Look Mom, No Optical Drive Bays
We've watched the usefulness of optical drives taper off over the years due to two important trends. First, hard drives are larger, offering massive capacities at lower cost. That means you can cram a lot more of your digital information onto disk. Second, we're consuming content differently. Movies are streamed, games are downloaded, and files are backed up to those bigger, cheaper hard drives, either locally or in the cloud.
Much of the data that was transferred from CD or DVD to your hard drive now goes from the Internet to local storage. For those few cases when an optical drive is needed, one external device can serve all of your systems sufficiently.
PC case manufacturers are starting to react, bidding 5.25-inch optical drive bays farewell (even though those aren't the only peripherals this decision affects). The first representative example in our labs is NZXT's mid-tower H440, which closes the gap between the company's H230 and H630 models. You can buy the H440 in either a white finish with black accents or a black finish with red accents. It also features noise dampening, a large window, and ample fans, straight from the factory.
In the place of those scrapped 5.25-inch bays, NZXT includes more interesting features in this chassis' design. For instance, hard drives are installed differently, there are power connectors for up to 10 fans, and the interior is compartmentalized. If you like your systems clean and tidy inside, the H440 is probably going to be right up your alley. Fittingly, the case’s slogan, straight from the manufacturer’s website, is "Remarkably Clean."
Although it sold out fairly quickly after launch, the H440 is now available again online for $120 in black and $140 in white.
NZXT’s H440 features an elegant design with lighting that looks good and serves a practical purpose. 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.
Packaging and In The Box
When we received the H440 from NZXT, it hadn't yet been made public. Consequently, our sample didn't arrive in retail packaging, rendering us unable to unbox the case and introduce its bundle piece by piece.
NZXT's manual hadn’t been printed yet, so we only got a pile of screws, an above-average number of cable ties, a bit to help with motherboard spacer installation, and an NZXT sticker made from stiff metal foil.
Technical Specifications and Front Panel
|Dimensions (HxWxD)||51 x 22 x 47.6 cm|
|Weight||Approximately 10 kg|
|Form Factor||ATX, microATX, mini-ITX|
|Drive Bays||6 x 2.5" or 3.5"2 x 2.5" (Above the PSU)|
|Fans||Fan hub with 10 x three-pin connectorFront: 2 x 14 cm or 3 x 12 cm; 3 x 12 cm (1200 RPM) includedTop: 2 x 14 cm or 3 x 12 cm; none includedRear: 1 x 14/12 cm; 1 x 14 cm (1000 RPM) included|
|Optional Water Cooling||Front: Up to 28/36 cm radiator Top: Up to 28/36 cm radiatorRear: 14 cm radiator|
|CPU Cooler||Up to 18 cm|
|Graphics Card||Up to 30/40 cm, including protruding cables (with/without hard drive bays)|
|Power Supply||Up to 40 cm, including protruding cables|
|Cable Management||1.77 to 3.25 cm|
|Price||$120 (Black)$140 (White)|
Up top, the NZXT H440 features two USB 3.0 and two USB 2.0 ports, as well as the requisite HD Audio connectors, all of which are clearly marked with fittingly modern labels. The power and reset buttons are located on the far-left side of the case's top.
Controls for the optional case lighting are moved to the top of the enclosure's back in order to maintain the smooth, uninterrupted appearance of the most visible panels.