NZXT Phantom Case ReviewBluePanda - December 29, 2011
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With a slight craving for strawberry milk I’ve got the case opened up to take a look at what I’m dealing with as far as placing hardware. It’s just as pink on the inside as it was on the outside. They definitely didn’t skimp out on color.
The first thing I really notice is the small cable holes in the motherboard tray area. They are hardly wide enough to poke a finger through much less get many cables through. At this point I’m starting to worry how much of a pain this might be to get all together. Taking a look at the back side you can see the pre routed fan controller cables. They are labeled with the same picture as the fan controller panel so that you know what controls what.
Two of the pre-mounted fans can be seen in this first shot, a 120mm back fan as well as a 200mm top fan. There is room for two of the 200mm fans up top, but of course they want you to buy the other one from them, so the slot is just empty. Unfortunately manufactures realize by making their fans slightly different than the next they essentially gain monopoly over where you can buy these larger fans.
Anyway, taking a look at the optical bays they have the standard NZXT clip mounts which I absolutely love. They really make it easy to put in an optical drive or water bay without having to use any screws – it’s a lot more secure than most screw-less systems as well. The HDD bays have the easy to remove bay slots which seem to be becoming more standard and there is a second little HDD hub on the left to add a few more drives. The drive holders are slightly harder plastic than most and are going to require a little extra strength than you might be used to…better hit the gym. Also you might want to note this extra drive bay is held in with screws, not rivets, so it is removable.
Looking down at where the power supply shall live there appear to be 4 rubber vibration reducing feet. It keeps the PSU up off the floor of the case to reduce vibration from the fan and it also provides a nice little air gap between the PSU and case to allow more air in.
Turning the case around to the back side you can see the pre-routed cables for the fans, fan controller, and other front panel connections. Note that there are no holes for screws for the rear of the 5.25” bays. This usually isn’t a problem, but I wondered why they weren’t there in the first place. Also note that there are plenty of raised loops to anchor cables to when routing them along the backside of the motherboard tray. Keeping your wiring tidy shouldn’t be an issue, at least back here.
Pulling the I/O panel cables and fan controller cables out of the case and this is the “mess” you get. Typical of most cases today you have your usual power on/off, power led, reset, reset led, HD Audio, and USB 3.0 plugs for your motherboard. The fan controller cables are marked with tags showing the location in the case of fans you wish to control. These images are again drawn on the fan controller itself (picture ahead) to allow you to know what you have connected to which control.
Taking a look at the back of the case there are four holes for water cooling needs. Seems most cases are at least coming with two holes anymore. If it’s not for water cooling it’s for sticking other random things into or out of the case – they tend to find their use.
While looking here at the back, if you remember from the side shot of the case you may have noticed three thumbscrews holding on the side panels. At first I found this rather unusual, as you usually only have two, but it turns out the middle one is actually a spring loaded screw which acts as a third hand for you as you put your side panel on. Once you get the panel on the middle screw holds it in place while you get up to get that thumb screw you left on the other side of the case earlier. I really like the idea and it would be neat to see what more can be done with this feature.
The button on the top of the back panel also allows you to flip on or off the blue LEDs on the top 200 mm fan. I’m not sure who thought blue would still go well with the pink case but I’m not horribly disappointed. I’m a bit sad that they didn’t attempt a pink, but at the same time I’m not too surprised.
Moving back around to the front of the case you can finally see those silly pictures on the fan controller I’ve been talking about all along. There are 5 separate controls for the five different locations around the case. I didn’t find the pictures too particularly clear, but thankfully the manual had some guidance. The last picture here shows the power button, audio input and output, as well as USB and eSATA connection.
Moving just down from the I/O panel we again find the front of the case. This time we get to open up that door and find where the optical drives get to sit. The door swings open nicely and we find just some mesh inside. Other than when the door is open I’m not really sure how this helps with airflow, it just allows more access to see your messy wire job. Either way, the door closes and stays closed with the help of some magnets. Pretty neat. I’ve always liked cases with hidden optical drives.
A look at the top of the case and you can see where you are missing one of the 200mm fans from the case. You can’t really notice it too much as half of its airflow is blocked anyway. The white fan at least looks nice in the case and as you can see is mounted in the exhaust position. I’m looking forward to getting my hardware in here soon!
With the side panel off on its own you can see the location of the two 120mm fans and the large mount location for the 200mm or 220mm fan. The thickness of the fans is easily supported by the depth of the HDD bays, just be sure to route your cables smartly so you don’t end up catching them in the fans!
The box of screws was much more organized than any case I’ve dealt with yet. The screws were separated into individual bags each with their own label of their intended purpose. It really made finding that right screw about ten times easier than normal. Most instruction books for cases get tossed aside but this one is truly useful if for nothing else, the fan control guide. If you don’t get the pictures, here’s the words.
Getting everything in the case wasn’t the complete end of the world. My all black mobo looked really good with the pink and the baby blue SATA cables really gave it the extra “pizzaz.” The most frustrating part about getting it all together was actually back to the ole 8 pin mobo connector. The hole in the upper left corner isn’t big enough to fit the connector through once you have your motherboard in place. I don’t know many people who route their PSU cables before putting in their motherboard but this just didn’t work. I ended up breaking my own rules and routing it up the front side. Less glamorous but without a window I guess it’s not the end of the world. Just thought this was worth a mention, since there is nothing more frustrating than being almost done with something and realizing you missed a step so to say. All in all a pretty sound looking case – nausea, heartburn, indigestion, upset stomach, diarrhea, Yay!! NZXT Phantom PINK!!