Friday, April 30th 2021

NZXT H1 PCIe Riser Replacement Kit Hands-On

In response to reports of the PCIe riser cable of its H1 case posing a fire hazard, NZXT in February 2021 instituted a recall of the case in the U.S. and Canada. The flaw in the component's design came to light in early-2020, but it was only by November that it responded to the issue. In its original design, the PCIe riser component was improperly grounded, and a short-circuit could result in a fire. NZXT's first response to this was sending out non-conductive Nylon screws for the users to replace the metal ones the part originally shipped with. This solution wasn't found to be effective, and resulted in a product recall this February. Regulators in the U.S. and Canada directed NZXT to send out free repair kits to existing owners of the H1, along with disposal instructions for the entire case, if the user wishes to discontinue use. We got our Repair Kit, and decided to go hands-on.

The NZXT Repair Kit, and replacement riser card appears to be one of the most solidly built PCIe risers in the market. Thanks to the crypto-mining boom, the market is flooded with PCIe risers of all shapes and sizes, and the NZXT riser looks to be among the better designed ones. What sets this apart from the original design is that now, the downstream (female end) of the riser comes with grounding rings around the mounting holes, similar to motherboards. These are bits of exposed copper that facilitate contact between the ground layer of the PCB, with the sheet-metal of the case. The original design lacked grounding pads on either side of the PCB, and when installed with metal screws, certain PCB traces could get shorted, causing them to heat up and start a fire. NZXT's first solution to this problem was non-conductive Nylon screws. End users with an H1 case, can request this riser cable from here.
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21 Comments on NZXT H1 PCIe Riser Replacement Kit Hands-On

#1
TheDeeGee
So some are still filled with cheese holes...

The repair kit GN showed only had the holes for the H1 in the riser PCB.
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#2
ZoneDymo
NZXT, the XT stands for Extinguish
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#3
Mussels
Freshwater Moderator
I look forward to the youtubers tearing this one apart too, the original design was baaaaaaad
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#4
Sihastru
NZXT is still in shenanigans mode. It's a very different design from the one GamersNexus was sent as a replacement. They will never learn.
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#5
Dredi
SihastruNZXT is still in shenanigans mode. It's a very different design from the one GamersNexus was sent as a replacement. They will never learn.
Yup, in this one there are unnecessary extra holes, and the holes are not even pth. Steve at GN is gonna have a field day with this one, considering how NZXT pitched the one they looked at as the replacement part, instead of a fairytale.
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#6
m4gicfour
In its original design, the PCIe riser component was improperly grounded
That wasn't the issue at all. The issue was that there was a +12V power plane running the entire length of the PCB including within incredibly small tolerances of the screw holes. Running the screw in and out a few times could cut through the PCB enough to contact the +12V line, causing a direct short to the (grounded) case. [PSU +12V->Motherboard->Riser->Screw->Case->PSU GND]

Even with OCP on multi-rail PSUs, there's a good chance that there's enough resistance in that circuit to limit current enough that OCP doesn't trip, while still being far above the current that those tiny riser cables can carry safely. Shit overheats, lights on fire. There's no grounding issue. The riser had an incompetent, defective, dangerous design.

Properly designed PCBs have keep-out zones around things like screw holes where signal and power lines are not allowed to be, in order to prevent exactly this.

NZXT keeps downplaying and acting like the issue was minor. Granted, like most things the riser would have been sourced from a 3rd party and not NZXT designed or manufactured, but I definitely don't trust NZXT after the way they've handled this.
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#7
Baum
and what does Linus@pooptube say to this? He pluged nzxt often, stupid sell-out channel with buttloads of views :-/

To be honest, if a product poses a true risk to any of your customers you should rectify it as fast as possible or vanish from the market.
A house fire is the worst for anyone and can destroy lives in many ways.


SHAME ON YOU NZXT!

no one should buy anything from the again
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#8
Kuber
I just got my replacement riser assembly the other day, and I'm disturbed. I received the same "cheese hole" version of the "Version 2" riser that others have received, that is NOT the same version as the one shown on the newest Gamers Nexus video.

What irks me the most is that I specifically noted in my request for the upgraded assembly that I was aware that there were at least two different versions, one made with a seemingly newly-designed PCB element (without extra holes) and one with, and asked that I be sent one of the newly-designed versions without the extra holes, since that's the one that was shown in the GN video and was x-ray scanned and tested, etc.

And they sent me the crap version anyway.

Now I'm in a bit of a quandary. I was really looking forward to getting started with the build, but now I'm wondering about the safety of even this "new" assembly. It does have the new metal contact casing around the top where the screw head will contact the PCB board, and the vias are there going through the PCB from the front to the back, and the new screws do fit easily into the intended hole without disturbing or grinding out PCB dust.

