Toxic: NZXT H440 Special Edition in the test

NZXT has launched a special edition of its H440 case in collaboration with Razer. The case has a balanced look in matt black, with integrated Razer logo inlays. There is also the bright green lighting of the logos, but also of the underbody and of course all the advantages and disadvantages of the NZXT H440. The Special Edition is therefore primarily designed for modding freaks. Our test clarifies which special features have to be considered with the H440.

Intro

NZXT has now made a name for itself in the housing sector. This was mainly achieved through the top cases, which were sent into the race with all kinds of diversity at a lower price. In the meantime, the manufacturer has positioned itself more broadly with its housings and is also trying to serve the mass market with various model series. The brand name, which has meanwhile been raised, also claims a higher price point.

For example, while the Phantom models currently represent the upper class of NZXT, the S series (S = Source) provides models for the entry-level segment. The H-series ranks in between. The H440 Special Edition is a model that was created in cooperation with or with the consent of the peripheral specialist Razer. Special paintwork and lighting want to appeal to this customer base, who also want to match their case to the typical green Razer lighting. That looks damn good too. But what is hidden behind the optics, we clarify today in the test.

Bookmarks

Test environment

Hardware: test station

Regular ATX case

Micro ATX case:

Other hardware:

  • Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 SATA 1.000 GB
  • ASUS DVD burner
  • be quiet! Straight power power supply

Hardware: compatibility

The three graphics cards used fulfill a certain purpose in the area of ​​compatibility. The Gigabyte HD 5770/6770 Silent Cell represents a passively cooled model whose cooling solution only works if at least the ATX air flow of the case ventilation is sufficient. The dual GPU graphics card Radeon HD 6990 comes as a model with the longest dimensions to date and will check whether it is possible to use such a long graphics card in the housing. The MSI GeForce GTX 680 OC TwinFrozr 3 represents a still current high-end model in the graphics card market, which is also expansive, but does not come close to the dimensions of an HD 6990. Since most cases are aimed at gamers, at least this length should be able to be used in cases.

The Thermalright cooler serves as a happy medium for high-end CPU coolers. This model is relatively expansive, but the overall height is not in the extreme range, and we assume that it should simply fit into a player's case.

Hardware: measuring devices

    • We like to use high-quality measuring devices in our tests. Volume measuring stations, thermographic cameras, infrared thermometers, clamp ammeters or simply voltage measuring devices (voltmeters) are used.

Depending on the area and purpose, we sometimes use products from well-known manufacturers such as Fluke or Tenma, in other cases even those from Conrad's own brand Voltcraft. When it comes to noise emissions, we use special devices from ulteeaudiotechnikwhich enable us to make sone measurements in addition to dB (A) measurements. Further details on the measurement technology we use can be found here..

Software: driver

  • Windows 7 64-bit, including all updates up to December 2012
  • Intel chipset driver 9.2.3.1022
  • DirectX 9.0c (June 2010 Update)
  • Intel LAN Driver V. 16.6.0.0
  • Audio driver: Realtek (Windows 7 integrated)

Software: tools

  • GPU-Z
  • Tom Clancy's: HAWX

The test candidate at a glance

Key data and scope of delivery

Key data and scope of delivery NZXT H440 Source Engine
Shape Midi-Tower
Dimensions (W x H x D) 220 * 510 * 476 mm
Materials Painted sheet steel; Plastic; Insulation material
Weight: 9,8 kg
drives:
5,25 inch -
3,5 inch 6
2,5 inch 2
Mainboard specifications Full-ATX, ATX, Micro-ATX, Mini-ITX
Expansion cards 7 slots
Max. CPU cooler height 180 mm
Max. Graphics card length 294 to 406 mm
Max. PSU dimensions not specified
Front panel connections 2 x USB 3.0 / 2 x USB 2.0
Audio (headphones + microphone) Front connections
Features Insulation front, doors, lids; Fan hub up to ten 3-pin fans
Fan slots: (max. 5 x 140 mm)
your Front Wheel. 2 x 140 mm or 3 x 120 mm (3 x 120 mm available)
behind 1 x 120/140 mm (1 x 140 available)
lid 3 x 120/2 x 140 mm optional
page no option
ground no option
Water cooling (optional):
front 120 to 360 mm radiator
behind 1 x 120/140 mm radiator
lid 120 to 420 mm radiator
ground no option
What's in the box various screws and cable ties
installation Guide
dust filter
Screw-in aid Mobo spacer sleeves
sticker
Price (as of April 2015) around 180 euros

The special edition of the H440 is characterized by the collaboration with Razer. Strictly speaking, it would have to be called the Razer Edition - the manufacturer has not chosen that path. The special features include the matt black finish, which appears like a soft-touch surface in photos and can already impress visually. Surprisingly, the paintwork is relatively insensitive to fingerprints. In addition, the Special Edition has green lighting in the style of Razer products. The power button, the logo in the front and the lower left side, but also the underbody are illuminated. This combination makes the H440 SE an eye-catcher, especially when combined with Razer products.

