Temperatures And Noise
It would have been nice if the small board with its 10 three-pin fan power connectors offered more than just a 12 V setting. A 9 or 7 V option might have allowed us to run the case's fans a little slower. Still, the H440 stays pretty quiet thanks to its moderately low 1000 and 1200 RPM fan speeds. It doesn't hurt to have all of that sound dampening material in there as well.
|Temperatures under Full Load: NZXT H440 (Case Fans at 12 V)|
|Ambient Temperature||22.0 °C|
|CPU (Core i5-4670K) TCore Ø||64.8 °C|
|Radeon HD 7970, Fan 40% = 2371 RPM||74-75 °C|
|Hard Drive||24-25 °C|
Sound dampening materials don’t just keep noise from getting out; they also serve to insulate the chassis. This can result in higher interior and component temperatures. NZXT knows this and compensates, though, including plenty of space for additional fans in the event that you feel the four bundled ones aren't enough.
Even in its stock configuration, the H440 posts some nice performance numbers. Taking ambient temperature into account, it manages to keep our system at about the same temperatures as the more mesh-heavy Cooler Master Cosmos SE. At a comfortable ambient temperature of 22 °C, our little Haswell-based space heater stays under 65 °C, and our 230 W graphics card peaks at 75 °C with its fan speed at 40 percent duty cycle. The 3.5-inch hard drive positioned right in front of the fan predominantly comes in at 24 °C.
|Noise: NZXT H440|
|12 V, Case Fans Only||12 V, Whole System Under Full Load|
|Front (50 cm)||38.7 dB(A)||43.0 dB(A)|
|Top-Left Diagonal (50 cm)||38.6 dB(A)||43.1 dB(A)|
|Bottom-Right Diagonal (50 cm)||38.1 dB(A)||42.5 dB(A)|
As usual, our graphics card is the largest contributor to system noise. That's hardly surprising, given that we're using a reference-class Radeon HD 7970. The Tahiti-based board pushes overall system noise to peaks ranging from 42.5 to 43.1 dB(A). Even though the H440’s sound dampening material results in slightly higher graphics card fan speeds compared to non-dampened cases, it still manages to help muffle sound levels outside of the enclosure.
It's important to note that the sound dampening material is especially effective for diminishing high-frequency noise, which is the most annoying kind. The sound pressure measurement numbers don’t tell the whole story. Subjectively, fan noise is neither loud nor annoying.
The NZXT FN V2 fans, running at up to 1200 RPM, generate a noise level between 38.1 and 38.7 dB(A). Those numbers are certainly too high for an ultra-quiet case, but they are completely acceptable for a gaming chassis. Even if you use passively-cooled components, that's what you're going to hear. Again, the option to slow down the case fans for more casual use would have been nice.
Fortunately, even though the fans generate a bit of motor noise, vibrations aren't propagated through the H440's frame. The fact that the fans aren't decoupled from the case with grommets ends up not mattering.