It’s no secret that most users prefer to assemble their computers in midi-tower system cases which are the most versatile and easy to deal with. We tested one such product from the American NZXT before but that was the rather unassuming Beta EVO. This time around we’ve got two completely new system cases that belong to the company’s more exciting Crafted series: the eye-catching Phantom and the less flashy Vulcan. The former is meant for computer enthusiasts, judging by its size and exterior, whereas the latter, being a micro-ATX product, is supposed to serve as a portable gaming station. Let’s see if these products are really as good as they claim to be.
Closer Look at NZXT Phantom
The designers have done a very good job on the Phantom. This system case looks just gorgeous, provoking associations with the Star Wars movies. The angular, asymmetric shape of the front and top panels makes it different from regular system cases. Its size and weight are remarkable as well. The Phantom is big and heavy. It can easily accommodate Extended-ATX mainboards and longest graphics cards, but you won't find it easy to move it around.
We've got a white Phantom but it is also available in red and black versions. However, some details are black even in the white version, producing a contrasting and somewhat aggressive effect.
Let’s first take a look at the top panel some of which is in fact a metallic black mesh. All the control buttons and I/O connectors can be found in its front part.
The buttons are placed on the left. On the right there is a 5-channel fan controller. Each of its channels is labeled with an icon. Its fan cables are also labeled with such icons. Some of the cables can be used to connect either one or two fans to one controller channel. This makes it easy to control any fans since you can always see which exactly fan you are dealing with.
The Power and Reset buttons have a short travel distance and respond with a click. They are made from soft plastic which feels nice to the touch. There are two indicators behind the buttons: power and disk activity. To the right of them, there is a kind of a black islet with I/O connectors which include one eSATA, two USB 2.0 and two audio connectors (microphone and headphones). In the back part of the top panel, below the metallic mesh, there are two fan seats.
If you take the top panel off (which is rather easy as you only have to pull its protruding front piece up after removing the front panel), you can find one preinstalled 200mm fan (DF2003012SEMN model, 0.42 A, 5.04 W, 800 RPM, 3-pin connector) for exhaust and a seat for another such fan covered with a dust filter.
The fan has soft blue highlighting which can be easily switched off with a button on the back panel. You can also remove the fan and install a radiator of a liquid cooling system instead. There are two mounting plates for it included with the Phantom. You'll have to fasten 120mm fans above the radiator then as there will be no place left below.
The integrated fan controller is a small card with five sliders that adjust the voltage within a range of 6 to 12 volts. The operation of each fan is indicated by a blue LED.
For the faceplates of 5.25-inch bays not to spoil the stylish appearance of the Phantom, there is a plastic door on the front panel which is held with a magnet when closed. The manufacturer put its logo in the cutout of the door but no branding can be seen elsewhere. The door opens up to the right. It covers five perforated black faceplates which can be easily removed using their spring-loaded plastic locks.