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NZXT H510 Elite PC Case Review

By Damien Gula on July 23, 2019 | Hardware Reviews | Comments

NZXT H510 Elite PC Case Review

When we built in NZXT’s H500 mid tower PC case last year, we shared that many were pitching it as the spiritual successor to the celebrated S350. This year, with no allusions, NZXT has release a new lineup of cases as the actual successors to the H-series as well as a boutique version of the H510, the H510 Elite. With several updates to an already winning design, what is it that makes the H510 Elite so… elite? Let’s find out.


Specifications:

  • MSRP: $169.99*
  • Tower Class: Mid-Tower
  • Motherboard Support: ATX, Micro-ATX, Mini-ITX
  • Front Panel I/O: 1x USB 3.1 Type A, 1x USB 3.1 Gen 2 USB-C, 1x Headset Audio Jack
  • Fan Mounting:
    • Case Top: 1x 120mm - 140mm
    • Case Rear: 1x 120mm
    • Front: surface mounting bracket capable of 2x 120mm - 140mm fan support or up to 280mm radiator.
  • 2x NZXT Aer RGB 2 (140mm), 1x fans included
  • Drive Bays: 2+1 2.5”, 2+1 3.5”
  • Rear cable lanes with Velcro straps
  • Smart Device 2 equipped
  • Weight: 7.48 kg
  • Dimensions: Width: 210mm, Height: 435mm, Depth: 428mm
  • Available Colors: Matte White, Matte Black

*Price reflects manufacturer markup in response to tariffs on imports from China.

If you have followed NZXT, they have developed a pedigree of clean, simplistic design. While the bone structure of the cases is largely unchanged, there are some minor redesigns with the H510 Elite that payoff in a big way. Before we dive too deep into the feature set of the H510 Elite, let’s talk about what has changed between the H500 and the H510 Elite.

The first of these changes is to the SSD hard drive trays. The trays for the H500 were held in place with a tension mount. This mounting system required the tray to have slightly taller edges that usually overshot the top of a typical drive. With the trays for the H510 Elite, the tension mount is gone in favor of a combination clip and single screw mount. Just like its predecessor, there are two vertical mounts behind the right hand case panel. 


(Right: Redesigned tray. Left: Old design)

The case front mounting bracket has also seen a redesign. With a slightly wider footprint, the bracket for the H510 Elite is still removable and it creates a slight recess for fan placement. With the previous generation of cases, NZXT cautioned users against placing their front case fans in front of the bracket as it would restrict airflow to the side case vents. The redesign creates a happy medium, allowing fans to be mounted on the front while affording the right amount of space for airflow.


(Right: H510 Elite bracket. Left: H500 bracket)

Another functional upgrade comes in the form of the front I/O. NZXT cleans up the top of the case by updating the USB slots to a USB 3.1 Type-A and a USB 3.1 Gen 2 compatible Type-C as well as merging the audio jacks into a singular TRRS connection for more modern headsets. They do include an audio dongle if you still need a separate microphone and headphone line.

The H510 Elite also features a removable plate near the expansion slots for those so included to vertically mount their GPU. While a PCI riser bracket is not included, this case is ready to show off the GPU you’ve got. Which brings us to the most notable change.

While NZXT’s main series cases still have their stark, monochromatic flat-fronted design, the H510 Elite is designed with a tinted, tempered glass front that sits flush with the rest of the case front. The side panel carries the same tint to match the look, adding just a touch more class to the design. Both have a thin, black matte around the inside to help frame out each piece while hiding the less attractive parts.

Lights and Smarts:

If NZXT’s H510 was a car, the H510 Elite would be the Sport package - it has all of the features that you might expect from the base model, but with enhanced form and function.

While much of that function comes in the form of structural redesigns, the H510 Elite still keeps it on brand with the integration of their Smart Device 2 and Hue2-equipped gear, all controlled through NZXT’s CAM software. Not only does this device control the two pre-installed Aer2 RGB fans, but also the installed addressable RGB LED strip in the top of the case.

Now, I have to admit something here:

When I read the press release for this case, I made an assumption. I assumed that this LED strip would be the same as just about every other LED strip that I have seen before: stuck on with some adhesive that would wear our over time, janky wiring… if you have worked with LED strips, you know what I mean. As it turns out, I was wrong. The LED strip is built into the system and placed purposefully out of sight, but with impeccable cable routing and for maximum effect within the case.

Updates and flashy lights are great, but let’s dive inside.

Building in the H510 Elite:

When I review the H500 last year, I shared that the H500 was “a lesson in spacial awareness and management.” The same rings true about the H510 Elite because no much has changed with the interior space… and that is not a bad thing. NZXT keeps it pretty simple by providing enough room to manage cables without too much hassle.