But is it really safe? Do I just use this new riser assembly along with the nylon screws that I also received in the hopes that doubling the solution will fix the problem? Or do I press NZXT to find out why they sent me this one even though I asked for the other?

It does make me wonder if they didn't spend extra money making a few "perfect" assemblies to send out to reviewers, while they went back to the 3rd party products for everyone else.

Unfortunately I bought the H1 through eBay just before the recall, so returning it for a refund isn't an option. I'm sort of obsessed with the case anyway. I really want to turn this thing into a full system. GAH!
Posted on Reply
#9
Mussels
Freshwater Moderator
KuberI just got my replacement riser assembly the other day, and I'm disturbed. I received the same "cheese hole" version of the "Version 2" riser that others have received, that is NOT the same version as the one shown on the newest Gamers Nexus video.

What irks me the most is that I specifically noted in my request for the upgraded assembly that I was aware that there were at least two different versions, one made with a seemingly newly-designed PCB element (without extra holes) and one with, and asked that I be sent one of the newly-designed versions without the extra holes, since that's the one that was shown in the GN video and was x-ray scanned and tested, etc.

And they sent me the crap version anyway.

Now I'm in a bit of a quandary. I was really looking forward to getting started with the build, but now I'm wondering about the safety of even this "new" assembly. It does have the new metal contact casing around the top where the screw head will contact the PCB board, and the vias are there going through the PCB from the front to the back, and the new screws do fit easily into the intended hole without disturbing or grinding out PCB dust.

But is it really safe? Do I just use this new riser assembly along with the nylon screws that I also received in the hopes that doubling the solution will fix the problem? Or do I press NZXT to find out why they sent me this one even though I asked for the other?

It does make me wonder if they didn't spend extra money making a few "perfect" assemblies to send out to reviewers, while they went back to the 3rd party products for everyone else.

Unfortunately I bought the H1 through eBay just before the recall, so returning it for a refund isn't an option. I'm sort of obsessed with the case anyway. I really want to turn this thing into a full system. GAH!
push them for the advertised one, and contact GN and see if they wanna make more vidyas on NZXT being shady
Posted on Reply
#10
Kuber
My reply to NZXT after receiving a different riser assembly other than the one tested and verified by Gamers Nexus...

We'll see what kind of response I get.
Hello. It took a few days to get the mail, but I can confirm the receipt of an NZXT package containing a riser assembly.

Unfortunately, it looks like I was sent a riser assembly that was not the same thing that I saw tested and x-ray scanned and verified by a third party. I'm curious as to why I was sent an alternative version of the riser even though I expressly requested a "Version 2" riser that did NOT have the extra holes drilled in the PCB board.

The problem is that x-ray scans of the original riser assembly that had the shorting problem showed that the PCB already had a power plane embedded in the board that the extra holes had a zone of exclusion around to make sure the plane didn't come close to those other screw holes. Yet the newly drilled holes for the purposes of the NZXT H1 case showed that the drilled hole was large enough that it made whatever zone of exclusion there (if it even existed) irrelevant, as the hole was as large as said zone, meaning that the power plane was just a tiny distance away from the edges of the hole.

Without having the benefit of someone else doing a new set of X-ray scans on this new device, I'm left with the impression that this PCB board is still some piece of older unused stock that was somehow repurposed for this riser. The existence of these other holes in the PCB board that are not used in the H1 case suggests that this board was already manufactured with the power plane set up for those other holes with the proper zone of exclusion, but that the new additional holes drilled for the H1 case (even though they now have a metallic plate around the top of the hole and vias running through the PCB board) were NOT planned for in the original design of this PCB element, meaning that once again it's highly likely that the power plane is just a tiny distance out from the sides of the screw holes to be used in attaching it to the case.

This leads me to feel uneasy about this replacement and its safety level. Can you provide some more details as to why this PCB board is different than the other Version 1 that had the fire hazard? Can you provide some kind of documentation demonstrating that these new screw holes that have apparently been placed in this new PCB board have the proper zone around them to keep the power plane away from the screws?

Is there a reason why I was sent this alternative Version 2 edition of this riser assembly, when I requested the other version with only the required holes? Were you just out of stock of the other version? And this alternative version was all that you had?

Because I would be willing to wait for the V2 version that I requested if that's the hold-up.

Or do you just not have that other V2 version anymore? Was that a small batch run built specifically for sending out to testers and third parties that were following up on the fire hazard, and then you all went back to using the old PCB stock for all of us customers who just wanted a replacement?

I'm distraught here. I've got a $350 case that I now hesitate to use again because it looks like old re-used stock not originally intended for this purpose was once again used to create this riser.

Can you help me understand why this one is safer than the other Version 1? And why the PCB board with extra holes is just as safe as the one that's been tested and x-rayed by third parties to demonstrate that the power/grounding issues have been eliminated?

