NZXT Phantom 820 Case Review

watercooled angle

Side off

Once I got the side off I could get a real good look at the inside of this titan.  The space behind the motherboard tray was very roomy.  I measured right at an inch of space between the tray and the right side.  Not much chance of heat getting trapped back there.  It also offered more room for the host of wires that ran behind the tray.  All of the connectors for the power, reset, audio, USB ports, and LEDs ran from the top down through the right side so they came out right beside the lower right side of any would-be motherboard.  This gives direct access for the audio, power, and USB connectors on the board.


One thing I noticed right away, and it’s fairly annoying, is that you can only access two of the hard drive bays from the left side.  The bottom two have their own dock that slides out after pinching two release latches.  Once it’s out you can get to the connectors on the hard drives, which face the left side of the case.  It doesn’t make any sense at first, but it’s something that should have been done with older cases that were around when PATA drives were in high use.  Those wide ribbon cables blocked a lot of airflow if you didn’t position them correctly.  So having them running along the right side of the case would have freed up a lot of airflow space.  The idea is that the builder will route the SATA and other cables behind the motherboard tray and connect to the hard drives out of sight.  More airflow and a cleaner look.   I get it.  It’s just annoying.


Now here’s the annoying part.  If you want access to the other four bays, you have to take the left side of the case off.  It involves removing only three thumb screws, so it’s not that big a hassle, but the concept of not being able to access them from the traditional side of the case is a bit on the ridiculous side.  Considering how much thought they put into every other aspect of the case, I’m sure they had reason for it.  They just forgot to include that sticky note in the instruction booklet.  At least they threw in that nifty fan mount beside the hard drive bays.  It tilts.  Slightly cool.  I can only assume it was intended for cooling high end video cards.  You could cook an egg on those suckers.


Now to the final part of the case.  The bottom.  Most of the time I don’t pay any attention down there and neither do the case designers.  But this case was designed with cooling in mind.  The bottom of the case stands a full two inches off of the surface it rests on.  The case has a built in stand that is capable of accepting two 120mm fans for even more airflow from underneath.  And one of these is right under the PSU, which is raised off the bottom of the case with stand offs by about half an inch.  And to add more fun each fan dock has a dust screen that pops out with ease.

We render our verdict on the next page…