NZXT Phantom Reviewairman -
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The NZXT is covered from head to toe with high-gloss plastic and a high-quality paint job. The mesh vents that are placed on the Phantom add a very contemporary and aggressive look while integrating a sophisticated cooling solution. Beneath this vent is a spot for a 120mm or 140mm fan, which is not included from the factory. The front of the NZXT Phantom is tapered to a point in the middle, with the bottom side angled out towards the bottom left edge. The door opens from left to right, where an NZXT logo appears right under the latch. Taking a look at the left side of the case will give an idea of the cooling capabilities of the Phantom. Two 120mm fans are included on this side panel, configured as intakes from the factory, with room for one more 200mm or 230mm fan which would be positioned just above the motherboard. Turning to the rear of the case gives the user a look at how the case is laid out internally. The Phantom mounts the power supply in the bottom of the case, as many do, but gives the user a choice to flip the power supply facing either up or down. I like this feature, as it is simple but adds a new level of user friendliness and wire management options. A 120mm exhaust fan, positioned at the top, is included here. The Phantom also offers four grommets for 1/2" ID water cooling lines, which allow a user to run an external loop if preferred. There are seven expansion slots and the PCI bracket covers have a mesh pattern cut into them. A last look of the right side shows that even the side panel here has a mesh vent, identical to the one on the left side panel.
I feel that the top of the case is the most involved. The front side contains the standard I/O ports, which are two USB ports, an eSATA port, audio, power and reset buttons, and the 5 channel fan controller. The fan controller channels are controlled by moving the sliders left and right, where all the way to the left is full speed. The back side of the top has a large mesh vent where a massive 200mm fan appears beneath it, as well as room for one more 200mm fan. The included 200mm fan is configured as an exhaust from the factory. Even the bottom of the case is painted with the same high-gloss black, contains two sets of vents underneath the hard drive cages, and a dust filter beneath where the power supply will be attached. This shows NZXT is conscious of the orientation chosen by the user of the power supply, in case the user opts to run their power supply of choice with the intake fan facing downwards. Though some full tower cases have feet that can be flipped out for extra stability, I feel that the Phantom is wide enough and would require a large amount of force to cause it to fall on its side.
Opening the front door will reveal the five 5.25" bays which are closed by covers that use a plastic frame, wrapped in steel mesh. These 5.25" bay covers actually have a release latch on them, making it very easy and convenient to remove them without having to disassemble the case at all. Though only necessary to install a fan, the front bezel of the Phantom is removed by simply pulling it off gently, requiring no tools or a cramping entry to squeeze the interior tabs to release it. NZXT did not cut any corners on the paint that they used in this case, as there is no bare metal to be found. This is definitely an attractive feature and shows that NZXT certainly wanted to make this case truly shine.
With the front bezel removed, the top of the case pops off in the same manner, with no tools. Any component that is located on the top that is internally wired does not come off along with the top, which protects these components from being damaged by removing the top, simplifying the removal further. With the top removed, a clear look of the fan layout can be seen. The empty spot for an additional 200mm fan is covered by a dust filter. The fan controller wiring can also be seen. As stated, the controller has five channels, with four plugs already wired up. I did find that the two side intake fans are wired into one channel. If one wishes to add a fan to the fifth channel, the fan must have a 3-pin connector, or at least use an adapter.
One thing that I wanted to share about on the exterior of the case are the thumb screws in the rear. Before I discovered this function, I took the thumbscrew on the left panel completely off before I took off the panel, but once inside I noticed a spring-loaded mechanism which allows the screw to only loosened, and then pressed downwards, releasing the panel. I have not seen this before, though the closest mechanism to this that I have used are handles on the side panels. I like this better, as there are not any handles impeding the look of the case, and still remains very quick to remove. This mechanism is on both the left and right side panel.
As far as the exterior goes, this is about it. I will discuss the interior of the case and its functionality on the next page.