- since aesthetics is quite a personal thing - I will not be making any evaluation at this point.
Have you watched Kubrik's 2001: A Space Odyssey - do you remember those black monoliths. Epic looking. The H440 reminds me of one of those. Needless to say I find the H440 New Edition (Windowless) quite the looker. Hopefully it does not sound like one of those black monoliths.1. Build Materials – 9/10
Build materials are, mostly, excellent.
The steel is nice and thick.
The matte black paint is superb, uniform, nice feel to the touch. It does leave traces and fingerprints very easily, but they are visible only under strong light and reveal themselves as slight differences in the gloss of the surface. I will not take points off, since it is hard to see, unless under strong direct light and very easy to clean.
The sound deadening/dampening (whichever English you are coming from) is quite poor. The quality lacks compared to the ones used by be quiet! or Fractal. The main factor in the silence of the H440 is the closed design and the foam feels more cosmetic than anything, or like a marketing checkbox. I will be taking a point off here. More explanation on this later. Not the mention the damage it shipped with. There is definitely no space for that fan hub.2. Assembly – 9/10
The assembly is quite good. I do not mind that I needed a screwdriver to take off all the thumbscrews the first time, and some of the rivets had no black pain on them. But where things went a bit worse were all the screws, specially on the fans were over-tightened. As if they are using electrical screwdrivers on the assembly line. Every screw that holds a fan has been so over-tightened that the paint has peeled off. I am taking a point off over there.
This is not the worst case, just the one easiest to take a photo off.3. Layout – 8/10
The layout is good but it does not come without few issues.
1st – the motherboard tray is angled in. It is perfectly fine for ATX motherboards, but the new rising “skinny E-ATX” or “flex E-ATX” as I call it form factor will prove problematic. To clarify, a standart E-ATX motherboard has a size of (305 × 330 mm), modern E-ATX motherboards are (305 × 264 mm) or around that 264 mm + or – some. Asus X99 ROG board is 272 mm, X99-E WS is 267, Gigabyte X99 SOC Force is 264, EVGA X99 FTW is also 264 mm – and that is just to name a few. Top Z170 from the various Overclocking series or Extreme series also show some models with sizes of 264mm wide. Anidees Ai6v2, Phanteks Enthoo Pro M, Fractal cases and many more have similar size and can fit 264mm wide motherboard. For me it is just ridiculous to be constrained by 3 mm in a case this size, in this day and age. I will be taking off a point here.
2nd is the fan mount.
It is clearly visible it has been optimized for 120mm fans or to mount a radiator to the case and the fans to the radiator (in this case, the strips do not impact the air transfer from a 140mm that much). Those strips are bound to restrict and increase the noise of any 140mm fan mounted directly to the case as intake or exhaust. Clearly there are much better ways to arrange a fan mount, without metal strips to block air – as demonstrated by Phanteks or Corsair or many others.
Also, unless you mount 140 mm fans, the airflow produced by the 120mm is barely close to the motherboard VRMs.
I do realize the offset was made for the “so very popular” CLC and Custom Water users with thicker rads out there, but it is not something I appreciate. Cooling the VRMs will have to depend on the rear exhaust fan. For all of these points I will be taking a point off.
Another point is that you can’t efficiently mount 140mm fans with 120mm mounting holes without an adapter. Such fans I am specifically looking at are TY-147As. Truly outstanding fans at the amazing price of 10.80 EUR, which perform, if not exactly the same, as demonstrated by doyll, to their 21+ EUR Noctua equivalent.
3rd - There are holes everywhere. I don't really know their initial purpose - maybe for some NZXT LED strips. I don't really know, but they are counterproductive to the positive pressure I am trying to build here.
4th – I will not be taking a point here, I will just be an honest rant.
The cutouts for cables on the PSU cover. The ones for the SSDs could have been a bit longer, so you would be able to fit a 90 degree cable. Some grommets as well. After all – this thing costs 131 EUR.The cutout on the left side for GPU power cable is quite cool and I dig it, but I am missing a cutout on the left side or center and grommets as well. Sure, most high-end video cards have their cables near the tip, but not all of them (Fury cards with shorter PCBs for example). And a lot of mid cards still have the connector on the left or mid, such as with my case. And I can bet this configuration will continue – which poses a problem, to get a nice clean interior. I tried passing the cable through the SSD cable hole, then pass the full PSU and under the card, but it just did not work out.
5th - cable management. This is the messiest cables I ever had. The H440 uses too thick cables for the Buttons/LEDs on the top panel and the USB/Audio I/O. Also, the cables were a bit too stiff and a tad too short to get a clean tuck in.
4. The Extra – 8.25/10
4.1 Screws – 10/10
Everything you need and then some. Separated in individual bags with proper labels. Great work NZXT.
4.2 Accessoaries – 9/10
Fan hub – 10/10.
I dig it. The last straw that made me go for a case without 5,25 bays. I miss some of the freedom the NZXT Sentry Mix 2 was giving me, but with the included fan hub – I can live without missing it much.
Now the secondary PCB with the lighting stuff – I don’t dig. It just gets in my the way and can’t be disconnected. The little LED in the rear I removed since removing it allows me to nudge that 3rd Ty-147A a few mm down to better match the R1. Sure, whoever wants light – let there be light. But I miss the dissconnect option, since it is directly soldered.
