NZXT H510 ELITE Review – Is It REALLY Worth This Much?
The NZXT H500 was one of my favorite mid-tower cases of all time, it was well priced, had a nice compact form factor, and beautiful design. That original concept has now received a series of updates and the end result is the new H510 series, which I hope is pretty awesome.
New Features & Pricing
Now if you guys recall, the first Elite case NZXT put out was the S340 Elite, and that felt like a really good upgrade over the traditional S340 because it had a tempered glass side panel, the NZXT Puck, new I/O, new SSD mount. However, this new Elite models feels a little bit underwhelming, which is why I think this is going to be the least popular H500 series enclosure moving forward.
So this case is priced at $149 in the global market, and $169 in the US. A more affordable option is the regular H510 for $69 or the H510i that includes the Smart Device v2 and the LED strip for $99. The $50 premium on the Elite versus the H510i gets you those two front fans which are 140mm Aer RGB 2, which sell for a hefty amount on their own. So if you want the H510 plus you were thinking of buying fans this is the way to go, since you’d be saving a little bit of money.
This is the perfect way to showcase the front panel TG integration on an NZXT enclosure. They finally joined the club of multi-side temper glass, and given that it is removable I am sure that they are cooking up something with a mesh panel to get additional exposure on the case when they decide to update it even further. Maybe a H510 Mesh or something like that.
All right, so this refresh includes several other changes aside from the front TG panel. The I/O has shrunk to a single USB3 port that is purple, which is cool, a power button, a USB Type-C Gen2 port, and a combo audio jack with a super cheap headphone adapter that is half red for some reason. They have also included a front-panel combo connector that has a splitter adapter in case it doesn’t fit your motherboard.
I do find it strange that the Elite version does not come with the top exhaust fan and thus there’s no dust filter here either, unlike on all of the S340 and H500 cases. Thankfully for the rear exhaust there is one included 120mm fan. The front case bracket supports up to a 280mm radiator, and apparently the bracket is now slightly closer to the front, but fully covered with a thin dust filter and a mini one at the bottom too.
I love the simplicity of the TG mount, but both the front and the side panels wobble at the bottom a little bit. For a $69 case I would say whatever, it’s fine, but when you’re paying $149 for the Elite version, it doesn’t feel very Elite in the premium quality department. Clearly the Elite is the same frame as the cheap cases or the cheaper versions, but with more bling attached to it. Also, the PCIe slots section has no thumbscrews, which I find weird, and the motherboard tray is a bit bendy. The mesh on the PSU shroud is now all uniform to compliment the updated SSD caddies. There caddies are two caddies on the back that can be relocated anywhere on the shroud, even rotated if that suits your build.
The rest of the interior remains unchanged, that iconic cable cover looks fantastic and adds a bit of complexity and functionality to hide whatever passes from the rear section. We also see this Smart Device v2 that is SATA powered and must be connected via USB so you can control fan speed and the color of the LED strip via the CAM software. The good thing is you don’t necessarily need to log in to configure fans and your LED strips and upon the restart it still remembers all your settings.
Fans, Lighting, and Cable Management
The Aer fans look pretty decent with non-circular frame lighting. Thankfully, they’re also completely centered. The LED strip that’s built into the top is now fully hidden by the blackout section on the side panel. I’m surprised at how dim it is, and I would definitely prefer to have a bit more spill on the interior.
Behind the case is a really nice cable management system with multi-channel areas before the main opening, and the really helpful corner section for CPU and fan cables. Finally, the PSU section houses the hard drive cage, and I’m surprised to not see any drive caddies in there. This has been an issue with the S340, the S340 Elite, the H500, and now the H510 Elite too. At least the power supply is covered with an accessible bottom dust filter.
And now it’s time to build.
All right, so seeing as nothing is different in the interior versus the original H500 it’s still very easy to work in. Cables tuck away behind the bar, the power supply cables for the GPU exit at the right spot, and the lack of a top fan actually makes connecting the 8-pin CPU cable very simple, which is nice. Despite the compact nature of the frame, motherboards with form factors up to ATX are supported.
As for cooling, well it’s interesting. At stock it’s not outstanding, with pretty average CPU temperatures and good GPU cooling. However, opening that front panel drops that our CPU temps by almost 8°C. That is significant, and it’s the reason why I feel like NZXT might release a mesh panel – because the front panel is easily removable – so they might release a mesh panel that you can potentially buy as an accessory or simply offer a different mesh version of the enclosure.
I also added a top exhaust fan to show that it was a mistake for NZXT to remove it from the Elite. The temperatures dropped 5°C versus stock. The fact that the H510i, the H510, the S340, and the S340 Elite all have dual fans for exhaust obviously proves that it helps with cooling significantly around the CPU area. Therefore I’m puzzled as to why they didn’t include it on the Elite here.
My conclusion for this case really ties back to the intro: it’s underwhelming despite having the two bling fans in the front. The glass execution looks fantastic despite the logos at the bottom. It that still carries forward that whole original S340 / H500 character that is boxy, simple, minimalistic, yet super elegant. I feel like the regular H510 will be a lot more popular than the H510i or the H510 Elite, because of its $69 price versus $99 or $149. However, I’d love to hear what you think about the H510 Elite and its features. Do you think the two front fans really add $50 of value, or would you rather take that price premium and do your own lighting and your own fans and configure accordingly? Let me know what you’re thinking.