Introducing the NZXT Phantom 630

It wasn't that long ago that we reviewed NZXT's shiny new Phantom 820, a case that apart from its high price tag and slightly ostentatious design was pretty tough to beat. The Phantom 820 was providing some best-in-class thermal and acoustic performance, and it was a shot fired squarely across the bows of companies like Thermaltake and CoolerMaster, whose respective Level 10 GT and Cosmos II suddenly had a new, less expensive case to worry about competing with. Yet when I visited NZXT at CES 2013, they already had a descendant of the 820 on hand.

The Phantom 630 is just a little smaller, a little more conservative, and a lot cheaper. At $179 MSRP it's still on the expensive side and is clearly an enthusiast case, but unlike the 820, the 630 is using an entirely new chassis built from the ground up. The 820 scored a Bronze Editor's Choice award, but as it turns out, it may not have been a flash in the pan. Once you take a look at the 630, you'll start to understand why I'm beginning to think NZXT is entering a new era and the competition needs to be on their toes.

My meetings with NZXT at CES are often interesting just because of the unique approach they take to designing their cases. I would never, ever suggest that there's no art to engineering (quite the opposite actually), but the engineers at NZXT seem to have a more artisanal attitude towards their case designs than many of the other vendors. That attitude seems to have both intensified and been tempered by a stronger, clearer understanding of case engineering over the years, and an artist with a strong grasp of the technical can be formidable.

The results thus far have been some still fairly outlandish case designs, but the aesthetics have been reined in somewhat while more emphasis has been placed on useful functionality. Remember that it's not just about having features in general, it's about having useful features. In that respect, I think you'll see why I feel like in some ways, NZXT is pretty far ahead of the curve. This isn't the same company that produced my oft-maligned H2 two years ago.

NZXT Phantom 630 Specifications
Motherboard Form Factor Mini-ITX, Micro ATX, ATX, XL-ATX
Drive Bays External 4x 5.25”
Internal 6x 2.5"/3.5", 2x 2.5"
Cooling Front 1x 200mm intake fan (supports 2x 140mm or 2x 120mm)
Rear 1x 140mm exhaust fan (supports 1x 120mm)
Top 1x 200mm exhaust fan (supports 2x 200mm or 2x 140mm or 3x 120mm)
Side 1x 200mm intake fan
Bottom 2x 120mm/140mm fan mounts
Expansion Slots 9
I/O Port 2x USB 3.0, 2x USB 2.0, 1x Headphone, 1x Mic
Power Supply Size Standard ATX
Clearances HSF 170mm / 200mm without side intake
PSU 220mm
GPU 325mm / 507mm without HDD cage
Dimensions 9.65" x 24.69" x 23.62"
245mm x 627mm x 600mm
Weight 27.12 lbs. / 12.3 kg
Special Features USB 3.0 connectivity via internal headers
Toolless 5.25" drive bays and 3.5" drive sleds
Support for 360mm/280mm radiator in top of enclosure, 240mm/280mm in bottom of enclosure, thickness up to 60mm
Integrated three-speed, 30W fan controller (supports up to 10 3-pin fans)
Toggleable rear I/O and expansion LED illumination
Integrated SD card reader
Three removable drive cages (3-drive, 2-drive, and 1-drive)
Price $179

The immediate comparison should be made to the Phantom 820, which remains more expensive than the 630 at $249. In terms of dimensions, the 630 is ever so slightly smaller, only about 25mm shorter in height and 12mm shorter in depth, while actually being 10mm wider. The increase in width isn't really a bad thing as it allows for potentially better cable management by improving space behind the motherboard tray. It's also three kilograms (five pounds) lighter.

We do lose the HUE lighting system (my apologies to the commenter who corrected me on the original post about the 630), and the four-channel fan control is replaced by one single channel which supports ten fans at three steps. What we gain, though, is probably the smartest modular drive cage design I've ever seen, two additional 2.5" sleds behind the motherboard tray, and a slightly more svelte enclosure overall. We also save $70, which can't be understated even at this high level of the market.

In and Around the NZXT Phantom 630
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  • mepenete - Sunday, January 20, 2013 - link

    Too bad I can't get the aesthetic design of this case.. it just looks ugly to me. Reply
  • EzioAs - Sunday, January 20, 2013 - link

    Right? Right? I just don't see why most people like NZXT designs anyway, I know aesthetic is a subjective thing but yeah, NZXT cases really doesn't do it for me. Reply
  • 3ogdy - Sunday, January 20, 2013 - link

    The Antec GX700 looks so much better, right?

    Yeah....right
    Reply
  • EzioAs - Sunday, January 20, 2013 - link

    That's because I compared the GX700 to the Vengeance C70. Both have quite good looks (if you're into the military-looking case sort of theme) but I prefer the GX700. If I were to compare both of them to the Tt Level 10GT or the Cougar Challenger however, both GX700 and Vengeance C70 would came out on top. Reply
  • Havor - Sunday, January 20, 2013 - link

    No but the Silverstone Raven line dose look a hell of a lot better, and also cools real good.

    http://www.silverstonetek.com/raven
    Reply
  • Robert in Calgary - Sunday, January 20, 2013 - link

    Yes, another ugly case. Bad "artists".

    ...and big! 7 inches taller than a Solo, 6 inches higher than a R4.

    This won't fit on my computer shelf.
    Reply
  • JPForums - Monday, January 21, 2013 - link

    Yes, another ugly case. Bad "artists".


    I can respect that. I'm actually one of the rare few that neither love or hate the aesthetics. It is certainly better looking (In my opinion) than some of their previous attempts, but there are just as certainly better looking cases on the market.

    ...and big! 7 inches taller than a Solo, 6 inches higher than a R4.


    The R4 is 6.5" taller than a Sugo SG09B OMGWTFBBQ.

    Or Instead of comparing Full towers to Mid towers( to Mini towers), we could compare it to other cases in its class. This case does ring in a full inch taller than a Cooler Master HAF-X (without the wheels) and almost 2 inches deeper. However, it is 3 inches shorter and 2 inches less deep than a Cooler Master Cosmos II. It is on the larger side of Full towers. However, it's not really that much larger than common Full towers like the HAF-X, smaller than the likes of a Silverstone TJ11B-W or Thermaltake VG4000BNS(Xaser VI), and roughly the same size as a Corsair Obsidian 800D.

    The point is, the size of the Phantom 630 really isn't outrageous to anyone looking for a Full tower. It may be unworkable for some, but anyone who looks at its size and thinks ZOMG shouldn't be looking for a full tower in the first place. They would be better served by a Mid tower or smaller.
    Reply
  • Subyman - Sunday, January 20, 2013 - link

    I totally agree. The functionality looks great, but the design is not pleasing to me. I bought a Corsair 550D and love its understated looks (I also own a 800D.) Reply
  • JPForums - Monday, January 21, 2013 - link

    I don't particularly hate the Phantom 630's aesthetics, but they aren't appealing to me either. Like you I am a fan of the 550D and 800D. Unfortunately I don't own the 800D (yet). The 550D will have to do for now (at least until I can sell of another case). Reply
  • frogger4 - Sunday, January 20, 2013 - link

    I get the feeling this aesthetic is very subjective [I happen to really really like it!]. I have a previous generation Phantom, and very much like the look, but I think I fit the exact target audience they are going for.

    On that same note, I also very much like the side panel with fan and window. It may not be the fanciest look, but I design the inside to be something worth looking at, so I like being able to see it. Perhaps an option for either a closed side panel or a window side panel would be cool.
    Reply

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