NZXT Phantom 820 Case Review
By Gabriel Torres on October 24, 2012
Let’s take a look at the latest version of NZXT’s Phantom case, the Phantom 820, a full-tower model featuring nine expansion slots, a four-channel fan controller, and an advanced lighting system.
The reviewed case is available in three color options: black, white or gunmetal gray. We reviewed the gray model.
The very first thing we noticed with the new Phantom 820 was that its overall construction quality is vastly superior to the original Phantom.
The left panel of the NZXT Phantom 820 has a small window and two meshes, coming with a huge 200 mm fan attached to the biggest mesh. This fan has an air filter, a maximum speed of 800 rpm, uses a three-pin standard fan connector, and it can be connected to the case’s fan controller. The original Phantom supports a 200 mm fan on its left panel, but doesn’t come with this fan. Instead, it comes with two 120 mm fans.
Similarly to the original Phantom, the NZXT Phantom 820 has a door with magnetic latches on its front panel. The Phantom 820 has four external 5.25” bays, all protected by meshed covers with air filters. The original Phantom has five of these bays. However, the new Phantom 820 comes with an SD memory card reader and buttons for its advanced lighting system, features not available on the original Phantom.
Through a dial, the buttons of the lighting system allow you to turn the lights on or off, or change the color of the LEDs from red to green to blue as well as colors in-between such as orange and pink.
The front panel has a 200 mm fan identical to the one used on the left panel.
The air filter for the optional bottom fan is removable from the front panel.
The top panel of the NZXT Phantom 820 has a big mesh and comes with another 200 mm fan installed, featuring an air filter. The top panel supports the installation of another 120 mm, 140 mm or 200 mm fan, and it comes with an air filter for this optional fan. Internally, you can install a radiator up to 360 mm long. It also supports two individual 140 mm radiators or three individual 120 mm radiators.
The reviewed case comes with two USB 3.0 ports and four USB 2.0 ports on its top panel. The USB 3.0 ports use an internal connector.
One of the highlights of the Phantom 820 is its four-channel, 12-speed fan controller. Each channel supports the installation of three fans, with a maximum combined power of 15 W per channel.
The bottom panel has a big stand to keep the case raised above your desk or floor, making it easier for the air to enter the case through its bottom panel. There are two air filters on the bottom panel, one for the optional bottom fans and one for the power supply fan. The air filter for the bottom fan is removed from the front panel (see Figure 8), while the air filter for the power supply fan is removed from the rear panel (see Figure 14).
The rear panel and the interior of the NZXT Phantom 820 case are painted with the same color as the exterior – gunmetal gray, in our case.
The case has nine expansion slots, using vented covers. Usually, cases have seven slots – including the original Phantom.
The rear panel comes with a 140 mm fan with a maximum speed of 1,100 rpm.
On the NZXT Phantom 820 case, the power supply goes on the bottom part of the case.
There are four holes, protected with rubber covers, for hoses of liquid cooling solutions. They are 1.1” (28 mm) in diameter.
As mentioned, the air filter for the power supply fan is removed from the rear panel. See Figure 14.
Both panels are attached to the chassis using black thumbscrews. After removing the top and bottom screws, you have to push a lever to release the side panel.
The motherboard tray has a huge hole for you to access the backplate of the CPU cooler without having to remove the motherboard from the case, several holes protected with rubber covers for you to route cables behind it, and several metallic clips for you to fasten cables behind the motherboard tray using cable ties.
Figure 17 gives you another overall look inside the case. The case supports CEB, EEB, E-ATX, and XL-ATX motherboards. Expansion cards are fastened using black thumbscrews. On its default configuration, the NZXT Phantom 820 case supports video cards up to 14.2” (360 mm) long. If the optional internal fan is installed (see Figure 18), the maximum length supported for video cards is reduced, but the exact length will depend on the inclination you set for the fan.
You can install a 120 mm or 140 mm fan to the top hard drive cage, and you can tilt this fan to exactly match the component you want to cool down.
As already explained, the power supply is installed at the bottom of the case. Note that it can be installed with either its bottom fan facing up or facing down, so you can decide if you want the fan of your power supply pulling air from inside the case or from outside of it. As already shown, there is an air filter for the power supply fan.
You can install two 120 mm fans, two 140 mm fans or a radiator up to 280 mm long (or two 120 mm or 140 mm radiators) on the bottom panel. The case comes with an air filter for these optional fans and radiators, as shown in Figure 8.
The case supports the installation of power supplies up to 15” (380 mm) deep on its default configuration. If a 140 mm fan or radiator is installed on the bottom panel next to the power supply, you can install power supplies up to 8.7” (220 mm) deep. Moreover, if you install a 120 mm fan or radiator on the bottom panel next to the power supply, you can fit power supplies up to 9.8” (250 mm) deep.
The NZXT Phantom 820 case has four 5.25” external bays and six 3.5”/2.5” internal bays in two cages. You can install 5.25” and 3.5” devices without the use of tools or screws, but you need to use regular screws to install 2.5” devices.
Differently from most cases, access to the 3.5”/2.5” bays is done through the right side of the case instead of the left.
The top hard drive cage holds four 3.5”/2.5” bays, and it is not removable. The bottom hard drive cage holds two 3.5”/2.5” bays and can be removed from the case to allow the installation of thick radiators on the bottom panel.
Each 3.5”/2.5” bay is actually a drawer, with rubber rings to absorb vibration and noise from 3.5” hard drives.
The main specifications for the NZXT Phantom 820 case include:
The NZXT Phantom 820 is a much better case than the original Phantom, from its construction quality and materials used to its impressive set of features. This better quality, however, has a huge price tag; the new Phantom 820 is twice as expensive as the original Phantom, and it is hard for us to recommend a computer case to the average user that is so expensive.