NZXT Phantom 530 Full-Tower Chassis

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Product: NZXT Phantom 530 Full-Tower Chassis
Provided By: NZXT
Price: ~$129.99 MSRP at time of publication

Introduction:

Today I will be taking a look at a great Phantom case by NZXT.  These guys have been in the game for a while, and their name is associated with many high quality products.  Not only do they build great cases, but they offer a wide range of products including cooling components, fans and controllers, power supplies, and a variety of aesthetic components that set off any project.  You can view all their products here.

Box
Box of Phantom

 

The case I have on my test bench today is the Phantom 530.  It is a great mid-sized addition to the Phantom line!

The Phantom 530 is a full tower case that consists of steel and plastic construction. It can support motherboard designs up to ATX. This case is really versatile like its big brother the Phantom 630. There are a lot of hard drive and cooling configurations to suit even the most demanding rigs. Let's dive right in and get a look and this beauty!

 

First Look:

I have reviewed the Phantom 630 a while back, so I know this case is going to be sweet. The Phantom 530 has many design features that are carbon copies of its big brother with some subtle aesthetic differences as well as a smaller size.

Side Panel

Side Panel

 

The Phantom 530 arrived packaged in a sturdy cardboard box that was printed with full-color photograph quality graphics. The case gives you a good angled view, as well as, inside looks and general specs of the case.  Inside, the case was secured by dense Styrofoam and wrapped in plastic to keep any particulates out. The side window also had film on both sides for added protection.

 

After removing all the packaging, I was greeted with a familiar Phantom design. I found the case as great looking as its predecessors. The outside design is a uniquely phantom design that differs a little from previous Phantom designs. This case definitely fits in with its bigger brothers.

Profile

Profile

Profiel

Profile

   

Case Front
Case Front

Case Rear
Case Rear

 

The Phantom 530 consists of a gloss-black finish with customary steel mesh screening venting the front and top. There is also steel mesh screening on the left side in case you want to add an additional fan.  This case sports a nice viewing window on the left side for showing off your hardware. The front also has a door that keeps three 5.25" bays hidden until you are ready to access them. 

This case will make a bold statement in anyone's work station!

On the next page, we'll take a closer look inside the case as we become familiar with the Phantom 530 case.


Closer Look - Inside:

On the inside this case closely resembles the Phantom 630. The modular design of the 530 is a carbon copy of its big brother. This is a scaled down version that would be great for someone that might have limited space. 

Panel off

Panel Off

On the inside this case closely resembles the Phantom 630. The modular design of the 530 is a carbon copy of its big brother. This is a scaled down version that would be great for someone that might have limited space. 

The Phantom 530 has a great setup for hard drives. It has six standard 3.5-inch slide out trays that can support normal hard drives or 2.5-inch SSD's.  These are broke into three cages that can be configured into a multitude of positions depending on your space requirements. Whether you have large video cards that need extra room, or you want to mount radiators on the bottom, NZXT definitely put some thought into flexibility.

Now you may be saying to yourself, I only use SSD's and don't want any of the standard HDD cages in the way, well NZXT thought of that too.  The Phantom 530 has a quick-connect SSD tray that mounts behind the motherboard tray. It uses a standard thumb screw to stay secured in place. I thought this was a great idea as a lot of people are moving to SSD's and needing more space for different cooling configurations.

SSD Mount

SSD Mount on Rear of Motherboard Tray

 

The front door of this case houses three 5.25-inch as well as a reset button. Any bays you decide not to use have covers to maintain a sleek look when not in use. I'll also add that the door stays securely closed with magnets. One drawback I can see with this is that the door only opens to 90º and could be bumped if you forgot it was opened. 

Optical Drive Installed

Optical Drive Installed

Tool-less Drive Mount

Tool-less Drive Mounts

 

The Phantom 530 comes with 2 fans included, one 200mm fan in the front and a rear 140mm fan. With all the fan configurations available, I was hoping to see additional fans in this case. The fans that were included were adequate for basic cooling, but unless you plan on using radiators I would pick up at least one additional fan. I ended up adding a 120mm to the internal swiveling bracket to promote a bit more air flow.

Front Bezel and Fan

Front Bezel Off & Fan

Case Stripped

Case Stripped

 

NZXT definitely makes its cases easy to tear down. The facades are securely fastened with strong plastic retaining clips. This method makes it pretty easy to take the front and top off, which comes in very hand when you want to reconfigure your fans, or replace them with radiators.

The Phantom 530 has a built in fan controller as well as a handy top mounted USB/Audio hub. The USB/Audio area has two USB 3.0 ports, microphone, and headphone connections.

Top Ports

Top Ports

Power & Fan

Power & Fan

 

The fan controller relies on a connector hub which supports up to ten fans and supplies 30W of power. The fan speed selector has three settings (low, medium, high). There is also an I/O light button in this area that allows you to light up the rear I/O area. I love when cases have this because you don’t have to scramble to find a flash light if you need to plug in a new component.


Information:

The following information has been taken from the NZXT product page for the Phantom 530. If you want the latest and updated information for the case, make sure you check the product page for that information. The bits below have been posted for your convenience.

In 2010, NZXT introduced the industry to its Phantom chassis, an aggressively designed, feature-filled case for mainstream users, gamers and enthusiasts alike. Now, NZXT is finally ready to unveil its direct successor, the Phantom 530.

