“Shhhh,” it’s NZXT’s silent case, the H230. NZXT’s silent mid tower comes in at a competitive MSRP of $69. This is a relatively cheap case that is geared toward the enthusiast that wants to keep noise levels down. Below are the specifications:
|NZXT H230 Specifications|
|Motherboard Form Factor||Mini-ITX, Micro-ATX, ATX|
|Drive Bays||External||3x 5.25″|
|Cooling||Front||1x 120mm intake fan (supports 2x 120mm)|
|Rear||1x 120mm exhaust fan|
|Bottom||1x 120mm fan mount|
|I/O Port||2x USB 3.0, 1x Headphone, 1x Mic|
|Power Supply Size||ATX|
|PSU||170mm with bottom fan / 280mm without|
|GPU||290mm with drive cage / 400mm without|
|Dimensions||17.6″ x 19.8″ x 7.7″
447mm x 502mm x 195mm
|Special Features||Acoustic padding
Removable drive cage
At first glance you notice the very glossy polished paint. Our test unit came in black, but it also is offered in white as well. There are very simple side vents that feed the front intake fan and the opening front door that reveals the front 120mm intake fan as well as the three 5.25″ bays. There is a little flash of silver on the door and the sturdy round feet. Overall, a very simple layout that looks stylish without being flashy.
On the inside, everything is kept simple as well. There is some foam padding for sound deadening and a couple low rpm fans. The removable drive cages are a nice touch as well and are necessary to fit large video cards. The 5.25″ drive bays lock tightly while the 2.5″ and 3.5″ are secured by easy to use flimsy plastic retainers. While I’ve had no trouble with retention even while transporting the case, it is a little disconcerting. The rear space behind the cables are tight, but keeping your build simple and clean is kind of what this case is all about. For most builds I think no one will run into snags, but if you’re tucking four PCI-E power cables, and maxed out your SATA cables you’re going to have to get creative in getting the rear panel shut.
Overall, this is supposed to be a silent case so I tested its noise reduction performance and thermal capacity with the noisiest CPU and GPU coolers I could find:
|CPU||AMD Trinity A10 5800K Black|
|Motherboard||GIGABYTE GA-F2A58M-DS2 FM2+ / FM2 AMD A58|
|Graphics Card||Sapphire R9 290x ReferenceSapphire R9 290x Tri-OC|
|Memory||2x4GB Crucial Ballistix Smart Tracer DDR3-1600|
|Drives||Samsung 840 250gb SSD and Western Digital WD VelociRaptor 1TBSamsung 5.25″ BD-ROM/DVDRW Drive|
|CPU Cooler||Stock AMD|
|Power Supply||Enermax Platimax 1000w|
I measured this setup at idle after 30 min and at after full load for 30min. Ambient temp was 77F or 25C.
|CPU Temp (Idle)||34*C|
|GPU Temp Reference Cooler (Idle)||55*C|
|GPU Temp Tri-OC (Idle)||37*C|
|CPU Temp (Full Load)||70*C|
|GPU Temp Reference Cooler (Full Load)||92*C|
|GPU Temp Tri-OC (Full Load)||72*C|
|Drive Temp SSD (Full Load)||34*C|
|Drive Temp HDD (Full Load)||37*C|
Overall, the temperature were bordering on the safe limits, any longer with the reference GPU I would suspect there would be throttling. The case fans airflow is pretty weak and it shows that it has a hard time getting rid of a lot of hot air.
|Idle with Reference GPU (1 inch)||
|Idle with Tri-OC GPU (1 inch)||28 dB|
|Idle with Reference GPU (3 ft)||29 dB|
|Idle with Tri-OC GPU (3 ft)||26 dB|
|Full Load with Reference GPU 1in||57 -67 dB*|
|Full Load with Tri-OC GPU 1in||38 dB|
|Full Load with Reference GPU (3 ft)||55-64 dB|
|Full Load with Tri-OC GPU (3 ft)||35 dB|
There is an asterisk for the reference GPU as in Uber mode it would ramp up fan speed for brief moments to a deafening 67 dB in just 30 min of benchmarking. You can circumvent this by manually adjusting fan speed to keep this from happening. 57dB was with 45% fan constant, which is better, but not really good for usage without good noise canceling headphones. The sound deadening is not enough to thwart the sounds from loud GPU fans.
The perfect silent chassis for users looking for the bare essentials is how NZXT describes their offering, and I would say that is correct. NZXT puts up this budget offering a lot of nice features for a reasonable price and it’s easy to build as well. That being said, someone thinking about this case should really consider what they want in their build. Our testing indicated having something for higher end gaming will put you in a place where you have something that’s neither quiet nor cool. I would recommend water cooling for this case or a overall fan replacement with a controller if you wanted to have a high TDP CPU and/or GPU. Idle noise is great and would be good for something like a media computer, but the full load noise performance could be achieved with a case with better cooling and fan control. The price point makes it so that it might make you spend the extra money for something with better cooling options or something with more sound deadening instead of modifying the H230.
NZXT H230 ATX Mid Tower Computer Case – $59.98