NZXT Phantom 630 Case Review: The Relentless Pursuit of Perfectionby Dustin Sklavos on January 20, 2013 12:01 AM EST
Assembling the NZXT Phantom 630
NZXT has made a lot of really smart decisions as far as overall design goes with the Phantom 630, but there are still a couple of places where they need work. Assembly went pretty smoothly (I can't stress enough how important hinged side panels are), but in the interest of progress I'm going to nitpick the hell out of this because it is the weakest part of the 630's design.
Installing the motherboard is about as easy as it gets; NZXT ships the 630 with standoffs for an ATX motherboard preinstalled, which is an appreciated convenience. The only thing they're missing that other manufacturers have employed is a center stud that can be used to line up and effectively hold the board in place. It's also worth mentioning Lian Li was successfully able to make motherboard installation "toolless" by including special thumbscrews for this part, but that's a convenience that's not strictly necessary.
Where NZXT seems to keep running into trouble is with the drive sleds. The 630 uses the same sleds the 820 used, and they're just too flimsy. When the 630 arrived, most of the sleds were out of alignment, and they pretty much *need* a full hard drive installed to even snap in properly. Note also that the drive sleds enter the cages from the rear of the motherboard tray. Corsair, Antec, and Fractal Design typically get this part of the assembly right, and I get the feeling this is one of the places where NZXT is still cutting corners, because these are still too flexible and they just don't really lock into the drive cages very firmly.
Thankfully the drive trays used for 2.5" SSDs behind the motherboard have a slightly simpler and much more secure design; these are held in place by a single thumbscrew, and the simple slot-down mounting is exactly firm enough. NZXT also includes incredibly secure, firm latches for the 5.25" bays, though I wish these latches were on both sides instead of just the side above the motherboard tray.
You can color me surprised that the expansion slots don't use thumbscrews, though. I'm not sure what the reason for this change is, and I'm not particularly peeved by it since most thumbscrews are installed so tightly that you need to use a screwdriver just to remove them without losing your fingerprints anyhow, but it's an odd omission. The power supply continues to use the same screws every other case does, but NZXT thankfully includes enough struts in the bottom of the case to support power supplies short and long.
NZXT did get the cabling mostly right, but there's another major gaffe here. While the space behind the motherboard tray is copious to begin with and only improved by the smart cabling channels, and I'm really happy to see a central fan control hub, it's almost impossible to route the AUX 12V line behind the motherboard tray. There's a hole above the tray that theoretically allows for it, but in practice the clips on the lead itself cause it to be too thick to fit. It's kind of bizarre to see this kind of flaw come through the design when so much of the rest of it is spot on, but there you have it. At least there are plenty of rungs for zip ties.
If I seem to be nitpicking, it's only because I'm by and large talking directly to the guys who designed the Phantom 630 and asking for these things to be addressed. They're so close to a ten-out-of-ten design here, and these little things can come together to compromise usability somewhat. In the grand scheme of things these issues are minor enough that most users can and should be fine, and they're definitely overshadowed by the other perks of the 630's design.
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mepenete - Sunday, January 20, 2013 - linkToo bad I can't get the aesthetic design of this case.. it just looks ugly to me.
EzioAs - Sunday, January 20, 2013 - linkRight? Right? I just don't see why most people like NZXT designs anyway, I know aesthetic is a subjective thing but yeah, NZXT cases really doesn't do it for me.
3ogdy - Sunday, January 20, 2013 - linkThe Antec GX700 looks so much better, right?
EzioAs - Sunday, January 20, 2013 - linkThat's because I compared the GX700 to the Vengeance C70. Both have quite good looks (if you're into the military-looking case sort of theme) but I prefer the GX700. If I were to compare both of them to the Tt Level 10GT or the Cougar Challenger however, both GX700 and Vengeance C70 would came out on top.
Havor - Sunday, January 20, 2013 - linkNo but the Silverstone Raven line dose look a hell of a lot better, and also cools real good.
Robert in Calgary - Sunday, January 20, 2013 - linkYes, another ugly case. Bad "artists".
...and big! 7 inches taller than a Solo, 6 inches higher than a R4.
This won't fit on my computer shelf.
JPForums - Monday, January 21, 2013 - link
I can respect that. I'm actually one of the rare few that neither love or hate the aesthetics. It is certainly better looking (In my opinion) than some of their previous attempts, but there are just as certainly better looking cases on the market.
The R4 is 6.5" taller than a Sugo SG09B OMGWTFBBQ.
Or Instead of comparing Full towers to Mid towers( to Mini towers), we could compare it to other cases in its class. This case does ring in a full inch taller than a Cooler Master HAF-X (without the wheels) and almost 2 inches deeper. However, it is 3 inches shorter and 2 inches less deep than a Cooler Master Cosmos II. It is on the larger side of Full towers. However, it's not really that much larger than common Full towers like the HAF-X, smaller than the likes of a Silverstone TJ11B-W or Thermaltake VG4000BNS(Xaser VI), and roughly the same size as a Corsair Obsidian 800D.
The point is, the size of the Phantom 630 really isn't outrageous to anyone looking for a Full tower. It may be unworkable for some, but anyone who looks at its size and thinks ZOMG shouldn't be looking for a full tower in the first place. They would be better served by a Mid tower or smaller.
Subyman - Sunday, January 20, 2013 - linkI totally agree. The functionality looks great, but the design is not pleasing to me. I bought a Corsair 550D and love its understated looks (I also own a 800D.)
JPForums - Monday, January 21, 2013 - linkI don't particularly hate the Phantom 630's aesthetics, but they aren't appealing to me either. Like you I am a fan of the 550D and 800D. Unfortunately I don't own the 800D (yet). The 550D will have to do for now (at least until I can sell of another case).
frogger4 - Sunday, January 20, 2013 - linkI get the feeling this aesthetic is very subjective [I happen to really really like it!]. I have a previous generation Phantom, and very much like the look, but I think I fit the exact target audience they are going for.
On that same note, I also very much like the side panel with fan and window. It may not be the fanciest look, but I design the inside to be something worth looking at, so I like being able to see it. Perhaps an option for either a closed side panel or a window side panel would be cool.