Editor's Rating

The H230 is the perfect case for a very compact setup. Trying to fit more than the bare essentials will only result in headache and pain. The case gives excellent value when used for its purpose. The H230 is not for the faint of heart but will work perfectly for compact PC builders and cable management enthusiasts.

7
Compact, Fits bare essentials, Great Value

Today, we look at a mid-tower sized NZXT chassis from their H series. The H230 is the smallest in the Silent H series.

Specifications

  • Size: Mid Tower
  • Model Number: CA-H230I-B1 Black
  • Drive Bays: External 5.25″ x 3, Internal 3.5″/2.5″ x 6
  • Cooling System: Front 2 x 120mm ( 1 x 120mm included ), Rear 1 x 120mm ( 1 x 120mm included ), Bottom 1 x 140/120mm
  • Clearance: CPU Cooler 158mm, VGA Card 400mm w/o HDD Cage, 290mm with HDD Cage, Cable Management 14mm
  • Dimensions: 195mm(W) x 447mm(H) x 502mm(D)
  • Material: Steel, Plastic
  • Motherboard Support: Micro-ATX, ATX, MINI-ITX
  • Expansion Slots: 7
  • External Electronics: 1 x Audio/Mic, 2x USB 3.0
  • Product Weight: 7.25kg
  • Warranty: 2 years

Design and Features

At a glance, the H230 is a simple and slick black box. The front features a high polish, mirrored surface that will require a window cleaner to maintain its factory brilliance.

There is an eye catching vertical separation on the left along with some vents. This feature draws the eye to the NZXT logo at the bottom of the front panel. The side panels are solid black with no distinctive features, while the backside has 7 expansion slots.

Once again, NZXT has excelled in their minimalistic design decisions.

The USB 3.0 slots are found along side audio inputs and the power buttons. This case does not come with any built-in USB 2.0 slots.

The innards of the H230 are true to its mid tower specification.

In addition, NZXT has provided a variety box of screws, including motherboard standoff pegs inside the box.
Build Process

For this build, we used the following components:

  • Processor – AMD Phenom II X6 1055T
  • Cooler – Arctic Freezer 7 Pro Rev 2
  • Motherboard – ASUS M4A79T Deluxe
  • RAM – 4x2GB G.Skill Ripjaw 1600 Mhz
  • Graphics – EVGA GTX480
  • HDD – 1 TB Samsung Spinpoint F3 x3
  • PSU – Antec Truepower 750 Blue

Due to the compactness of the case, it was quite intimidating to install an ATX motherboard, making cable management crucial in order to ensure a successful build. As the build went on, it became more apparent that this is a case for minimal components.

The power supply fits snugly in its slot, though there are some minor annoyances since the cables are big and heavy. The motherboard also sits properly inside the case.

The majority of the build problems arose when trying to plug cables into the motherboard. Cables that had to run through the top holes had lots of difficulty going through said holes. A lot of maneuvering and tugging was required in order to fit the cables through. At this point, the H230 seems a bit too compact. Some of the big power plugs barely fit. Some pre-planning is required for cables in order to ensure success. On the first try, the motherboard had to be removed due to the lack of planning. It is a much better idea to feed the correct power cables through the proper holes before installing the motherboard.

The large GTX480 did not sit in the expansion slot as snugly as hoped. Some forceful maneuvering was required in order to screw in the graphics card properly.

The cable management is a painful annoyance, but one cannot expect too much leeway for a compact case. Even in the face of the problems with cable management, hard drive installation proved to be just as troublesome.

The power and SATA cables fought each other for space, and a combination of straight and L shaped SATA cables had to be used in order to optimize the space. If an L shaped SATA cable is used for a drive, the drive below it must use a straight SATA cable. In addition, the drives are not securely locked for some reason. The other side of the hard drive must be held down when installing the power cables. It is advisable to leave an empty hard drive bay between the hard drives in order to avoid this issue. If you plan to have more than three hard drives, removing one of the HDD cages is no longer an option.

The rest of the components were installed without too many problems, however, adding additional fans will require more pre-planning. For example, the bottom fan must be installed prior to putting in the power supply.
Noise Reduction

The H230 surprisingly blocks a good amount of noise for its size. For normal operation, most of the mid and low range noise is shielded. Although this case offers decent noise reduction for normal usage, it fails to provide reduction as temperatures rise. The fans approach max speed more easily due to the restricted airflow. Once again, cable management is crucial in order to avoid airflow issues. When playing a resource hungry game, the noise is very noticeable. Upon zip tying cables and putting some thought into the airflow, the difference of noise reduction became readily apparent. In a nutshell, thoughtful planning is required to maximize the H230 to its full potential.

Value

At an MSRP of $69.99, the H230 provides adequate value for its compact size. It trumps competitors of the same price range due to its design. Albeit, the eye candy traits becomes illusions as the build proceeds. One must keep in mind that this is a compact case, after all. Attempting to fit a mid to full sized gaming setup will only bring headaches.

Conclusion

The H230 is the perfect case for a very compact setup. Trying to fit more than the bare essentials will only result in headache and pain. The case gives excellent value when used for its purpose. The H230 is not for the faint of heart but will work perfectly for compact PC builders and cable management enthusiasts.