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NZXT Phantom 820 Series CA-PH820-G1 Gunmetal Steel / Plastic ATX Full Tower Computer Case
  • Verified Owner
  • Owned For: 1 week to 1 month

3 out of 5 eggs Great case, but with a few critical flaws 01/05/2014

This review is from: NZXT Phantom 820 Series CA-PH820-G1 Gunmetal Steel / Plastic ATX Full Tower Computer Case

Pros: A very nicely configured full size case with lots of room for air flow.
Nice built-in features like:
* Fully integrated and configurable lighting with front panel lighting controls
* A pre-wired fan controller with 4 separately controlled fan zones (front, top, rear, bottom)
* Very convenient and well-designed bottom dust filters that slide out for easy cleaning and lock back into place once they are again dust-free
* 2x 200mm (top and front) and 1x 140mm fan (rear) all ready to go
* Very nice cable management out-of-the-box, with everything nicely bundled and zip-tied...which, unfortunately, if you are going to use upgraded/custom fans, you have to eventually tear apart. (I didn't ding an egg for that, though, since it's purely optional.)
* Lots of USB ports on top, as well as headphone/microphone jacks
* Integrated SSD card reader on the front panel
* A large windowed side panel
* 6 seemingly-convenient side-access drive bays

Cons: The marketing text on the main page for this case should be changed, because it is false advertising. This is what it says: "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 2 1/3 inches (60mm) thickness for unmatched performance."
That sound great, and it factored heavily into my decision to purchase the NZXT Phantom 820. Unfortunately, it's false.

I have already purchased 1x Alphacool NexXxos UT60 Full Copper 360mm main radiator for the top, and 1x Alphacool NexXxos UT60 Full Copper 240mm radiator for the bottom. The problem is that despite their marketing copy to the contrary, the 60mm-thick UT60 360mm radiator will NOT fit along the top in push/pull. If you want push/pull, you can mount 3x 120mm pull fans under the case top, and mount the radiator to the inside top portion of the frame using the very convenient screw holes (which are perfectly positioned for a 120mm, 240mm, or 360mm length rad, btw). But by the time you want to mount fans to the bottom of the radiator for the push portion of push/pull, the top of the hard drive cage at the front of the case prevents the front-most bottom "push" fans from being mounted. So maybe you skip one "push" fan and just go with 2x push and 3x pull? Well, if you use the convenient mounting holes and opt to have your radiator aligned so the nozzles are at the FRONT of the case, the top of the (permanent, non-removable, non-adjustable) drive bay again ruins your day by blocking your nozzle exits. "What if you orient the rad the other way with the nozzles at the rear?" you might ask. Excellent idea...but you STILL have to lose a fan because of the intrusion of the top of the drive bay, AND you then are ALSO forced to completely forgo the rear fan, which otherwise (again) blocks access to the nozzles when mounting a full 60mm thick radiator in push/pull AS ADVERTISED RIGHT ON THIS VERY PRODUCT PAGE. I mean, I bought this case because it says right there that it supports a 360mm long x 60mm thick push/pull top radiator. But I have one of those rads, a bunch of awesome and completely standard-sized 120mm Gentle Typhoon fans, and they WON'T FIT. I suppose I could take my dremel to the top of the hard drive bay and cut out a chunk of the bay's steel top to make the UT60x360 fit, but I shouldn't have to do that...especially when the case was purchased *because* the product description claimed it would fit exactly that configuration. -1 egg for very specific FALSE advertising.

And if that weren't enough, my XSPC dual 5.25" bay pump/reservoir combo won't fit into this case's front drive bays. The bay is about 2mm too narrow. And I checked with my older Antec 1200 case, and the XSPC reservoir fit PERFECTLY. I mean, they DO have standards for this stuff...but apparently the NZXT Phantom doesn't necessarily hold to all of them, since its 5.25" bays don't fit full bay-width sized items. -1 more e

Other Thoughts: TLDR version: NZXT's marketing statement "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 2 1/3 inches (60mm) thickness for unmatched performance" is blatantly false as a class-leading 60mm thick UT60 360mm rad will NOT fit at the top in push/pull without cutting steel as part of a case mod.

On the plus side, my 240mm UT60 radiator looks like it will fit fine at the bottom...but if I decide to keep this case I either have to drop to a 30mm (or *maybe* 45mm) thick radiator for the TOP, go with just pull instead of push/pull on the top 360, or switch to a 240mm rad on top if I want to use a full-thickness UT60 rad.

Therefore, I can recommend this case to the following PC enthusiasts:
* Those who will take advantage of its excellent out-of-the-box air cooling performance
* Those who will use water-cooling but do NOT plan to use a 60mm thick x 360mm long radiator like the Alphacool NexXxos UT60 Full Copper 360
* Those who will use a 60mmx360mm radiator and already planned on having to cut steel/make major mods to their case
* Those who place a premium on nifty lighting with no additional assembly required

I CANNOT recommend this case to the following PC enthusiasts:
* Those who plan to use a 60mm thick x 360mm long radiator like the Alphacool NexXxos UT60 Full Copper 360 in push/pull and do NOT want to be forced to cut steel and make other major case mods
* Those who plan to use an XSPC Dual 5.25" Bay Clear Reservoir

READ FULL REVIEW
G.SKILL 6GB (3 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Triple Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model F3-12800CL8TU-6GBPI
  • Verified Owner
  • Owned For: 1 day to 1 week

Pros: XMP Profile, good speed, good price for segment

Cons: The "Pi" heatspreader design is WAY too tall if you use a large aftermarket CPU cooler (such as the Noctua NH-D14 in my system).

Other Thoughts: If you are looking to overclock your system and want G.SKILL RAM, don't get these skyscraper Pi sticks. Get the G.SKILL Ripjaws instead.

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Kingston DataTraveler 101 16GB Flash Drive (USB2.0 Portable) Model DT101N/16GB
  • Verified Owner
  • Owned For: 1 month to 1 year

Pros: Works perfectly. Good transfer rate, large capacity. Recommended.

Cons: None. The swivel thing means I can't lose the cap. ;-)

READ FULL REVIEW

Christopher S.'s Profile

Display Name: Christopher S.

Date Joined: 04/27/06

  • Reviews: 4
  • Helpfulness: 3
  • First Review: 04/26/07
  • Last Review: 01/05/14
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