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William E.

William E.

Joined on 09/07/08

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Product Reviews
product reviews
  • 15
Most Favorable Review

Lovely and clean, but not without (minor) faults.

NEW NZXT H440 STEEL Mid Tower Case. Next Generation 5.25-less Design. Include 4 x 2nd Gen FNv2 Fans, High-End WC support, USB3.0, PWM Fan hub,  Matte BLK/Black, Closed Panel
NEW NZXT H440 STEEL Mid Tower Case. Next Generation 5.25-less Design. Include 4 x 2nd Gen FNv2 Fans, High-End WC support, USB3.0, PWM Fan hub, Matte BLK/Black, Closed Panel

Pros: I upgraded my old X58 build from its original NZXT Zero 2 to this H440 case because I wanted more hard drive bays, better cooling, and most importantly, better cable management. This case practically begs for a modular power supply if you're not doing a new build (or even if you are), so if it's an upgrade to your old rig, take it as an opportunity to upgrade your power supply. Cable management is the whole reason you buy this case, end of story. And the case does, true to form, make it easier to manage your cables, especially if you have a lot of hard drives. It punishes you pretty severely if your cables are too long, or at least it did for me, because I found it difficult to run excessive lengths of cable once the case was fully loaded. That said, the motherboard side of the build looks better now than it ever has and there's nothing in the way of good airflow. I especially like the SSD mounts on top of the power supply cage and the hidden eleventh drive bay on the floor of the case next to the PSU. My temperatures are reasonable with the new cooling setup -- three intake fans and four exhausts mean that I have a negative-pressure setup. (I'm hoping that'll help with dust as I live in a dusty old house.) My CPU temps are about ten degrees higher over the old Zero, but on quiet air cooling (as configured in the BIOS), I'll take it. (My Xeon X5650 still idles around 100 degrees.) I can't hear the case over my headphones, and that's all that matters. Most noteworthy is that my GPU now vents heat much more efficiently -- I suspect this is because of better airflow to its fan. The old GTX 260 still hits 180 degrees during gaming sessions, but it's down to the high 120s in minutes. The craftsmanship is to a beautifully high standard. Everything is painted black inside and out, making for a beautiful, clean appearance that's going to be easy to maintain. All the corners are rounded off and all the edges are bent over -- no more slicing my fingers open trying to move stuff around. There's plenty of points onto which you can mount zip ties or other wire ties, and I used many of them in my build. I need to refine my mounts at the time of writing, but there's plenty of options in that regard.

Cons: I wish the sound-deadening material on the right side access door were thinner. That'd make it so much easier to put the door back on when completing a build. I also wish the hard drive trays were designed better so you could use two 2.5" drives at the same time. The problem is that the screw holes are staggered and you can't fasten two of the screws with a drive in place. I've got some 2.5" to 3.5" adapters that would render that a non-issue -- put a few on your shopping list if you use a lot of SSDs or laptop hard drives. (The latter seems to find their way to me, and I put them to use with non-essential data.) Speaking of the 2.5" drive mounts, you'll really want a straight SATA connector for the ones on top of the PSU shroud, both for power and data. The data connectors MUST be straight, and the power connectors really should be, though it's not required. Add a few extensions to your shopping basket if you're considering the H440 -- you'll be glad you did. And if you want to mount a 2.5" drive beneath your 3.5" on one or more of the trays, you'll also need a straight connector -- the angled one will be in the way of the 3.5" drive since it has to be upside down. Oh, and the upside-down drives are weird for cable runs. (Kinda makes me wish Corsair had sent an inverted SATA cable, whether mistakenly or intentionally, because it'd be worth its weight in gold. Oh well.) It's heavy. (Both a pro and a con. Hey, it's steel. Steel is durable, but it sure is heavy.)

Overall Review: Overall, the H440 is a great case and a far sight better than my old 2009 case. NZXT has come a long, long way since that old box and I'll be putting parts into this case -- and possibly doing other builds in other H440 cases -- for as long as it stays available. I love the minimalist aesthetic, a true rarity among PC cases. The top-mounted power button is weird, though, not gonna lie. The outer case seems to draw fingerprints like no one's business.

