NZXT Phantom Case Review
Reviewed by: BluePanda
Reviewed on: December 29, 2011
The NZXT Phantom series has a new variation up on the market. It isn’t exactly a variation that most people would perceive – it’s not another drive bay addition, nor addition of fans, rather it is the addition of another color option for the case. When OCC reviewed the NZXT Phantom in July 2010, it was available in red, white, and black inside and out. Recently NZXT has decided to get in touch with their feminine side, or rather their upset stomach, and offer up a Pepto-Bismol Pink Phantom…now that’s alliteration.
Now if Pepto-Bismol was not your favorite medicine growing up, I know I was afraid of it – every time my grandma would make me take it I’d throw up; now whether that was an actual side effect of the medicine we’ll never know, I won’t take it anymore…this case should be pretty easy on the stomach. I’m guessing most of you males out there won’t be jumping to buy this for yourself, but perhaps it’s finally a way to get that cute girl of yours interested in your favorite games. And those of you with a thing for pink – well it’s finally here for you; no more horrid spray paint jobs.
So let’s see what the medicine has in store for us today, will the NZXT Phantom Pink be the Pepto to settle your stomach, or is this one just too much for you to handle?
Looking at the box itself it seems innocent enough. There’s no pink on the box and at first glance, I didn’t even know it was pink. The front of the box has the white version shown on a black background with all caps PHANTOM in the lower left corner. It’s a nice simple box front which I always enjoy; keep the secrets within the box in my opinion. The back of the box provides some quick features in a few different languages and suggests a red and black version of the case. Again…still no indication a pink version exists, why? Because this is the same box from last year – they really had me fooled.
The sides of the box give a rundown of the fan positions available and the fans included. It lists the motherboard sizes that will fit and the basic clearances for video cards and CPU coolers. On the side with the color options red, black, and white remain unchecked and a large white sticker reading “PINK” is stuck on – yup the pink case does exist. Now I actually understand that I’ve been shipped a pink case – don’t let the intro mislead you, I didn’t know this was coming until it showed up on my doorstep.
Naturally I crack open the box to find out what shade of pink this case is to be, baby pink, hot pink, magenta, carmine, Persian rose, peach, fuchsia, fandango…there are sooooo many pinks. However, at first glance, and further looks, the color is indeed Pepto-Bismol Pink simply put.
Out of the box and there it stands Pepto-Bismol pink in color. Looking front to back it is slathered in pink – even on the inside. The black mesh on the front helps break it up a little and it is indeed a good looking case. The front has a swinging magnetic door to hide your hideous optical drive (that’s actually a reason I don’t run one anymore – this door would let me!) The back has the typical I/O panel, PSU and PCIe slots. There are even four grommet holes for possible water tubing or whatever you need to run out the back from the inside. From the back of the case you can also see the somewhat “pointed” shape of the case. It is tallest here at the back and slopes down to the front. There is definitely no spot to hold your crantini. Nonetheless it’s looking good.
Taking a look at the side of the case, the top profile is further accentuated. You can almost get a peek at the fan controller as well – but we’ll leave that for a later time. The side panels have trapezoidal cutouts for extra airflow and are filled with black mesh. The back side behind the motherboard tray has only the cutout at the bottom to avoid all your cable blunders from being seen. The front side panel has room for several fans with holes for either a 200mm or 220mm fan and actually comes with two 120mm fans in the lower mesh opening which can be plugged into the fan controller.
From the outside the case looks pretty nice. It really looks just the same as the other NZXT Phantom previously reviewed…just in another color. Let’s open it up and take a look at what it has to offer on the inside.
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!!
Full Tower Steel
Front Panel Material:
Dimensions (W x H x D):
222 x 540 x 623 mm
5 External 5.25” Drive Bays
7 Internal 3.5”/2.5” Slots
Screwless Rail Design
Steel with black finish
- Front, 1 x 140mm
- Rear, 1 x120mm (included)
- Side, 2 x 120mm, 1 x 200/230mm (2 x 120mm included)
- Top, 2 x 200mm (1 x Blue LED 200mm included
- Available in 4 colors: black, white, red, pink
- 7 fan cooling options
- Dual radiator support
- Quad water-cooling cutouts
- 5, 20W each, fan controls
- Easy install HDD screw-less rails
- LED on/off switch to control fan lighting
- Front panel USB, Audio/Mic, and E-SATA ports
All information courtesy of http://www.nzxt.com/new/products/crafted_series/phantom">http://www.nzxt.com/new/products/crafted_series/phantom
Testing the NZXT Phantom required pushing my hardware to heat things up! Testing involved recording temperatures for the CPU, GPU, chipset, hard drives, and overall system during idle and load phases. Load was simulated by running Prime95’s small FFTs, HD Tune, and 3Dmark Vantage for one hour. The maximum temperatures were recorded using HW Monitor. It is important to note that each case is tested from its factory setup, including location of fans, unless otherwise noted.
Like all the other cases tested here on OCC, the NZXT Phantom will be tested as it was delivered. One modification I tend to have to apply to every case is the removal of the rear fan. In order to mount my water loop with its 120 mm radiator and dual fans I must remove the rear fan. I will mount the two 120 mm fans and radiator on this rear panel in exhaust; other than this modification, the large 200mm fan in the top will remain in place.
- Processor: AMD Phenom II X3 720 @ 3.6 GHz
- Motherboard: GIGABYTE 990FXA-UD3
- Memory: 8GB (2x4GB) DDR3 PC3-17000 9-11-10-28 Redline
- Video Card: XFX 6970
- PSU: Antec TruePower New TP-750
- Hard Drives: SSD 2x Seagate Barracuda 7200.11 RAID 1
- Optical Drive: N/A
- OS: Windows 7 Pro 64-Bit SP1
- Antec 1100
- Storm Trooper
- BitFenix Outlaw
- NZXT Source 220
- NZXT Tempest 210
- Corsair Graphite Series 600T
- Cooler Master HAF 932 Black Edition
Overall the NZXT Phantom performed pretty well. Not too surprisingly it stayed right there with its brother and sister the Source 220 and Tempest 210 also from NZXT. It was also usually the highest of the three unfortunately. However, it was generally right in the middle of the field of cases, so the results show it being about the average performer. It wasn’t designed to be the ultimate cooling machine but rather have an awesome look with an on par cooling.
Putting all the pink jokes aside this case was honestly too much fun to review. Hardware wasn’t too difficult to get in the case compared to most. Like I had mentioned before the only real issue I had was with the motherboard power connector not fitting through the small hole for it. The motherboard just sits too high and an already small hole cut in half makes no room for the cable. Then again, with no window it worked out okay but I see this as something that should have been caught in the design stages. After getting all my hardware in there I truly like the way it looks. The pink is very different from any case I’ve ever owned and will probably remain one of the most unique cases I’ll ever own. But like I said, if you have that special someone you are still trying to introduce to gaming…if she loves pink this might be for her – but don’t forget, not all of us girls LOVE pink (urban legend). So it might not be the PINK from Victoria Secret but…it is better than the “pink nightmare” from A Christmas Story… HAPPY HOLIDAYS!!
- PINK (for some it’s a PRO)
- 5-channel fan controller built in
- Fan LED control – turn off the lights!
- Magnetic door on the front panel to hide those ugly optical drives
- Motherboard power connector doesn’t fit in the cutout in the motherboard tray
- Cabling in general a little of a pain, small grommets and low clearances
- Paint isn’t a powder coat – I’ve already nicked a few spots around screw holes