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POSTSCRIPT : Can the NZXT H2 front door be modified for better airflow?
by Mike Chin
Any diehard DIY computer hobbyist who owns a Dremel or other cutting tools will answer, Yes!, to almost any question of this nature. But the question needs to be qualified further Can the H2 front door be modified in an unobtrusive, simple way to improve airflow and cooling for a hot gaming video card? Now the answer requires more careful consideration. Simple to who?, you might ask. My answer: Simple to most people who assemble their own PCs from time to time, which probably represents a large majority of the SPCR readership. This generally means someone who has some mechanical skills, familiarity with PC components, and some previous experience dealing with the odd challenges that sometimes crop up when installing PC components into a case.
To answer the question, let's take a very close look at the door. One thing Larry did not cover in the review is how the entire front bezel assembly can be removed, much like the front bezels of most ATX mid-tower cases. There are six plastic plugs on the back of the bezel assembly which fit into matching holes in the metral front panel. Remove the left side cover, push on a couple of these plugs from the inside of the metal front panel, and the bezel assembly starts to separate from the chassis. You pry on the gap, and very quickly, the whole front bezel assembly pops off. This is similar to most current mid-tower cases.
NZXT H2 front bezel assembly pops off easily.
With the entire front panel assembly off, it is easier to examine it carefully. First, take a close look at the gaps around the edges that are the vents.
A is the bottom intake slot, B is the right side slot; there is a slot similar to B on the left side. C is a gap on the frame portion of the bezel, which does nothing for either intake or exhaust, but it is about the size that vent A should have been.
A very close examination of the hinges showed no easy way that the door could be removed from the inner frame. This means any cutting of any of the slot vents must be done with the two parts (door and inner frame) fixed so that the hinges do not get broken accidentally.
The right side slot of the door has a supporting tubular section that makes the edge quite thick. It is probably going to be quite difficult to enlarge this slot cleanly, and the ensuing ragged edge would be highly visible and annoying for the user to behold. So modding this slot is out.
The left side slot is even more difficult to enlarge because of the close proximity of the inner frame of the bezel assembly. That one is out, too.
The bottom slot can be made both deeper and wider.
The bottom slot is not visible in normal use, so it is the one that modders should consider. Unlike the side slots, its edge does not have any thicker stiffening plastic. The thin lip, if cut away, could provide an extra quarter inch depth, and the slot could also be made about an inch wider. This would make the bottom slot about 3~4 times bigger than it is now. There would be no impact to dust filtering. This is a no-brainer for a modder to try. Even if you mess up, if the mess can be limited to the bottom, it is not likely to have any visual or operational impact, and the airflow for the intake fans will be substantially improved. Either a power tool like a Dremel or a manual tool like a fine-toothed blade saw would work.
The end result of a 2-minute "quick & dirty" cut with a jig saw. It looks rough... but you will not see it unless you look from below the case. You can also do a cleaner job with more care. Compare the opening, though, with the original in the second photo on this page. There's no question the intake airflow will be improved with this mod.
This modification would only be worthwhile in a system equipped with a VGA card that exceeds 100W TDP, and stressed to high load often for long periods (as in gaming). Off the shelf, the H2 provides good enough airflow at low fan speeds for cooler VGA cards. Something like a Radeon 5770 is probably about the hottest GPU that can be safely cooled in the HS while keeping noise to SPCR-quiet levels.
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this article in the SPCR Forums.
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