Review – NZXT Phantom

The computer case market is thriving with creativity again, one of the lead companies to emerge in the market is NZXT, lately the company has been on a roll as they combine contemporary style with gamer aesthetics. The result in this case is the mighty Phantom line, packing high airflow, incredible space and sleek design that can appeal to new builders and veteran builders looking for something not as extreme as a plexiglass case.

Opening the box up, it became clear this wasn’t just a looker but it was there for function as well. The stock unit contains sufficient cooling from the start and a box full of goodies for mounting and stealth cabling. I’ll go ahead and include the spec sheet below to give the full impressions.

MODEL Phantom Series
CASE TYPE Full Tower Steel
FRONT PANEL MATERIAL Plastic/Steel
DIMENSIONS (W x H x D) 222 x 540 X 623 mm
VGA Clearance Maximum
350mm
COOLING SYSTEM FRONT, 1 X 140mm
REAR, 1 X 120mm (included)
SIDE, 2 x 120mm, 1 x 200/230 (2 x 120mm included)
TOP, 2 X 200mm (1 x LED 200mm included)
DRIVE BAYS 5 EXTERNAL 5.25″ DRIVE BAYS
7 INTERNAL 3.5″/2.5″ Slots
Screwless Rail Design
MATERIAL(S) Steel with black finish
EXPANSION SLOTS 7
WEIGHT 11 kg
MOTHERBOARD SUPPORT E-ATX, ATX, MICRO-ATX, BABY AT

Sample build used:

AMD Phenom 9750 AM2+
Jetway 790GX (HA08)
Crucial 4GB DDR2 PC6400
Sapphire HD 4850 512
Creative X-Fi Xtrememusic
Hitachi Deskstar 1TB HDD
Maxtor 320GB HDD

Before jumping into the fray, I had to test a few areas first. The current configuration works fine if you have a high flow fan on the side and coming from the front, the case pressure goes pretty much positive at that point. If you lack that, you may want to consider flipping the top 200mm fan and throw air in. Often systems will tend to choke to some degree when the box is simply dumping air and pulling little if any fresh air in.

Fortunately the top panel removes easily, place your hand under the front panel grip and tug out, the clips will release and reveal another hand hold for the top panel. Unscrew the 200mm fan and reverse mount it to generate some positive pressure in the case.  I lacked a 140mm fan to place in the front so I mounted a 250mm fan to the side panel from an Antec Skeleton. Odd enough, with a bit of boring out the fan mounts without much issue and generates essential airflow for the GPU and CPU zones.

Moving into installation there isn’t much trouble, the Phantom is for the most part tool-less where it counts, the PCI  brackets use thumb screws instead of regular mounts to save on tools. Unfortunately you still need a screwdriver to break the initial torque after being mounted. Installation of components went down in roughly 20 minutes, cabling took a bit longer just for the sake of being stealth about it, the Phantom offers room for most mountings and even my aging Cooler Master Real Power Pro was able to reach high enough for the 8-pin power connector by the CPU. After years of building systems I can say this was most likely the most painless installation yet, also it left me cut free thanks to rolled edges on the case.

For window fans, there is a lot to miss with the mesh on the side of the case, honestly, the white finish is one of the cleanest and most pure colors I’ve seen in quite a while. With a blueish glow it reflects color perfectly inside. Not being able to see it does hurt, if you are insistent, you could always mount your own panel and remove the mesh, or just pop open the front door on the case and watch from there. It really is worth the show, the Tri-Color light show from the Antec really made it an amazing sight to see. For the hardcore modder that wants a little more, cutting the case and custom mounting acrylic would be really rewarding.

Functionally, the Phantom is up there with the best of them, the fans all connect to a single fan bus that gets controlled on top of the case, the inputs and power buttons are also on the top in sleek form. There’s an aspect of this design which takes me back to the era of Tron, super sleek but hard lines everywhere, a blue glow from the stock fans, power sources and fan bus that snares anyone who watches. It’s sleek but deadly and awesome as a centerpiece. Going from the Antec Skeleton to this is a huge jump, even comparing it to the Antec P193 has me still leaning in favor to the excessive attention to detail that NZXT took with this model.

