NZXT H2 Classic Reviewairman , malmsteenisgod - May 22, 2011
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The front of the NZXT H2 Classic is a full-faced brushed aluminum with white trim to match the rest of the case. The bottom "foot," which is more apparent in the profile pictures, is inlaid with black rubber. This one feature adds most of the dynamics on the case and accents it well. Both the left and right sides of the case are plain with no windows and no fan grills. You can see the hinge for the front door is on the left side, meaning that the door will open in this direction. The first thing that I noticed on the rear of the case is the dedicated USB3.0 grommet — the first of its kind that I've seen! I continuously see and have been confused about manufacturers using one of the water cooling ports for this purpose, making it impossible to use an external water cooling loop and USB3.0 at the same time. It's taken a while, but NZXT got it right! You can also see the rear 120mm fan, seven expansion slots, the two water cooling grommets with more vents beneath it, and the PSU mounting bracket. The mounting bracket will accept both orientations, upward or downward facing, depending on the user's preference — pretty much standard now. The right side of the case is identical to the left side, with the addition of a black strip along the bottom.
The top of the case is very closed off, helping with the noise. Underneath the magnetic cooler in the back is a spot for a 120mm or 140mm fan. The door closer to the front houses the integrated 2.5" hot swap hard drive bay, complete with the signal I/O and power port. There are three USB2.0 ports and one USB3.0 port, along with the standard 3.5mm audio jacks (microphone and headphone). The power and reset buttons are on either side of this row of I/O ports. The underside of the case shows the full-length fan filter, and many rubber feet to dampen any vibrations that can be transmitted from the case to the floor — another sound-proofing measure that NZXT has taken on the H2 Classic. The dust filter itself slides out from underneath the power supply very easily. Removal and cleaning of these dust filters is necessary to prevent a buildup of dust, which can degrade performance.
Below is a clear picture of the I/O ports and how they are placed. Between the last USB port and the reset button is a slider used to control the fan speed with three settings, 1, 2, and 3 — corresponding to 40%, 70%, and 100% speed settings. Above this is the door for the hard drive bay. The bottom of this hard drive bay has two rubber strips to alleviate any noise from vibration created by a non-SSD. Behind this is a magnetic cover to prevent noise produced inside the case from escaping through this fan grille if no fan is installed. So far, I've listed quite a few sound-dampening measures that NZXT has taken on this case and I'm not even done with the outside of the case yet!
Opening the front door of the case will reveal the first bit of noise dampening foam, which covers the entire inside face. With the front door closed, I would be a little concerned about the airflow from these fans, as there aren't any vents on the front. The three 5.25" bay covers are easily removed by releasing the tabs on the right side of each. The fans themselves are housed in standalone filter/power assemblies that don't require unplugging any wires for removal of the fans as they are powered by contact pins rather than plugs. The fans themselves use rifle bearing motors that operate off of 12V and pull 0.16A — making 1.92W. I will say that the fan controller itself can supply up to 30W, which is more than enough for what is supplied! The beauty of these housings is that the fans supplied by NZXT can be removed and any 3-pin fan can go in its place, which is very clever. Removing one of these fan assemblies exposes the hard drive bays behind it, which is where the hard drives are removed/installed — I will show this process on the next page.
With the outside evaluated, I am liking this case. Other than the concerning potential issues with the front fan airflow, it looks promising! I do believe the "foot" underneath the front will help with this, so I'm not going to linger on it. On the next page, I will evaluate the interior of the case and explain all its features. After doing some pre-reading on the H2 Classic, I'm looking forward to cracking open the case, as there are still more neat features to come.