NZXT Phantom - Cool Angles


Exterior Design

Glossy, Beware!

A solid, steel structure is the skeleton for the NZXT Phantom's plastic exterior, though at around 11kg without a power supply, it's relatively light. However, thanks to some rather long strips of rubber-like material at the casing's feet, the Phantom is actually rather stable and it can be quite difficult to drag it about.

Be warned that the exterior's glossy plastic will inevitably be a dust and fingerprint magnet, especially if you choose the black version. While taking photos for this review, we noticed the tendency of the material to attract dust, with styrofoam bits from the packaging clinging stubbornly to its surface.

The Phantom has a rather unique, angular appearance that will attract more than its fair share of attention. These angles are accentuated by faint and subtle LED lights at the top, with the fan controller and power/reset buttons glowing in blue when powered on.

The fan controller here provides up to 20W of power, sufficient for any fan that you may want to connect. There are five controls, each corresponding to a section of the casing, like rear or top. LED indicators will light up if you have connected fan(s) to the relevant section.

Nowadays, all the ports and power/reset buttons for casings are located at the top and the Phantom is no different. It's the usual USB ports and audio jacks, with eSATA thrown in. Again, blue LEDs are enabled to show that the system is powered on.
 

Hidden behind a rather well-constructed front door are the five 5.25-inch external drive bays. The plastic door is thick and solid, leaving us to think that it could even help to dampen noise from your optical drives. Best of all, it doesn't depress under pressure like some others we have seen. A hidden magnet keeps it in place when closed and it is sufficiently strong that it won't pop open if the casing is tilted forward.

A nice touch here with the front covers for the external drive bays is that they can be removed using a simple latch mechanism. No more prying and bashing in of metal plates.

For a casing that emphasizes its cooling capabilities, we were rather surprised that the front intake fan is not installed by default. Fortunately, removing the front cover of the casing is pretty easy. You just have to pull it out from the bottom. In any case, you have to do this step before you can remove the top cover later.

 The top of the casing is dominated by this large ventilation mesh, while underneath sits the installed 200mm fan with blue LED lights. There's also a filter and space for another 200mm fan (optional).

Removing the top plastic cover, we can see the wiring for the fan controller and front I/O panel, all already installed and nicely cabled for users. The mesh filter for the other optional 200mm fan is also shown.

The rear of the NZXT Phantom looks standard enough, except for the pointy top that reflects its angular design. Besides the 120mm exhaust and just above the motherboard rear I/O, there's a button to turn off the LED lights on the fans.

Two sets of grommets for those wishing to route your liquid cooling tubes and radiator.

The meshed ventilation at the bottom is part of the cross-sectional air 'tunnel' dedicated to cooling your hard drives.

Here we can see the bottom two 120mm fans that will pull air into the chassis and exit on the other side, right across your hard drives. There's also a dust filter in place for the optional 200/230mm side fan for the graphics card. It's good to install one if you have a high-end multi-GPU configuration.

NZXT has a rather innovative way of securing the two side panels of the casing. Thumbscrews are used on both sides, but the special sauce is that the screws themselves hold onto the side panels. One has to loosen the thumbscrews, then push it downwards along the groove. This will unlock the side panels, which will spring out.

The side door with up to three fans.

 

 

 

 

9.0
Overall rating 9/10
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Aesthetics
8.5
Functionality
9
Usability
9
Value
9
The Good
Excellent cooling potential
Spacious interior
The Bad
Plastic, glossy exterior can be a fingerprint magnet