To start closing this up, I have this to say about the NZXT Phantom.

  • Simple installation
  • Room for cable stealthing
  • Tons of air-flow
  • Integrated fan bus controller
  • Extra parts to last a lifetime
  • Sleek design, ultra contemporary feel
  • Low case noise, even with all fans running it remains tolerable
  • Excellent cooling on system
  • Plenty of room for larger video cards (6900 series, etc)
  • Tool-less design for drive mounting works, needs a little extra force to pop pins back in
  Low Speed High Speed
CPU Idle 41c 39c
CPU Load 47c 44.5c
GPU Idle 45.5c 44c
GPU Load 73c 70c

Things I might change are few really, this is a gaming case and if I wanted true silence I would opt for the H2, we don’t have that case to review so… just try to look around and get some other impressions if you’re not sure. The sound insulation and other features seem to be well worth the price.

Closing up, the Phantom is probably the easiest case I’ve been able to work with, because I’m extra paranoid I actually decided to also wax the finish for extra scratch protection because this is a busy desk.

Kudos to NZXT for bringing home a heavy hitter like the Phantom, for those interested, it comes in a few variants and honestly that pure black model looks quite awesome. For gamers it’s a new piece of kit to mod out, for older builders it still has some show with a Tron inspired design but not too much to make it feel like you’re pounding Redline and skipping out on studying for your finals all over again.

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PS3 price drop

Starting today Sony has dropped the price of the PlayStation 3. The 160gb model is now 249.99.

If you need more storage, the 320gb model is now available for 299.99. Interestingly there is also an 320gb Infamous 2 bundle that includes 30 days of PlayStation prime for 299.99. That maybe the one to get if you are in the market, I believe supplies will be more limited.

Also worth noting, the new price point makes the “entry” level PS3 cheaper than the Vita. The Vita is priced at 299.99, which is a bit on the steep side for a handheld. The Vita seems to be feature rich but Nintendo has dominated the handheld market for over a decade and struggled to sell the 3DS at 249.99. Will consumers respond to features and applications or are the sales going to depend on the quality of the games released?

The Dark Knight Rises Set photos #1

Here’s the Official poster and some Set photos of The Dark Knight Rises.

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Black Fire 2 Mod touches down on Crysis 2

Black Fire 2 is ready to rock on Crysis 2, packing a huge variety of engine changes and texture swaps it might be the best mod to have in your collection. Keep in mind this is a big swap and some major changes to textures have left them bare of Tessellation for now, if you can stomach that I suggest checking out the mod. If you’re still on the fence I suggest watching the youtube demo and getting your mind BLOWN AWAY.

Crytek did a good job with the DX11 patch but this really kicks the life out of that patch and leaves it for dead. Download it here (Translated) it’s a 9 stage process from what I can see.

Spartacus: Vengeance

Starz original series Spartacus:blood and Sand has had its far share of bumps, after finding out that its star Andy Whitfield was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma, the news force stars to finding a actor to replace Whitfield, On Jan. 17, 2011 it was announced Australian film and TV actor Liam McIntyre was going to replace Whitfield.

After the 6–episode prequel series Spartacus: Gods of the Arena aired its last episode February 25, 2011  News of  newly title season 2 Spartacus : Vengeance was announced, since then everything seems to be on scheduled production has now gone underwaw, look for Vengeance’s to air early 2012.

 

Synopsis

On the heels of the bloody escape from the House of Batiatus that concluded “Spartacus: Blood and Sand,” the gladiator rebellion continues and begins to strike fear into the heart of the Roman Republic in “Spartacus: Vengeance.” Gaius Claudius Glaber and his Roman troops are sent to Capua to crush the growing band of freed slaves that Spartacus leads before it can inflict further damage.  Spartacus is presented the choice of satisfying his personal need for vengeance against the man that condemned his wife to slavery and eventual death, or making the larger sacrifices necessary to keep his budding army from breaking apart.  Containing all of the blood-soaked action, exotic sexuality, and villainy and heroism that has come to distinguish the series, the tale of Spartacus resumes in epic fashion.