This does mean that things are going to get a bit cozy while you are building, especially if you are using it as a case for an ATX motherboard. For the build in the H510 Elite, I installed the Gigabyte X470 AORUS Gaming 7 WiFi and found this to be so. Much like its predecessor, the H510 Elite is already set up with the motherboard risers in ATX orientation with a guide post in the center riser position. Fitting a fan in the case top slot can be a little tricky if your motherboard has a larger VRM heatsink, like the Gaming 7 does. I was, however, installing a Corsair LL120, which is a but of a thicker unit than most. This top position can accommodate either a 120mm or 140mm fan.

Speaking of the fans, the H510 Elite comes with NZXT’s Aer F120 Case Version fans in the case rear and two NZXT Aer2 RGB 140mm fans pre-installed in the front mounting bracket. As mention earlier, this bracket is removable from the case, so you will be able to work outside of the case and manage wires before placing it back in. The bracket is secures into guiding slots in the back of the case (like before) and is secured in the front by two thumb screws.

Since I have been going to a whiteout built (and NZXT hasn’t made white version of the Kraken yet), I installed the Hydro Series H100i RGB PLATINUM SE 240mm Liquid CPU Cooler by Corsair - which is slightly smaller than the maximum supported size of 280mm. Unfortunately, this meant that I had to remove the preinstalled fans in favor of the Corsair LL120s, but not before seeing the Aer2 RGB in action. From the fit to the wiring, you can tell that these pieces were designed within the same house because they just fit so well with perfect cable routing and snug fit.

One final note on building involves the placement of the Smart Device 2. Located right behind the above the cable channel, it sits flush with the top of the case. This creates an interesting problem or a creative cable management opportunity, dependent on which way you slice it. In the H500, I used that top portion of the case to as a route for smaller cables, such as fan and RGB connectors. With the placement of the posts, I found that I remove the Smart Device 2, run my cables, and have then tucked away, ever so discreetly.

Hot Take on a Cool Case:

There are just a few random thoughts while building that may proof helpful or they could be the prattling of a madman who spent way too much time building, but I present them to you for your consideration.

  1. The H510 Elite does have a few extra air entry point by the vertical card slots and it does not come with the topside dust filter. There are, however, still air filters pre-installed on the right side of the case, under the front side of the case, and underneath the power supply. Each filter is easily removable or you can flat out remove them if you want to. Not necessarily a bad thing, just a point worth noting.
     
  2. . The NZXT H510 Elite seems to be designed for people who love NZXT’s gear and that are looking to stay within the NZXT ecosystem. This is worth considering before purchasing this case, especially if you have case components such as case fans or RGB controllers. In my situation, I built a system with existing parts from a previous build, including case fans and a closed-loop cooler from Corsair. That meant using Corsair’s controller as well as NZXT’s. Since there is limited room with any case (and internal USB headers) and will usually require separate controller software, choose wisely.
     
  3. The tinted tempered glass to the front really does kick up the aesthetic of (what I consider to be) an already beautiful case design. Creating a recess for fan mountings showcases front facing RGB while the tint helps hide some of the more mundane parts.
     
  4. The thumb screws are a double-edged sword; they are great for ease of access, but can be a touch cantankerous, especially on the right case panel. It can be difficult to know just when each screw clears its respective hole. There were a couple moments during the build where I also untreaded them from their mounting entirely. If I were to redesign one part of the case, it would be those.

Final Thoughts:

While tinted tempered glass and flashy RGB lights are not going to improve the performance of your rig, if you are looking at building a PC showpiece with NZXT style, the H510 Elite is a good starting point. These features do come at a premium price point of $169.99* USD, but if you were to piece an exact part-for-part replica, you would be spending around the same price without gaining the unique features built into this case.

If you like the gear they are putting on the market, the NZXT H510 Elite is a fantastic PC case with a ton of NZXT ecosystem features packed into it. From the tinted tempered glass to the built-in LED strip, from the Smart Device 2 to the Aer2 RGB fans, this case sets a PC builder up with premium gear for a fresh build right out of the box with minimum effort to the builder.

The H510 Elite will be available for pre-order today at NZXT.com.

Pros:

  • True-to-form NZXT style married with boutique features
  • Updates from the H500 (Modernized I/O, front bracket, SSD trays)
  • Tinted tempered glass showcase parts while helping to mute RGB glare
  • Solid build quality
  • Front mount design allows more options for fan/radiator mounting

Cons:

  • Case thumb screws can be a bit finicky
  • Could use one more strap or strap mount for main cable management channel
  • Smart Device 2 placement can either impede cable management channels or help

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