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NZXT Phantom 530 Review

NZXT Phantom 530 Review

Manufacturer: NZXT
UK price (as reviewed):
£97.99 (inc VAT)
US price (as reviewed): $119.99 (ex Tax)

With the Phantom 820, Phantom 630 and Phantom 410 (as well as the recently announced Phantom 240, for which the company is running a design your own competition), it's safe to say that NZXT is keen to have the iconic Phantom series of cases available in as many ATX form factors and at as many price points. The Phantom 530, however, is the direct successor to the original chassis. As usual, it sports the angled cutaway design which has divided opinion for some time. It's big enough to take E-ATX motherboards and comes in at just under £100, though for the red and black editions you'll need to pay a slight premium.

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The plastic and metal, both inside and outside, is highly reflective – something that is quite apparent in our photographs. Whether this appeals to you or not will come down to personal preference, but the effect is very pronounced – what we can say for certain is that the paint job itself is high quality. Unfortunately, the exterior does have a strong tendency to pick up finger parks, which is more universally distasteful. Nevertheless, the panels themselves are solid and sturdy.

The front door guards the reset button and three optical drive covers, which can be clipped out easily – you don't need to pull the front panel off to install drives here. Thankfully, the door itself also relies on magnets rather than flimsy plastic clips.

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One feature that's been dropped from the more expensive Phantom models is the SD card reader, which is a shame but understandable in a sub-£100 case. However, NZXT has once again included its nifty I/O LEDs, whereby white LEDs are fitted above the rear I/O panel and expansion slots. A switch at the front of the roof toggles them on and off – handy if you ever find yourself fumbling for connectors in the dark. Next to this switch is the fan control, which is also excellent – it has three speeds and a single channel, but unlike most controllers in this price range that typically power three fans, it's capable of controlling a whopping ten on its 30W channel, thanks to an internal fan hub which you can see over the page.

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The Phantom 530 ships with a front 200mm intake fan (this can be swapped for dual 120mm or 140mm fans too), as well as a rear 140mm exhaust. With such large fans, especially at the front, NZXT should be able to achieve significant airflow levels without too much noise, and it's thus using the space available to it well. As we've seen before, the rear fan has elongated mounting holes, allowing you to adjust the height of the fan to match the outgoing airflow of your CPU cooler.

As you can see in the specifications, there are plenty of options for expanding the default cooling as well. You're even able to fit an additional two 200mm fans in the roof and, as in previous Phantom cases, the largest HDD cage has an internal 140mm/120mm fan mount fitted to it, and it's on a pivot that allows you target airflow straight at your graphics hardware. As you'll see over the page, there's lots of room for water-cooling arrangements, but it's good to see touches like this for those who want to make the most of air. That said, we're not to keen on the inclusion of the side panel fan, as it rather spoils the panel's appearance and isn't in a very useful position.

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There's a large mesh section on the roof, but though it is quite tightly woven there isn't any real filter material here. Admittedly, it is typically an exhaust area, but as there are are no fans fitted here by default, the airflow generated inside will draw dust in. The side mesh also lacks a fan filter, which makes our feelings towards it a little more negative still. Thankfully, the front and lower sections of the chassis both have removable dust filters, though you need to pop the front panel off to access the front one. As for the bottom, there are front and rear slide out filters which guard the bottom fans and PSU intake area respectively, though they can be difficult to replace without tilting the case on its side.

Specifications

  • Dimensions (mm) 235 x 543 x 572 (W x D x H)
  • Material Steel, plastic
  • Available colours Black, white, red
  • Weight 10.5kg
  • Front panel Power, reset, 2 x USB 3, stereo, microphone, fan controller, I/O LED switch
  • Drive bays 3 x external 5.25in, 6 x internal 3.5in/2.5in, 1 x internal 2.5in
  • Form factor(s) E-ATX, ATX, micro-ATX, mini-ITX
  • Cooling 1 x 200mm or 2 x 140mm/120mm front fan mounts (1 x 200mm fan included), 1 x 140mm/120mm rear fan mount (140mm fan included), 2 x 200mm/140mm or 3 x 120mm roof fan mounts, 1 x 140mm side fan mount, 2 x 120mm bottom fan mounts, 1 x 140mm/120mm internal fan mount (fans not included)
  • CPU cooler clearance 183mm
  • Maximum graphics card length 282mm (310mm without internal fan mount; 444mm without HDD cage)
  • Extras Removable dust filters, triple speed fan controller, fan hub