NZXT Phantom 820 Full-Tower Chassis

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Product: NZXT Phantom 820 Crafted Series
Provided By: NZXT
Price: ~$219.00 at time of publication (find low prices on NZXT here)

Introduction:

Today I'll take a close look at a new Phantom case from NZXT. These guys are known for creating some bold, high-quality cases. They also provide a variety of other products that can be found here (insert link to NZXT product page). They've been in business since 2004, so I'm expecting this case to be nothing short of spectacular.  

 
Specifically, I will be looking at the Phantom 820, the newest phantom case in the Crafted Series. The Phantom 820 is a full tower case that offers a lot of versatility no matter how you envision your rig taking shape.
 
 
The Phantom 820 consists of steel and plastic construction. It can accommodate pretty much any motherboard. The hard drive area contains six 3.5" quick release hard drive bays that can also support 2.5" SSD hard drives depending on your preference. It also includes four 5.25" quick-connect bays, fan filters, a built-in fan controller, and an awesome LED lighting system.
 
The Phantom 820 fits right in with its predecessors, and is a great update to an old favorite.

 

First Look:

This is my first experience with an NZXT case so I was looking forward un-boxing this and getting started.

In The Box Package

The Phantom 820 arrived in a standard cardboard case printed with a photo-realistic profile image of the case, as well as inside looks and more detailed specs. It was packed with a combination of dense Styrofoam, and a layer of softer foam against the more sensitive front. Under that, the Phantom 820 was also completely wrapped in plastic; the window also had an additional film for added protection.

Front Top Back

 

After I removed all the packaging, I was impressed by the bold look. This case has some pretty sleek lines but also seems very practical for whatever needs you have. I notice all sides, save the right, are very well vented to help dissipate excess heat. The Phantom 820 follows in the footsteps of previous Phantom cases with angled venting, a smoothly ridged front and top, as well as, a uniquely shaped window for viewing your components.

http://bcchardware.com/index.php/v/Phantom820/Angle.jpg.html?option=com_jfusion&Itemid=161 Angle Door Open
   
Left Side Right Side

 

The rear has four ports for water cooling lines that are filled with form-fitting grommets. There are also nine expansion slots that are vented when not in use. The bottom sports a distinctive "foot" system that allows plenty of air to flow through the bottom of the case.

On the next page we'll take a closer look at the Phantom 820 as we continue this review.

 


Closer Look:

I knew this case was big, but once I removed the side panels I realized there was a ton of room inside! I like the way NZXT put grommets on virtually every routing port, it gives this case a really nice look while providing protection to your wire harness. I also like the way the PSU area has rubber on the feet to help inhibit any vibrations the PSU might impart.

Inside Right Panel Removed

 

There are four fans included with this case and plenty of room for additional fans and/or radiators if desired. There are two intake fans (front and side), and two exhaust fans (top and rear). There is also a bracket for either a 120mm or 140mm fan to be mounted (fan not included). This bracket can be aimed at a specific area to help direct additional airflow to any component that might need it. The Phantom 820 has room for a total of nine fans depending on the setup. 

Top Removed - Fans Front Removed

The wiring for all the LED lights, fans, USB ports, and power headers were bundled and wrapped in another protective bag. They also included a stylish 8-pin ATX power connector extension that came in handy during my build. I wish it would have come with two extensions as my board requires two 8-pin connectors.

Fan Swivel PSU Feet Remove HDD Bay

Finally, you can remove the bottom hard drive enclosure if you want to install a large radiator or extra fans on the bottom of the case. 

A great feature that is useful to any computer is filters, and this case has quite a few. With the exception of the right side and rear fans, every other fan port is filtered. The bottom contains two quick release filters. There is also one filter when you remove the front panel and two when the top panel is removed.  

Filter Filter
   
Filter Filter

 

The Phantom 820 has a great design and feel, but it is the details that really set it off. There is a USB hub right on the top that contains two USB 3.0 and four USB 2.0 ports. The USB hub also has a rubber cover that I've found a handy dual use for; specifically, keeping my external drive from falling off the angled top.  

USB Covered USB Closeup Handy Pad

 

The fan controller and power button area has a stylish look as well. The fan controller buttons have a mirrored finish and an ease of use due to their larger size. There is a LED lit Fiber optic bar that runs the length of this section providing a nice look, as well as, an indicator of which fan you are adjusting and the speed.  The power and reset buttons remain unobtrusively at the edge of this area. You also find headphone and microphone jacks here as well. To top it all off this area has a strip that is mirrored, creating a visible boundary between the fan controller and power buttons.

