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Five Gaming Cases Between $80 And $120, Reviewed

Building With The NZXT Phantom 410

NZXT designed its Phantom 410 with a removable hard drive cage, expanding the case’s normal 11.8” card space to 16.8” in the top five slots. Builders lose four internal bays as a compromise.

With both USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 headers in the mix, NZXT cleans up visible cable clutter by paring back the front-panel audio connector to HD Audio-only. A second bunch of cables connect four of the front-panel fan controller’s six leads to optional fans, while the other two leads are factory-connected to included fans.

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NZXT was kind enough to separate all of the Phantom 410’s installation hardware into separate bags.

Hard drives are removed from the reverse (right) side of the Phantom 410.

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The Phantom 410 offsets 2.5” drives to one side of the tray. That'd be a necessary concession if the case had backplanes. It doesn't, though. Nevertheless, you still have to take a few seconds to remove the corresponding 3.5” mounting pins from their keyholes prior to screwing the smaller drive in place.

A sliding latch unlocks the 5.25” bays; pulling the latch releases its pins. The Phantom 410 secures external drives on only one side.

An internal fan bracket reduces top-slot card clearance to 10.8”, blocking access to the SATA connectors of our slightly-oversized motherboard. The bracket can be pivoted or removed.

Although removing the fan bracket may have helped our SATA cables fit, the extra width of our motherboard blocked access to needed cable entry holes. We removed the center drive cage to make room for cables to pass through, and didn’t bother to replace the lower cable hole’s grommet when we found that merely bumping it caused it to fall out again.

All cables holes have rolled edges, making the grommets superfluous anyway.

While this editor prefers cases without drive doors, it’s difficult to argue against the look NZXT achieved with the front of its Phantom 410. The upper part of the finished system looks brighter than normal for a different reason…

A multi-colored LED fan adds a little visual excitement, brightens up the look of our installed components, and is lit softly enough to prevent annoying distraction. The lighting can’t be disabled, but turning down the fan speed makes it appear dimmer.

Thomas Soderstrom is a Senior Staff Editor at Tom's Hardware US. He tests and reviews cases, cooling, memory and motherboards.