I’m as much a fan of NZXT as any of the NAGlings perusing this site today. They make fantastic-looking chassis with a unique design, sometimes better than the gaudy, military-looking cases we’re normally given by companies that think they know what gamers and enthusiasts want. Cooler Master, for example, is currently going through this very weird phase of a rugged design language that I just can’t appreciate on the outside, even though they’ve traditionally always delivered on the inside. And its the same, I guess, with the Phantom 820, just reversed.
The previous Phantom full-towers won awards and praise from the internet and computer magazines for their features and build quality. For a company that usually focuses on looks and value-for-money these full-towers don’t come cheap, with the Phantom 820 weighing in at a RRP of $250. That hefty price tag matches to the chassis’ size – its a complete full tower with ten drive bays, space for more fans than you can poke a stick at, nine PCI expansion slots, six front-panel USB ports, 2mm thick SECC steel that’s been treated and painted in various matte colours and enough space to swallow graphics cards up to 350mm.
Its wonderfully large inside and far roomier than you’d expect. Most online reviewers don’t give a damn about how cables look in their reviews but you can land up with an incredibly neat system if you take the time to fine-tune everything. My only gripe with the chassis, however, is the rotated hard drive bays. For airflow from the front 200mm fan to reach your valuable and rather hot hardware, you have to remove both drive cages. Its a minor thing for most, but this limits you in the amount of hard drives or SSDs you could mount in there – for the best airflow, you’d have to find 5.25″ bay adapters for your storage drives.
Make no mistake, if you were in the market for a high-end chassis then this should be on your shortlist. At least from the perspective of this writer, however, there are better-value products elsewhere that can perform to the same level. In fact, if you compare just the interiors and then the price, its the same as NZXT’s Switch 810.
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