The goal for this build was a gaming build that wouldn't break the bank. Since our last couple builds have been on the more expensive end ($3600 and $10000), we decided to keep things a bit more practical this time around. Our budget limit for this build was $1200, but due to the timing of purchases it ended up just under $1100.
NZXT kindly sent us the new H440 to test out, and we found it to be an outstanding case. More on that, and the rest of the build below...
The part list and pricing at the time of this post:
PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant
NZXT provided the H440. We already had the CPU, RAM, HDD, and video card on hand.
We made the conscious decision not to overclock the CPU on this build. Our goal was to keep it simple and clean, yet still plenty powerful. By spending just $100 more, you can replace the motherboard with a Z87 variant, the CPU with an unlocked K version, and an aftermarket cooler.
We also wanted to ensure the build had plenty of storage space - which is why we opted for a platter-based drive instead of an SSD. It's possible to find less expensive 1TB drives right now, but we chose this particular drive as we had it on hand from previous benchmark runs.
The NZXT H440 deviates from traditional cases by eschewing the 5.25" external bay. We'll be installing the OS by either using an an external drive or via a USB flash drive.
The power supply is covered by a shroud which significantly cleans up the cable management. As you'll see later, the NZXT logo lights up when the rear panel lighting is turned on.
With the front panel and dust filter removed, you can see that the case has three 120-mm fans in front and one 140-mm fan in rear - plenty of positive pressure cooling for our components.
Cable management has never been easier than with this case. Motherboard cutouts on the bottom of the power supply shroud provide convenient routing options for USB, HD-Audio, and front panel connections. I love the fact that the HD-audio connector does not include a dongle for AC97 - further keeping things simple and tidy.
An interesting design element is the angled motherboard tray. Does it improve cable management? Hard to say, but I think it is a nice touch.
Here's the back view showing the cable management. The space under the power supply shroud provides plenty of space for routing unruly cables. The 8-pin CPU power connector from the power supply was a bit shorter than I would have liked, but it was still possible to route it somewhat cleanly.
With the flip of a switch on the rear of the case, the rear I/O panel and the NZXT logo will light up.
Not to be left out, the Gigabyte H81-Amp UP motherboard also lights up green - something I must admit caught me by surprise the first time I powered it up.
We'll be following up this build by documenting the OS installation (without using a 5.25" bay), as well as recording application and game benchmarks using our thermal benchmarking. Stay tuned!