Want a cooler GPU? Of course you do!

NZXT RL-KRG10-B1 Sleeve Kraken G10 GPU Bracket
NZXT RL-KRG10-B1 Sleeve Kraken G10 GPU Bracket

Pros: So I bought a used GTX 660 Ti for my gaming box. It's a great card, but the stock cooling isn't too good. EVGA, in their wisdom, based it on Nvidia's reference cooler. When I went to closed-loop cooling for my computer, naturally I decided I had to do the graphics card in addition to the CPU. The Kraken G10 lets you use many of the popular closed-loop solutions on the market with your card, provided your card is compatible. My temps have dropped dramatically; I'm lucky to hit 135 degrees under full load and that's after a protracted session in Skyrim. (So I'm a bit behind the times with my game selection. Whatever.) After I'm through gaming, I idle under 100 degrees, and that's a big achievement with a graphics board. My card is factory overclocked and appears to handle the rigors of heavy gaming with aplomb; I've noticed no artifacts or other oddities since removing the stock cooler; I will admit that I was a bit concerned about cooling my VRM with only a fan and adding no cooling whatsoever to my RAM chips. I guess if the video card blows up, it's an excuse to go in for a GTX 970 ;-). It's a lot cheaper than a graphics board with a built-in water block, and with a cooler, it's cheaper than the water block for a custom loop.

Cons: It's not a huge con, but installation is a little fiddly and you'll want to invest in that third hand (or cajole a friend into helping you) before you start. You'll definitely want something to tighten nuts with -- in a pinch, needlenose pliers work. You will probably void your graphics board's warranty by using this bracket. Whether that's a con is up to you; my card was used and EVGA's lifetime warranty isn't transferable. If your board is a non-reference design, the G10 probably won't work, and some AMD users will need longer screws (which NZXT supplies, but only if you contact their support department).

Overall Review: I recommend a better thermal grease than whatever schlock your closed-loop cooler vendor sends along with the cooler. I love Arctic Silver Ceramique 2. I ordered the black bracket to go with my black H440 case, and I'm sure it'd look sick if I was running a case with a side window.

Ice cold, baby. Ice freaking cold.

CORSAIR Hydro Series H50 120mm Quiet Edition Liquid CPU Cooler - Intel Only (CW-9060006-WW)
CORSAIR Hydro Series H50 120mm Quiet Edition Liquid CPU Cooler - Intel Only (CW-9060006-WW)

Pros: If you want a cold CPU, or a cold GPU, this is the cooler to get. It's relatively easy to install (less so for the GPU, but then Corsair doesn't support it on a GPU) and keeps your system icy cold. I'm running a Xeon X5650 and a GeForce GTX 660 Ti FTW+ in my old X58 rig and the air cooling numbers were (stock cooling on both CPU and GPU) 167 degrees under Prime95 load for the CPU and 180 degrees under FurMark load on the GPU.<br><br>With the H50's installed? I can't get the CPU to 110 degrees (stock speeds) and the GPU maxed out at 114. I'm playing maxed out Skyrim UNDER 100 degrees and my few DirectX 11 titles aren't far behind. I'm idling at or near room temperature. With a 4.1 GHz overclock, I'm lucky to hit 135 degrees under load and I idle between 10 and 15 degrees above ambient.<br><br>It's physically easier on the motherboard than a large air cooler.

Cons: None, really, if you have a case with an opening for accessing the motherboard's back side. It's a bit tough to install if you're working by yourself. For whisper-quiet and ice-cold computing, it's a small price to pay for a slightly inconvenient installation. I'd knock off an egg if I installed these for a living, but I only put in two.<br><br>The backplate is plastic, so be careful.<br><br>The tubing is a bit short for those of you with larger cases. Your mileage may vary, see dealer for details.

