NZXT Phantom 820 Full Tower Case Review

9 thumbs up
Test System: Our test system consisted of an MSI Z77 MPOWER Big Bang motherboard with an Intel Core i7-3770K (3.5GHz) processor, 2x4GB Kingston HyperX DDR3-1600 (@1333) RAM, a ZOTAC GeForce GTX 260, WD 150GB Raptor HDD, 850W NZXT HALE90 PSU, and Windows Home Premium x64.

We used an infrared thermometer to record CPU, motherboard, graphics card, and hard drive temperatures (in Celsius) after booting the system and letting it idle for 15 minutes. We checked temperatures again after running Prime 95 for 15 minutes, thus achieving both idle and load readings. The ambient temperature was maintained as consistently as possible. Where applicable, such as with motherboard temperatures, we took readings from multiple spots and averaged the results.

Because the Phantom 820 has an integrated fan controller, we ran tests with the fans running both at full bore and at their minimum speed as allowed by the controller.

Thermal Testing
Fans on, fans off






First off, we can see that there’s a substantial difference between the NZXT Phantom 820’s cooling performance with the fans running full blast versus set on low, both when idling and under load, particularly for the CPU and motherboard.

At idle with the fans cranked all the way up, the Phantom 820 was right about on par with the rest of the field in terms of the CPU and motherboard temperatures, although the graphics card and hard drive were a little warmer than we’d like to see. The hard drive score in particular was somewhat disappointing. Do note, however, that the reason for the very low HDD temp in the Switch 810 is due to a fan inside that chassis that sits right next to the drives and keeps them nice and chilly. With the fans on low, the Phantom 820's cooling performance isn't very strong.

The story is much the same when the systems were under load: The NZXT Phantom 820 was a bit on the warm side compared to the field, though not by much. Again, the Phantom 820’s hard drive cooling left something to be desired. Keep in mind, however, repositioning or adding a fan to better cool the hard drive bays is possible.

It should also be said that even with the fans running full bore under a nasty Prime95 load, the system remained impressively quiet; with the fan speed turned down low and the system idling, the case fans are only about as intrusive as the hum of the lights overhead.
 

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Wow, they even included the zip ties!  Talk about a full package!  

But seriously, I love the cable management on this thing.  My Antec only allows cables to ran through certain holes, this thing has holes galore along with the rubber that usually accompanies only water cooling.  Although, I typically go for performance over looks, and this thing just isn't the best performer.  

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That case looks really classy. I was curious about the noise level with all those fans running, but seems like it wasn't an issue. I still think if I ever do a rebuild I'll go for a cheaper case, but some day I'd like to splurge on something like this.

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sackyhack:

That case looks really classy. I was curious about the noise level with all those fans running, but seems like it wasn't an issue. I still think if I ever do a rebuild I'll go for a cheaper case, but some day I'd like to splurge on something like this.

Never go cheap on a case, and never go cheap on a PSU.  4 years ago I spent the extra money and bought a quality case, and a quality PSU.  Since then I've swapped a lot of parts out as I found them, and have never had to even consider buying another case or PSU.  The extra money spent is a much larger savings in the longer run, rather than buying a new case and PSU every time you upgrade.  I'm just not sure this NXZT is it, i'd like to see a review where they moved some fans around and optimized the cooling.

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If you like this case, but want something slightly smaller and less expensive check out it's little brother the Phantom 410. At only $99, it offers many of the same features, but is much more in reach.

Here's HotHardware's take on that case:

http://hothardware.com/News/NZXT-Takes-a-Shrink-Ray-to-Phantom-Chassis-Introduces-Smaller-Size-Phantom-410/

And to give you an idea of what kind of room it has take a look at my build with it:

http://hothardware.com/cs/forums/t/64248.aspx

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Nzxt makes amazing cases, but i think i like the simple design of the 810 better and newegg was offering the 810 for only $130 as a black Friday deal.

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I got one of these in Gun Metal for my wife's next build. Way overkill for her, but it's super quiet in person.

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So was this a purchase that turned into a review, or a review that turned into a purchase? =)

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Heh. Review was totally separate. It was more like me seeing early pics of the gun metal version and having to have one. I bought a handful of the original Phantoms and a couple 410s and have been really pleased with them. It's complete overkill for my wife, but since she married a tech geek, she's gonna get the goods once in a while. :)

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I have been seriously debating, if I had the money to build a new 5000$ rig, if I would build it in this based on the looks, or something from caselabs because of the pure amazingness...

In the end, if I wanted something that looked really nice, and not just black & elegant, I would go with this case, and no other.

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This thing is seriously a behemoth at 32lbs.

I have an Antec 1200 for my case and that thing is incredibly large and heavy as well.

The most impressive about this case is either the variety of slots for cable management which can be a hassle and require people to buy more cables at specific lengths to have things look clean, but with the amount of routing options I'm pretty sure the same result could be achieved with the cables people have on hand.

The fact that they have ties and accessories labeled, bundled and organized, although it might seem like a small thing sets its self aside from others since every other case I've bought just has everything in a plastic bags.

Full ATX cases have many more options and are designed for configurations with extensive water cooling and multiple graphics cards but I think for most people the cases are just too huge for regular setups.

Or at least that's the way I've felt.

I absolutely love NZXT and the Phantom series but if I ever make a case upgrade it'll be to a mid tower like the Phantom 410

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