NZXT Phantom Case Review
By Gabriel Torres on July 30, 2010
NZXT has just announced the Phantom, a full-tower case with tons of exciting features that will reach the market in September with a suggested price of USD 140 in the USA. Let’s see whether you should consider buying it or not.
The Phantom will be available in three different colors, black, red, and white. We reviewed the black version.
The reviewed case has a very unique design, getting away from the traditional “black rectangular box.” The left panel, which can be seen removed from the case in Figure 3, has two meshes. The smaller one has two 120 mm rifle bearing fans (part number DF1202512RFLN, also used by SilverStone). Although the brand, “NZXT,” is printed on the fan, the UL registration number resolves to “Xin Changfeng Electronics Co, Ltd.” Both fans come with a three-pin power connector. The big mesh has space for you to install one 200 or 230 mm fan, which is not included with the product. Both meshes feature a washable air filter. The right panel also comes with a ventilation mesh.
The front panel of the NZXT Phantom can be seen in Figure 4. It allows you to install a 140 mm fan on the lower part of the front panel to cool down the hard drives, but unfortunately this fan doesn’t come with the case.
As you can see, the Phantom has a door in front of the 5.25” bays, using a magnetic latch. One of the flaws of this case – at least with the pre-production sample we got – is that the magnet used isn’t strong enough, and the door is relatively heavy. During our review one of the hinges (which are too small and weak, by the way) of this door broke while we were moving the case around, because the door opened during transportation.
The Phantom has five 5.25” bays, all using meshed covers. One of the highlights of this case is the use of small latches on each 5.25” bay cover, making the process of removing and reinstalling these covers a breeze.
In Figure 6, you can see the top panel of the Phantom, which has lots of features. The Phantom comes with one 200 mm sleeve-bearing fan (part number DF20030125EMN, with a button on the rear panel to turn the blue LEDs on or off) and a space for the installation of a second 200 mm fan. In Figure 7 you have a better view of the fan and the space for the second fan. Note how the hole for the second fan comes covered with an air filter.
The most unique feature of the Phantom is its five individual fan controllers, using sliding potentiometers. So the pieces you see on the left-hand side in Figure 8 are not switches, but potentiometers that allow you to configure the exact speed you want. Each potentiometer is identified by an icon rather than by a number or name. At first the icons may look confusing, but things get easier once you realize that they are showing the fans with the case viewed from the top: the first potentiometer controls the front fan, the second potentiometer controls the two 120 mm side fans, the third potentiometer controls the 200 or 230 mm side fan, the fourth potentiometer controls the top fans, and the last potentiometer controls the rear fan. As noted, the Phantom doesn’t come with all the fans that it can control.
The Phantom also comes with two USB 2.0 ports, one eSATA port, and the traditional mic-in and headphone-out jacks on its top panel.
The bottom panel has a mesh for the power supply (not included), and there is an air filter that is accessed from outside the case.
The rear panel and the interior of the NZXT Phantom are painted black, giving a nice overall look. On the top part of the rear panel we have the button for turning the top fan lights on or off. The rear panel has a 120 mm fan identical to the ones used on the left panel and four holes with rubber covers for liquid cooling solutions. There are seven expansion slots, all using vented covers. On the Phantom the power supply is installed at the bottom part of the case, as already mentioned.
Both side panels are fastened to the case using black thumbscrews, which is great to see. In Figure 11, you have an overall look at the inside of the Phantom. The motherboard tray has a big hole around the area where the CPU is installed, allowing access to the backplate of the CPU cooler, so you can replace the cooler without having to remove the motherboard. The motherboard tray also has four holes with rubber covers for you to route cables behind it, and the power supply compartment has several holes with the same function.
This case supports video cards up to 14.5” (370 mm) long.
In Figure 13, you have another overall look inside the case. Expansion cards are fastened to the case using black thumbscrews.
In the Phantom, the power supply rests on four rubber standoffs.
The NZXT Phantom comes with five external 5.25” bays and seven internal 3.5”/2.5” bays, all using screwless installation mechanisms. The hard drive bays are rotated 90°, which helps a lot with the hard drive installation. Each 3.5”/2.5” bay is actually a small drawer, and hard drives are fastened using four pins that are surrounded by a rubber noise suppressing mechanism. All 3.5” bays support the installation of 2.5” devices, but the installation of 2.5” devices must be done with regular screws.
The main NZXT Phantom specs include:
The NZXT Phantom is an interesting option for the user who wants a case with tons of features at an affordable price. The overall construction quality, however, can’t be compared to the one found on more expensive products, and therefore if you are freak about quality, you should look for a different product.