NZXT H510i: It’s been a long time coming.
I was super excited to finally get my hands on an NZXT case. I’ve been pining to see one in person and work with it. Working on a Pay It Forward build finally gave me the opportunity to buy the H510i, as I finally had a legitimate need for one. The H510 & H510i are revamps of the H500. The “i” in the model name denotes that it has a small micro-controller built in that interfaces with NZXT’s CAM software for fan speed and lighting control options.
Presentation is perhaps NZXT’s strongest marketing tool. They know how to design their media to make you feel like you need them. Their packaging is no different; the box is gorgeous. Instead of a boring brown cardboard box, you get a full-color white and purple (NZXT branding colors) box with plenty of informative media blocks and pictures.
Then it starts to underwhelm. The foam packaging is okay; it does the job, and its not the worst I’ve seen. However, it appears to be just some standard polystyrene (Styrofoam cup grade). Still, I would have liked to have seen a heavier grade soft closed-cell foam used.
The H510i: a break down
Layout & Aesthetics
True to NZXT fashion, the H510i looks great. It’s got the clean straight-line design I’ve come to prefer, which I feel gives the case more elegance. I’ve opted for the matte black variant as, again, it’s clean and minimal. The included LED strips allow you to use RGB to add your accent color(s) and a personal flare.
Top & I/O
The top of the case holds your front I/O, a 3.5mm phono (TRS) connection that is a combination microphone and headphone jack (relax, its comes with a splitter), a single USB 3.1 Type-C, a single USB 3.0 Type-A, and a power button that has an illuminated difusser with white LED around it.
The top also hosts a single fan slot that can hold a 120mm or 140mm fan. This is unfiltered so I suggest you use this as exhaust. I also would have liked to have seen room for two fans here. However, in an earlier conversation about their S340 Elite (which has a similar build style), NZXT’s founder NZXT Johnny explained to me that this feature is deliberately left out in order to reduce fabrication costs and keep the pricing reasonable for customers.
Right & Left Sides
The xiew of the right side of the case is pretty interesting. There are channels/guides to help with cable management. I can say that they do help, though it’s still a tight squeeze. On this side, you will also find the aforementioned micro-controller that is meant to control fan speeds and the case lighting.
The left side is fairly standard for a PC case. It houses up to an ATX-sized motherboard with plenty of room for larger air coolers like the Be Quiet Dark Rock Pro 3. The “cable management bar,” as they call it, looks right at home in this case and does a decent job at hiding cable management sins.
At the front of the left side of the case is a removable bracket. This allows for a 240mm liquid cooler like NZXT’s Kraken x62 or two 120mm or 140mm fans. While the front of the case is solid steel, there are filters for the airflow from the bottom and the right side. In spite of being a little tight, it still seems to offer adequate air flow.
Bottom & Back
The bottom houses the PSU in a bog-standard shroud or basement. This is also filtered, so it will save some abuse to your power supply over time. The back of the case has 7 standard PCI-e slots as well as an additional 2 in a vertical orientation if you want to show off your GPU. There is also the I/O slot for your motherboard and a place for a 120mm fan.
Materials & Build Quality
Here is where the H510i falls a little short. Tempered glass is nice, though I wouldn’t consider it to be a luxury, since it’s become very common place in high-end and entry level cases alike.
While lifting and flexing the case and the right side panel a bit, I found that the steel does feel a bit thin. I could see this getting dented or bent in a minor desk accident. At $99, I would have liked to have seen thicker materials used to give the case a more rigid build. That’s something the Antec P120 Crystal pulls off extremely well, competing in the same price category.
Here is what I think of the H510i
NZXT has a knack for presentation. Their cases look great and the H510i is no exception. If you don’t want the “intelagence” that comes in the “i” model, you can get the base H510 for $70 and you’d be happy. The “i” variant doesn’t add enough to justify the price increase, however, given its lower bill of materials used.
Is it worth it? Well, if you like the ability to control your LEDs and fans using NZXTs CAM software, sure. There is nothing “wrong” with this H510i. IF you don’t care about that, you have two choices: stay in the price bracket and get something a little beefier, or save a few dollars and go with NZXT’s H510 (non-“i”) model – which is great, given its price.
It’s a pretty case; functionally sound. The only issue for me is that its build materials feel a little lacking.