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Review: NZXT Phantom 630

by Parm Mann on 28 January 2013, 09:30 4.0

Tags: NZXT

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Introduction

Remember the £190 Phantom 820 that we reviewed just last month? Well, if the chassis was to your liking but the price tag was difficult to stomach, you're in luck as NZXT is already following up with the streamlined Phantom 630.

Priced at £160 (£30 less than its bigger brother), the Phantom 630 aims to offer almost everything that's good about the Phantom 820 in a marginally more affordable package.

At first glance, it's not entirely obvious what's changed. The Phantom 630, measuring 245mm x 627mm x 600mm in size, is only fractionally smaller than its top-of-the-range sibling and it remains a formidable full-tower enclosure.

Despite the large gulf in product numbering, the changes between the Phantom 820 and Phantom 630 are surprisingly subtle, and in a good way, too. Whereas the former sported a showy exterior, the latter has toned things down a bit; gone are the extrusions in the side panel, the LED illuminations have been removed, and the chassis as a result is less brash and easier on the eye. The 630 still comes in a choice of three colours - Black, Gunmetal Grey or White - and the Black is matte-like in finish, giving the chassis a smooth, almost velvet look.

NZXT's trademark angles and accents still provide some flair (and perhaps too much for the more discerning builder), but the Phantom 630 is noticeably less ostentatious than some of the company's earlier efforts. Visually, we quite like it.

NZXT Phantom 630 Specification

Materials Steel Frame, Plastic Accents
Colours Black / Gunmetal Grey / White
Motherboard Support ATX, M-ATX, XL-ATX
Drive Bays External 5.25in x 4
Internal 3.5/2.5in x 6
2.5in x 2
Fan Capacity Top: 2 x 200mm / 2 x 140mm / 3 x 120mm
Front: 1 x 200mm / 2 x 140mm / 2 x 120mm
Bottom: 2 x 140mm / 2 x 120mm
Rear: 1 x 140mm / 1 x 120mm
Side: 1 x 200mm
HDD Pivot: 1 x 140mm / 1 x 120mm
Expansion Slots 9
I/O Panel USB 3.0 x 2
USB 2.0 x 4
Mic x 1, Audio x 1
SD Card Reader
Three-Speed Fan Control
Rear I/O Panel LED On/Off
Dimensions (H x W x L) 627mm x 245mm x 600mm
Weight 12.3kg

On the feature front, NZXT continues to offer a lengthy list of valuable additions. The front I/O panel, split across the left and right sides of the chassis' top panel, provides two USB 3.0 ports, two USB 2.0 ports, headset and microphone jacks, along with a three-step fan control switch, a toggle button for the rear I/O lighting and the customary power and reset buttons.

The switchable white lights adorning the rear I/O panel are a nice touch - they're helpful when you're fumbling around under the desk trying to plug in a USB peripheral - and the fan controller is also neatly accompanied by three small LED lights that illustrate fan strength; low, medium or fast.

Up front, the magnetically-latched door opens to the right to reveal four optical drive bays and an integrated SD card reader. It works well enough, and we tend to prefer hidden optical drives for aesthetics' sake, but the door is almost identical to that of the Phantom 820 and has the same limitations; it doesn't open much beyond 90 degrees, it can only open to the right, and the plastic material feels cheap in comparison to the chassis' steel body.

We'd like to see NZXT cut down on the plastic attachments, but regardless, overall build quality is good and the chassis' cooling potential is impressive, to say the least. A total of 10 fans could be installed and having so many mounts available leads to ample liquid-cooling opportunities. Speaking of fans, four of the 200mm variety are included right out of the box; a front intake, a top exhaust, a rear exhaust and a side intake. Mesh filters help minimise the build-up of dust, and as expected, pull-out dust filters also line the bottom of the chassis.

In a nutshell, the Phantom 630 costs £30 less than the Phantom 820 yet shows little compromise. You're losing the HUE lighting system, and the 820's digital multi-channel fan controller has been replaced by a simpler single-channel unit that provides three steps, yet there are some gains, too. In addition to being cheaper, the Phantom 630 is sleeker in appearance and it introduces modular hard-disk bays and dedicated SSD mounts.