Fan Controller Fan Controller Select

 

Inside the front door there is an SD card reader, rear light control, and the LED color and mode controls. It is nice having these controls tucked away until you wish to change them. 

Controls & Card Reader

 

On the next page we'll take a look at the features and specifications before we set about installing a system in the Phantom 820.

 


Features & Specifications:

We have pulled some of the features and specifications for the NZXT Phantom 820 from the NZXT website here and posted them for your convenience.  As always, for all of the latest details, please head on over to the manufacturers site.  If you need a quick and simple breakdown, please check below.

 

  • Fully equipped with one 140mm and three 200mm fans for the high airflow and low noise
  • Integrated HUE lighting for illuminating the exterior/interior of your enclosure with option to turn on/off and allow you to customize the colors at your heart’s content
  • High-end water cooling solutions up to three fans for a push-pull configuration: 90mm of internal top space with top 280/360mm and bottom 240/280mm radiator support for unmatched liquid cooling
  • State-of-the-art integrated 4 channel digital fan controller with 15 watts per channel and LED indicators that progressively gets brighter on high speeds and dimmer for low settings
  • Easily removable filters located in the top, front, side, and bottom to prevent dust from entering your rig and simple maintenance
  • Adjustable interior pivot 120/140mm fan slot for directional airflow
  • Removable HDD cage and large storage capacity for 6 hard drives
  • Dual USB 3.0, quad USB 2.0, microphone, and audio jack along with a SD media card reader for high-speed data transfer and quick access to multimedia
  • Stylish acrylic window with a view to show off the interior of your rig
  • Unrivalled Cooling Capacity to mount up to nine fans for a maximum airflow
  • Rear I/O white light for visibility in dark environments with a toggle switch
  • Extruded right side panel for an elegant look and achieves 36mm clearance for cable wire management
  • Equipped with a stylish pedestal that lifts your enclosure off the ground for increased airflow.

The Phantom 820 is engineered to chill even the most demanding systems, equipped with triple 200mm and a 140mm fans. Maximize the potential by mounting up to nine fans to achieve unrivalled airflow in your chassis. Push the envelope and utilize liquid cooling systems that feature a push-pull configuration with top 280/360mm and bottom 240/280mm radiators up to 60mm thickness for unmatched performance. In addition, a rugged base design lifts the enclosure above the ground for display and increased airflow. The Phantom is reinvented again by following it's legacy of remarkable asymmetrical and award winning design.

Specs

On the next page, we'll continue the review with installation.

 


Installation:

After seeing everything the Phantom 820 has to offer, I'm chomping at the bit to get my components in here and fire this baby up. 

The hardware that comes with the Phantom 820 is neatly organized in a handy plastic case. This is a cool little feature since most cases just have the hardware in bags. This case also has a dual use as it holds all unused expansion slot covers from the rear, so no more losing them as I tend to do. 

Hardware Handy Hardware
   
HD Tray HD Tray Attached

I'm going to get my hard drive attached to the screwless rail system and slide it into the quick release bay. I also want to get my wires somewhat sorted out to make it easier when I'm plugging everything in.

This case more than accommodated my EATX Motherboard. I found that the stand-offs, for attaching my motherboard, were already secured in place from the factory. If I needed extra stand-offs for a different motherboard the hardware was included. The motherboard mounting plate was also stamped with a guide to tell you where the stand-offs are required for any form factor it supported. Also, there were no issues fitting my NZXT Havik 120 CPU cooler even with the left side fan installed. 

Mobo Stamp CD Slide
   
Quick Release Thumb Screws

Installing my DVD drive was made really simple with the NZXT's quick release latch; I just had to pop the latch and slide in my DVD drive and close the latch. It seemed pretty secure but I still attached a screw on the opposite side out of habit. 

Instead of a latching mechanism or tiny screws, the Phantom 820 incorporates thumb-screws for securing cards in the expansion slots. I found this to be much more secure and convenient than other methods. 
 
Routing was made easy due to the abundance of routing ports. Each port had plenty of room for whatever wires I ran through them and more. Anyone that has had issues in the past with trying to pass too many wires through a small port will not encounter it with this case. This abundance made wiring everything up a cinch. They also allowed me to keep my wiring clean and out of view behind the motherboard.  The right side also had tie-bases stamped all over the place to provide a solution for anyone's routing needs. 
 
