NZXT H510 Elite Mid-Tower Case Review
The NZXT H510 Elite
Compact Mid-Tower from the Refreshed H-Series
NZXT’s refreshed H-series lineup has landed, with the H510 Elite just below the H710i at the top of the product stack. This mid-tower case offers characteristic NZXT style, RGB lighting, and the latest version of NZXT’s proprietary control module (Smart Device V2).
Arriving next month at a retail of $169.99, the H510 Elite is certainly in the upper half of the enclosure category – though admittedly lower than recent premium enclosures that have crept into the $199 – $249 range.
To help justify the price the H510 Elite does come with a trio of fans pre-installed (including a pair of RGB-enabled 140mm Aer fans up front), and the Smart Device V2 allows for full software control of your system’s cooling.
- Material(s): SGCC Steel, Tempered Glass
- Motherboard Support: Mini-ITX, Micro-ATX, ATX
- Expansion Slots: 7
- Vertical GPU Mount: 2 Slots
- Drive Bays: 2.5”: 2+1 3.5”: 2+1
- I/O Ports: 1 x USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-C 1 x USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-A 1 x Headset Audio Jack
- Filters: All Air Intakes
- Smart Device 2:
- 3 x Fan channels with Max 10W per channel output*
- 2 x RGB LED channels, each support up to 4 x HUE 2 addressable LED strips or 5 x Aer RGB 2 fans
Built-in noise detection module
- *Note: If a splitter is used, fan control is regulated depending on the fan connected to the 4-pin port. Do not use low-noise adapters.
- RGB LED Lighting (I VERSION ONLY):
- 2 Integrated Aer RGB 2 140mm Fans
- 1 Integrated addressable LED Strip
- Radiator Support:
- Front: 2 x 140 or 2 x 120mm with Pull
- Rear: 1 x 120
- Fan Support:
- Front: 2 x 120/2 x 140mm (2 Aer RGB 2 140mm included) Top: 1 x 120/1 x 140mm Rear: 1 x 120 (1 Aer F 120 Case Version Included)
- Fan Specs:
- Aer RGB 2 (140mm)
- Speed: 500-1,500 RPM
- Airflow: 30.39 – 91.19 CFM Noise: 22 – 33 dBA
- Air Pressure: 0.17 – 1.52mm-H2O Bearing: Fluid Dynamic Bearing Fan Connector: 4-pin PWM
- Cable Management: 19-23mm
- GPU Clearance: Up to 381mm
- CPU Cooler: Up to 165mm
- Front Radiator: 60mm
- Rear Radiator: 60mm
- Reservoir & Pump: Up to 180mm (Along cable bar), Up to 86mm (Along bottom panel)
- Dimensions: W: 210mm H: 460mm D: 428mm (with feet)
- Weight: 7.48 kg
- Warranty: 2 Years
$169.99 USD (pre-order)
“The H510 Elite compact ATX mid-tower is perfect for your RGB build. Behind the flush-mounted, tempered glass front panel, you’ll discover our renowned Aer RGB 2 fans keeping your components brilliantly cool. Well-engineered airflow, removable radiator mounting bracket, multiple fan filters, vertical GPU mount, a front panel USB-C connector, and an all-steel and tempered glass construction are just some of the key features you’ll get. The H510 Elite also includes the NZXT Smart Device V2, powering the built-in RGB light strips and case fans.”
If you saw the H500 when it launched last year, or perhaps checked out out our review of the H700i back then, will will be familiar with the design elements that characterize an NZXT case in this series.
We opted for the matte white finish which provides some interesting contrast to the darkly-tinted tempered glass, and the case is also available in matte black.
The front and component side of the H510 Elite are glass from about one third of the way up, with the remainder of the enclosure made of SGCC steel.
Top case I/O is minimal, with just a single USB Type-A port (3.1 Gen1), a USB Type-C port (3.1 Gen2), and a 3.5mm headset jack. That’s it! (A Y-cable splitting off the headphone and mic inputs is included with the case).
Filters are limited with this design, but there really isn’t that much in the way of air intake, either. The rear side panel is ventilated along the front edge, with this strip offering a screen filter inside the panel. AThe PSU intake also offers the usual slide-out filter. There is no filter for the top fan mount as this is intended for exhaust.
