NZXT H500 Vault Boy PC case review: A must-have for serious Fallout fans
Your designated vault awaits, citizen.
Fallout is one of the best RPG series around, and NZXT makes some of the best PC cases available. The game's developer, Bethesda, and the case maker teaming up certainly sparked our interest. The result of this partnership is the H500 Vault Boy mid-tower case, which is essentially the sleek-looking H500 but with plenty of Fallout flavor.
Costs $150Bottom line: This is a gorgeous mid-tower PC case for Fallout fans.
- Fallout themed
- Sleek design
- High quality
- Tempered glass side
- Good thermals
- Pricey for what you get
NZXT's H500 Vault Boy PC case is simply stunning
The H500 is the older version of the new H510, which introduces a USB Type-C port on the front panel. Even though this may no longer be the latest model, you're not really missing out on much compared to the H510. And because the H500 Vault Boy isn't the version of the case with the Smart Device, you'll also not have any LED lighting or fan controls preinstalled.
|I/O||Two USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-A|
One Headset Audio Jack
|Fans||Front: Two 120 / One 140 mm|
Top: One 120 / one 140 mm
Rear: One 120 mm
|Radiators||Front: 120/240 mm and 140/280 mm|
Rear: 120 mm
|Clearance||GPU: up to 381mm|
CPU: up to 165mm
|Dimensions||230 mm x 516 mm x 494 mm|
|Materials||SGCC steel, tempered glass, ABS plastic|
When looking at the H500 Vault Boy in its box, it's clear what makes this a limited version PC case. There's a huge picture of the Vault Boy on the side of the box, winking at you to ensure you know full well you made the correct purchase. Unboxing the main chassis is a similar affair, thanks to the custom blue paint job and subtle Fallout branding. It looks fantastic, as long as you're a Fallout fan.
The H500 rocks some pretty neat features for system builders. You get plenty of clearance for the largest of GPUs and CPU coolers, all intakes are filtered, and you can install up to four fans in total on the case, two for intake and two for exhaust. Throw in a 240mm or 280mm AIO cooler into this case, and you'll be sorted regarding CPU temperatures.
The main PSU shroud is also perforated, allowing you to see what's below while aiding a little with airflow — full PSU shrouds can at times reduce the amount of air you can push through, especially if you have a limited number of fan mounts on the case. Then you have the cable management you'd expect from NZXT, as well as the metal riser bar painted yellow for the Fallout theme.
What makes this case so appealing is how subtle the theming is, but not so much that you'd overlook the case when passing by.
If you really want to take things to the next stage, you'll want to pick up NZXT's Z390 N7 motherboard with the company's Fallout themed motherboard covers (see pictures above). You could also remove the covers on the motherboard and paint them yourself, creating a truly unique look, but NZXT has plenty of options available if you don't feel comfortable going that route.
Even if you don't go with the N7 motherboard and Vault Boy cover combo, any standard ATX to Mini-ITX board will look great in the H500. NZXT pre-installs two 120mm fans for you to get started, though you may wish to replace them if you have RGB counterparts. After throwing in power-hungry components and running a few tests, the H500 Vault Boy performed well enough for even more serious builds.
Using a 12-core AMD Ryzen 9 3900X CPU (with be quiet! Dark Pro 4), ZOTAC AMP! Extreme GTX 1070 GPU, and 32GB RAM with a Seagate FireCuda NVMe SSD, we found no issues when running games, or benchmarks or while leaving the PC for some time. Using NZXT's E500W PSU allowed us to hook everything up to CAM. Temperatures were well within expected ranges and matched those found with the H510 Elite.
It's not the best performer on the market for thermals and noise, and you can certainly find other cases out there at the same price with slightly better performance.
About that price ...
The only drawback to this great case from the Wastelands is the price, coming in at $150. The H500 is just $75 and the newer H510 commands a tag of $80. If you think the Fallout branding and license is worth double the price of the H500, this won't be an issue. For others, it may be a little offputting. That's really the only complaint we have.
So should you buy the NZXT H500 Vault Boy?
You should only purchase a branded component such as this case if you really appreciate the theming. Fallout fans will love this PC case. Not only is it highquality, but NZXT did a stellar job taking the Vault Boy and Fallout branding to create a case that can easily be themed around the popular RPG series.
More importantly, the H500 performs well enough in testing, with results showing strong enough airflow for even more demanding components like an AMD Ryzen 9 processor. Space may get a little tight if you want to pack inside your own custom water-cooling loop, but there are enough features to make putting together a PC build a breeze.
Brotherhood of Steel
Build in the Wasteland
Ready to venture outside after the apocolypse? You'll need to take this Fallout-themed case with you to set up a solid-looking PC, with Vault Boy giving the thumbs-up on the side. NZXT took what made the H500 great and slapped on some Fallout colors.
Editor's note: NZXT provided Windows Central with a review sample, which we used for in-depth testing and this review. We received a consumer package so our experience should reflect exactly what you'll receive if you purchase this PC case.
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Rich Edmonds was formerly a Senior Editor of PC hardware at Windows Central, covering everything related to PC components and NAS. He's been involved in technology for more than a decade and knows a thing or two about the magic inside a PC chassis. You can follow him on Twitter at @RichEdmonds.