Inside the H210i Mini-ITX
Digging into the H210i, we pull the front panel off to check out the cooling fan and radiator mounting area. Here we see it has a full-length dust filter held in with four plastic snaps. The entire tray can come out by simply removing the four thumb screws around the perimeter of the front plate.
Here we take a look at the front with all of the front mounting removed. As you can see, the filter comes off for easy cleaning. And the front fan/radiator mounting plate comes out rather quickly as well to make cooling installation much more painless. All of this came out in about 2 minutes, maybe three with positioning them for the photo. The inside of the front panel has an almost trapezoidal indentation in front of the fan mount points. Based on my knowledge of acoustics, this likely will help redirect sound to reenter the chassis chamber, which may help with errant noise form components and cooling.
Looking inside, one area that always stands out is the vertical cable management bar. This, by far, is one of the coolest aspects of building in an NZXT H series case. It allows for a wide cable management opening and cables to pass into the main chamber without wrestling with grommeted holes that can look awkward depending on cable type and angle.
The area is quite open well as open as you can expect for an ITX enclosure. We can see in front of the white vertical bar where the front cooling can pass through the PSU shroud area to allow full 240mm cooling in the ITX chassis. The CPU backplate cut-out is massive and even made the M.2 slot on the rear of my board accessible.
The PSU shroud area is solid on the visible side while it is ventilated on the top side. This will undoubtedly help with GPU cooling as GPUs can sit very close to the shroud area. The shroud has a pass-through hole mid-way outward to allow GPU power cables to pass through. There is also a longer pass-through hole more inboard which will work well for running a front panel or USB cables or other needed connections depending on your motherboards connector location. The front panel facing edge also has a plastic snap-in SSD tray which can then be viewed through the glass panel should you have a particularly attractive drive you want to showcase. Otherwise, the SSD tray pops off rather quickly for a cleaner look.
The rear of the chassis looking from the inside, we now can see the preinstalled 120mm fan which is routed to the integrated CAM controlled smart device. The two expansion openings you will notice are very close to the PSU shroud. This is why I mentioned the top of the shroud being vented was an excellent design. Many GPUs will likely be pulling air in from there due to the tight tolerances between the GPU and the shroud.
Here we have the rear cable management area of the H210i, and like the H500i we looked at recently it carries a lot of the same features. The plastic cable management guide is a helpful and welcome addition. With such a compact enclosure that would be tougher to manage cables manually, this guide helps give predefined channels to place cabling. Here we can also see the two SSD trays over the lower portion of the CPU cooler backplate cut-out. The cables you see in the lower section were bundled in a plastic bag when the chassis was unpacked, but I removed the wrapping to grab a snap of them.
Here we see the lower chamber below the PSU shroud. The PSU has virtually limitless space as long as nothing is mounted adjacent to it, but this is also where we observed the slotted mounting for pumps or drives. The PSU area has rubberized pads to help soak up vibration and also give the PSU a place to rest that is not direct metal to metal contact.
Here are the internal connectors from left to right.
- USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C internal connector (Feeding Type-C port)
- HD audio connector
- Front Panel connector block
- Triple fan breakout splitter from CAM device channel 3
- SATA power for CAM device
- USB 3.2 Gen 1 20 pin connector (Feeding Type-A port)
- USB 2.0 10 pin connector (For CAM device)
Now, this may seem like no big deal, but there is something which bothers me about this. Many motherboards recently have a minimal number of USB 2.0 headers, especially in the case of ITX. Same can be said for the 20-pin large connector for USB 3.2 Gen 1. The USB 2.0 used for the CAM device only uses one side, which means there is one side of the connector or an entire port which is wasted. The same happens with the 20 pin connector which feeds a single Type-A port, and therefore half of the connector is utilized. This means if you have a liquid cooler which communicates with your PC via USB 2.0 you may not have a port available without buying an internal USB hub.
This issue could have been resolved by combining the CAM powered USB 2.0 connector into the 20 pin harness. Using the appropriate four pins to give the USB 2.0 signal to the smart device and leaving the USB 2.0 header of the motherboard open for other devices which may need it. This would open up possibilities along with eliminating the dual waste we see now. I hope NZXT considers this as it would be a great way to reduce the cables needing to be managed and make the H series a smarter, less wasteful solution.