NZXT H440 Mid Tower Case

Cases|Damping
Viewing page 7 of 8 pages. Previous 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Next

AUDIO RECORDINGS

These recordings were made with a high resolution, lab quality, digital recording system inside SPCR's own 11 dBA ambient anechoic chamber, then converted to LAME 128kbps encoded MP3s. We've listened long and hard to ensure there is no audible degradation from the original WAV files to these MP3s. They represent a quick snapshot of what we heard during the review.

Each recording starts with ambient noise, then 5~10 second segments of product at various states. For the most realistic results, set the volume so that the starting ambient level is just barely audible, then don't change the volume setting again while comparing all the sound files.

FINAL THOUGHTS

It's easy to see why the NZXT H440 is such a popular case. It has a cool look, neither characterless nor gaudy, two ends of the spectrum that are heavily represented in the market today. The vast number of cable tie-down points at the back of the motherboard tray are welcome and the elongated power supply compartment is an elegant complement, hiding those messy power cables from view. The lighting is also nicely subdued and the port LEDs at the back are a stroke of genius. All of this is emblematic of a user-centered philosophy.

I have no serious objection to getting rid of all the 5.25-inch bays as optical media is a dying format and the world would be better without it. That being said, including one would increase the H440's appeal; The Fortress FT05 has a slim optical drive tray sitting on the side with slot barely visible at the front, so the solid aesthetic is maintained. The 3.5-inch bays are surprisingly excellent at limiting vibration but they are spaced rather generously apart. I would have preferred to see them take advantage of this space better with a couple more drive placements. (Editor's Note: It's possible that more drive slots could weaken the structure and perhaps increase the impact of HDD vibration.)

The H440's most glaring problem is its lack of ventilation. The front bezel has a nicely sized intake vent along its right edge but none on the opposite side. The top cover is similarly affected only with the sides reversed. This design choice seems to be a stylistic one, a prime example of form unfortunately winning over function. Vents on both sides would improve performance considerably and it's sad to see such a squandered opportunity.

As an enthusiast case, it has some nice convenience features, ample component clearance, plenty of fans, yet it doesn't have the airflow to go with it. It's much closer to our idea of a quiet case — though an ideal silent case must have good airflow and good damping — but it doesn't fully qualify either. There's noise damping foam on four sides, and the included fans are top-notch acoustically, but thre is no fan speed controller. The four included fans along with the CPU fan would take up all the fan headers on most modern motherboards. If they addressed both of these issues, which wouldn't be hard to do, it would be an absolute killer case that I would highly recommend to just about anyone looking for a tower. Frustratingly, the NZXT H440 is a couple of tantalizing steps away from perfection.

Our thanks to NZXT for the H440 case sample.

Editor's Note

It's with some misgivings that we chose not to award SPCR's Recommendation to the NZXT H440. It has a lot going for it, not least of all a very sturdy build and unique, handsome styling. But the sub-par thermal performance caused by the limited venting is not possible to ignore. Especially when it could have been so easily bettered by not adhering slavishly to the god of aesthetics and paying just a bit more attention to function. Would it really be so bad for form to put top and front vents on both sides of the case?


Addendum - 21 Mar 2015

Added images of the H440 Razer Edition

* * *

Articles of Related Interest
NoFan CR-80EH & CS-60 Fanless Cooler & Case
Rosewill Legacy U3 Aluminum MicroATX Tower
SilverStone Raven RV05
Fractal Design Arc XL Case
NCASE M1: Crowdfunded Enthusiast Mini-ITX Case
Phanteks Enthoo Primo: Giant Tower Case

* * *

Discuss this article in the SPCR Forums.



Previous 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Next

Cases|Damping - Article Index
Help support this site, buy from one of our affiliate retailers!
Search: