Page 4 - Installation and Conclusion
As the front was looking a bit bare, I decided to install a few more fans to the front of the NZXT H210i for intake. Thus, I used two of my NZXT Aer F140 fans, which fit well in this case. With the removable fan bracket, the two fans were quite easy to install. I placed the frame back on the front panel with the fans installed and covered it with the included plastic mesh filter. As I have already mentioned, you could either put a 240mm radiator or two smaller 120mm fans in this area if you so desire. There are also holes on the front where you can connect the fans to the smart hub inside. Just to note, if you do choose to mount a radiator, we have a total clearance of 85mm at the front for both the radiator and fan, which should be fine for most users.
Next, I routed the power cables for the Seasonic PRIME 600 Titanium Fanless 600W and placed the power supply in. I routed these cables up the back side for the CPU and through the side for the motherboard and graphics card. This step is important to do ahead of time, as these routing holes may become more obstructed as you start installing more components. This case is a bit bigger than what you might expect a mini ITX case to be, so if you use a smaller SFX power supply, you should check that the cables are long enough. Otherwise, NZXT says you can put a power supply of up to 311mm long, which is more than enough space for my own unit.
With the cables in place, I mounted and installed my mini ITX system. This includes the Gigabyte GA-Z170N-Gaming 5 mini ITX motherboard with an Intel Core i5-6600K mounted under a CRYORIG C7. The CRYORIG C7 is a pretty low-profile cooler overall, but the H210i has more than enough room, with compatibility of CPU coolers up to 165mm in height. Top mounted liquid cooling options are limited to 120mm, so larger radiators will need to be put at the front. Two sticks of Patriot Viper 4 Blackout DDR4-3600 2x8GB DDR4 memory are also mounted to the motherboard. I also installed my EVGA GeForce GTX 760 into the single PCI Express slot on the motherboard. For your reference, this case can accommodate cards up to 325mm long and 44mm thick. One neat thing NZXT has included with their case is a little nub that fits into the holes above the power supply shroud. With this small height, it lifts any installed graphics card up to help with preventing any sag, while also keeping enough clearance for some air to pass in or out. I think this design is quite ingenious as it is quite minimal and still accomplishes the same goal. Finally, I installed a Gigabyte UD PRO 256GB at the front with the plastic 2.5-inch drive sled here and routed the necessary cables.
After all of this, I plugged in all of the internal connectors, such as the front USB 3.1 header and the HD audio pins. One thing common between all of NZXT's H-series of cases has been the fact the front I/O pins are all together in one block. Typically, the power switch, power LED, HDD activity, and reset switch are on individual wires so users have to install them one by one. With this single header, users only need to plug this single block in without determining where each pin goes where. I know it is a small thing, but the front connectors are one of the most annoying things to install, so I thank NZXT for making this happen again. If the pin layout on your motherboard is slightly different, NZXT also provides a splitter, so you can rearrange the pins as necessary.
With all of the SATA connections finally plugged in and everything cabled in place, here is a look at the back. As you can see, the plastic rails guide cables up and into the front area, while one more at the back is used to hold the CPU cable in place. Since none of the physical limitations have changed, I had no issues working with the H210i. As a concession, I used the bottom basement for any extra cabling, especially as I did not install any 3.5" drive there. Overall, installation was a breeze and NZXT should be happy with what they accomplished here.
The latest version of NZXT's software, CAM 4.0, offers some welcomed changes as well as a revamped layout from last year. It is available from NZXT's website. The installer is about 1.6MB in size, but after downloading and installing, CAM is closer to 267MB in disk usage. As of my review, I was testing with version 4.0.13. This software is technically still a beta, but it is the only one available from NZXT at press time and I personally found the software to behave pretty well. Nothing has really changed since my review of the NZXT H510 Elite, so you can read that review for more information on the software behavior. One thing that has seemingly disappeared is actually the software to take advantage of fan speed optimization based on the microphone module, as the new version of CAM does not seem to have anything other than two fan curve settings based on temperatures. According to NZXT, this should be coming back in the near future. As for now, you can still make your own curve if you so desire.
With everything plugged in, I fired up my machine, and it whirred to life. As for the sound output, I selected the default NZXT CAM preset fan curves. According to the standard APH Networks sound scale, where 0 is silence and 10 is loud, the NZXT H210i is 4.5/10 under load, while a quieter 2.0/10 in lower load situations. I took these listening measurements while I disabled the two fans I installed personally, only marking it based on the pre-installed fans. This is not much different from the H200i and unsurprising considering we practically have the same build with the same fans as last time. The only different noise-contributing component between my older build and this one is the slightly quieter power supply. Overall, these fans are still quiet for day-to-day use, though I still want fluid dynamic bearing fans for a longer life span.
While the bridging of the road in my area was an exciting change, it did not bring a whole lot of fanfare as the road quietly opened and people started driving on it. Similarly, the NZXT H210i may be a new case, but the changes here are not big changes whether externally or internally. Instead, the new revision of their H-series mini ITX case brings a few modernization updates and convenience changes. This means a lot of positive points from the first case carry over here too. We still have the excellent build quality. Its solid steel panels and tempered glass feel polished and sturdy. Internally, we sufficient elements and clearances for even larger components so that you do not need to compromise when building a small system. Storage options are also adequate, with up to four external drive slots and even an opening for the older, larger 3.5" form factor. Other legacy items included with the NZXT H210i are the small standoff for resting the graphics card and the single front connector header for fast plugging. Sufficient cabling space and plastic valleys keep the cables tucked in place for a clean install. As for the things they did change, they were all positive. The tempered glass panel is now attached securely and cleanly. The front I/O features USB Type-C. Finally, the updated hub is here with compatibility for newer lighting strips from NZXT. CAM is also updated with a cleaner design too. If there is one thing NZXT could have addressed, it would be to improve the quality of their case fans to use fluid-dynamic bearings. I also would have liked to see two full-sized USB 3.1 ports at the top in addition to the single USB Type-C. At press time, the NZXT H210i is available for the same retail price of $110 USD. Considering this is the same price as the predecessor, the NZXT H210i builds upon a good foundation, making it still a smart choice for this form factor.
NZXT provided this product to APH Networks for the purpose of evaluation.
APH Review Focus Summary:
8/10 means Definitely a very good product with drawbacks that are not likely going to matter to the end user.
7/10 means Great product with many advantages and certain insignificant drawbacks; but should be considered before purchasing.
-- Final APH Numeric Rating is 7.4/10
Please note that the APH Numeric Rating system is based off our proprietary guidelines in the Review Focus, and should not be compared to other sites.
The H210i is a solid case that builds off the things NZXT has learned from its past mini ITX option.
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1. Introduction, Packaging, Specifications
2. Physical Look - Outside
3. Physical Look - Inside
4. Installation and Conclusion