After our Antec GX700 review and H630 review, we figured it was time to look at something a little more mid-range for the system building market. NZXT's Phantom 530 came out a little while ago (and is included in our impending "how to build a PC" video tutorial), but we haven't had time to properly benchmark the thermals until recently. The Phantom 530 aims to fit between NZXT's Source line and larger Phantom offerings (like the P630), landing it at $130, but still packing extra features.
In this NZXT Phantom 530 review, benchmark, & cable management guide, we'll look over the case's build quality and thermal performance. Given our previous history with Phantom cases, things certainly seem promising. Let's start with the specs.
NZXT Phantom 530 Case Specs
|Model Number||CA-PH530-W1 White
|Drive Bays||External 5.25" x 3
Internal 3.5" /2.5": 6
Internal 2.5": 1 + 6
|Cooling System||Front 2x140mm/ 120mm or 1x200mm
(1 x 200mm included)
Rear 1x140mm (included) / 120mm
Top 2x200mm/ 140mm or 3x120mm
|Clearance||CPU Cooler 183mm
VGA Card 282mm (With Cage & Pivot Fan), 310mm (With Cage), 444mm (Without Cage)
Cable Management 26mm (Lowest Point)/ 34mm (Highest Point)
|Dimensions||235mm x 572mm x 543mm|
|Motherboard Support||ITX, Micro-ATX, ATX, EATX (322x272mm)|
|External Electronics||1 x Audio / Mic
2 x USB 3.0
|Product Weight||10.5 kg|
NZXT Phantom 530 Video Review, Hands-On, Benchmark, & Cable Management
NZXT Phantom 530 Features & Specs Analysis
If you're already familiar with the Phantom 630, then you're pretty familiar with the 530 by default. It's a bit smaller and less flashy, but has largely identical build quality and features. For this reason, this review will be a bit shorter than our previous NZXT case reviews -- the chassis has been repeated for several generations now, so check out the Phantom 630, H630, and Phantom 820 reviews (slightly different chassis on this one) for info on that.
Features-wise, the Phantom 530 offers about what you'd expect in a $130 case. It's fitted with 1x140mm + 1x200mm fans, basic dust filtration, cable management features, a simple fan controller, and some stylized paneling. As for improvements over the previous iteration of this Phantom, NZXT has added 70% more cable management space, making our lives much easier when sealing the case post-build.
As with all their recent frames, NZXT's modular drive cages line the front scaffolding, so unused cages can be easily removed for improved airflow from front intake. The simple dual-fan design is in a standard push/pull (front/rear) config, like the previous iterations on the chassis, additional internal fans can be mounted to the drive scaffolding and top, side, and bottom of the case. A rear fan hub is mounted to the back-side of the board tray, serving as a central location for fan connections; the fans can be controlled via a 3-speed fan controller (high / medium / low) to help mitigate noise levels. Found next to the rear fan hub is an SSD sled, for a more discrete mounting location away from the larger bays.
NZXT Phantom 530 Build Quality, Cable Management, & System Installation
Again, build quality is about what we'd expect. I should note that on the red case we reviewed, the paint almost made the plastic top and front panels look like "cheap plastic" -- the kind you'd find in a toy for a child. Personally, I'd never want that for my build, but the black and white versions both look just fine.
The metals and plastics are reasonable quality, despite how the paint works, and will hold up will through multiple build cycles. The Phantom 530 doesn't use the level of materials you might see in a $180+ case, but for its price, all seems fair; it's not cheap and will endure movement and rebuilds for many years, but it's not enterprise-class metal, like the 900D would have.
Perhaps an advantage over the other Phantom cases, the new P530 has a significant amount of space dedicated toward top-mounted radiators in a dedicated compartment. A fat radiator will easily fit in the 'overhead compartment' of the 530, and in terms of length, up to 360mm radiators will natively mount. You won't be able to mount a push-pull configuration without installing the radiator below the mounting bar, but the extra room does help accommodate for fat radiators in push configurations (see: H80, stock AMD CLC).
Cable management is also pretty straight-forward: As with all Phantom-class chassis of this generation, you basically just run the cables through the cut-outs, tie them to the anchor points on the rear side of the board, and you're done. Nothing fancy involved here. The case will close easily, even with multiple cables stacked atop each other, and doesn't need much forethought to cable organization (though we recommend it). Try to utilize the deepened channels in the rear side of the board tray to keep the 24-pin and PCI-e power cables less prohibitive when closing the case.
System installation is pretty straight-forward. There's really nothing all that special or anything negative about system installation here.
Continue to page 2 for the benchmark results.