4.3 Fans – 6/10
The fans are descent by budget case “stock fan” qualification, but in reality – they are nothing exceptional. They are not as bad performance / noise wise compared to the fans that ship with 60 EUR cases (like the ones with my HAF912+ 5 years ago), but the NZXT fans do have issues of their own. I took all the fans out and plugged them to my NZXT Sentry 2 controller to test them out. All of the 120 mm fans and the 140 mm fan had a very pronounced “clicking” noise coming from the bearing which was audiable through the complete RPM range. I took one of my trusty 3 year old Silent Wings 2 and one of the FN V2 fans side by side. The difference is like night and day. The be queit! fan outshines the FN V2 in all aspects. For those who are too lazy to google:
FN V2 – 1200 RPM – 45 CFM – 0.9mm H2O – 21 dBA
SW2 – 1500 RPM – 50 CFM – 1.63mm H2O – 15.7 dBA
In reality, when both set at 800 RPM – the FN V2 pushes a bit more air, but it is twice as loud to my ears. The pitch that the Silent Wings 2 produce is much more pleasant to my taste.
Now – the worst thing that a 120mm FN V2 is around 11 EUR with 2.95 shipping or 9.44 EUR with 5.90 shipping – depending one how many fans you buy – either option is viable, but for the sake of the argument I will just call it 10 EUR.
So FN V2 for 10 EUR with average specs, with a clicking Rifle Bearing and 40 000 hours life span. Now the Silent Wings 2 is a fan for 21 EUR, so comparison will be rather ridiculous. But the problem comes when I take out one of my Shadow Wings (or SW1) – it is the same blade design as SW2, the frame does not support screw mounting like the SW2, it is as well a Rifle Bearing instead of FDB, but with a life span of 200 000 hours, 1 dBA louder than SW2, but it comes at the price of 13.39 EUR with 5.90 shipping and performs almost identical to the SW2.
All in all – the FN V2 is 138 grams, and the SW1 is 220 grams. You can really feel the quality difference just by holding them.
Bottom line – H440 fans – not impressed. I would have preferred the case to come with no fans but 30 EUR cheaper or instead of an internal fan hub – to have an internal fan controller and no fans.
5. Performance – 8/10
For the full performance evaluation - see the next post.6. Noise – 8/10
A little background on noise in my particular situation. I live in a city center which is closed for vehicles. The closest road is approx 70-80 meters away. With the occasional occurrence of a drunk student passing by – at 3 AM - the only noise producer is my computer and myself. I took a sound meter once, but it just sat there at 21 db. Regardless if the PC was on or off. Regardless if I was breathing or not. That is just the ambient noise level. 21 db is 10 db lower than the lowest threshold most reviewers use. It is also 3 times as quieter as the 30 db norm that everyone is talking about. Now I do not have Superman hearing – I only have very low ambient noise level and very sensitive ear to computer fans. I can easily distinguish between a be quiet! SW1 fan running at 600 and 800 RPM from the distance of 30 cm. So from here on – everything is based off the fact that human ears are more sensitive than any measurement equipment your Average Joe can get. Now back to the topic.
Noise was pretty mediocre at the begging. The moment when I took the stock NZXT fans and stuffed all the be quiet! goodness – it was like night and day difference. I could no longer hear the case fans themselves and I was left with the noise of the dual Cryorig XF140. Swapping those out for a trio of TY-147A and that noise disappeared as well. The H440 is does rather well to filter out sound from smaller fans – like the dual 75 mm fans I have on my Asus card. Also HDD noise was reduced to some extend, but still noticeable. Where it fails though is the filtration of sound of larger – like the XF140 fans. The XF140s at 750 RPM were just as loud in the H440 as they were in the HAF 912+. The TY-147As however were easier to tackle. The H440 allowed the 147As to hit 730 RPM before I started noticing them – up from the 620 RPM required in the HAF 912+. There is something definately going on with lower pitched/rumbling sound profiles being more resistant.7. Price – 7/10
To be honest, for a price of 131 EUR – the H440 falls quite short. Its my own opinion that the H440 should land at 100-110 EUR to really reflect what it is worth.
Silent Base 800 can be found for 124 EUR
Fractal’s R5 can be found for 109 EUR
Anidees Ai6v2 can be found for the same 130 EUR
All of those are superior cases in performance / noise department, specially the Silent Base 800 which comes with the most superior case fans a case has ever shipped with.Bottom Line:
avg*[avg*(Build Materials + Assembly + Layout + Extra’s) + avg*(Performance + Noise)] + Price = final performance/noise/value score
avg*[avg*(9+9+8+8.25)+avg*(8+8)]+6 + = avg[8.5625+8]+6 = avg*8.28125+7 = 7.640625
But then again - that is without factoring in the Aesthetics. As I already said - the H440 New Edition (Windowless) is a beauty. As my own personal score, I believe another .5 points are worth to be given here. Giving the H440 New Edition (Windowless) a solid 8.
In the end - am I happy with this purchase? I am. Sure, 131 EUR might be a bit on the expensive side for the H440 offers, but the sacrifices are something I am willing to make for those aesthetics.
A Few words of advice:
The H440 can't handle more than 200W-300W of heat without increasing noise significantly.
Blower style video card will do wonders in this caseEdited by Shneiky - 2/3/16 at 7:37am