In and Around the NZXT H630

The exterior of the NZXT H630 is a wonderfully simple, beautiful thing. They asked me if I wanted a black model or the two-toned white and black version; I think the white and black is beautiful, but at the end of the day, black goes with everything. Where I suspect users may take some issue with the H630 is in its use of a predominately plastic shell, but the plastic actually makes sense for the design from at least a practical perspective. Keep in mind that the chassis itself is built of sturdy steel (essential for producing a vibration-free and silent enclosure). My mistake, the outer shell is also steel.

Gallery: NZXT H630

As I mentioned in the introduction, NZXT eschews using a door for the H630; instead there are just two 5.25" bays on the front of the case, with the NZXT logo at the bottom and a dim white activity LED at the top right. The unusual contour at the top of the front fascia blends with the contour on the top of the case itself, creating a beautiful accent. Unfortunately, I feel like NZXT didn't quite capitalize on the opportunity to add a little bit of discreet ventilation here. On top of the case is the power button and a recessed reset button, and the ring around the power button glows a soft white when the system is powered on.

If you take a tour around the case you're going to see a lot of flat surfaces, but the way the case is vented is slightly unusual. The right side of the case sports the switch to toggle the I/O lighting along with the audio jacks, USB ports, and the integrated SD card reader. Beneath this cluster is a patch of fairly inconspicuous ventilation, but that ventilation is not mirrored on the opposite side. That's a tough judgment call to make; I understand why the opposite side isn't vented, but I do think it would've been a reasonable sacrifice to make for potentially superior airflow. Around the top rim of the H630 is more similarly discreet ventilation. Note that like the chimney on the Nanoxia Deep Silence 1, this ventilation does not correspond to headroom for fans or radiators.

The two side panels are held in place by thumbscrews, and mercy of mercies, they're hinged. The top and front panels are also designed to pop off, but on my pre-production review unit, the front panel is borderline impossible to remove. This is a recognized flaw in the review batch of cases and it's my understanding that it will be corrected in retail. I personally find the choice of dampening material particularly interesting; NZXT opted for 7mm thick sheets of closed cell foam on the insides of the side panels along with the interior of the top panel.

When you do reach the H630's interior, it's pretty traditional NZXT. There's a slight incline surrounding the motherboard tray to aid in cable routing, but I was disappointed to see the modular drive cage design doesn't inherit the brilliance of the Phantom 630's 1-2-3 stacking. Instead there's a 3-2-3 combination. Note that there are also two 2.5" trays docked behind the motherboard tray; this area gets toasty, but it's totally reasonable for SSDs and is a great way to free up space in the interior proper.

While I'm fond of the H630's design overall, and I believe the plastic shell was actually a smart design choice given the case is still 30 pounds, the interior isn't quite as progressive as the Phantom 630's was. I get the sense that NZXT definitely still has room for improvement here. Externally, though, I think it's absolutely stunning and breathes new life into the "black monolith" case aesthetic. That, and while I've never been a big fan of the "stormtrooper" look of NZXT's Phantom cases, the H630 is stunningly and wonderfully tasteful and sleek.

Introducing the NZXT H630 Assembling the NZXT H630
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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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