NZXT Phantom 240 Review
We've seen NZXT's Phantom range of cases grow and grow since the inception of the original Phantom back in late 2010. Previously though, if you were looking for a bit of Phantom goodness you were going to need to fork out in the region of £80 for one of the then entry level 410s. That is though up until now, as the new 240 will set you back just £50. Now don't go thinking you're losing any of the trademark looks, as the aesthetic DNA of the series has clearly been carried forward, it's demure curving lines making it look less aggressive, more refined, more sculpted and, it has to be said, more mature. Add to this the beautiful high gloss white finish, and the full length window and we think you'll begin to understand that although we appreciate the looks of the Phantom aren't to everyone's taste we feel that this is the best looking Phantom to date.
So what does your £50 get you? Well as you might expect for a case measuring 195x530x529mm, ATX as well as M-ATX and M-ITX support is offered. There's room for three 5.25" bay devices all having toll free access, along with a total of six internal 3.5" or 2.5" drives. The drives are housed in two racks of three with the upper rack being removable by means of two thumb screw. With the upper rack removed the maximum GPU length is upped from a generous 290mm up to an all-encompassing 400mm. Front intake cooling is provided by a single white bladed 120mm fan with a mount for an additional 120mm unit above it. NZXT have also included another 120mm unit at the rear extract position. Glossing over the 120mm floor mount, and looking up into the roof we see that although no fans are included in this position, there is room for a pair of 120s or 140s. Although NZXT are a bit coy about exactly what native water cooling support is offered we found that there's enough room between the roof and the upper motherboard edge for any 240mm or 280mm rad up to 30mm thick. This of course means that along with a good few others, NZXT's own 140mm fan based Kraken X40 and X60 will fit just fine. If water cooling isn't your thing then you'll be delighted to know that traditional CPU tower coolers up to 158mm will fit a treat.
In stripping a case down to the bare chassis as we do, it's possible to get a feel for the inherent manufacturing and build quality, and as the modders out there will know, you also get a sense of how easy a case will be to take apart and how complicated a potential project will be. We're pleased to say the Phantom 240 is well put together, with the black rivets indicating that the case was assembled after individual components were painted as opposed to spraying an assembled case, which although cheaper does not achieve as good a finish. As it's quite a common practice for a manufacturer re use a base chassis design to keep costs down, the other thing you tend to discover when you strip a case is on which chassis it's based. In the case of the Phantom 240 we find that underneath we have the chassis seen in the H230 and also the Phantom 410, with the revised roof allowing for fan and rad mounts.
Building into the 240 is easy enough. Grommets would have been nice but it's easy to see why at a price point of just £50 they're not present. Thankfully the cable management holes aren't gaping so it's easy enough to achieve a tidy build without being able to see through to the reverse side too much. Round the back there's so many cable toe points that it seems even NZXT got fed up losing count while adding them up, simply stating there are "Over 20". We think it's actually 24 but don't hold us to that! Either way there's no excuse for a messy job back there.
So far so good and to be honest there's not actually a lot of negative aspects to report back on. If we were being really picky we'd say that as the PSU anti vibration feet could do with being a little bigger as they currently look like a chap at NZXT has been left with a thin sheet of black foam rubber and a hole punch and told to get busy, but that's about it.
When we look at what the competition offers there's are hundreds of cases in this sector of the market but only really a few stand out as being able to put up a realistic challenge, not least of which is the SPEC 01 and it's slightly more expensive siblings.
We mentioned that the 240 was based on the same chassis used for the H230 and the Phantom 410, however we don't want you to go thinking this is a bad thing, or that NZXT have cheaped out on us. This approach brings with it certain advantages most of which for the manufacturer and us the consumer are cost related. In the Phantom 240 what you're essentially getting is a better looking 410, costing £30 less, with slightly re arranged drive bay layout and minus the fan controller and rubber grommets. What's not to like.
Thanks to NZXT for sending in the P240 for review, you can discuss your thoughts on the OC3D Forums.