 

Continuing the legacy of the original, the new Phantom was meticulously designed from the ground up for a refreshing new design that is uncompromising in every way. While creating the Phantom 530, the NZXT design team painstakingly took every beloved aspect of the original and made it even better.

The Phantom 530 introduces 2013 features to its signature design, including: fully modular hard drive cages, a discrete SSD mount behind the motherboard tray, NZXT's signature rear I/O LEDs, a single channel 30W fan controller with integrated 10-port fan hub and steel 5.25-inch optical drive latches.

Now with up to 70% more cable management space than the original, more airflow and even more liquid cooling support, the Phantom 530 features phenomenal support for even the most extreme performancebuilds.

 

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:

Specs

 

On the next page, we'll cover installation as we dive deeper into this review.


Installation:

This case has a lot of options and configuration styles to make any type of installation a snap. All the hardware needed for any type of configuration is included, all bagged and labeled for convenience. The manual also lists what each set of hardware is supposed to be used for, so even a novice builder can be sure of what they need to do. The motherboard plate is stamped with the connection points for each type of supported board so there is no confusion. I think stamping is definitely a superior method of informing the consumer where they need to put stand offs. Some cases just come with a paper indicator this that is easily lost after the first build. In addition the motherboard mounting area sports grommeted ports for routing the cabling for your rig. I find this adds a nice look when all is said and done.  

Mobo Tray Close

Mobo Tray Close

Hardware

Hardware

Grommet

Grommet

 

The Hard drive installation was really easy with the provided screw-less rail system. The tray snaps right onto the hard drive without needing hardware and slides right into the cage. The Hard drive installation was really easy with the provided screw-less rail system. The tray snaps right onto the hard drive without needing hardware and slides right into the cage. 

Drive Rails

Drive Rails

Drive Installed

Drive Installed

 

Installing my optical drive was simple as well. There is a quick connect on the side of each 5.25-inch bay. All you have to do is snap it open, slide the drive in, and snap it shut. I usually add a screw to the opposite side to make sure there is no vibration, but I found that the quick connect snaps really held everything tight and secure.

Installing the power supply was pretty straight forward. There are six "feet" in this section that can support even the longest power supplies with ease. My smaller Ultra 750w PSU fit onto four of these feet. Using the provided hardware the PSU was secured in about a minute.

Motherboard Installed Installing

 

Mounting my motherboard was pretty easy. I had to use the additional stand-off provided because my board is an ATX-E board. The board was simple to mount as well, no fuss and there was plenty of room to maneuver around.

While routing my PSU cables I did notice one issue.  The Phantom 530 did not come with an ATX 8-Pin extension cable. I like routing all my cables under the motherboard tray for a nice clean look; so, I had to use my own extension cable to get this done. The cable would have routed above the board fine but I like a nice clean look with minimal disruption from cables. 


 

Cable Management Tidy Job

 

Everything else went very smooth, routing for the most part was made easy by the many ports I had available. Behind the motherboard tray there were plenty of pre-stamped tie off points so I could make my wiring job look nice and neat.

With my power supply not being modular, I was able to find a handy spot to hide all the ugly wires that weren't being used. Right under the hard drive cages, there is a support that gave me a nice hiding spot.

On the last page, we'll talk about testing this case and share our thoughts as we wrap things up in our conclusion.


Testing:

Once I had everything in its place and ready to go I fired this beast up. The fan controller was really easy to use. Having one control for all the fans made it easy to set and forget, since that’s what most of us do I think. As I stated before, I think the rear I/O LED is great! It is a must have now-a-days for any build. This makes it really easy when you need to connect or disconnect anything without having to fuss around for a flashlight.

 

Conclusion:

All in all, I think this case is great! There is a lot of thought put into the modular design that can be utilized by anyone. Whether you're looking for an air cooled case, or you're planning on running a wild, water cooling setup this case can fit your needs. Novices and hardcore enthusiasts alike will find that this case makes their build process smooth and easy. 

The material quality was very good and I was unable to find any fault in the workmanship no matter how hard I looked. The steel and plastic construction is sturdy and has the feel it will hold up to multiple builds. It is definitely a case built to last!

I love when cases come with their own fan controller. It definitely saves some time and money, and you don't have to worry about a different controller, 'not looking right with the case'.

One drawback was the absence of an ATX 8-Pin, I felt with all the other additions and features this would be a no-brainer. 

The installation went very smooth. It was only helped by NZXT's straight forward design. It didn’t take very long from start to finish.  There was plenty of room to maneuver in the case, and NZXT furnished many options for routing. 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.

I felt the value of this case was solid. With a price tag of $129 (currently), this case is a good deal. The quality and modularity you get from this case is definitely worth what you pay for it. It may not be as flashy as the Phantom 820, or as large as the Phantom 630, but it definitely fits right in with its older brothers. NZXT really brings the quality with every design I've seen thus far.

 

Overall, I'm happy with the Phantom 530. It met my expectations and functions great. It has a great look and can be configured to suit anyone's needs now or in the future.

Pros:
  • Plenty of room
  • Easy routing and cable management
  • Rear Mounted SSD tray
  • Integrated fan controller
  • Modular design
  • Many tool-less connections
  • Bold look
 
Cons:
  • Absence of an ATX 8-Pin extension cable
  • Would like to see additional fans included

 

This case earns a solid 9.3 and is therefore awarded our "Gold" editors choice award. It's a stylish case that trims off some "fat" from other Phantom cases and still remains very functional and looks very slick.

 

I'd like to thank NZXT for sending this case over for us to review. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to post them in the forum at the link below.