A Closer Look - Outside
The NZXT H2 is made of metal and plastic, but features an aluminum sheet as cover on the front door. While this material is black on the black chassis, NZXT has chosen to keep it silver on the white case, which fits surprisingly well. A thin plastic cover has been placed on this brushed aluminum plate to protect it from scratches and finger prints during the packaging process. The quality of the chassis feels very good and while some may say that 100 USD or Euro seems too expensive, I do believe that there is a noticeable difference in quality between the NZXT H2 and the Xigmatek Pantheon. That is not to say that the Pantheon is of bad quality - on the contrary, it is just fine, but the H2 feels better overall.
Taking a look at the front, NZXT has kept things very simple with a lot of straight lines and the combination of silver lining. It is a welcome departure of the NZXT H001 (formerly called Hush), as that design would have been too old by today's standards. The door swings open to the left, which is not so ideal if you happen to place the system to the right of your works space. Turning the chassis over, it becomes clear, that the interior and framework of the case is all black as well and the PSU has been placed on the bottom of the case. Both sides of the H2 are completely solid and there is no possibility to install any fans here. As this case is aimed at the same market segment as the Fractal Design Define R3, we will be drawing a few comparisons with this chassis. The Define R3 comes with covered fan grills, which you may use to install some additional air cooling.
Taking a closer look at the front of the chassis, NZXT has created an air vent on the bottom of the chassis, to give the front fans and PSU cooling unit some access to fresh air. The two front units push air across the eight hard drive bays, while the door is covered in a thin sound dampening material. You will find three 5.25 inch drive bays at the very top with the same locking mechanism we have seen on the Phantom chassis. This makes it very easy to take them out to give way to the drive bay.
Both front fans have been placed in detachable frames. these use little PCBs to supply them with power. As you can see by the two contact points, the RPM signal will not reach the mainboard. It would have been a nice touch if this were the case, but since the H2 does have a fan controller to adjust the speed anyways, such a small shortcoming can be forgiven.
Taking a closer look at the rear we have the PSU bay on the bottom. There are two ways to install the PSU so it is up to you. A dust filter on the bottom makes sure that no foreign object enters the unit if you choose to have the fan face downward. Seven mainboard expansion bays can be found above that, which are individually protected by metal mesh covers. There are two fairly small, rubberized water cooling holes, to route tubing out the back of the H2. Another 120 mm fan is in the rear - bringing the total number to three within this enclosure - pushes hot air out the back of the chassis. NZXT has routed the USB 3.0 cable out the top left corner. This is a refreshing change to the crude use of a water cooling hole and even though it would have been great to have the option to connect it internally as well.
You will find a pair of audio, one USB 3.0, three USB 2.0 on the top of the H2. NZXT has also placed a simple, three stage fan controller in this part of the chassis, while the rubberized power and reset buttons are to the left and right of the I/O.
Behind that you will find a SATA bay, so you can easily connect such drive to the case. It acts just like a HDD dock. There are no air vents in the bay or in the cover, so the drive may get warm over time. NZXT also allows you to place an additional fan right above the CPU area to pull hot air out of the chassis. By default, a plastic cover has been placed here, which is held in place rather well by four magnetic tips - a cool touch for sure.