NZXT Phantom 530 review: beauty and brains

Cases, Reviews

 

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It’s the classic geek love story. Geek meets PC case, geek shares many happy memories with PC case. One day, a new, shinier case comes along. Geek faces a decision – move onto the new model, or stick with the old love? Join me for the fateful conclusion, as we examine the Phantom 530 – NZXT’s £90 modern followup to the much-loved Phantom.

Features

  • Single channel, 30W fan controller with integrated fan hub
  • Up to three 200mm fans for maximum airflow
  • Discrete SSD mount behind motherboard tray
  • 34mm of cable management clearance
  • Fully modular, interchangeable hard drive cages
  • Signature rear I/O LEDs + Latest USB 3.0 connection
  • Large acrylic window
  • Extensive liquid cooling support includes Kraken X40/X60 all-in-one solutions and radiators of up to 360mm in size
  • Durable steel constructed 5.25” optical drive latches
  • Eight motherboard expansion slots offer comprehensive expandability

Specifications

Size Full Tower
Colour White / Black / Red
Drive Bays External 5.25″ x 3
Internal 3.5″ /2.5″: 6
Internal 2.5″: 1 + 6
Cooling System Front: 2x140mm/ 120mm or 1x200mm (1 x 200mm included)
Rear: 1x140mm (included) / 120mm
Bottom: 2x120mm
Side: 1x140mm
Top: 2x200mm/ 140mm or 3x120mm
Interior: 1x120mm/140mm
Clearance CPU Cooler: 183mm
VGA Card: 282mm (With Cage & Pivot Fan), 310mm (With Cage), 444mm (Without Cage)
Cable Management: 26mm (Lowest Point)/ 34mm (Highest Point)
Dimensions 235mm x 572mm x 543mm
Material Steel, Plastic
Motherboard Support ITX, Micro-ATX, ATX, EATX (322x272mm)
Expansion Slots 8
External Electronics 1 x Audio / Mic
2 x USB 3.0
Fan Controller
Rear IO LED Switch
Product Weight 10.5 kg
Warranty 2 Years
Price £90 (Click here for latest Amazon price)

Unboxing

The NZXT Phantom comes in a thick black cardboard box, with the case you chose pictured prominently on the front.

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On the back we have a few special features of the case: 10 port fan hub and SSD mount, fan controller, lighting for the rear I/O panel, support for three 200mm fans + Kraken liquid cooling, plus modular hard drive cages.

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Open up the  box, and we can see that the case inside is well packed in foam and a plastic bag.

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We also have some sticky plastic sheeting over the bulk of the case, preventing the case from accruing any scratches or other damage before it reaches you. An instruction manual is provided; the other components are all inside.

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Let’s get a better idea of this case’s design in the appropriately-titled next section.

Design

The Phantom 530 continues the Stormtrooper aesthetic of its predecessors, white and black with asymmetric diagonal lines throughout. The case remains a full tower design intended for full-size ATX motherboards, although of course smaller ones can be used too.

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From above, you get good idea of the case – it’s tall and not perfectly rectangular. It has a noticeable prow at the top and the front. The top also contains a large upper grille with space for plenty of large 200mm fans.

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The front-right of the top of the case has a pair of USB 3.0 ports and a pair of 3.5mm ports for your peripherals. The power button is also on this side, slightly recessed to prevent accidental pushes but large enough to make it easy to find.

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The left side of the top has the fan speed controller and a reset button.

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The front of the case has a door that opens to reveal three drive bays, which seems a bit overkill for most gamers.

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The side has a nice diagonal window on it, with the remainder of the space dominated by a large fan grille. The actual aperture is circular, but the grille is extended to match the diagonal cut of its neighbor.

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With the side off, we can see the back of the inside clearly. There’s a fan pre-installed here, with the normal spaces for the power supply (bottom), I/O slots (middle) and liquid cooling channels (above them). Standoffs for the motherboard are pre-installed, saving you from that particular hassle.

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Looking now at the other side, we have the three CD mounts, plus three hard drive cages of varying size. One can hold three drives, the next two, and the smallest one. These cages are modular; unused ones can be removed to save space, simplify construction and improve airflow. The smallest comes with a small cardboard box inside that contains extra screws and other bits and pieces, all nicely separated out.

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From this angle, you can also see the mounting points for the motherboard, the four passthrough points for your cabling, and the built-in cables, nicely bound and ready to be plugged into the motherboard.  IMG_4537

Now let’s turn our attention to the opposite side of the case. This side of the case has a