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NZXT Phantom 820 Case Review: Conceptualized By Enthusiasts

Meet NZXT's Phantom 820 Case

Surely you've run across this conundrum before: you know how much you're willing to spend on a new case, you have some idea of what you want it to look like, and you have a rough idea of the hardware you'll be putting inside. And yet, you still don't know which chassis to choose.

This is partly because there are so many PC cases for sale. It doesn't help that many of them are very similar, too. Oftentimes, all that distinguishes one from the next are a few small details and slightly modified aesthetics. That's why we like to approach chassis coverage in a round-up format, allowing us to to compare competing models side by side, making the differences as apparent as possible.

Overall, there aren't many actual case manufacturers, and most of them use the same factories in Asia for production. As a result, any time we see the announcement of a brand new, revolutionary enclosure, we're apprehensive, to say the least. Through no fault of its own, then, NZXT's Phantom 820 was received with a bit of skepticism. Nevertheless, we dusted off a pile of high-end hardware that'd make the chassis sweat and put it through its paces.

The Phantom 820 looks a lot like some of NZXT's other PC cases, leaving us to wonder whether the company extended a mid-tower design or re-worked the insides from the ground up. Whatever it did, for $250, we're expecting it to impress us.

We want to point out that this review went live on Tom's Hardware DE in time for NZXT's launch back in October. Because we received our sample in advance of that introduction, we were fairly sure it was a pre-production unit. Although we were unable to get confirmation in time for the German review, we did confirm with NZXT that, indeed, the Phantom 820 we originally reviewed was just slightly different from the shipping version.

As you read through this story, there are certain aspects of the case we mention because they're truly representative of the review sample we have in the lab. However, we're also updating with feedback from NZXT regarding the parts that were purportedly improved before the Phantom 820 became publicly available.

  • ilysaml
    I like most of the cases out there, but the only major drawback is it's side look, some really like a pure glass window and some other just don't.
    Reply
  • where is comparison(Temp Comparison) with other cases like antec df-85,silverstone raven & nzxt tempest etc
    Reply
  • FormatC
    It can not be directly compared because each hardware component may deliver different results in different cases. I had once a Silverstone Raven myself - VGA cards with DHE works nice, some other cards with axial fans worse. This can't be an objective comparison.
    Reply
  • cobra5000
    Funny, I figured the people who write reviews for pc cases would know a little more about what is going on in the pc case world? The 820 is, CLEARLY, a blending of the NZXT Phantom and the Switch 810. The 810 was the first to pioneer the back panel led, not the 820 like the author notes. I was really, really liking this case on paper. It has the sharp looks of the Phantom and all of the great new features of the 810. The $250 price tag killed that! Also, this review makes it pretty clear that this case is really not on par with other cases in this price bracket. Disappointing, to say the least. At almost $100 less and a better fit and finish, get the 810. $150 less gets you a Phantom in any color of the rainbow. NZXT really got greedy on this one. $250 for sub-par fans and flimsy hard drive cages? I think not!
    Reply
  • FormatC
    @cobra5000:
    The intro (and some other content) of my German orginal is different and refers to the Switch 810 (and Phantom). This was my fault as I proofread the translation. Sorry.
    Reply
  • JonnyDough
    I'm sorry but when I can get THIS: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811139011 for quite a lot less and it has USB 3.0, cable management, an adult look to it, and serves my purpose just fine - I see little reason to spend over three times more on a case that does little more than what this one does.
    Reply
  • army_ant7
    Hello again Igor! :)

    Nice, thorough review, though I was interested in how you guys do your 100Kg tests! I would've also liked to see you (who I assume was referred to as the author) standing or whatever on the case as was mentioned. :lol:

    BTW, I'm not much of a chassis buff, but when I saw the Corsair Obsidian 850D I was amazed at its features. It's been my dream case, but I feel a bit half-hearted about that since I am aware that there are as you said, so many cases out there. I'm not sure if you've ever had your hands on it, but if you have, mind sharing your insights and observations of it, and maybe personally compare it to this or other notable cases. Thanks! :D
    Reply
  • FormatC
    At first:
    I'm waiting for the corsair Obsidian 900D. My own case is an Obsidian 800D and I've modified this case with USB 3.0 and a new SATA3 PCB. It will be interesting, what the new case can better (or not).

    About the test:
    Simply sit down (without the plastic crap on top) and try to sit on it one minute. After this I've used my water venture... I'm a typical 100 kg heavy-weight reviewer and this is really enough to destroy something (some cases were mess after this).
    Reply
  • ckholt83
    I hate the stupid looking plastic foot at the front of the case, it looks like a tacked on afterthought.
    Reply
  • army_ant7
    9539960 said:
    At first:
    I'm waiting for the corsair Obsidian 900D. My own case is an Obsidian 800D and I've modified this case with USB 3.0 and a new SATA3 PCB. It will be interesting, what the new case can better (or not).

    About the test:
    Simply sit down (without the plastic crap on top) and try to sit on it one minute. After this I've used my water venture... I'm a typical 100 kg heavy-weight reviewer and this is really enough to destroy something (some cases were mess after this).
    If that's the case, I'll be looking forward to a review of it (900D)! Also yeah, side notes by you on how it does compared to older models. :D

    Oh, so the two tests are one and the same. Hehe... I see... I hope you haven't gotten into any accidents by doing that with any cases. Ripped up pieces of metal can be nasty...

    In your opinion, are Corsair Obsidians (or at least the one you have) the best you've seen? (I value your opinion because I bet you've gone through a lot of cases, or at least reviews of them.) :)
    Reply