Here’s a trailer of  Spartacus Vengeance

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SDCC 2011 – The BAMFAS lowdown + Cosplay Gallery!

Hey everyone, SDCC is slowly fading into the mist at this point and honestly it has taken a while to reach a point of editorial commentary. SDCC for the past 4 years has been pretty epic, watching it just boil over from a major event into a AAA showcase for the comic, movie, tv and gaming industries was awesome. What sucks is everything that came with it, SDCC exclusives are sought after by many and were a unique staple of the show. Now vendors come to the show or buy large volume to supply their stores at the con leaving low supply or excessive lines to regular consumers.

The crowds in the prior years were a bit friendlier as well, although of course last year there was the whole stabbing thing that went down. Striking that up to crazed fandom is probably the best I can do to class that one. This year not only was the floor packed but it was a shoving match from poor mannered folks to people that were shoving around in retaliation to the aggro behavior. Not cool at all and it really made for slow travel from end to end, for past visitors any extra time to that trek is a downer.

There are upsides of course and I’ll sprinkle one in right now, the quality of the cosplay and the endurance of the people taking part was superior in 2011. I loved watching the costumes around the show and seeing the creative poses and dedication to the public at large asking for shots. Lots of respect to those who made that venture, as a cosplay fan myself it’s never an easy task with heavy fabrics and shoes from hell. Many made it seem almost easy.

The dealer area seemed to show new life in 2011, while the Golden Age comics took an unexpected growth spurt the area as a whole had much more to offer for goods. Finding classic figures, new figures or even marked up show exclusives was easier than past years just due to sheer volume. Many retailers were also determined to run fire sales on old stock seen in previous years, watching some drop as much as 60-70% off had many buried in each booth to complete their collections or start new ones.

Personally, I found a good home with a few retailers, Comic Madness got me into the latest installment of Wolverine from Marvel. Hoping those turn out good. Also started on Secret Invasion finally with a huge variant pack I got for cheap. Although having 1-2 variants of each issue seems a bit odd now. Others made their impact as well, Top Cow and 2K Games actually set me up with a Darkness II limited Darkling statue from a Twitter event. For comic collectors, gamers and TV and movie enthusiasts there was a bit for everyone.

Now we go back to probably one of the most disappointing facets of SDCC 2011, the panel lines were probably the single most absurd thing on the planet. The waiting times were huge for everything, entering Ballroom 20 wasn’t something you just did, you planned extensively and camped that line for a glimpse of that room. Hall H was much the same with huge lines for major releases and determined fans sitting it out for days in line. The problem is, many of those who waited had no interest in those other panels they sat through. Waiting instead for special tickets or panels at the end of the day. The system used to work, it took roughly 1.5-2 hours to get inside but it happened. Some were waiting as long as 5 hours to see a panel and never got in.

The team at Comic-Con International has an issue to tackle with that situation, as it stands, very few will be able to see the panels they want to catch. I was fortunate to see Being Human and Community which rocked in the Indigo Ballroom. But only because blitzing in as early as possible to line was how it happened. Maybe it’s time to make lines for individual blocks of panels instead. As it stands there are a lot of campers who stomped good experiences for regular people who wanted to see their favorite panels again this year. Step it up for the fans and do something about the squatting because it let many people down.

The question of course, was SDCC worth attending? Yes, combine the downtown events with all the screenings and premieres and the show even if you can’t get into the main event is really a fun time. If you’re attending SDCC itself on top of all that, the event is more than most can handle, attending all the panels even when things were normal was impossible just because there’s so much to do. You can see some panels on your favorite shows, get signings in the exhibition hall from your favorite actors, animators or illustrators and more. It’s mind boggling for those attending their first year and rightfully so, the convention itself is gigantic and spills over to the surrounding area with goodies for all.

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