Single page Print

Let's build
For a case featuring innovative hot-swappable front intake fans, I was hoping for a little more attention to tool-less detail throughout the rest of the build process. 3.5" hard drives and optical drives can be popped in without reaching for the toolbox, but situating and affixing everything else will require some elbow grease.

The 3.5" sleds are a bit tricky and confusing at first. Merely slotting the hard drive into the pins of the caddy will result in a drive that does not fit back in the case. You must push these pins in with your fingers (or a screwdriver, in my case) until they are flush with the rest of the tray. Once the pins are properly in place, prying them out will require a screwdriver or lever of some sort. The pins have rubber shock mounts that sit between the caddy and the drive to help reduce noise and vibration, which is a nice touch. That said, a little extra engineering effort to make the pins easier to attach and remove would be a good starting point for future revisions of this case.

Installing the power supply is a cinch. It's a not tool-less process, but the case provides the PSU a raised, rubberized platform that reduces vibration noise. A cable-management hole, conveniently located near the rear of the PSU, assists in concealing its ugly appendages.

NZXT touts the H2 as supporting E-ATX, ATX, microATX, and Mini-ITX motherboard form factors. While motherboards as wide as 12" can be installed, doing so will involve sacrificing some cable management holes—and possibly hard-drive trays, depending on the board. For this build, we'll be using a standard ATX motherboard.

This is the first case I've used with the now-ubiquitous heatsink mounting cut-out in the motherboard tray, and I can see why that feature has gotten so popular. Not having to remove every component just to install a new heatsink bracket saves an enormous amount of time and stress when dealing with behemoth aftermarket coolers.

To install an optical drive, simply remove the front bay cover and align the drive's screw holes with the two pins of the tool-less latch. Push the pins into the holes, slide the locking switch over, and you're in business. Optionally, screws can be added to eliminate any wiggle you may experience when pressing the eject button.

The component side of the enclosure felt quite spacious to work in despite the mid-tower form factor. Around the other side, however, things got very claustrophobic as I struggled to find crevices in which to cram the stupidly long and non-modular cables of a power supply designed for full-tower enclosures. Several rounds of rearranging were required so the side panel would slide back on. Regardless of what Sir Mix-a-lot might tell you, this was a classic case of too much junk in the trunk.