NZXT Phantom 410 gaming case review
Is this a case of style over substance?
INZXT describes its Phantom 410 model as a 'Crafted Mid Tower Chassis'. There's no denying it's a mid-tower design, since it accommodates an ATX motherboard and has seven expansion slots. That puts it plumb in the mainstream, but there's the fact that it stands 520mm high, which is actually rather tall, and then we have the word 'Crafted' which seems a little odd. We feel confident this refers to the styling and the shape of the case and in particular the angular top and front panels
This angled top panel looks like a pitched roof on a house, except that it has a perforated section that allows air to flow freely to the installed 140mm fan. If you feel the need, you can install a second 140mm fan in the roof of the case. Unfortunately, the shape of the case means that you cannot rest anything on top. We found this to be a pain in the neck, as other manufacturers have found ways to vent the case while still giving you somewhere to stash your games controller and iPod cable.
We're not especially keen on the location of the buttons and connectors, because the headset jacks, USB ports, fan control slider and power/reset buttons are all located on the top. That's fine if your PC stands in glorious isolation but not much use if you park it under a desk.
The front panel is also very angular and is a strange piece of hardware. When you build your PC, you pop off the front panel, remove the drive bay blanks and install the drive(s) using the tool-free mounts that are part of the bays. While the cover is off you can supplement the 120mm fan with a second fan of the same size. Once the PC is built, the optical drives are covered by a stealth door, and this is a pain, because you need to pop open the door to insert and remove a DVD. The drive won't push the door open, so you need to remember to open it manually.
Inside the case there are six bays for hard drives. Each bay is filled with a caddy that can take a 3.5" drive without any need for tools, or you can screw in a 2.5" SSD or hard drive. The lower two drives are fixed in place, while the upper four drives unclip in a block in an easy operation that provides space for graphics cards up to 425mm in length. This is a thoroughly good idea, but it doesn't leave you many bays for your storage.
Each of the six drive bays has a tool-free cage that snaps around a 3.5" drive, or you can mount a 2.5" drive using screws. With the block of four bays removed, you're only left with two bays, which doesn't really seem like enough, although we suppose you can hang an SSD from a spare screw hole.
The NZXT offers plenty of cooling and looks rather attractive, but we couldn't really get on with the shape or layout. It often feels as though the styling takes precedence over the design, and while this isn't the end of the world, we feel there are better cases to choose in this group.
• Price: £84.99
• Manufacturer: NZXT
• Website: www.nzxt.com
• Required spec: ATX or