It’s been a long time since I’ve reviewed any PC cases here on TestFreaks, so today I have the latest one from NZXT called the H2. This case was built with people like me in mind, those that want a case that is as quiet as can be. The H2 has noise dampening foam on the sides and front of the case to keep things quiet, and a fan controller built-in as well with three settings for low, medium and high. This case is nice, NZXT has done a good job with it’s design and construction, it’s solidly made with several features that any system builder will appreciate.


The H2 comes packaged well, it’s packed like most other cases with styrofoam and plastic.

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You can get the H2 in black or white, I got black as you can see. The front of the case is a nice looking brushed metal that is covered in protective plastic when it arrives.

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The sides of the H2 are just plain black. The paintjob is nicely done. The front door has two LED indicators built into it, on at the top for HDD activity and one for power. The case I got has an issue with the power LED, it doesn’t work, I plugged it in different ways and it just wouldn’t work for me. I tried to see if there was something I could fix quickly but I couldn’t find anything wrong, possibly a bad LED. The activity LED worked fine though. Another small issue I came across is the door, it opens to the left which is odd as most cases open to the right. I have my case sitting to my right, so opening the left makes me have to reach around the door to access the bays.

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The top of the H2 has a few unique things going on. At first glance it looks like just two panels on the top, and the control panel. The case is metal so even empty it’s a bit heavy, but it feels solidly made.

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The control panel has three USB 2.0 ports and one USB 3.o ports along with audio, power and reset buttons. There’s also a three position fan speed sliding switch as well that controls the three included fans. You can add two more fans and it will control them as well.

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Behind the USB ports is a removable panel that opens to reveal SATA power and data connections. You can use either 3.5” or 2.5” drives with it, and you can replace the cover with the drive in place so no one would ever know you’ve got a hard drive in there.

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Farther back is a second panel, this one is magnetic and it covers the optional 140mm fan vent.

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The front panel opens to reveal three drive bays and two 120mm fans pre-installed.

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The fan clip in place, they pop right out easily to reveal the hard drive rack. You actually install the hard drives from the front of the case. There’s also no wires for the fans, there are metal contacts on the fan housing and inside of the case that complete the circuit when closed to provide power to the fans.

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Moving around the back of the case the first thing you’ll probably notice is a blue wires sticking out of the top left corner, that’s for the single USB 3.0 port on the top panel. On the end it has a regular USB 3.0 connector and you just plug that into a USB 3.0 port. It’s an interesting idea, but I found the cable is just a little short, I had to really stretch and pull to get it to work with my system as I use a PCIE x4 style card for USB 3.0 which is located farther down the case.

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On the top is a 120mm fan pre-installed, then there’s liquid cooling holes and the PCI slot covers and of course a place for the power supply to be mounted.

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The bottom of the H2 is one big air filter. You’ll also find rubber pads on the bottom.

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The filter just slides out of the case from the back.

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Specifications:

NZXT H2
Silent Midtower Chassis

NOISE – chaotic wavelengths that distract, distort, impede, confuse, and endanger the gamer during a life and death situation. If you are a professional gamer, avoid it at all cost. Intelligently constructed to give you peace of mind, NZXT’s H2 Classic Series Silent Midtower Chassis minimizes extraneous hums, clicks, whirls of your system to enhance your concentration, accuracy, and deadliness
   
Features:
-Touch powered fans with fan filter for easy maintenance and fan swapping 0
-30W 3-step fan control for airflow settings at 40%, 70%, and 100% of maximum fan speed
-Top hot swap capable SATA HDD Dock (requires an AHCI capable motherboard and hot swappable HDD) and USB 3.0 port for the most up to date function
-8 Front facing HDDs for optimal airflow
-Noise dampening foam and a top magnetic fan cover for minimal PC noise
-Ample 25mm space behind motherboard for cable management

Specs:
MODEL: H2
CASE TYPE: Mid Tower Steel
FRONT PANEL MATERIAL: Plastic/Steel
DIMENSIONS (W x H x D): 215 x 466 X 520 mm
VGA Clearance Maximum: 310 w/o HDD, 270mm with HDD
CPU Heatsink Support: 170mm

