Xigmatek impressed us with its Utgard chassis last year, squeezing a whole lot of features and cooling into a case that cost just £70. Now it’s has added to its range with the Pantheon, a similarly sized mid-tower chassis with a re-arranged interior and even more features.
Like the Utgard, the Pantheon is based around painted steel frame and panelling, topped with a plastic roof and front panel sections. As with the Utgard, the Pantheon is pleasingly sturdy. Aesthetics are kept sensible with a monolithic style and liberal application of meshed grilles. We found that the thin strips of silver trim on the front of the case frayed and came away worryingly easily though.
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Both side panels feature large perforated sections to allow airflow into the case, with the left-hand side panel featuring one above where the CPU and graphics card would sit, and another over the case’s hard disk mounts at the front. Oddly though, none of the perforated sections are equipped with any kind of fan mount, so you won’t be able to add additional cooling for your hardware without using a Dremel. The extensive perforated sections aren’t fitted with dust filters either, which means that a dusty PC is likely in the long run.
The front of the case holds a little more than its demure looks might indicate. The panel below the 5.25in drive bays swings upwards and lifts off, revealing six 3.5in drives bays inside. The top two bays are fitted with internal hot-swap fittings making it easy to switch disks in and out without having to pop side panels off. Hard disks are fitted using flexible plastic drive trays, which are fitted with rubber vibration dampening grommets to minimise noise. The trays look and feel a little flimsy in their un-filled state, but drop a hard disk in and the fit is solid.
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Xigmatek has fitted not one, but two 120mm fans to the 3.5in disk caddy, one on either side. The fans are fitted in a push/pull configuration and pull air laterally across the case from the left to the right, with air flowing through and out of the perforated sections in the case’s side panels. It’s a frankly bizarre choice, as one 120mm fan is more than enough to cool a full rack of hard disks, and none of the two-fan airflow will aid the hotter components in the main chamber. Disappointingly, the fans don’t even line up correctly with the perforated sections of the side panels.
The Pantheon’s top panel is more promising though, with a huge variety of front panel controls and ports. Microphone and headphone ports are joined by two USB 2 ports, one USB 3 port, eSATA and two separate fan controller knobs, each of which can control three 3-pin fans. There’s also a separate button to switch the fan LEDs on and off. The roof panel is also host to a second removable mesh panel, revealing the Pantheon’s optional roof fan mounts. The mount is very flexible, allowing for two 120mm fans, two 140mm fans or a single 170mm fan (or a corresponding water-cooling radiator) to be fitted into this enclosure.
The Pantheon's roof (left) and rear view (right).
Inside, the Pantheon is generally well laid out, even if there’s no air intake due to the unusual hard disk cooling arrangement. Tool-less fittings are used for the 5.25in drive bays, and there’s good provisioning for cable routeing, with plenty of motherboard tray cut-outs with solid rubber fittings around them. Behind the motherboard tray there’s plenty of room too, and we were easily able to stash our ATX 24-pin power cable and a host of others out of sight.
Even with all the space behind the motherboard tray and those cable routeing holes, it’s tricky to make neat build in the Pantheon. The huge amount of cables emanating from the front panel’s lighting and fan controls are difficult to secrete, for example. It would have been better if Xigmatek had pre-routed at least some of these cables, especially the 2-pin LED control cables, some of which are very long and troublesome to tidy.
Dimensions (mm): 260 x 500 x 543 (W x D x H)
Material: Steel, plastic
Available colours: Black
Front panel: Power and reset switches, 1 x USB 3, 2 x USB 2, stereo, mic, eSATA, lighting controls, 2 x fan controllers
Drive bays: 4 x external 5.25in drive bays, 6 x internal 3.5in drive bays
Form factor(s): ATX, micro-ATX, mini-ITX
Cooling: 140mm rear fan mount (fan supplied), 4 x 120mm hard disk bay fan mount (2 x fans supplied), roof fan mount (170mm/2 x 120mm/2 x 140mm, no fans supplied)
CPU cooler clearance: 180mm
Graphics card dimensions supported: 330mm long
Extras: 2 x 3-channel fan controllers, tool-less drive bays, 2 x hot-swap 3.5in mounts, LED fan light control