The case wants to be silent anyway, despite four pre-installed fans. You want to achieve this with insulation, which is located in the lid, the front and the doors. However, this is not completely consistent, as a viewing window was installed for the sake of appearance.

Optics is very important here, and the entire plan then also fell victim to the possibility of installing a 5,25-inch drive. So if you still want to work with “outdated disks” - for example a Blu-ray disc - with the housing, you can get an external drive and then connect it via USB. From our point of view, this has been poorly resolved.

There is also a fan hub, which allows the connection of up to ten 3-pin fans and is supplied with power via a simple 4-pin Molex connector. Please do not confuse the information "Fan-Hub" with "Fan control", because NZXT does not offer this option for its hub.

NZXT provides a manual and an additional warning regarding the internal wiring of the fan hub and the lighting elements. The latter only has to be taken into account by the user when he disconnects the existing cabling and reassembles it later, which should not happen in practice. The manual itself is printed in sufficiently large font and deals with the most necessary information - it is more of a rough overview than a manual.

The price is steep. The RRP should be 150 euros, which seems expensive for a midi tower. But the market prices encountered are even higher at 180 euros. A look at the key data therefore does not initially fit the pricing, and so the following pages must show what NZXT offers in practice to justify the price.

Design & Layout

The appearance of the H440 Special Edition should be flawless. The impression conveyed should be matt black and classy, ​​without rough edges with only slightly curved design elements. In fact, the visual appearance is also successful. The matt black finish gives the impression on photos that it could be a soft-touch surface. But this is not the case. Nevertheless, there is a small advantage, because this coating is less sensitive to fingerprints than soft-touch surfaces, and the feel of a housing is not that important anyway - you rarely touch it.

Unfortunately, the design process also fell victim to an installation option for a 5,25-inch drive. So if you prefer not to download a current game with a volume of 50 gigabytes, but rather install it on a data carrier, or if you want to play an older title again in your closet or if you simply want to watch a Blu-ray video, the H440 SE is the right choice at the wrong place. Or he just invests more money in an external USB drive.

There are few surprises on the back, apart from a removable panel for the power supply or the on / off switch for the lighting. There is nothing revolutionary in the lid apart from the usual connections. The bottom has a dust protection filter - one of which is also installed in the front section - and a bulge with drill holes, which is not described further, not even in the manual.
When looking at the external details, it is noticeable that the feet of the H440 are provided with rubber buffers, which decouples the housing and thus counteracts the development of noise. On the back of the case there is a button with which the lighting of the H440 SE can be switched on or off - relatively fiddly to feel. The front section has sloping sides with ventilation openings in which grille inserts have been placed. This is the only area through which the three front fans can suck in air at all. The cover, in which fans or even radiators for water cooling can also be installed, does not have such openings. A poorly thought out plan for the advanced cooling options. The two USB 3.0 ports on the top of the case have not been kept in the usual blue, but rather colored Razer green - the look is again in the foreground.

Interior & ventilation concept

The two outer walls of the NZXT H440 SE are fastened with knurled screws, as are many other areas of the housing that need to be worked on. In principle, this should allow assembly with as little tools as possible, but this fails in practice because the screws are so tight at the factory that they cannot be opened without a screwdriver.
NZXT has lined the two side doors, the front and the lid with an insulating material that is supposed to absorb sound. It has been omitted on the floor, and the side window naturally also lacks sound insulation at this point.

At this point, we had to complain for the first time with the processing, especially the paintwork. The knurled screws, which are attached to fix the doors, for example, are not completely unscrewed - this offers protection against accidental loss. But screwing in the screws again is sometimes tricky. Once these are in their open position difficult to align again via the screw holes. This is due to the “catch mechanism”, but also to the play of the doors in their guidance. On the other hand, screwing in again is relatively difficult to start with due to thick layers of paint.

The H440 SE has two green illuminated Razer logos. One of them is in the front, the second was attached inside the housing on the plastic cover below. The cover is only used for optics and should hide the tangled cables of the power supply unit installed behind it.