COOLING SYSTEM:
-FRONT, 2 X 120mm @ 1200rpm ( included )
-REAR, 1 X 120mm @ 1200rpm (included)
-TOP, 1 X 140mm
-BOTTOM, 1 x 120mm

DRIVE BAYS:    
-3 EXTERNAL 5.25" DRIVE BAYS
-8 INTERNAL 3.5"/2.5" Slots

Screwless Rail Design
MATERIAL(S): Steel with painted interior
EXPANSION SLOTS: 7
WEIGHT: 8.9 kg
MOTHERBOARD SUPPORT: ATX, MICRO-ATX, BABY AT


The NZXT H2 is made for silence and as such you’ll find both side panels have noise dampening material on them. The front door of the case has the same, just realized I didn’t take a picture of it.

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The back side of the motherboard has plenty of room for routing wires. Thee are many holes to route wires through as well, and spots to use zip ties to secure the wires. One two of the holes you’ll see rubber protectors, but they’re not that great as they just fall out when you put wires though them and they’re can be annoying to try and put back in.

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Moving around the other side you case see what the case looks like inside of course. The case is small so there’s not much room though, but NZXT claims large video cards can fit just fine.

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There’s room for eight hard drives in the H2 case. You’ll notice many thumbscrews running up the side of the HDD cage and the optical bays, these are optional fro securing the drives in place. It’s a handy way to store the screws I think.

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Inside was also a small white box that has all of the accessories in it.

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NZXT included a neat little tool to help you install the motherboard standoffs, one fits over the standoffs while the other has a screw end on it.

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The first thing you’ll probably want to do is remove an HDD rack or two and install the hard drives. The racks are plastic and have rubber vibration dampeners built in. Regular 3.5” hard drives fit in the rack but for 2.5” drives and SSDs you’ll need to use the supplied screws to secure them to the rack. I did find it a bit difficult to attach get my 3.5” drives in the racks, it’s very tight and the pins kept popping out, but I got them in eventually.

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So I spent the next 45 minutes or so installing my system in it. The video cards are both ATI, one is a 48900 and the other is a 4870, so they’re rather large.  The CPU Cooler is a Noctua NH-u12P so it’s not exactly small either, and then I’ve got four hard drives in the as well. I removed the unused HDD racks. It’s a bit more cramped in there that I expected, and I learned that I should have run the wires before installing the video cards.

I did a quick job of tidying the wires up, but nothing spectacular.

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Here’s the back side view without any cleaning done, the case side fits on fine even with all of these wires just hanging about.

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Once I got everything installed I turned it on and everything was quiet. The fans on low or medium speed are silent, I could hear my video cards and not the NZXT fans. Turning the fans to high makes them a bit louder, just more of a hum than anything but audible for sure. The three fans seem to do a decent job of keeping things cool but there’s always room for improvement, I‘m most certainly going to add a top and bottom fan for more cooling efficiency.

One the things I really like about this case is the hard drive dock on the top, it makes it very easy to swap hard drives if need be. This way when you need to access another drive or just need some more storage you just plug it into the top and you’re set. You can leave it that way or just slide the cover back in place and no one will even know it’s there.

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Conclusion:
The NZXT H2 is the case you want if you  appreciate the value of silence. It’s designed well and solidly made. The built-in hard drive dock is very handy that’s for sure, you can easily and quickly access files on another hard drive. The H2 is virtually silent and it can be used for gaming or even just as a workstation where silence is needed.

The case isn’t without it’s minor flaws though, working in it can be a bit cramped. Personally I don’t like the fact that the door opens to the left, I;m sure others out there are like me in that respect as well.

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Pros:
+Solidly built
+Fairly easy installation
+Built-in hard drive dock
+Nice and quiet

Cons:
-Can be a bit cramped
-Rubber protectors don’t stay in place
-Door opens to the left
-USB 3.0 cable is a bit short

Grades:  
Overall score 9 10 thumb1 Review of NZXT H2 Silent Midtower Chassis
Design score 9 10 thumb1 Review of NZXT H2 Silent Midtower Chassis
Performance score 9 10 thumb1 Review of NZXT H2 Silent Midtower Chassis

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