Is there any chance you can just send me one of those Version 2 risers that does NOT have the extra PCB holes, and looks like it was built just for this riser and thus engineered with best practices? Just looking for a little help here.

Thanks much in advance. I'm sorry to be a pain but I really have no other choice but to press for some of these answers. The safety of my home and my family is in question here. And unfortunately returning the case for a refund is not an option as I bought it from a third party seller.
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#11
FreedomEclipse
~Technological Technocrat~
GN released a video


At this stage im done with NZXT. They cant be trusted.
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#12
Chaitanya
Musselspush them for the advertised one, and contact GN and see if they wanna make more vidyas on NZXT being shady
Seems like someone has granted your wish:
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#13
Kuber
Yeah, between me sending my reply in to NZXT earlier today and now, GN released the new video, thankfully.

First thing I'm going to do is just see if I can find a better riser cable that will fit the unit.
Then I may resort to using the replacement I've been sent, along with the nylon screws.

Still hoping that maybe NZXT will have another option for me, but at this point, not holding my breath.

But I can say for certain, this is my first experience with NZXT as a company, and it will be my last.
Posted on Reply
#14
Kuber
Well here's their reply...
KuberMy reply to NZXT after receiving a different riser assembly other than the one tested and verified by Gamers Nexus...

We'll see what kind of response I get.
___Begin Response_________

Thank you for reaching out to us regarding your concerns with the H1 Riser Cable.

To ensure we can get new risers to H1 users quickly, we are working with two manufacturers to produce them. Though they have visual differences, each cable has been redesigned and went through the same QA process to ensure the original grounding/short issue is eliminated.

Please feel free to read this article in our FAQ section that includes pictures of both versions of the card: Replacing PCIe riser in H1 Case. Here is also a message from our CEO Johnny with the latest updates on the H1 safety issue.

Thank you very much for your patience and understanding, we appreciate your continued support.

Joseph Taporco
NZXT
nzxt.com
____________________________


So, essentially... a non-answer. Fan-f'ng-tastic.
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#15
Caring1
KuberSo, essentially... a non-answer. Fan-f'ng-tastic.
No, they answered, it just seems you have an issue with it so choose to whine about it here.
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#16
Kuber
Caring1No, they answered, it just seems you have an issue with it so choose to whine about it here.
Well, if you'd read my original support message to them, you might feel different. But whatever.

I already knew there were two risers. I told them I was willing to wait for the better-made riser. No answer there as to why I was sent the one I specifically requested not to be sent.

No answers about reassurances as to why the non-reviewed version was made better than the old fire hazard version.

No response about the zone of exclusion concerns due to a PCB board that was already manufactured for some other purpose, and that new holes had to be drilled in it.

Nothing about whether or not I could now acquire the better-made riser assembly.

But sure, call it "answered".
Posted on Reply
#17
Caring1
KuberWell, if you'd read my original support message to them, you might feel different. But whatever.

I already knew there were two risers. I told them I was willing to wait for the better-made riser. No answer there as to why I was sent the one I specifically requested not to be sent.

No answers about reassurances as to why the non-reviewed version was made better than the old fire hazard version.

No response about the zone of exclusion concerns due to a PCB board that was already manufactured for some other purpose, and that new holes had to be drilled in it.

Nothing about whether or not I could now acquire the better-made riser assembly.

But sure, call it "answered".
Nah, both do the same job, and are manufactured to the same standard, there is no "better" one.
You're just peeved you didn't get the "pretty" one in your opinion.
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#18
Kuber
Since your "same standard" comment is provably untrue, I guess we're done here. Thanks anyway for commenting.
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#19
Chomiq

I'll just leave it here.

Top - cheapo sent out to users
Bottom - the one sent out to media
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#20
Mussels
Freshwater Moderator
If you watched the youtube videos, there is 100% a 'better' riser

Ones low quality and may not even fix the issue, while the other definitely does
Posted on Reply
#21
Kuber
Just received the replacement riser from NZXT that they're calling "Rev 1", as opposed to the "Rev 2" riser replacements that were shoddy and not up to the same spec.

The one I received looks exactly like the updated riser assembly that was sent to the Gamers Nexus crew, which was tested and x-ray scanned and so forth. There are no extra "cheese grater" holes in the PCB. It looks purpose-built for this use, and does not look like it was re-drilled or repurposed from old stock.

I can't do my own scanning and really don't have the tools or capability to see if I can intentionally light this thing on fire, but I do trust the better construction process.

So, the end of this tale (unless I report back later that the thing still lit up and caught the house on fire, lol) is that if you keep bugging NZXT support, you CAN get the better-made riser assembly and for all intents and purposes "fix" the NZXT H1 case to its proper safety level.

Good luck out there with your own story!
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