NZXT Phantom Reviewairman - July 27, 2010
» Discuss this article (6)
Popping off the left side panel exposes the fully painted, massive interior of the NZXT Phantom. The case has room for seven hard drives, five 5.25" devices, seven expansion slots, a CPU socket cutout, and loads of accommodations for wire management. The mechanisms for the toolless 5.25" device bays are quite unique and I will be explaining them further a little bit later on this page. Looking at the right side of the case with the side panel off and the components installed, a visual of the amount of wires that can be routed behind the motherboard tray can be seen. I have had many cases that though they have cutouts to run wires behind the tray, there isn't very much room and can cause clearance issues making it difficult to get the side panel back on. I am happy to report that this is not the case with the NZXT Phantom, and I had no problems reattaching the side panel.
Taking a closer look at the inside of the case gives another angle of the power supply bracket and the expansion slots. The expansion slot covers are held on using thumbscrews, though I had to use a screwdriver to release them initially due to their tightness. Though this may not have been the situation at the factory, since the case had surely been sitting inside of a hot delivery truck for hours before it got to my door and probably caused the screws to expand slightly and tighten up. The top left of the inside gives a closer look of the fans that are included. They are housed in black plastic and have white blades.
On the right side, the seven hard drive bays can be seen. They are arranged side to side, rather than front to back, which allows the wires to be run from the hard drives to the rear of the case behind the motherboard tray, also helping out wire management. On the secondary hard drive cage, there are four screws that can be removed from the rear that will allow it to be taken out of the case if the user wishes. The main cage of five is riveted into place, though there wouldn't be much of a reason to remove it. The top right of the inside contains five 5.25" device bays, and locking, toolless fastening mechanisms. I will explain the toolless mechanisms for the hard drives and 5.25" devices next.
For the 5.25" devices, the toolless mechanisms are locked and unlocked my moving the small tab with "NZXT" printed on it. To the left is in its locked position, and to the right is unlocked. Once the tool less clamp is unlocked, it is released by simply pulling outwards on the left side. This will pull the barbs out from the inside and allow for the device to be installed, and then secured back into place my returning the clamp to its original position. It is not necessary to lock the clamp down as it stays in place, but it offers extra security during travel if the user chooses. The hard drive trays work similarly to most other toolless hard drive bays, where the two sides of the tray are pinched inwards and slid out. The hard drive trays have rubber dampers on the fastening barbs which isolate noise and vibration from the hard drives and prevent it from resonating into the body of the case. Yet another simple, yet extremely convenient addition to the Phantom by NZXT. The hard drive trays can be easily stretched over the hard drives themselves and do not require a lot of effort to get the drives to fit in. The way that the barbs are positioned in the trays will install the hard drives with the plugs in the rear, allowing the user to completely hide the wires and route them discretely behind the tray to the motherboard.
Below is a closer look at the hard drive trays. They are simple, yet rigid and I definitely appreciate their design, not requiring any tools or finger-wearing work getting them installed.
As I spoke of earlier, the 5.25" bay covers have a locking mechanism that allow them to be removed easily without any effort. There is a latch on the right hand side which can be slid inwards, releasing the bay cover. I have not seen anything like this in other cases, so this is a first for me and I can definitely appreciate it, as will any other future user of the NZXT Phantom. As I also said earlier, the bay covers are framed with black plastic and are wrapped in a black steel mesh. The mesh elements add a certain amount of dust filtration while not impeding airflow.
There are a total of four included fans with the NZXT Phantom. There are three 120mm fans, rated at 12V and 0.16A, and one 200mm fan rated at 12V and 0.42A. Each remain almost completely silent while running at full speed. Each of the fans use a 3 pin connector. The top and rear fans are already hooked into the fan controller with the wires run behind the motherboard tray, though the side intake fans need to be plugged into the designated headers that are pulled through the bottom of the motherboard tray. Each of the side 120mm intake fans come with a removable dust filter.
Installing all of the components and managing all of the wires was a breeze in the NZXT because of the huge amount of space, the accommodations for wire management, the ability to flip the power supply, and the orientation of the hard drive cages. Even with a 10.5" video card installed, there is still heaps of space between its end and the hard drive cages, giving the Phantom a future-proofed nature in the ever-expanding video card market, pun intended. NZXT definitely had internal volume in mind with the Phantom. This case certainly has the some of the most room on the interior and maintains the ability to house many components compared to many other cases.
With the case turned on, the fan controller instantly caught my eye. Only three of the channels were lit up, which simply shows that only the channels that are being used will illuminate. I also discovered that at the top left hand corner of the rear, there is a button that controls the blue LEDs in the top exhaust fan, giving the user the option to turn it off if they prefer. I did not find the LEDs to be very intrusive as far as brightness goes, but NZXT still thought about putting it in there for the few who did feel they do happen to be too bright. I will not hesitate to say that I really like this case so far, and how it works. I will go over the manufacturer specifications and features on the next page, followed by the true testing of the NZXT Phantom where I will measure temperatures of each component under idle and load simulations.