NZXT H500 detailed review
Although the NZXT H700i we tested earlier was a mid-tower case, the H500 is a more compact version of it that compromises fan and radiator support. If you are thinking about missing ‘i’ in model name, we should tell you that in all these cases it comes in two variants where smart module is not installed in non-i version. The H500 follows the same minimalist design method and looks absolutely brilliant in the white variant, which we got for the purpose of review. It comes with a convenient cable handling route with velcro straps, which simplifies the overall construction process. If there are only two pre-installed exhaust fans in the case, how does the NZXT H500 work for cooling? Find out.
Motherboard form factor: Mini-ITX, Micro-ATX, ATX
Power supply standard: ATX value (maximum length 180 mm)
I / O port: 2x USB 3.1 Gen-1, 1x headphone / microphone combo
Drive base: 3 x 3.5-inch HDD, 2 x 2.5-inch SSD
Fan support: 2 x 120/140 mm (front), 1 x 120/140 mm (top), 1 x 120 mm (rear)
Radiator support: Up to 280 mm (front), 120 mm (rear)
Exemption: CPU cooler – 165mm, graphics card – 381mm
Dimensions (H x W x D): 435 mm x 210 mm x 428 mm
Outdoor of NZXT H500
The NZXT uses steel panels throughout the body, maintaining a slightly unique minimalist design for the new H series compared to the older generation. This has been followed internally which we will talk about later. We chose the glass panel removal technique which is much better than the corner mounted screws. At the top of the panel is a metal strip with clips that are inserted into the frame of the case. However, you need to be accustomed to the force required to move the panel and be careful not to apply too much force.
Due to the H500’s design preference, the front panel does not support any vents for air intake. Instead, the vents are moved to the front on the side panel. On the top panel, there is a support for a 120 or 140mm fan for exhaust. The case comes with one already installed and the other with the back
The ports on the top panel blend well with the case and have NZXT’s purple accents instead of the USB 3.0 blue indicators. This would be great if IoPorts also included a new USB Type-C port.
We couldn’t find anything external to complain about. However, the only area where we will tweak is the quality of the thumbscrew. They can be better and denser. You will see dust filters wherever there is air intake or exhaust.
Interior of the NZXT H500
The interior is well made without the front panel fan mount. The motherboard plate and PSU shroud were thick enough to bend easily, the fan mount could bend easily. Although it was not weak, the thin gauge was amazing compared to other parts. In addition to its build quality, it is extremely convenient to have a removable fan mount during fan or radiator installation.
The difference between H500 and H500i is the presence of smart module. At H500, you won’t find one. Although this means that you will rely on your motherboard’s fan header to connect your case fans, it significantly reduces the cost of the case.
The new H series cable management system is brilliant. Like the H700 and H700i, it takes care of all your cables, including a large number of tie points across the back of the motherboard plate. In the middle, behind the velcro strap, there is a convenient wire routing channel to accommodate all the thick wires. Throughout the build process, thanks to these pre-existing channels, we have been able to better plan the build.
In terms of cooling capacity, the maximum radiator you can install is 280mm on the front panel. There is not much scope in the top panel because you can only install a 120/140mm fan in the top panel.
In terms of storage, the NZXT SSD has come up with a smart way to modulate the track inside. Due to the perforated PSU shroud, two SSD trays can be attached anywhere on top. They can also be moved to the back of the motherboard plate but this will interfere with the rear wiring.
Your HDD tray drive can be installed under the PSU shroud in the cage. It can comfortably accommodate three HDDs. We were a little disappointed that installing HDDs was not a toolless feature. Also, you need to remove the drive cage from the cage, thus increasing the complexity a bit.
If you need more space for your PSU cable, the drive cage can be moved forward by removing the screws at the bottom of the case.
Another feature we would like to highlight is the extremely useful IO port connector. Typically, you need to connect the power and reset button cables separately. But NZXT bundled all these connectors into a single connector that can be connected like a USB connector. This is something that other case makers must take for granted.
The H500 was initially tested with two pre-installed fans. If you would like to know more about our testing process, we suggest you read our review of the Corsair Obsidian 500D. For the second part of our experiment, two 120mm fans were installed on the front panel as acceptance. In this configuration, there was a balanced air pressure inside the case where two fans acted as intake and the other exhausted.
Our test configuration is as follows:
CPU: Intel Core i7-4960X
Motherboard: ASRock X79 Extreme9
Graphics card: Sapphire Radion HD 7790
CPU cooler: Naktua NH-L9x65
RAM: Corsair Dominator 2x8GB DDR3 (16GB)
HDD: WD red 2TB
SSD: SanDisk Extreme II (240GB)
Power supply: Antec HCP-1000 Platinum
Two Aer F120 case versions are included in the fan package where each of them expels hot air from the top and rear panels. Without any air intake, we expected the internal temperature to be slightly higher than average. However, this was not the case and the recorded temperature was within acceptable limits. Before running the stress test, we let the system deactivate for 15 minutes. The Intel Core i7-4960X is lazy at 36 degrees Celsius and the Radeon HD 7790 is stable at 34 degrees.
In our Prime 95 stress test, the CPU rose to 53 degrees while the GPU touched 69 degrees. For a better picture of how well the case performs with more fans, we’ve installed two more 120mm fans as intakes on the front panel. Surprisingly, it didn’t do too much. In the future installing a radiator for your CPU would be a good investment instead of adding a fan to cool the case. In addition, replacing the upper exhaust fan with a higher airflow fan will reduce the indoor temperature by a few degrees.
At this price, the cool performance of the case is much higher than average. You can rely on case fans to cool your system instead of replacing it with a new one.