Fire in the PC: NZXT Halts H1 PC Sales Over Design Flaw
The ongoing GPU shortage shows that gaming PCs remain a hot commodity during the global health pandemic. But not all PCs are built alike, as some turn out to be hotter than others – and that’s definitely not a good thing if you’re a Case Maker NZXT. The company has heard from gamers concerned about their H1 case which literally caught fire due to a flawed design.
The fire problem is due to a flawed case design with insufficient vertical clearance for the 12 volt power level. This can cause the initial metal mounting screws to pierce the PC riser cable and short circuit the PC board, creating a fire hazard. The issue was widely publicized in the gaming community, and a YouTube video from Mark’s Tech – embedded below – showed that the NZXT caught fire because of this poor design.
As an early solution – and at best as a last resort – NZXT replaced the metal screws with nylon screws to reduce the risk of breakdowns, which could short circuit the board and create a fire hazard. However, the initial solution of replacing metal screws with nylon screws was not acceptable as a long-term solution, as Gamers Nexus discovered that PC makers and hobbyists could mistakenly replace the nylon screws with metal screws after disassembling the case to upgrade or repair all internal components. Even if metal screws were not mistakenly used as part of the upgrade process, the nylon screws could puncture the board over time, the release told NZXT.
After a lot of pressure from Gamers Nexus, NZXT admitted the design flaw and found it had also been working with US regulators since November 2020.
“The nylon screws weren’t the complete solution to the H1 fire hazard. They didn’t address the main cause of the problem, ”admitted Johnny Hou, CEO of NZXT, in a statement and apologized to the players for the design flaw. “We didn’t consider any scenarios where someone could unwittingly replace the nylon screws with metal screws. Our execution was not of the quality our community expected from us. “
Sales in the first half of the year were suspended until a permanent solution was found
To rectify the situation, Hou claimed the company would “ship redesigned PCIe Gen3 riser assemblies for current H1s, and we will help install them for those who need them.” He added that the H1 case will be removed from the NZXT store and will not be offered as an option on a pre-built NZXT BLD gaming PC.
NZXT says the company will automatically send you a new kit if you own an H1 case and previously requested replacement nylon screws for the first metal screws. If you’ve never requested replacement bolts, you can fill out a form to receive the new risers. We recommend doing this sooner rather than later due to the risk of fire that the current design poses. NZXT claims the new PCIe riser assembly will ship in late March.
Alternatively, if you purchased your H1 directly from NZXT, the company may request a full refund. If you bought it from another retailer, you will need to contact that retailer to see if a refund is possible.
It looks like the company has stopped sending the H1 cases until a permanent fix can be implemented. Although the H1 case is still listed in the NZXT online shop, neither the matt white nor the matt black variants can be purchased. NZXT will display an “Not Available” button to potential buyers who wish to add the case to their shopping cart. The H1 typically costs $ 349.
The situation is similar on the pre-made gaming desktop page, and a link to Hous Message is displayed on the NZXT BLD website at the top to alert potential buyers to the security issue. Configurations for a pre-built H1 Mini PC start at $ 1,999, according to the company’s location.
This would be the second time the company has stopped selling the first half of the year. The company had previously had to stop selling the H1 when it introduced nylon screws as a possible solution.
“In the future, we will introduce more robust and thorough design processes,” said Hou. “From initial drafts to quality assurance to additional testing, we are committed to the quality of our products and our response to your concerns.”
Given that it took NZXT so long to get notified of the issue despite working with the Consumer Product Safety Commission for three months, it may take the company a while to recover from brand damage. For comparison: Samsung’s quick actions after the exploding battery debacle of the Galaxy Note 7 helped the smartphone manufacturer’s brand to survive relatively unscathed.