduction is achieve through the use of a layer of foam insulation on both side panels and the inside of the front panel door that is constructed of plastic. To keep drive noise from vibrations down, the 3.5" drive trays use pins with rubber grommets. Unfortunately, the pins are very difficult to use when getting a drive installed such that the pins often would partially slide out of the grommets. It was much easier to install the drives using standard screws instead.
Installation of the motherboard and drives is pretty straight forward other than the previously mentioned pins on the drive trays. NZXT has provided a fair amount of space behind the motherboard tray to allow for routing of cables to keep the airflow over the components unimpeded. The downside with the power supply at the bottom, routing cables behind and the standard ATX layout means that some power supply cords are not long enough to reach the motherboard without the use of extension cables. The Seasonic M12II-500 used in testing barely reached.
One interesting aspect of the NXZT H2 Classic is the twin front fans. These must be removed from the case in order to access the hard drive bays. In order to make this easy to do, the fans are set inside of these fan brackets that simply snap out removing the whole fan. Normally this would require removing fan power cords but the fan bracket has a special touch power connector. If you would rather use different fans in these brackets, it is possible to use a 120mm fan with a standard power connector that plugs into the touch connector within the fan bracket.
Another feature that is very beneficial to airflow within the case is the raised base. Most cases just rest on small rubber feet to allow some minimal airflow from the bottom. NZXT has placed a plastic base that raise the case up higher than the average case to allow a much greater level of air to be pulled in. In addition to this, they have a large washable air filter than can be removed to help reduce the amount of dust from being pulled into the case. The only downside is that the filter must be removed from the back side of the case rather than the front which would be more convenient.
NXZT tried to make a few novel design elements with the H2 Classic. Some of them work well and others are oddly executed. For instance, the top of the case has a bay that will allow a 3.5" drive to be slide into some SATA connectors. This works very easily and is great for adding a backup drive or just using it for a swappable bay. Directly behind that is the baffle for the optional top 140mm fan vent. It is attached neatly with magnets similar to the case front panel but when attached, there is almost no space for air to actually flow through the vent. Thus, adding a fan will really require the baffle to be removed which will increase the noise. Finally, the front USB 3.0 port uses a standard cable that would plug into an external rear motherboard USB 3.0 port rather than using a header that would attach directly to the motherboard.