Case Interior and Build
Getting into the component side is more convenient than a lot of tempered glass designs, as this does not use thumbscrews on the corners. Instead, the glass panel is held in place using a pair of snaps along the top edge, and a bracket on an upper corner that screws into the rear of the case.
Once inside we are treated to the same layout we’re used to from the H-series; an open component chamber accented by the metal bracket to the right of the motherboard tray that will serve to help minimize the appearance of cables for the finished build.
Building in the H510 Elite is the same process from the previous H-series cases using this design, of course, so I won’t belabor the process. It’s easy enough, and while the more compact H510 Elite won’t offer the upper radiator support of the H700i we reviewed (or new H710i) this does offer a front rad mount, which is on a removable bracket – a nice feature.
I didn’t add a radiator up front as I wanted as close to the out-of-box thermal/noise experience as possible, but some pretty high end components went in as I grabbed the current GPU testbed platform for this build.
In addition to the GIGABYTE Z390 motherboard and Intel Core i7-9700K CPU, an ASUS ROG Strix RTX 2070 card was selected for an aftermarket option that would expel air into the case under load.
GPU sag is real, people.
With the system together and a sweet purple color selected using the CAM software (it’s Intel blue mixed with AMD red, finally ending all debate about bias forever!) we see a thoroughly modern, if unremarkable, ATX mid-tower build.
Things are nearly as neat looking behind the scenes, though my PSU’s chunky power cables didn’t permit the use of NZXT’s interesting cable channels behind the motherboard tray.
While mounts for both 2.5-inch and 3.5-inch drives are available in the rear of the case I simply installed a test SSD to get going.
With the system together it was time to see what kind of thermals and noise one can expect from the H510 Elite.
Thermals and Noise
|PC Perspective Enclosure Test Platform|
|Processor||Intel Core i7-9700K|
|Graphics Card||ASUS GeForce RTX 2070 Strix Gaming|
|Motherboard||GIGABYTE Z390 AORUS PRO|
|Memory||Crucial Ballistix Sport LT DDR4-3200 32GB (16GBx2)|
|Storage||CORSAIR Neutron Series XTi 480GB SSD|
|Power Supply||CORSAIR RM1000x 1000W|
|Operating System||Windows 10 64-bit (1903)|
Using the CAM software to select the “silent” and then “performance” profiles for the installed case fans I ran the same CPU and GPU load tests to get a feel for thermals inside the H510 Elite.
I never have especially high hopes for temps inside a case with minimal front intake like this, but these numbers are just fine – though they did come at the expense of noise.
The H510 Elite is a very nice looking case that offers a lot of style, solid construction, and modern – though limited – front panel connectivity. Thermals were better than expected, though this came at the expense of noise levels, even in the “silent” mode. This could be addressed pretty easily, however, as there is a lot of room for tweaking with custom fan profiles available in the CAM software (along with a ton of additional system control and customization).
Still, is it worth the tradeoff of higher temps or higher noise levels for cases like the H510 Elite, when aesthetics dictate solid glass front panels and limited intakes for fans and radiators? That is up to the end user, and we have certainly seen cases with a less impressive mix of features at prices far more than the $169.99 asking price of this H510 Elite.
While NZXT’s current H-series mid-tower concept is not free of the usual compromises that accompany tempered glass construction, I am impressed with the overall quality and appearance of the H510 Elite. But I would probably move up to the H710i (and its additional ventilation) at $199 if I were to make an H-series my primary case right now.
Why does this choking hazard of case get Silver award? There are far better options from CoolerMaster(H100, MC500p or M, etc…), Fractal Design(Meshify C), Lian Li, Corsair(P570x currently on sale) and Phanteks(P600s) for similar or lower price than this NZXT case.
You don’t have to agree with any award, of course. I would stress that context matters, however.
“While NZXT’s current H-series mid-tower concept is not free of the usual compromises that accompany tempered glass construction, I am impressed with the overall quality and appearance of the H510 Elite.”
Some of the cases you mention make sense – the Corsair Crystal 570X has dropped from $179 to $149, for example (and I gave that one a “gold” award when I reviewed it in 2016). But comparing a case like the H510 Elite to a Meshify C is questionable.
Some cases are about performance, and some are about aesthetics like this one. Some people favor the look of these cases even though they don’t provide anywhere near the cooling of cases with more ventilation.
This case did provide adequate cooling, but did it at the expense of additional fan noise under load. It’s in the review.