The Phantom 820 – One Of NZXT’s Largest Ever Cases

2/7/2013 11:32:24 AM

Loaded with features and water-cooling support

[+] C-3PO – Well designed for water cooling; lots of features; quiet

[-] Jar Jar Binks – Fiddly hard disk cages; mediocre GPU cooling

The original NZXT Phantom was designed with help from craigbru – a modder who is well-known on tech forums such as bit-tech. Aside from its unique looks, it also helped to cement now-standard features, including an easily accessible and variable-speed multi-channel fan controller, ample cable routing holes, fan filters and water cooling support, plus an edgy design. NZXT first scaled down the original Phantom’s dimensions with the Phantom 410, but now it’s been scaled up with the Phantom 820 – one of NZXT’s largest ever cases.

The Phantom 820

The Phantom 820

It stands 650mm high – even taller than SilverStone’s TJ11. Combined with other sizeable dimensions, you might think the Phantom 820 is completely loaded with drive bays, but you’d be wrong – It has just six 3.5in bays, courtesy of two drive cages, and four external 5.25in bays fewer than the original Phantom, a far smaller and cheaper case.

The extra space has been used to expand the Phantom’s cable routing prowess, providing support for E-ATX motherboards and enhancing its water-cooling radiator compatibility. The latter is particularly good, with the option to fit a double 120mm or double 140mm-fan radiator in the base (as long as you remove the lower 3.5in drive cage), and a further double 140mm or triple 120mm-fan radiator in the roof with no modding required. There’s ample space for fitting pumps and reservoirs internally too. However, thanks to the magnetic front door, you won’t be able to see any bay-mounted reservoirs.

The Phantom 820 is equally well-equipped for air cooling too. It has single 200mm fans in the roof, front and side panel. There’s also a 140mm rear fan, which can be adjusted vertically in its mount to line up with your CPU cooler. You have the option to install a further 200mm fan in the roof, or swap the roof fans for three 120mm or two 140mm fans which is essential if you intend to install radiator here. In addition, there are two 120/140mm bottom fan mounts and a single 120/140mm fan mount on the internal 3.5in drive cage. With the side 200mm fan located over the CPU socket, the CPU cooler height is limited to 153mm, though, which will rule out quite a few large tower heatsinks. Removing the fan gives you 183mm of clearance, while there’s 333mm o space for graphics cards.

Meanwhile, the side panel features a large mesh section, behind which the side 200mm fan is installed, as well as a mediocre-sized side window that shows the top of the insides. Don’t worry if white isn’t your favorite color for a case, though, as the Phantom 820 is also available in gun-metal grey and black.

The top of the case is bristling with other features such as the controls for the Phantom 820’s 4-channel fan controller, along with two USB 3 and four USB 2 ports, plus controls for the side-panel LED lighting. The latter enables you to toggle between colors, and switch the rear, front and internal lights on or off. Finally, behind the door sits an SD card reader, rounding off an imposing set of features.

the Phantom 820 recorded a CPU delta T of 48ºC

The Phantom 820 recorded a CPU delta T of 48ºC

Building a PC inside the Phantom raised a few issues, though. While the extensive cable routing holes and ample space make fitting everything a pain-free task, the hard disk mounts proved to be tricky to use and quite flimsy. The same can be said of the 5.25in tool-free fittings, which weren’t very secure once looked in place. However, the rest of the case is well though-out, with pre-fitted motherboard mounting standoffs and an EPS 12V extension cable both welcome additions.


With its fans at maximum speed, the Phantom 820 recorded a CPU delta T of 48ºC. This puts it on a par with cases such as Cooler Master’s HAF X and SilverStone’s Raven RV02. However, the Raven RV03 and Fortress FT02R-W were both noticeably cooler. Meanwhile, dropping the fans to their slowest speed saw the delta T only rise to 52ºC.

The GPU delta T results were less pleasing though. With the fans cranked up to maximum, its GPU delta T of 49ºC was 12ºC warmer than the SilverStone FT02R-W, while this temperature rose a further 3ºC when we lowered the fan speeds. Even at their maximum speed, the fans remained pleasingly quiet, though, while at their lowest speeds the case was one of the quietest big cases we’ve used.


Apart from a couple of hiccups, namely the fiddly hard drive bays and mediocre GPU cooling, the NZXT Phantom 820 is an exciting-looking case and a joy to use. It has awesome potential as a water-cooler PC, and it’s good to see NZXT working this flexibility into a case without sacrificing too much in terms of features or cooling.