Routing Inside Routing

 

Overall, I found the installation inside this case to be a breeze. The case came with detailed instructions detailing how to remove all the panels, and even had a diagram telling you what hardware was in the included hardware case. I took my time and many breaks and had this case installed and running in a couple of hours. I don’t think NZXT could have made the process any easier because everything I needed was right in front of me and very straight forward.  

On the next page we'll cover some information about testing this case before we draw our final conclusions.

 


Testing:

Rear LED LightsOnce I had everything ready to go I fired this bad boy up. Immediately I wanted to play with the LEDs. This case looked cool out of the box, but the LEDs are the icing on the cake. The top and front are accented with LED lit fiber-optic bars that match the inside LED lighting. The controls for the LED system are simple as well. There is a rotary selector that allows you to cycle thru any color in the RGB spectrum. Some colors were bolder then others when I cycled through, but I think anyone can find a color to complement their taste. I went with red because it was awesome looking and went along with other with the rest of my desk area.
 
There is also a mode button for the LEDs. You can choose to have either of the lights on or off, as well as, all lights on and all lights off.  There is one other button that controlled the rear I/O port LED lights. This is very handy especially if your computer resides in a dark area and you don’t want to search for a flash light just to plug in a new component.
 
The integrated fan controller was easy to use. Each control area (rear, top, side, front) was simple to cycle through, and I just used the plus or minus keys to put each fan on low, medium, or high. 
 
Profile LED Door Closed LED Door Open
 
I feel this case really stood up well to other cases reviewed BCCHardware.com. It has some features similar to the [ NZXT Switch 810 (link) reviewed by Michael Bollinger ] recently. 
 
The Phantom 820 case really exceeded my expectations. It is full of handy features and integrated components. I didn’t really encounter any issues running this case or playing with the features. Everything functioned well.

 

Conclusion:
 
All in all, this case is great! It really has a lot to offer to any level of user. The features can be utilized by novice users and hardcore enthusiasts alike. 
 
The quality of this case is impressive. With its steel and plastic construction, this case really looks good while still being functional. I couldn’t really find any faults in the craftsmanship when I was scrutinizing this case. The Phantom 820 is solid in design and brings NZXT's customary quality to the table.
 
Color Cycle
 
 
I feel this case really performed quite well and was a big upgrade over the Cooler Master HAF 932 case I was running previously. I did research this case a little before it reached me and I was not let down. This case performs very well and there were even some elements that performed double duty, whether that was the intent or not. 
 
I think having the integrated fan controller was a great addition to this case. It also came with an abundance of hardware and an 8 pin ATX extension cable. I would have liked to see another 8 pin ATX cable as my motherboard requires two if I want to overclock. The lighting was an added bonus and usually can cost someone quite a bit extra if they are buying it separately. 
 
The installation was easy and straight forward. It only took a couple hours for the installation of everything, and that was with me making notes and taking pictures. Someone else could have moved way faster as this case has a lot of room to maneuver and many options for routing. Everything you needed for an install was provided and NZXT could only make it easier by sending someone to install everything for me. I ran into no snags and everything went smooth. A novice builder that can read instructions should have no issues getting this case up and running in one go. 
 
 
The value of this case is solid. It can be out of some enthusiasts price range at $250, but you definitely get what you pay for. It is at the mid-to-high end of the full tower price range. There are definitely cheaper cases that offer most of the features, but not all. I think this case is worth the money simply because it comes with so many options. You can configure it any way desired. The lighting system really makes the case look nice and saves you from having to buy and install after market lighting. The fan controller is seamlessly integrated in the case design which adds to the look and provides great functionality.  The Phantom 820 is a high-end case and carries a high-end price. I think it is a pretty good deal for what you get, but would be a great deal at $219.
 
Overall I am happy with the Phantom 820 case. It has exceeded all my expectations and functions flawlessly. It has great quality and lots of features. The looks are amazing and can be altered to suit changing tastes. 
 
Pros:
  • Lots of room
  • Many options for ease of routing
  • Integrated fan controller and lighting system
  • Manufactured to accommodate any type of cooling setup
  • Sleek design
  • Many tool-less connections
 
Cons:
  • Price puts it out of range of some enthusiasts
  • Would have liked to see another 8 pin ATX cable
  • Would have liked to see a fan included for the swivel point 
 

BCCRating

Gold

 

I'd like to thank NZXT for sending over the Phantom 820 for us to take a look at.  If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to post them at the link below.