Page 3 - Physical Look - Inside
Popping the two side panels off is a slightly different experience than you may first expect. As you saw from the second to last picture on the preceding page, the two side panels are held on with captive thumbscrews, which is pretty awesome. While this is not a surprise for a steel panel, this makes more of a difference for the tempered glass side. The see-through panel is held in with a metal frame that has two metal pegs sticking out. This secures into the side of the case where holes line up. The panel is then secured at the back with the captive thumbscrew. The glass panel otherwise sits on top of the power supply shroud lip. No rubber or foam padding exists here to prevent any side panel vibration, which is a bit disappointing. Overall, I really like this way of holding the glass panels, as it provides an easy way to install and remove the side panel while securing the glass panel with both pegs and screws. The glass itself is decently thick at 4mm. The top, left, and right edges are bordered with a black outline to prevent handling marks. The glass not tinted at all, making it quite easy to see through. One thing I do want to note is the terrible plastic wrap NZXT used for the H500. While both previous NZXT cases were wrapped in easily removed plastic coverage, I had great difficulty removing the H500 shrink wrap that tore and stuck too much. It is not a big deal, but it is a small change that NZXT should take into consideration.
Internally, you can see the NZXT H500 is a relatively open case, though the division between the top and bottom is quite clear. Due to the division extending outside of the case, you can tell where the basement is divided off from the motherboard area. As such, majority of your components will go on the top where the glass panel exposes it, while the bottom is full of the power supply and any larger drives you may want to put there. There is no drive caddy for optical drives, though that has been gone for practically all of 2018, so to think it would be present here would be silly. The dividing aluminum is not solid all the way, and instead filled with many holes. This allows air to pass through the two areas, but also allows for another benefit, as we will see later on.
Looking at the main area where the motherboard sits, you can see the NZXT H500 already comes with the necessary standoffs installed. These have been painted over in black to match the rest of the dark interior. At the top we have the single NZXT Aer F120 Case Edition fan, which has some slightly changed specifications from the retail Aer F120 we looked at previously. This is the 120mm fan here, but you can install up to a single 140mm fan or radiator here, assuming you have enough clearance. It is situated in the middle of the top panel, so you may run into some compatibility issues, but your mileage will vary. Cabling holes exist at the top to route in various cables like the CPU power cable and hide any extra cables you may have from your CPU cooling options. Speaking of which, the large opening for the back of the motherboard exists so users can install a backplate for the aforementioned cooling without having to remove the motherboard. The edges of this cutout are rounded over and smoothed to prevent any accidental cuts that might otherwise occur. The back has an open slot for a single 120mm fan or radiator with the back I/O output beside it. Underneath, we have the seven expansion card slots with individual screws for each.
At the front of the NZXT H500, you can see how NZXT has dealt with the cable management as well as their front cooling options. First, we have the signature metal bar that covers over the large routing hole behind it. At the very front, we have an interesting approach to the front mounts. Since the front panel does not come off from the H500, you will need to use this removable front plate from the inside. From here, you will have approximately 60mm of clearance for any sort of cooling, whether it is two sets of 140mm fans or up to a single 280mm radiator. You could probably install fans in front of the plate, though this will block the side and bottom filtered intakes. Otherwise, you will notice how there are two more drive caddies above the power supply shroud. This attaches to the holes on the surface, making for a pretty neat way of mounting drives. This is a similar thing to what NZXT did with the H700i and I really like it as you can mount any two 2.5" drive here in multiple positions. Large routing holes exist near the back to allow for data and power cables to pass through here.
Unlike the two previous H-series cases we have looked at, the H500 is missing an "i" in the name, which indicates this case is without any of NZXT's smart hub for fan or lighting control. As such, at the back we have a pretty basic set of items here. An H500i model does exist with the included hub plus some lighting strips. All of the front input cables are here and sleeved in a black cable to keep its discreet nature. This includes a USB 3.0 front header, an HD Audio jack, and the front panel pins. Like the other NZXT cases, this front panel pin connection is all together in a single block design, making it super easy to plug into your motherboard instead of fishing with individual wires. Again, all case manufacturers just need to do this, especially most modern motherboards follow the same pin layout. Otherwise, we can see the large routing hole, followed by a plastic valley for holding cables. Two Velcro straps are also placed here to secure cables in this valley. In between the case side panel and the back, we have approximately 1.8mm of cable spacing, which I find to be a bit tight. We will see what this looks like later on when we install into this case. At the bottom, a single drive cage exists to store two 3.5" drives here. You can only store the larger drives here since the cage is really just a metal box that attaches to the side of the hard drives. This is a bit disappointing, but once again we will see how this affects our final build later on. Otherwise, we have an area at the back for the power supply with a mesh filter underneath. There are no rubber or foam pads here to prevent vibration noises, which is too bad.
1. Introduction, Packaging, Specifications
2. Physical Look - Outside
3. Physical Look - Inside
4. Installation and Conclusion