Overall Review: Unless your overclocking needs and case call for a custom loop (no thanks!) or larger closed-loop radiators, the H50 is a great combination of value and performance. I look forward to doing another build and using one of these.<br><br>The slight gurgling noise when I turn on my computer is both a little scary and kinda cool.

A great PSU for the money.

CORSAIR RM Series RM850 850 W ATX12V v2.31 and EPS 2.92 80 PLUS GOLD Certified Full Modular Active PFC Power Supply
CORSAIR RM Series RM850 850 W ATX12V v2.31 and EPS 2.92 80 PLUS GOLD Certified Full Modular Active PFC Power Supply

Pros: Stable power delivery -- handled several hard drives and two video cards with no problem. I like how quiet it runs -- if I unplug all my fans except for the CPU fan, I can't even tell the PSU is running. The Corsair Link feature sounds interesting and I'm sure that if I had the hub, it would be. I ended up removing that second video card because reasons, but I'm still very pleased with this power supply. Corsair includes two EPS cables. If I can find a conventional ATX board with dual sockets, it's a realistic option to run it now. (And, yes, I am looking for a dual-socket LGA 1366 motherboard, because my Xeon needs a friend.) Oh, and there are three PCIe power cables, so if you have the yearning to do a triple SLI setup, you can. The cables are nice and long so you can run them anywhere you might need to. That's nice.

Cons: There's no USB cable to connect the Corsair Link port directly to the motherboard. Boo. (Corsair makes one, but you'll have to buy it separately.) The cables are a bit stiff and hard to work with. For my NZXT H440, I wish there were straight SATA power connectors for certain areas inside the case.

Overall Review: I ended up cutting off some of the Molex connectors on one of the peripheral lines. Yeah, it's ugly, but it does make my cable run neater between the PSU and the USB 3.0 port card. Combined with quieter fans and a quieter GPU, I can hear myself think in front of my workstation now.

(Almost) Idiot-proof.

VANTEC HDA-250M 2.5" to 3.5" Mounting Kit
VANTEC HDA-250M 2.5" to 3.5" Mounting Kit

Pros: Bought three of these to put in my old X58 build. They are quite easy to install, although I had to use the provided screws to mount them to the hard drive rails rather than the intended pressure pins. No big deal -- now my SSDs and old laptop hard drive ride in the case securely.

Cons: I wish they were light gray to match the insides of my case, but that's neither here nor there.

A great deal on a good drive.

SanDisk Z400s 2.5" 128GB SATA III Internal Solid State Drive (SSD) SD8SBAT-128G-1122
SanDisk Z400s 2.5" 128GB SATA III Internal Solid State Drive (SSD) SD8SBAT-128G-1122

Pros: It's a reasonably fast SSD with a low cost per gigabyte. One of these drives injected new life into my old ThinkPad X200; once I decided to shelve that unit for good, it gave new life to my gaming PC with a SATA 3 controller card. The Z400s benchmarks OK (401 MB/s seq. read, 184 MB/s seq. write) and performs well in real-world usage scenarios as well. Even limited to the SATA 2 bus, this drive will inject new life into that older PC (13-second boots into Debian with the aforementioned ThinkPad!!), and it's not a terrible choice for new builds either. Not great, but not terrible.

Cons: It only benchmarks OK. CrystalDiskMark 5.0.2 (x64) reported sequential reads of 401.3 MB/s (far shy of the stated 546 MB/s maximum) and 184.2 MB/s on sequential writes (again, a far cry from the stated 342 MB/s maximum). I wonder if this isn't because of the fact that I'm hanging these drives off a SATA 3 controller card rather than using native SATA 3 on a motherboard. My mobo doesn't support SATA 3, so I can't say with any certainty. That's a small price to pay for such a cost-effective upgrade, though, so you won't hear me complain too loudly.

Overall Review: If you're after a cheap SSD to give a little bit of a jolt to that old PC or laptop, you'd be hard pressed to do better. I currently use two of these as boot drives in my desktop PC, one for Windows 10 (NTFS, obviously) and the other for Debian 8 (ext4).