NZXT H510i PC case review — Beloved for a good reason

The worst thing about the NZXT H-series of PC enclosures is that they are so popular. It stings a little to have a rig that looks a lot like everyone else’s. But NZXT deserves that  popularity. It earned it. Its cases are excellent, and the H510i is no different.

NZXT’s H510i is a refresh of its H500i that I reviewed last year. The major upgrades include an improved Smart Device to control the fans and RGB lighting as well as a USB-C port on the front. Most other things are similar or the exact same. The H510i is available now for $110.

What you’ll like

The H510i is beautiful

NZXT’s design is still top-notch. It’s awesome that you can get a fully decked out modern PC case for $110 without having to settle for some slapped together piece of steel. Like its predecessor, the H510i has a sleek and considered overall look. The key visual feature is the shroud that hides the power supply. This puts all of the focus on the more exciting components.

The PSU shroud almost acts like a pedestal for the tempered glass to sit on. That glass then sits like a frame on a monolith looking in as the RGB lighting dances around your GPU and CPU.

The front, top, and reverse side of the H510i are much more muted, but this is also by design. The steel outer chassis looks clean and simple, and it all eventually leads you back to the glass pane. It’s the ideal design for these RGB-obsessed times.

A joy to build with

Another big reasons that NZXT is so popular is because its cases have a lot of extras that make life easier. And here’s a secret: That’s not just important to first-time PC builders. You don’t get better at cable management, you just start to care less.

But the H510i, like with other NZXT cases, features built-in cable lanes, guides, and Velcro straps. It’s so easy to keep your build looking clean and organized, that you’ll just find yourself doing it automatically.

The case also has simple drive trays that connect to its internal grating or just inside its reverse-side panel. I hate cables, but I’m also bad at getting them to do what I want. But NZXT is proof that engineering can really facilitate that process.

Its’s also super easy to get the glass panel and reverse-side panel off without a ton of effort. Even the PSU is easy to access despite its shroud.

All of this makes the H510i one of the top cases I would recommend to someone building their first PC.

And if this is your tenth PC, the H510i is still really nice. It comes with pre-installed RGB lighting, and the CAM controller does a decent job of managing that as well as the case fans. The Smart Device V2 even has a built-in noise-level monitor, which is really cool when you’re trying to make your rig as quiet as possible.

Quiet and cool enough

The H500i surprised me last year with its dual-exhaust fan setup. That case’s two fans drew air out from the back and the top of the case, and it worked very well to keep everything cool. The H510i keeps that design, and it’s still just as functional.

Without any additional case fans, the H510i never hit thermal throttling on the CPU in an extended run of F1 2019’s benchmark. The temperature topped out at 68-degrees Celsius in my warm office. And while it ran far from silent under load, it is still relatively quiet.

What I especially like about the NZXT’s fan setup is that it leaves the entire front of the case open if you want to use that to mount a radiator and fans for an AIO cooler.

What you won’t like

Still no USB 2.0 on front panel

I need to let this go, but I’m not ready to do that yet. USB 2.0 is definitely on the way out. You can now get modern, high-end motherboards and PC cases that don’t have a USB 2.0 port. And as someone who still runs some virtual reality headsets, this is a problem. It is easy to saturate a USB 3.0 controller with too many connections if you connect a VR headset, and this can cause annoying issues where devices struggle to stay connected.

USB 2.0 solves that problem because it can handle significantly more connections. Typically, most people won’t need to worry about this. But if you want a case for VR, I would absolutely recommend one that still has USB 2.0 on the front.

Conclusion

NZXT’s H510i is an excellent case. If you want something simple, reliable, and attractive, it’s going to deliver all of that. I would only hesitate to recommend it to anyone using a VR headset regularly. For everyone else, pick this up and see why everyone loves it so much.

The NZXT H510i is available now for $110. NZXT provided a sample unit to GamesBeat for the purpose of this review. 

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