Known for its high quality CPU coolers, Phanteks has now turned its attention to the world of cases. In a bold move designed to earn it some credibility among enthusiasts in an already crowded market, its first effort is a massive full tower chassis that costs £200 and sports brushed aluminium, side panel windows and heaps of water-cooling support. In fact, the Enthoo Primo is up there with the biggest cases we've reviewed. It's not quite as deep or tall as the gargantuan Corsair 900D, but it's the same height as the NZXT Phantom 820 and has dimensions close to that of the popular SilverStone TJ11.
The brushed aluminium front curves smoothly into the roof, and thankfully there's no real gap where the two meet. The right hand side of the front and top sections are slightly recessed, which creates visual interest without the need for whacky and tacky plastic bits. On the left side is a massive window that gives a clear view of the painted interior. The smaller, angled window next to this simply reveals a Phanteks logo, as the HDD cages are blanked off and accessed from the right hand side. Both windows are flush with the case and neatly installed.
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Both the smooth steel and brushed aluminium are of high quality and have a very nice feel to them. However, though we don't normally comment on packaging (OMG cardboard box!), the protective film Phanteks covers the aluminium in is far too sticky, and leaves behind a messy residue that you'll certainly want to clean before showing off your new purchase. The case has plenty of weight to it and is robust, and the six rubber pads on the case feet afford it plenty of grip too – with a water-cooled rig inside this case won't be going anywhere fast. There is a bit of flex to the side panels, even when attached, but this is mainly just a consequence of them being so big.
Covering the optical drives is a front door that's well designed. It opens and closes very smoothly and never swings, and it's held in place with magnets. There are five optical drive bays in total, which is one or two more than we'd prefer, but they're all easy to access thanks to their simple clip out covers.
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The section beneath the door can be pulled off entirely. It clips in at the top, but the clips are badly designed as you have to apply far more pressure than you should for them to clasp the panel when reattaching it. The pair of 140mm intake fans behind it, which sport blue LEDs, draw air in around the inner aluminium plate here. It's not advertised, but this plate can actually be removed to improve airflow, although this will spoil the case's outward appearance somewhat. A rectangular dust filter is secured to the rear of this lower section too, so it's easy to clean with the section pulled off, although you can unscrew the filter separately too.
The power button is embedded in the glossy black plastic trim around the right side that also contains a single blue LED strip. This, along with the front fan LEDs, can be deactivated with a button on the I/O panel, located on the roof. It's here too that you'll find the reset button, dual USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 ports and the analogue audio jacks. The rest of the roof plays host to a massive mesh and filter combination that guards all of the top fan mounts, the furthest back one of which is filled with another 140mm fan.
Click to enlarge - Filters slide out from beneath the case and the rear fan is height adjustable
On the right panel are two more 140mm mounts, as well as a ventilated section for the PSU, which sits sideways on this side of the chassis. Both of these meshed areas are guarded by dust filters, as is the entire bottom of the case. The two lower filters slide out to the side but again the clips holding them in place are rubbish. We had to turn the case on its side slightly to release them – less than ideal in a case likely to be filled with a hefty water-cooled set-up.
Finally, at the rear of the chassis are eight expansion slots, the brackets for which are reusable. Beside these are height adjustable mounting holes for a small reservoir, and above this is the rear exhaust mount (also height adjustable) which houses the case's fifth 140mm fan. The lower fan mount can also be used for a secondary PSU, in case one just isn't enough.
Dimensions (mm) 250 x 600 x 650 (W x D x H)
Material Steel, aluminium
Available colours Black
Front panel Power, reset, LED toggle, 2 x USB 3, 2 x USB 2, stereo, microphone
Drive bays 5 x external 5.25in, 6 x internal 3.5in/2.5in, 4 x internal 2.5in
Form factor(s) SSI-EEB, E-ATX, ATX, micro-ATX
Cooling 2 x 140mm/120mm front fan mounts (2 x 140mm blue LED fans included), 2 x 140mm/120mm rear fan mounts (1 x 140mm fan included), 3 x 140mm or 4 x 120mm roof fan mounts (1 x 140mm fan included), 2 x 140mm or 4 x 120mm bottom fan mounts (1 x 140mm fan included), 2 x 140mm/120mm side fan mounts, 2 x 120mm internal HDD fan mounts (fans not included)
CPU cooler clearance 207mm
Maximum graphics card length 257mm; 277mm (no reservoir bracket cover); 350mm (no reservoir bracket); 390mm (HDD cages in front position); 515mm (no HDD cages)
Extras Removable dust filters, PWM fan hub, reservoir mounts, pump mount