We can already hear it now. Some enthusiasts are going to love NZXT’s decision to get rid of 5.25-inch drive bays on the H440; others will hate it for depriving them of the option to mount additional peripherals like fan controllers and reservoirs. NZXT certainly makes good use of the reclaimed space though, providing a unique, well thought-out, and feature-rich case that’s built solidly and attractive to boot. Those top and front covers are particularly nice-looking thanks to their smooth lines and large metal surfaces.
In addition to a side window, NZXT's H440 features full sound dampening. Thoughtful accents like the bent motherboard tray allow data and power cables to be routed more easily. Cable management is one of this enclosure's strong suits. Many small, well-placed openings make it possible to optimize routing without much effort. Along the same lines, the PSU has its own compartment at the bottom of the case that’s hidden from view and illuminated by a stylish NZXT logo. Not only can you hide unused power supply cables in there, but also other loose leads as well.
The covered areas next to the side window conceal the separately-removable hard drive bays too, which can barely be seen from the outside. Since there aren’t any external 5.25-inch drive bays, the hard drive bays are spaced farther apart than usual, allowing for largely unobstructed airflow generated by three bundled case fans up front. And if you want to use a graphics card longer than 30 cm, simply remove one of the hard drive bays. Or, if you're using a 36-cm radiator, pull them all out. Even then, there's still space for one 3.5-inch or two 2.5-inch drives at the bottom of the case.
NZXT's H440 has several other handy features. For instance, there’s a small board with power connectors for up to 10 three-pin fans and additional spaces for SSDs on the PSU cover. Lighting inside of the case is stylish, while outside it's functional, helping you see the expansion slots and I/O shield.
We like that we can use CPU coolers up to 18 cm-tall and, with the previously-mentioned caveats, radiators up to 28 or 36 cm-long.
Really, we're not left with much to complain about. You don't get a ton of room for cable routing behind the motherboard tray due to the sound dampening material. But bends in the tray and hidden cable space in the PSU compartment make up for this. We really did miss the option to control case fan speed. They aren't overly noisy, since the fans don’t transfer vibrations to the frame, but a controller would have been an appropriate inclusion. Finally, the front dust filter is a bit difficult to access. You have to remove the entire front cover before it can be freed from its magnetic supports.
NZXT’s H440 is perhaps the most uncompromising built-for-looks PC case currently available. It features an elegant design with lighting that looks good and serves a practical purpose. The large window lets your go-fast components take center stage, as the power supply and storage devices are strategically hidden behind solid side panels. Finally, cables can be hidden from view almost entirely.
Enthusiasts who can live without 5.25-inch drive bays and are in the market for a quiet (albeit not silent) enclosure with lots of features will find NZXT's H440 to be both unique and elegant. The white-black model will run you $140 on Newegg, as the black-red version sells for $120. Even though we wish it had a fan controller, we're perfectly comfortable recognizing the H440 with our Tom's Hardware Smart Buy award.