Three pre-installed fans in the front and a 140 mm fan in the rear provide ventilation. The front fans can only draw in their air through the small side openings due to the closed front section and the insulation. The heated air is transported away via the rear fan. Although the H440 SE also offers options to accommodate fans (or even radiators for water cooling) in the lid, such air slots are missing precisely there, so that the attempt to blow air out there will probably fail miserably. The few openings that have been created for this on the top to the rear cannot transport the heated air away quickly enough.

With today's test candidate, dust filters were installed in the floor under the power supply unit and in the front. In order to be able to reach the dust filter on the front, you have to remove the front cover. This is attached with several plastic clips.

The Special Edition of the H440 offers a sufficiently large backplate for convenient work when installing the cooler later. In addition, there are of course enough cable bushings, which are provided with sturdy rubber, so that power supply or hard drive cables can be led to the front at the appropriate places.

NZXT has installed the modules for the fan connections and the lighting on the right rear wall of the housing. The H440 offers a fan hub for a total of eight 3-pin fans. However, the fans connected there cannot be regulated. The fan hub and lighting module are already correctly wired at the factory. All you need is the power connection to the power supply unit via a free 4-pin Molex plug.

Once again we come to a point of criticism, and again it is important to address the paintwork. The matt black paintwork is pretty to look at, and there are no flaws, the paint layers are simply too thick for that.

The mainboard mounting bolts are already pre-installed for ATX, but in the case of other mainboard factors these mounting points must be checked and corrected if necessary. The manual is silent on this - however, as with so many housings, it is intended to provide information on punchings in the sheet metal. This is also the case with the H440, but unfortunately you can no longer read it because the layers of paint cover it (see middle picture).

The last thing we noticed was that the thick layers of paint were peeling off. What can be seen in the picture on the right is no dirt residue on the photo base, but paint, which is peeling off. This happens when removing drive bays, screwing in screws or similar assembly processes on the housing.

There are a total of six 3,5-inch hard drive bays on the right-hand side of the case, which could also be "misused" for 2,5 "drives. On the other hand, there are two separate SSD installation spaces directly on the floor below the mainboard.

The 3,5-inch drive bays are again attached with thumbscrews, the slides are made of metal and have no rubber buffers in the guides. Removing it, but especially reinserting it, turns out to be fiddly, because here too there is space between the screws and the screw holes. The screwing in of the screws is initially stiff through the layers of paint.

While SATA power connections are predominantly found in current housings and internal power supply of feature sets, NZXT remains with the H440 SE with a standard 4-pin Molex connector that is connected to the power supply.

Installation

Manual

NZXT includes a multilingual manual with the H440 Special Edition. Of course, this is not too thick and the information is shown on a few pages.

nzxt_h440_special_edition_ Lieferbedingungen_1

This manual is by no means complete - it only answers the most important questions. For example, it remains open what the bulge in the bottom of the housing is all about and in which mounting holes are to be found. The manual does not provide any information about the various mainboard form factors and the arrangement of the mounting bolts. They wanted to make do with the punchings in the sheet metal, but unfortunately they were "lacquered".

Power Supplies

In contrast, we find the new approach by NZXT to power supply assembly, which you see in the manufacturer's younger cases, very well resolved. The power supply unit has to be pushed into the housing from behind. To do this, the installation plate on the back must first be loosened and screwed to the power supply unit. The installation plate then also serves as a power supply attachment to the housing.

On the other hand, the power supply cannot be reached on the left side of the case. There is a cover here, which visually serves to hide the cabling and at the same time offers space to conveniently mount the 2,5-inch SSD devices on the top. Very clever.

In addition, this approach has the advantage that there is plenty of space for the power supply unit and cables - accessible from the right side of the case, where the clutter of cables does not bother anyone. The gain in space makes it possible to install almost all power supply sizes. At least we are currently not aware of any power supply that cannot be installed here.

mainboard

We don't want to rant again about the layers of lacquer and the illegible stampings for the mainboard assembly. We have explained that sufficiently. On the positive side, the H440 SE has a very large backplate, which makes the subsequent installation of CPU coolers much easier. On the other hand, a fixing point for the mainboard has been pre-installed. Once the main board has been inserted, this point helps to align the mainboard properly with the screw holes so that you can simply screw in the other screws without having to fix the board manually.

