Having fitted our thermal test kit, the Pantheon provided rather poor cooling. With the three 120mm fans at their very noisy full speed setting the CPU reached 51°C above room temperature when under load, while the Radeon HD 5870 Eyefinity6 2GB peaked at 45°C above ambient. This is a fairly average CPU temperature, but the GPU temperature is poor in comparison to other similarly priced cases on the market such as the Cooler Master HAF 912 Plus.
Turning the fans down to their pleasingly quiet minimum speed saw temperatures rise, with the CPU temperature climbing by 4°C and the GPU heat rising by 1°C. This puts the Pantheon very much towards the bottom of the pile when it comes to thermal performance, with the peak CPU temperature 13°C off of the best case for cooling we've seen. The bizarre cooling layout is undoubtedly to blame, as two of the case's three 120mm fans are tasked with blowing air through the hard disk cage rather than into the main hardware compartment where it's needed. As neither the side panel nor front fascia have any fan mounts, the poor cooling available is also very difficult to rectify by repositioning or adding additional fans.
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We approached the Xigmatek Pantheon with plenty of optimism having been impressed by after our Xigmatek Utgard review, but the Pantheon is by no means as good a chassis. The odd and frankly wasteful fan placement at the front of the case, and the decision to ditch front mounted intake fans in favour of a hot-swap 3.5in bay has negatively impacted on the cooling of essential hardware such as the CPU and graphics card.
Worse still, even the decision to keep the hard disks cool hasn’t been implemented with much finesse: the grilles in the side panels don’t match up with the fan mounts, for example.
Although there are signs of promise, such as the pair of integrated three-channel fan controllers and plentiful cable routeing options, the lack of side-panel fan mounts and dust filters adds to the list of negatives. While well put together, the Pantheon has enough flaws to make it not worth considering amid a market where there’s plenty of better alternatives. For a high-airflow case, the Cooler Master HAF 912 Plus is excellent for around £50, while quiet PC enthusiasts should consider the sumptuous Fractal Design Define R3 for £81.
Xigmatek has got in touch, and let us know that all retail stock of the Pantheon is now shipping with two intake fans fitted on the left of the HDD bay, rather than the push-pull configuration of our review sample. Retail samples also now ship with 120mm fan mounting rubber grommets for fitting fans on the left hand side panels.