Once removed from the plastic protective layer we are greeted by a sexy looking high gloss black chassis. The panel on the left of the Phantom sports 2x120mm fans to draw air in from outside. The fans are covered by a steel mesh to filter out the majority of dust. NZXT has deviated from a typical dull designed panel.
The angles NZXT have incorporated into the areas that are mesh covered certainly adds a touch of elegance. Noting overly fancy, but still very appealing to the eye. There is also an additional area designed to hold a 200mm fan if you feel that you need even more cooling power.
The opposite side of the Phantom has the basic side panel with an added steel mesh ventilation area to help increase the total air flow. This area adds to the visual appeal of what otherwise is a rather traditionally designed panel and should also aid system cooling.
The front panel is constructed out of a sturdy ABS plastic and features a door to hide the 5.25″ optical drive bays. This easily pops off by placing your hand under the recessed area at the base of the panel and gently pulling outward. Once the panel is removed we find the place holder for an optional 120 or 140mm front intake fan. It leaves me to wonder why there is no fan included here. Perhaps research showed that the 2 side intake fans were doing a good enough job on their own. Once we get around to some testing we will add a 120mm NZXT fan in this location to determine what works better in our test environment.
The door has a small magnet to hold it in the closed position. The 5.25″ bays are covered by removable mesh filters. NZXT have expanded on the typical removable 5.25″ bay covers. As we know in the past we had to reach inside the case to help remove these bay covers.
NZXT have upped the stakes by adding a new mechanism on the outside of the cover that you slide to the left to release the cover. We feel this is a very useful feature to have.
This image below shows the rear view. The PSU bottom mounts, then we have have expansion bays for up to 7 add on cards. To the right of the expansion bays are 2 factory cut holes for water cooling tubes protected by rubber grommets. Further up on the right we have a second set of water cooling holes and the 120mm rear exhaust fan. Beside the fan to the left is the area that we insert our I/O shield.
The top panel is made from the same type of sturdy abs plastic as the front panel and this panel is also simple to remove by placing your hand under the recessed area and gently lifting upwards. There are areas of the top that have been cut away around the On/Off/Reset switches, the audio inputs, 2 USB 2.0 ports and 1 e-SATA port as well as the controls for the 5 x 20 watt fan controller.
A rear portion of the top section has been cut out and covered by an angular shaped steel mesh panel. This is to allow the air flow from the 200mm exhaust fan to escape out through the top panel.
The next three images are close up views of the top panel areas that are cut out. The molded abs plastic used in the construction of the top and front sections is high gloss. This gives the Phantom a classy and rather sexy look the way it curves over the inputs and then surrounds the fan controller switches. Unfortunately it comes at a cost.
Unless you plan to wear gloves when handling the panels you can be guaranteed that the surface is a fingerprint magnet. Having a polishing cloth close at hand is a must.