My last few building experiences with NZXT cases have for the most part been fairly pleasant, and I was expecting a pretty breezy experience with the H230 as well. I got...most of that breezy experience, but this definitely could've been easier.

I'm assuming in a bid to get the production cost down, the H230 doesn't come with any standoffs or guides installed in the motherboard tray. That's not a tremendous sacrifice given the price segment we're competing in, but it's a small nuisance. Installing the test motherboard was easy enough, but where things went a little bit south was when it came to installing the drives.

The toolless mechanism NZXT uses for the 5.25" drive bays is actually pretty excellent and one of the better ones I've tested, but the 2.5"/3.5" drive trays are pretty terrible. They're incredibly flexible and they don't lock into the drive cages very well. If you install a 3.5" mechanical drive into one, that will stabilize it a little bit, but I found it was easy to make the tray with the 2.5" drive installed in it fall out of the case. This won't be a major problem for a case that's going to spend its life stationary with very little modification, but it's just so...shoddy.

Installing expansion cards and the power supply was very easy, but this is not a case designed for a tremendous amount of hardware. For some time I've felt like that was really the paradox of the ATX case; built to house the ATX board, but not really designed to handle a fully fleshed out system that takes advantage of the ATX spec. The result is that cabling proved to be a nightmare exacerbated heavily by the notched side panels; getting the rear panel back on is an exercise in frustration, as the spacing offered by NZXT isn't particularly generous. Also keep in mind that because the drive sleds enter from the back of the motherboard tray instead of the front, the handles on them can actually impede drive cabling.

I want to cut NZXT some slack for the H230's assembly, but these are issues that BitFenix already resolved a long time ago. The H230's internal design just isn't as progressive as competing cases; space could've been better utilized by bevelling the motherboard tray to allow for better cable channelling, and the drive sleds desperately need to be rethought. I'm also not sure we even needed the center drive cage, which undoubtedly takes away from NZXT's budget for the case design but doesn't seem to offer enough in exchange. If we're talking about a stripped down $69 case, what do we need more than three drive sleds for? If anything, bump the bottom cage up to four and call it a day.

Introducing the NZXT H230 Testing Methodology
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  • flemeister - Monday, September 16, 2013 - link

    New Audio Test Gear 2008 [SPCR] --
    An Anechoic Chamber for SPCR --
  • rpg1966 - Saturday, September 14, 2013 - link

    Can you please produce charts that show both temperature and noise on the same chart, one on X axis and the other on Y-axis, so that we can more easily interpret the results and compare cases? It would be trivially simple to do.
  • jasonnovak - Saturday, September 14, 2013 - link

    I bought an H2 when they first came out, I'm interesting in some more info on the factory tweaks you mention they made to improve airflow. I did a mod I came across somewhere cutting some material away from the bottom of the door.
  • Building Wealth - Saturday, September 14, 2013 - link

    When's the pink version out?

    I like the design of this case. The front door looks good in my opinion. Those drive trays are annoying, though.

    Building wealth
  • Silma - Monday, September 16, 2013 - link

    I have a loud pc with 6 7200 rpm harddrives in raid 6, 2 ssds, 1 gtx680, and an Intel i920.
    Would a silent enclosure work or is it wishful thinking? If yes which enclosure?
    ON my Alienware laptop I have a silent mode which switch from gpu to processor gpu - the laptop basically goes silent, the difference is very noticeable. Is there nowadays a similar technology for desktop pcs?
  • TGressus - Thursday, September 19, 2013 - link

    Near silence can be done in your situation with oversized or multiple radiators used with water blocks and mid-speed/dampened water pump(s) for the the cpu and gpu. This will eliminate the loudest fans and allow you to tune the fans around the case and at the radiator to a lower speed. Fluid-dynamic bearing fans seem to be the best balance of silence/longevity.

    Without water cooling you best bet is a huge aluminum case that allows for convection and radiation through the case itself. Again most of the noise is going to be a result of your cpu/gpu heat sink efficiency and how their fans react to your workloads, plus the tuning of the case fans.
  • dehemke - Monday, September 16, 2013 - link

    Antec P180 retread again? Was the 180/2 the one true silent case that everything since has just been a refactor of? Where's the new innovation?
  • quas - Saturday, September 21, 2013 - link

    How did you test? Did you open the front panel door to allow more air in?
  • xoham - Friday, February 14, 2014 - link

    If the front door was a rectangle instead of that cut, and if they took off the brand name, this would be a perfect looking case for me. I don't get why they are putting on brand names. It is not like I take this computer around and people get to see what brand it is and then go buy one.

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