Phanteks has been around for a little while producing CPU coolers, but the new Enthoo Primo is their first enclosure and it's clearly designed to get your attention. There's an almost amusing amount of restriction involved in trying to produce a case that adheres to the ATX standard, and a lot of the more original thinking in case design that's come out of the past few years has been essentially about circumventing the inherent weaknesses of the standard. Corsair's recent Carbide Air 540 is a good example, and the Enthoo Primo offers an alternative take.

What we're essentially dealing with is a standard ATX enclosure design that's been fragmented into semi-discrete chambers. Phanteks is still dealing in the black monolith motif (and this plastic, steel, and aluminum beast is heavy), but the interior of the case segregates the motherboard and primary components from the power supply and from the storage. There's a removable plate that even covers the routing holes to keep the interior looking as clean as possible, while the storage is entirely hidden. Phanteks also gets some mileage out of a bottom intake fan by raising the bottom of the Enthoo Primo and giving it enough clearance for air to enter even while the case is on carpet.

The separate chambers behind the motherboard tray tell you all you need to know. The power supply has been rotated ninety degrees, making the case taller but also cleaning up cable routing by offering a healthy amount of space to tuck cabling into. The two 3.5" drive cages are both removable, and above them are a set of five 5.25" drive bays and two trays that hold two 2.5" drives each. Pay close attention as well to the velcro cable wraps behind the motherboard tray, as well as the unique fan hub. We've seen fan hubs before and this one initially reminded me of the hubs NZXT employs, but the Phanteks offering is different: it connects to a single PWM header on the motherboard, and provided that header can provide enough power, it effectively allows the motherboard's PWM control to control all of the case fans.

Phanteks Enthoo Primo Specifications
Motherboard Form Factor Mini-ITX, Micro-ATX, ATX, SSI EEB, E-ATX
Drive Bays External 5x 5.25"
Internal 6x 2.5"/3.5", 4x 2.5"
Cooling Front 2x 140mm intake fans (supports 120mm)
Rear 1x 140mm exhaust fan (supports 120mm)
Top 1x 140mm exhaust fan (supports 3x 140mm or 4x 120mm)
Side 2x 120mm/140mm fan mounts
Bottom 1x 140mm intake fan (supports 4x 120mm or 2x 140mm)
Expansion Slots 8
I/O Port 2x USB 3.0, 2x USB 2.0, 1x Headphone, 1x Mic
Power Supply Size ATX (supports two)
Clearances HSF 207mm
PSU 240mm
GPU 257mm with bracket; 350mm without bracket
Dimensions 9.84" x 25.59" x 23.62"
250mm x 650mm x 600mm
Special Features Supports 420mm/480mm radiator in top
PWM-controlled fan hub
Toggleable blue LED lighting for trim and front fans
Price MSRP $249

As is the custom for modern cases, Phanteks keeps things pretty modular and there is a healthy amount of room for installing a custom liquid cooling loop. Of particular note is the aforementioned shield in the primary compartment, which is also intended as a place to mount a reservoir. Most of the fan mounts have removable filters (all but the rear exhaust mount), and the case is designed in such a way that if you can put a fan somewhere, you can put a radiator there too.

Building in the Phanteks Enthoo Primo
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  • f0d - Sunday, August 11, 2013 - link

    exactly.!

    if i diddnt have custom watercooling and a ton of hdd's and sli graphics cards there would be hundreds of other cases to choose from
    these enthusiast cases really need to be tested with pumps radiators reservoirs and push/pull fans with multiple graphics cards and 8 or so hard drives
    Reply
  • C.C. - Monday, August 12, 2013 - link

    I have long hated this about Anandtech's otherwise great reviews..This case was made FOR WATERCOOLING. There is no other way to say it. You can install 5 different radiators if you choose, depending on your needs. Yet you guys can't afford to take 10 minutes to at least toss in a freaking H100/H220 for the cpu at least? Seriously, stop slacking on this watercooling cases and test them the way they were meant to tested! Reply
  • lwatcdr - Sunday, August 11, 2013 - link

    I am so sick of black. Yes Black goes with everything but why not Red, Blue, Green, Orange, and Yellow cases? At this point I would even praise White, grey, and gunmetal. Reply
  • JamesWoods - Wednesday, August 14, 2013 - link

    They sell this thing called paint...and you call yourself an enthusiast. Where's the enthusiasm in DIY? Reply
  • waldojim42 - Wednesday, August 14, 2013 - link

    Can you not paint?
    I have painted more than one at this point, it really isn't all that hard. And you get exactly what you want!
    Reply
  • Ilias78 - Sunday, August 11, 2013 - link

    I just found my new case. Thanks Dustin. Reply
  • adriangb - Sunday, August 11, 2013 - link

    I like how the fan controller works. I've always thought it cool to split a MB PWM into multiple fans. It would also be nice to 'digitalize' it, i.e read just the load and then set a specific RPM for what the MB demands, some MB don't have very good PWM. Reply
  • InfiniteImp - Sunday, August 11, 2013 - link

    Excellent review - thanks for this. Since I plan on a liquid cooling setup, looks like the case's one shortcoming (CPU temps) should not affect me. Can't wait to see this in Canada. This will be a worth replacement for my old faithful HAF X. Now I just need to find someone who plans to stock it! Reply
  • toyotabedzrock - Monday, August 12, 2013 - link

    Can someone tell me why case designers have not run premade custom flat wires for every fan slot and drive slot by now? For that matter most motherboards have almost identical placement of their power connectors and the gpu power plugs are all around the same area as well.

    There is no excuse for the mess. We have had the atx standard for a decade.
    Reply
  • glugglug - Monday, August 12, 2013 - link

    Serious or trolling?

    Because most people don't use all the drive bays?
    Because motherboard SATA/fan connector placement is not part of the standard?
    Because these aren't even in the same quantity on each board?

    Because when ATX came out, closer to 2 decades ago, there was not such thing as SATA yet? should the cases have PATA and MFM cables built in as well?

    It would be nice if they provided something close to this for the audio/reset/power connector block though. I know some motherboards might have a slightly different layout for this, but there really should at least be a standardized clip for holding those connectors in a needed arrangement so they can be slid on the motherboard all at once easily.
    Reply

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