Assembling the NZXT H630

While we're still not quite at Corsair levels of obscene ease of assembly, NZXT's designers are still pretty clearly thinking about the end user and how to make their life as easy as possible. That means an included fan hub with both of the included fans already connected and carefully wired, motherboard standoffs already installed, and smartly routed header cables. With all of that in mind, it should come as no surprise that assembly went mostly smoothly.

Popping the I/O shield in was a non-issue, and about the only thing NZXT has left to do to make motherboard installation easier is to place an alignment stud at the center mounting point as Corsair has taken to doing. Clearance around the testbed board was good, and the right-angled SATA ports were easy to connect without issue. The H630 is a pretty decently sized case, but that size is mostly well utilized.

I'm not completely sold on having the drive sleds oriented to enter from behind the motherboard tray instead of above it. NZXT's logic is that you'll only really use them when you're installing and removing drives and thus need to cable everything anyhow, and their logic is sound. At the same time, the area behind the motherboard tray is almost always a no man's land in any case, and when I tinker with my desktop (and I tinker often) I typically avoid removing that side panel at all costs. So while I prefer having the drive trays slide out from above the motherboard tray, I can see where they're coming from.

The 2.5" drive trays that hang out behind the motherboard tray are a fantastic addition and perfect for SSDs, though. These are held into place on rails and a single thumbscrew each, and they're very secure. I've chided NZXT for their flimsy 3.5" trays in the past, though, and I regret to inform you that those flimsy trays are still present in the H630. The modular drive cages themselves are all held in place by four thumbscrews each, and they're on rails. For review purposes I removed the bottom two to clear airflow from the 200mm intake fan. Due to the way drives enter the drive cages, a right-angled SATA connector can't be used for the bottom-most drive in the cage, and clearance for bending SATA power leads is far less than ideal.

As I mentioned, the front panel on my review unit just wasn't coming off, so unfortunately I can't comment on how easy or difficult a 5.25" drive would be to install. The shields for the 5.25" bays are actually screwed into place, which I appreciate for security's sake but it does make my job a little bit more difficult.

Finally, installing the expansion cards and power supply and then wiring everything up was for the most part pretty easy. I think NZXT runs into a little trouble with routing the AUX 12V lead, as the holes in the motherboard tray for routing that cable are narrow. I'm also concerned that while the H630 should support 360mm radiators in both the front and the top of the enclosure, clearance in the top may be problematic. Since the fan mounts are hidden by the top panel, it would've made more sense to either increase the height of the case or shift the 120mm and 140mm mounts closer to the outside of the case rather than dead center. As it stands a radiator or fans will run the risk of butting up against VRM cooling or RAM slots; our testbed has enough clearance, but it's extremely tight.

It's hard to complain too much about the H630's interior, but this isn't quite the kind of progress we saw when NZXT moved to the Phantom 630. The H630 is using essentially the same internal chassis as the Phantom 630, but the Phantom's more elegant drive cage system is missing. It honestly seems like NZXT wasn't entirely sure what to do with the extra real estate afforded by dropping down to two 5.25" bays when it came time to design the drive cages.

In and Around the NZXT H630 Testing Methodology
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  • zero2dash - Tuesday, May 14, 2013 - link

    This case won me on looks but the thermal/noise results leave a little to be desired. It definitely has a very nice feature set though, with the included SD card reader and the fan distribution block on the back side of the motherboard tray. Reply
  • lwatcdr - Tuesday, May 14, 2013 - link

    I would say that it needs more fans running slower. As a reviewer you have a big problem with a case like this. Do you review it with just the fans installed? Seems like they mean for you to install more fans. Do you install both an air cooler and an AIO cooler? If so which coolers do you pick? The best value, the best performance? Over all it is a difficult taks because if the reviewer loads it up with good fans and AIO coolers it will perform better than out of the box but what about the guy that buys it and just wants to stick a board in it. I bet this case with the right fans and coolers will work very well. But then that is probably true of most cases. Reply
  • BlueReason - Saturday, May 18, 2013 - link

    Unless you plan on installing the exact same build and don't plan on utilizing any of the fan placement options, the thermal/noise measurements are about as meaningful as Dustin measuring how well the case matched his office furniture. Reply
  • mr_tawan - Tuesday, May 14, 2013 - link

    I'd prefer the control panel (power switch, reset, usb, card reader, etc...) to be on the top instead of on the right side. Still better than the one I'm using (CM Centurion 5, which the power button is just a little bit above the ground. It's not a silent case btw.). Reply
  • lwatcdr - Tuesday, May 14, 2013 - link

    Are any of the fans filtered? Reply
  • JDG1980 - Tuesday, May 14, 2013 - link

    I asked this question to a NZXT rep on techPowerUp and was advised that, yes, the fan intakes are filtered. Reply
  • DanNeely - Tuesday, May 14, 2013 - link

    If you look at the page2 gallery you can see the mesh filters on the bottom intake fans. Reply
  • jagerman - Tuesday, May 14, 2013 - link

    I bought a NZXT H2 case a couple of years ago, which I suppose is the (a?) predecessor to this case, being designed for quiet operation. I must say, it disappointed me enormously.

    For starters, the case was significantly starved for air, but I knew that already, and wasn't putting a particularly hot system inside, so I was okay with that. Judging from the article, NZXT didn't learn anything: this system seems to follow in those footsteps: it's louder and hotter than the competition for even a medium powered system.

    A bigger problem with the H2, and carried through to this system, was that the drive cages were miserably painful to use: hard to get drives in and hard to get drives out of, with sharp metal edges on the drive plugs that seemed to have a tendency to cut under your fingernails. On top of that they're flimsy, as noted in the article. Furthermore they are unidirectional: unlike drive rails on most other cases in this category, you can't choose which way you want your drive cables to run. Apparently, those shitty drive rails are still here, and it's as good a reason as any to avoid the case.

    The other big problem with the H2 didn't appear until a year or so later, when I swapped out my hardware between cases: all of the rubber parts (on the drive trays, and around the holes on the motherboard) had deteriorated to feel chalky rather than soft, and left disgusting black smudges on anything that even brushed them lightly: skin, cables, screwdrivers, whatever. The cables running through the rubberized cut-outs were permanently stained dark black at the point they went through. My hands, after swapping the system out, looked like I had been playing in soot for an hour, and needed a thorough scrubbing afterwords (the black crap did not come off easily).

    From that experience, I'll never buy another NZXT case: they seem designed for very short term use, perhaps engineered to last long enough to make reviewers happy, but are using cheap, substandard parts that they don't seem to care about changing. There are other people in the quiet case market doing a much better job on all of quality, noise, and price; NZXT failed with the H2, and judging from the results and the lack of fixes from the H2's design flaws, that they've failed again with the H630.
    Reply
  • Dustin Sklavos - Tuesday, May 14, 2013 - link

    There's been a major sea change in the way cases are being designed at NZXT since the H2. If the H630 appeals to you I'd recommend it. It's far superior to the H2. Reply
  • Hrel - Tuesday, May 14, 2013 - link

    Fractal remains King of Mid-Tower. (My title for this piece) Reply

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