Hard drives, SSDs and optical drives

Hard drives are installed using metal installation frames. For this purpose, NZXT has provided screw holes in the bottom of the frame and provided these with rubber buffers. This is to prevent transmission of vibrations. The frames themselves, which are pushed into the hard drive cage, do not offer any decoupling options. In addition, the installation frame must be fastened in the cage with knurled screws. Although this offers a secure hold, it is - as already described - a bit fiddly, as there is room for maneuver here and the screws are not located directly over the drill holes.

The two installation spaces for SSDs can be found on the left side of the case on the floor under the mainboard. A tip: Here too, you should loosen the knurled screws beforehand using a screwdriver, because after the hardware has been installed, the SSD can no longer be reached with a normal screwdriver (with a graphics card or similar plug-in cards). In any case, you cannot loosen the screws with the force of your thumb when you open them for the first time.

Compatibility and practical use

CPU cooler and graphics cards

Our photos show the space available in the NZXT H440 Special Edition. The manufacturer provides the basic installation data for certain components with the following size information - or we comment on our experience below:

  • Power supply: All
    All power supplies currently available on the market, including long models, can be easily installed in the H440 SE.
  • Cooler: maximum 180 mm
    Our Thermalright cooler has a height of 160,5 mm. As our test photo shows, around 3 cm remain before the lid is reached. With a total cooler height of 190 mm, this should definitely be the end of the day in practice. Of course, you have to take into account - depending on the mainboard and the placement of the cooler - that the side wall has an insulating layer. The mentioned 180 mm are therefore very close to reality.
  • Graphics card: 294 to 406 mm in length
    The currently longest graphics cards are named Radeon HD 6990 and HD 7990 or R9 295X2. These are about 31 cm long. This means that the H440 SE is overwhelmed by normal installation - as our photo shows. In order to install graphics cards over 294 mm in length, you have to dismantle the hard disk cage - not described in detail in the manual.
The amount of space in the NZXT H440 Special Edition cannot be described as "lush", but at least it is so well thought out that most hardware enthusiasts will find their home without any problems. The cable management can be described as excellent, especially considering the placement and coverage of the power supply unit.
The bright green Razer lighting naturally provides the appropriate something, and paired with suitable peripherals and the corresponding lighting, the author can subjectively describe the appearance as optically "cool".

Temperature behavior

Let's move on to the preserves, namely daily use. We want to assess the cooling performance and the noise behavior in the delivery state.

Temperatures (passive graphics card)

Last

Corsair Graphite 230T

60,0
NZXT Phantom 630

65,0
Fractal Design Node 804
[Control level: high]

68,0
Corsair Graphite 600T

71,0
Fractal Design Define R5
[Control level high]

75,0
CM Centurion 6

77,0
Fractal Design Node 804
[Control level: Middle]

79,0
Corsair Graphite 760T
[Control level 2]

81,0
NZXT Phantom

83,0
Fractal Design Node 804
[Control level: low]

84,0
NZXT Source S340

84,0
Corsair Graphite 760T
[Control level 1]

85,0
Fractal Design Define R5
[Control level low]

85,0
Aerocool DS Cube

86,0
be quiet! Silent Base 800

86,0
Corsair Obsidian 750D

87,0
NZXT H440 Special Edition

91,0
be quiet! Silent Base 800
[with power adapter]

92,0
° C

Although the NZXT H440 Special Edition comes with three 120 mm fans in the front and actually offers a relatively compact interior, which ensures less air turbulence, the temperatures of the passively cooled graphics card can be found at the top of the temperature scale. The reasons are the insulation of the case and the rather closed front section. There are only the small side slots through which the fans can suck in fresh air and transport it into the housing. These problems also affect the insulated housings from be quiet! or fractal too.

At least the GPU temperature is still within the allowed range (maximum 95 ° C), so that this test can be considered passed.

background noise

Temperatures (passive graphics card)

Last

Corsair Graphite 230T

60,0
NZXT Phantom 630

65,0
Fractal Design Node 804
[Control level: high]

68,0
Corsair Graphite 600T

71,0
Fractal Design Define R5
[Control level high]

75,0
CM Centurion 6

77,0
Fractal Design Node 804
[Control level: Middle]

79,0
Corsair Graphite 760T
[Control level 2]

81,0
NZXT Phantom

83,0
Fractal Design Node 804
[Control level: low]

84,0
NZXT Source S340

84,0
Corsair Graphite 760T
[Control level 1]

85,0
Fractal Design Define R5
[Control level low]

