The biggest obstacle to building your system in the Phanteks Enthoo Primo is actually the sheer size of it. The case weighs in at 17.9 kilograms, or roughly 40 pounds, and you can easily get it to 50 or 60 pounds after installing a full system inside.

Phanteks uses hinged instead of notched side panels (much appreciated for a case this large), held in place with two thumbscrews each. Remove those panels, and there are standoffs preinstalled in the motherboard tray for an ATX board. I found the I/O shield and the motherboard went into place fairly easily, but you'll want to wire up the motherboard before you do anything else. This is where a modular power supply is handy; you can connect the leads before the power supply itself is even connected.

Installing drives is easy enough. The entire front panel of the Enthoo Primo snaps on and off easily but securely, but you only need to remove the bay shields for the 5.25" drives. Toolless clamps are on one side of the bays and they're reasonably secure. Phanteks includes a pair of trays that hold two 2.5" drives each; these use a similar mounting system to what Lian Li employs, with four grommeted screws that enter the bottom of the tray. Slide the tray to the right to lock it into place.

I've often felt there's been a lot of room for improvement as far as 3.5" drive sleds go, and the solution Phanteks employs is incredibly slick. Each tray has small pegs that enter the bottom screw mounts of the 3.5" drive and then winged pegs that snap into the sides. It's a smart and secure installation method. Of course, if you don't need six 3.5" drives (and end users rarely do), the drive cages are held into place by thumbscrews and can be removed.

Mounting a power supply to the bottom interior of the case is very easy, but where we run into trouble is in mounting video cards. Simply put, the reservoir plate just doesn't seem to be especially well thought out. Our GTX 580s aren't unusually long for the types of high end video cards you'd expect to find a home inside the Enthoo Primo, but you have to remove the top part of the reservoir plate just to get clearance for one card. Installing a second or third card necessitates removing the plate entirely, and it's obvious the notch in the plate for high end cards just isn't lined up where it needs to be. This is a missed opportunity.

Wiring up the Enthoo Primo is made a heck of a lot easier by the combination of velcro bands behind the motherboard tray, smart placement of routing holes throughout the enclosure, and the PWM-controlled fan hub. The cabling side of the case isn't attractive but it's not supposed to be, really; I appreciate that you can just stuff the cables inside this area and call it a day.

Apart from the quirks of the reservoir plate and the general largesse of the Phanteks Enthoo Primo, I felt like assembly was reasonably simple. You have to adjust to the way Phanteks has laid out the interior, but it's not especially absurd and most of it does make sense. I like cases like this one that deviate from the norm because even if they don't get it totally right the first time, they're most of the way there and one or two revisions away from perfection.

Introducing the Phanteks Enthoo Primo Testing Methodology
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  • Bazooo - Saturday, August 10, 2013 - link

    Great Justin. I can't believe you were already working on it when I wrote to you last week. Thanks a lot! Reply
  • nleksan - Saturday, August 10, 2013 - link

    I have been waiting for a review of this case since the day it was announced. In fact, I've been holding off buying a customized CL TH10 specifically because I just love the innovative design of this new case!
    Honestly, I think this is perfect for users like myself who have outgrown their Switch 810 or similar case, but don't have the need for 4 or more 560 rads just yet. Price is right, and I see this very possibly (and rightfully) taking a lot of attention away from the (recycled/boring/overpriced/low-quality) Corsair 900D.

    Too bad about the res mount, but that's what modding is for!
    Reply
  • f0d - Saturday, August 10, 2013 - link

    900D low quality? thats the first time i have ever heard that, its much higher quality than any other case i have ever seen

    its a fantanstic case - a little expensive maybe but it looks AWESOME and worth every cent i payed for it
    Reply
  • f0d - Saturday, August 10, 2013 - link

    while i like the CL cases also they are WAY too expensive in australia, i think the CHEAPEST one shipped is $800 (nobody sells them here - have to import your own) which is twice the price of a 900D Reply
  • Insanity133 - Friday, November 29, 2013 - link

    Same here in New Zealand. Reply
  • KurtToni - Monday, August 12, 2013 - link

    Love my job, since I've been bringing in $82h… I sit at home, music playing while I work in front of my new iMac that I got now that I'm making it online. (Home more information)
    http://goo.gl/mtEmF6
    Reply
  • hero1 - Sunday, August 11, 2013 - link

    You sir are just like me and I am going to grab this case as soon as it reaches Canadian shores and shove my system into it, that will be IB-E when it comes out with GTX 780 in SLI Reply
  • Pyrokinetic - Saturday, August 10, 2013 - link

    I love a large case, and while I like the Corsair 800D, I was not completely sold on it. This case though, is fabulous. Not too huge (Corsair 900D) and has a classic look with just a touch of style. Build quality looks great. I think I have finally found a case to replace my modded Cooler Master Stacker 810. Reply
  • techxx - Saturday, August 10, 2013 - link

    Be nice to see more mini-ITX case reviews. Full ATX accounts for less than 5% of the tech enthusiast community now. Reply
  • Alan G - Saturday, August 10, 2013 - link

    +1 on the mini-ITX request; I'm starting on my third build with this size board because that's what my friends want. I'm not prepared to spend over $200 for a case like this one as it's truly overkill IMO. Even though the from panel is closed off, what does anyone need with 5 5.25" drive bays? For my photographer friends I don't even put card readers in these days because USB 3.0 readers are cheap and if a pin ever gets bent (and this does happen) they get a new one for $30 and the case doesn't have to be opened and things pulled apart and installed.

    I think there are just too many good alternatives to this case for less money.
    Reply

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