|NZXT Phantom 630 Computer Case|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Cases|
|Written by David Ramsey|
|Tuesday, 05 February 2013|
Page 6 of 6
Computer Case Final Thoughts
Some of the first reviews I wrote for publication on this site were of NZXT cases. At the time I was somewhat of a case snob, preferring expensive Lian Li and Cooler Master aluminum cases for my builds. I was struck by the quality and features NZXT managed to bring to their sub-$100 cases, and came to realize that design was just as important, if not more so, than just materials and build quality. Of course if a case has all three, that's great!
At an MSRP of $179.99, the NZXT Phantom 630 is facing off against some pretty heavy competition...cases such as Cooler Master's HAF-X and Storm Trooper, or Silverstone's Raven RV03. In the end, of course, it comes down to the features you want and the price you're willing to pay. NZXT includes a raft of convenience features in the Phantom 630: an integrated fan controller block, rear LEDs, an integrated SD card reader, configurable drive cages, and removable filters for all the air intakes, and these features really help this case stand out in an increasingly crowded market segment.
And it does need to stand out. The (vast) majority of computer cases sold are in the sub-$100 market; once you go over the $150 MSRP mark, you're looking at pretty rarefied territory. Like expensive cars in a showroom, these are the cases that "carry the standard" for vendors, and users rightfully expect to get a lot for their money. With the Phantom 630, they do.
Still, it's not perfect. The flimsy drive sleds are an especially jarring note in this case, and I hope that NZXT fixes them in the next iteration. Actually, they're so bad that I'd suggest NZXT consider offering free replacements. Other than that, my only other significant complaint is the single channel fan controller. Some of the competition, like Cooler Master's Storm Trooper, offer multi channel fan controllers, but NZXT has the advantage of the integrated fan power block, which shows well next to the massive tangled bundle of fan and light wiring in the much more expensive Cooler Master Cosmos II case.
Overall, this is a handsome and feature-rich case you'd do well to consider.
Phantom 630 Conclusion
Computer cases are one of the few areas in which an enthusiast can "put their mark" on a system. There's a tsunami of innovation and refinement in case design these days, and just when you thought you'd seen everything it was possible to do with the "ATX tower case" template, something new comes along to show you that other people don't agree.
The NZXT Phantom 630 shares a distinct look with the other member's of NZXT's Phantom case line. It's handsome enough, albeit not particularly dramatic. The Phantom 630 is available in black and white as well as the gunmetal gray of our review sample if you want something with a little more visual zing.
The steel used in the case is very sturdy: I was able to easily pick up a fully loaded case by a top frame rail (with the plastic top panel removed) and didn't notice any flexing at all. With the exception of the plastic drive sleds, all the steel and plastic parts were well made and fit precisely, so the construction quality of the case is up to the high standards we've come to expect from NZXT.
Functionally, the case is more versatile than many of the competition's cases, and is certainly the most water-cooling friendly case I've seen at this price point. Actually, short of monsters like the Rosewill Blackhawk Ultra or super-expensive bespoke cases like Mountain Mods, it's the best case I've seen for water cooling.
As for value: well, there's no getting around the fact that there are a lot of nice cases to choose from at this price point. As of February 2013 the NZXT Phantom 630 sells for $179.99 (Newegg / Amazon). If you have a single video card, only a couple of 2.5"/3.5" devices, and don't particularly care about water cooling, this might not be the case for you. However, if setting up a multi-drive water-cooled tri-SLI or CrossFireX system is what you're planning to do, then this is one of the best options at this price point that you should consider.
This case - flimsy drive sleds aside - marks another design win for NZXT. I'll be interested to see what they come up with next.
+ Good industrial design
- Flimsy drive sleds
Final Score: 8.95 out of 10.
Quality Recognition: Benchmark Reviews Silver Tachometer Award.
COMMENT QUESTION: What do you like most about the NZXT Phantom 630?