85,0
Aerocool DS Cube

86,0
be quiet! Silent Base 800

86,0
Corsair Obsidian 750D

87,0
NZXT H440 Special Edition

91,0
be quiet! Silent Base 800
[with power adapter]

92,0
° C
volume

back

Fractal Design Node 804
[Control level: low]

13,4
Fractal Design Node 804
[Control level: Middle]

15,9
NZXT Phantom 630
[smallest control level]

17,5
Fractal Design Define R5
[Control level low]

17,8
Aerocool DS Cube

18,5
NZXT H440 Special Edition

19,7
be quiet! Silent Base 800
[with power adapter]

20,4
CM Centurion 6

22,1
Corsair Graphite 760T
[Control level 1]

22,8
Corsair Graphite 230T

23,6
NZXT Phantom 630
[maximum control level]

24,6
be quiet! Silent Base 800

25,0
Corsair Graphite 760T
[Control level 2]

25,5
Fractal Design Node 804
[Control level: high]

25,5
Fractal Design Define R5
[Control level high]

25,5
NZXT Source S340

26,3
Corsair Obsidian 750 D

27,1
dB (A)
volume

top

Corsair Graphite 760T
[Control level 1]

12,5
Fractal Design Define R5
[Control level low]

13,3
Fractal Design Node 804
[Control level: low]

14,6
NZXT Phantom 630
[smallest control level]

14,8
NZXT H440 Special Edition

15,0
Fractal Design Define R5
[Control level high]

15,2
Aerocool DS Cube

15,6
Corsair Graphite 760T
[Control level 2]

15,9
Fractal Design Node 804
[Control level: Middle]

16,2
be quiet! Silent Base 800
[with power adapter]

17,3
CM Centurion 6

17,5
be quiet! Silent Base 800

19,1
Corsair Obsidian 750 D

20,8
Fractal Design Node 804
[Control level: high]

23,8
NZXT Source S340

24,1
NZXT Phantom 630
[maximum control level]

24,2
Corsair Graphite 230T

27,0
dB (A)

The NZXT H440 Special Edition can only delight us with the reduced volume. Silent is on the to-do list of promises, thanks to the insulation that has been introduced. The Silent proves to be true with the reduced sound pressure on the front and on the lid (top). The almost 20 dB (A) on the case back is still acceptable, but not silent. In this case, no fan control would have helped, otherwise the cooling concept would not have worked.

Regarding the 19,7 dB (A), we would like to explain that the perception of this noise is of course less clear when the back is free in the room. If you place the housing in front of a wall, the sound is reflected over it and perceived more clearly.

Translated: The NZXT H440 SE is a fairly quiet representative of its genre, but real silent fans will not be happy with it.

Overall rating and conclusion

Test scoring NZXT H440 Special Edition
What's in the box o
volume +
Ventilation concept / options +
Assembly +
compatibility +
application o
Cable Management ++
Price -
Caseking: from around 180 euros Amazon: from around 185 euros Manufacturer product page

The NZXT H440 Special Edition is a really special case in our case tests. It is simply designed for a certain area that might want to represent the perfect optical coordination of its PC with the help of green illuminated Razer products. And if you do this, you will get a great PC with absolute certainty.

There are certainly some points in the NZXT concept that can be praised. We really like the cable management in connection with the hidden power supply, and the background noise can also be described as good. The silent factor promised by the insulation is by no means achieved for spoiled ears.

intro

But there are also shortcomings, and the workmanship has to be mentioned. For example, paint layers that were applied too thickly and paint coming off during assembly work. It seems to us that we have a first generation NZXT case in front of us, because the last models we saw no longer had these problems.

Because of the optics, there was no installation option for 5,25-inch drives - still an unacceptable step for us. This seems bearable, especially in the age of many broadband solutions, but one should not forget that broadband internet is not available everywhere. In addition, you can forget about installing or using older media / games, and watching a Blu-ray Disc on the device connected to the TV is just as easy. Here it would have been up to NZXT to at least create alternative options to set itself apart. As a result, the interested user only has access to an external, USB-bound drive to eliminate the shortcoming.

However, this means an investment again - at least 60 euros are due for such an external drive. So far we have not taken into account the purchase of the Midi-Tower from NZXT. For this, a proud 180 euros are currently due. That's the price of a high-end, big-tower-class case. The Razer green lighting does not comfort us about the price, and beyond that we find few arguments that justify this price.

[pg], April 17, 2015

About David Maul

David Maul is a qualified business IT specialist with a passion for hardware