It’s a race case that manages to cater for both air-cooled and water-cooled systems, and also do it well. So many of the best air cooling cases have terrible water-cooling support, while cases such as the SilverStone TJ07 aren’t great at air cooling, and often need modding or the removal of nearly all the drive cages to fit more than one radiator.

If you’re unlikely to be dabbling with water-cooling hardware, though, there are better options available for your money, such as SilverStone’s similarly priced FT02, which is equally good-looking and offers better cooling.

As it stands, the NZXT Phantom 820 is ideal for anyone who wants a well-balanced case for water cooling, or will be starting with an air-cooled PC with the intension of swapping air water at some point down the line.

the NZXT Phantom 820 is ideal for anyone who wants a well-balanced case for water cooling

The NZXT Phantom 820 is ideal for anyone who wants a well-balanced case for water cooling

1 – There’s room for a double 140mm-fan radiator or triple 120mm fan radiator in the roof with no modding required. Alternatively, you can fit another 200mm fan

2 – There are more cable-routing holes than you can shake a stick at, plus an extra-large CPU area cut-out. NZXT has also fitted the motherboard standoffs and supplied an EPS 12V extension cable.

3 – The bottom 3.5in drive cage is removable, enabling you to install a double 120mm or 140mm full-height radiator in the base, with a fan filter in place too.

How much?

§  Price: $299

§  Manufacturer:

In detail

§  Dimensions (mm): - 235 x 612 x 650 (W x D x H)

§  Material: Steel, plastic

§  Available colors: Black, white, gun metal

§  Weight: 15kg

§  Front panel: Power, reset, 2 x USB3, 4 x USB2, stereo, mic, lighting, fan control

§  Drive bays: 4 x external 5.25in drive bays, 6 x internal, 3.5in drive bays.

§  Form factor(s): E-ATX, XL-ATX, ATX, micro-ATX, mini-ITX

§  Cooling: 1 x 200mm front fan mount (fan supplied), 1 x 200mm side fan mount (fan supplied), 3 x 120/2 x 140mm/2 x 200mm roof fan mounts (1 x 200mm fan supplied), 1 x 200mm front fan mount (fan supplied), 140mm rear fan mount (fan supplied), 2 x 120mm/ 140mm bottom fan mounts (fans not supplied), 1 x 120mm/140mm internal 3.5in cage fan mount (fan not supplied)

§  CPU cooler clearance: 153mm with side fan, 183mm without

§  Maximum graphics card length: 333mm


§  Cooling 22/ 30

§  Features 19/ 20

§  Design 28/ 30

§  Value 16/ 20



PS4 game trailer XBox One game trailer
WiiU game trailer 3ds game trailer
Top 10 Video Game
-   Minecraft Mods - MAD PACK #10 'NETHER DOOM!' with Vikkstar & Pete (Minecraft Mod - Mad Pack 2)
-   Minecraft Mods - MAD PACK #9 'KING SLIME!' with Vikkstar & Pete (Minecraft Mod - Mad Pack 2)
-   Minecraft Mods - MAD PACK #2 'LAVA LOBBERS!' with Vikkstar & Pete (Minecraft Mod - Mad Pack 2)
-   Minecraft Mods - MAD PACK #3 'OBSIDIAN LONGSWORD!' with Vikkstar & Pete (Minecraft Mod - Mad Pack 2)
-   Total War: Warhammer [PC] Demigryph Trailer
-   Minecraft | MINIONS MOVIE MOD! (Despicable Me, Minions Movie)
-   Minecraft | Crazy Craft 3.0 - Ep 3! "TITANS ATTACK"
-   Minecraft | Crazy Craft 3.0 - Ep 2! "THIEVING FROM THE CRAZIES"
-   Minecraft | MORPH HIDE AND SEEK - Minions Despicable Me Mod
-   Minecraft | Dream Craft - Star Wars Modded Survival Ep 92 "IS JOE DEAD?!"
-   Minecraft | Dream Craft - Star Wars Modded Survival Ep 93 "JEDI STRIKE BACK"
-   Minecraft | Dream Craft - Star Wars Modded Survival Ep 94 "TATOOINE PLANET DESTRUCTION"
-   Minecraft | Dream Craft - Star Wars Modded Survival Ep 95 "TATOOINE CAPTIVES"
-   Hitman [PS4/XOne/PC] Alpha Gameplay Trailer
-   Satellite Reign [PC] Release Date Trailer
Game of War | Kate Upton Commercial