NZXT’s highly regarded H700i and H400i cases shook up the status quo when they debuted in late 2017 by blending the crisp, unpretentious look of the company’s popular S340 and S340 Elite with an integrated Smart Device that taps the company’s CAM software to manage your PC’s lighting and fans. Now it’s the mainstream’s turn. On Tuesday, NZXT has expanded the H-series with the launch of the $70 NZXT H500 and $100 NZXT H500i, two new cases that deliver the same clean design as their luxurious predecessors, but at a price more people can afford.

With an integrated fan and lighting controller, two customizable RGB LED strips, a tempered glass panel, and cable management tools galore, the NZXT H500i offers a slew of premium features for a case that costs less than $100. And if you don’t need fancy lights or NZXT’s Smart Device, the H500 delivers the same strong core design as its sibling for $30 less.

Both cases will be available to preorder in the U.S. Tuesday, with an expected ship date in early June. NZXT sent us an H500i to test ahead of the announcement. Let’s build it out!

[ Further reading: How to pick the perfect PC case ]

NZXT H500i: Fresh and clean outside

The NZXT H500i fits full ATX motherboards, but it’s still fairly compact for a mid-tower, measuring in at 210mm (8.26 inches) wide, 460mm (18.11 inches) tall, and 428mm (16.85 inches) long. (Installing an ATX motherboard required removal of the top fan first, in fact.) It’s also full of thoughtful touches typically found in pricier cases.

Many cases hit sub-$100 price points by swapping out premium materials for plastic enclosures and acrylic side panels, for example. Not the H500i. NZXT composed the entire case from steel, except for a tempered-glass side panel that shows off your PC’s internals. The design of that panel is one of the best we’ve seen, and superior to the H700i’s.

h500i black red no system rear hinged glass NZXT

Removing the tempered glass side panel is wonderfully simple.

Most tempered-glass panels, even in high-end cases, need to be pressed against the case and secured with screws in the four corners. Holding a large, terrifyingly fragile TG panel with one hand while trying to align it and screw it in with your other hand can shave years off your life (and leave the glass smeared with palmprints). The H500i’s panel rests atop the full-length power supply shroud instead, sitting flush with the steel elements of the case. Even better, it’s secured by a small metal tab that wraps around to the back of the case and locks in via a single thumbscrew. Installing or removing the panel is refreshingly fast and easy.

The clean design extends to the rest of the exterior. As mentioned, the power supply shroud stretches the full length of the case, hiding your hard drives as well. The top, front, and side panels feature clean, stark metal, broken up only by the power button, a pair of USB 3.1 ports, and audio/mic jacks on the top lip of the case. NZXT’s reviewers guide says the goal of the H-series is to “create a canvas for builders to use to express their individual creativity,” and it shows (though an extra pair of USB ports would be welcome, too). There isn’t a single logo or any other ostentatious branding on the outside of the case, though “NZXT” is subtly emblazoned on an interior feature.

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