loading
loading

Dark or Light
logo
Logo

NZXT H1 Mini-ITX Case Review

Mini-ITX has never been so easy

By Robert Baddeley on March 15, 2020 | Hardware Reviews | 0

There are countless mini-ITX cases on the market from just as countless numbers of manufacturers.  Making a splash in the market these days requires innovation, razzle-dazzle, and a splash of luck.  The new NZXT H1 promises to deliver great performance in a small package by doing what few, if any, have ever done: take advantage of vertical space to preserve a small desk footprint.  In this review, we’ll take a closer look at the beautiful NZXT case and hopefully answer the important question: is the juice worth the squeeze?

Specifications

  • MSRP: $349.99 (Official Site, Amazon)
  • Dimensions: 187mm x 387.7mm x 187.6mm (13.6L Volume)
  • Materials: SGCC Steel and Tempered Glass
  • Weight: 6.53kg
  • Motherboard Support: Mini-ITX
  • Front I/O:
    • 1 x USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C
    • 1 x USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A
    • 1 x 4 Pole Headset Audio Jack
  • Filters: All Air Intakes
  • Expansion Slots: 2
  • Drive Bays: 2 x 2.5”
  • Radiator Support: 1 x 140mm (Integrated)
  • GPU Clearance: 305mm x 128mm, 265mm x 145mm (Up to 2.5 Slots)
  • Included Components:
    • 650w SFX 80Plus Gold Modular Power Supply
    • 140mm AIO Liquid Cooler
    • PCIe 16x Gen 3.0 High-Speed Riser Card
  • Two Year Warranty on All Components

The Build

The first thing I want to stress is how impressed I was initially just upon taking the case out of the box.  I didn’t know nearly anything about the H1 going into the review - just that it was mini-ITX.  From a company like NZXT you expect quality however the amount of thought that went into creating this case is evident from the get-go.  With a tall case like this, I was dreading that it would feel tipsy but the base was very well planted, even while empty.  The front and rear panels were removed completely toolessly using a friction-based click-in system.  It requires just enough force to pull out or put back in that I felt confident that it was going to fall out on its own.

NZXT H1

Once the front and rear panel are removed, the outer shell slides off the top, almost like the cases of yore (if you remember back to those pre-ATX days) but does so much easier and on a rail system that removes the frustration of fitting the case back together.  Once the shell is removed I was greeted by one of the most beautiful things I’d ever seen: an AIO radiator/fan setup that hinged out to allow easy motherboard installation AND nearly every cable being pre-routed for me.  As a person woefully incapable of producing acceptable cable management I cannot describe how delighted I was to see that I was not going to have to attempt cable managing such a small case.

NZXT H1

The PSU is located at the top of the case but has a power extension routed to the bottom for you.  The PCI-e riser is also preinstalled in the correct position, as well as the PSU motherboard connectors, which are also the correct length to eliminate the overhead that usually comes with installing a PSU in such a small area.  The front panel connections are also brilliantly simple.  No longer are they individual pins for power, reset, H.D.D LED etc.  NZXT has made them a single plug that fits right onto your motherboard.  Why this isn’t standardized across the board, I couldn’t say.  But not squinting to see which pins are which (or digging out a motherboard manual from the bottom of some box) made the building experience all the more pleasant. 

Installing the motherboard was your standard affair and there’s nothing really improved or taken away from the experience by this case, with the exception of the aforementioned pre-routed cabling.   Once installed it was a simple matter of plopping all the cables in their respective places.  The included AIO comes pre-installed with mounting equipment for an Intel, though the AM4 bracket was included and installed completely toolessly.  You will have to have the included backplate and mounting pieces that came with your motherboard though, so if you’re transferring from a previous build hopefully you saved them.  Once the AIO was installed, the radiator simply swung back into place and got screwed in.  As long as you pay attention to the stickers that tell you which way to rotate the tubing it’s a painless experience - just don't’ forget to plug in the PCI-e riser cable beforehand. 

GPU installation and finishing out the build was beyond simple.  My 5500xt that I’m using for this build fit in place without a fuss and the fan intakes sit right behind a grated and filtered side panel, keeping everything impressively cool for a mini-ITX build.  The biggest downside I ran into compared to my old mini-ITX case was lack for 3.5” disk support, with NZXT opting to support two 2.5” drives instead.  It’s by no means a deal breaker, it just required some drive shuffling on my part, but it is something to consider if you’re using parts you already have.  With the pricing on larger capacity SSDs these days, however, two 2.5” bays is more than enough.

NZXT H1

When it comes to temperatures I don’t have any graphs to show you this go around, but just the anecdotal data that I collected while running this little PC through its paces.  Playing a variety of triple-A games like Shadow of the Tomb Raider, Far Cry 5, Destiny 2 and Elder Scrolls Online I kept a close eye on temperatures for the Ryzen 5 2600x I had installed and the Radeon RX 5500xt.  With an ambient room temperature of 21.5c the highest GPU temperature I noted was in Shadow of Tomb Raider at 76c, and the highest CPU temperature was, surprisingly, with ESO at 78c.  For a mini-ITX build not only are these acceptable temperatures but pretty impressive.

Final Thoughts

If you’re looking for a mini-ITX case that comes with key components at an impressive value, looks great in black or white, and is easier to build in than many full-size cases on the market you need look no further than the NZXT H1.  With it’s impressive cooling capabilities, ease of installation (or have them do it if you don’t want to) and small footprint it would make a great addition to any mini-ITX lovers desk space.

The product discussed in this article was provided by the manufacturer for the purposes of review.

9.0Amazing
Pros
  • Small, sleek, and sturdy
  • Fits nearly all size GPUs
  • Comes with 650W PSU and 140mm AIO (!!)
  • Pre-routed cabling
  • Easy, tool-less design
Cons
  • Includes extras that make building easy, but you'll pay for it
  • Only supports 2.5
  • May be hard to access real I/O on the bottom


waffleflopper

Robert Baddeley

Robert got his start at gaming with Mech Warrior on MS DOS back in the day and hasn't quit since. He found his love for MMORPGs when a friend introduced him to EverQuest in 2000 and has been playing some form of MMO since then. After getting his first job and building his first PC, he became mildly obsessed with PC hardware and PC building. He started writing for MMORPG as his first writing gig in 2016. He currently serves in the US Military as a Critical Care Respiratory Therapist.