Imagine what it would be like to come into the world and find yourself suddenly placed between a highly capable younger brother and a very successful older brother. you'd have to be pretty damn good to make a name for yourself. The Phantom 630, being a bit bigger than the 410, and smaller than the 820 is in exactly that position, placed, as you might imagine, directly in between its smaller and bigger brothers.
Although the 630 is also available in Gunmetal or white, the sample we have for review today is the Matte Black version. And boy is it black, or as Ford Prefect might put it "It's so....Black you can hardly make out its shape...Light just seems to fall into it" So a paint job worthy of Hotblack Desiato's stunt ship, but what else does it have going for it. Well aside from seemingly infinitely configurable hard drive bay assemblies the 630 is also capable of offering support for a considerable number of radiators and fans. We're not just talking little 120s in the back here, oh no, the 630 can take some of the big boys. 120.3s and 140.2s in the roof 140.2s in the front and 120.2s or 140.2s in the base. In short enough native watercooling support to make even the most hardened air enthusiast want to get wet. Don't go thinking that's all the 630 has to offer though, for the full fat version of the features best we have a look at the technical specification.
Steel and Plastic
Power Supply Support
Maximum GPU Length
325mm (507mm without HDD cage)
Maximum CPU Cooler height
170mm (200mm without side panel fan)
PCI Expansion Slots
External 5.25" Drive Bays
Internal 3.5" Drive Bays
Internal 2.5" Drive Bays
8 (using 3.5" Drive Bays)
Front I/O Panel
2 x USB 3.0
Removable Motherboard Tray
CPU Mounting Hole in Motherboard Tray
1 x 200mm Case Fan
1 x 140mm Case Fan
1 x 200mm Case Fan
option for 2 x 140mm or 2 x 120mm Case Fans
1 x 120mm
Roof 120.3 or 140.2
Rear 120.1 or 140.1
Up Close: Exterior Overview and Roof
The Phantom 630 continues the sleek yet edgy styling of its contemporaries, and although there are fewer angles than the original Phantom case or indeed the 410 or 820 there's no doubting which particular family tree the 630 fell from. Angular mesh panels give us a glimpse of the white bladed fans beneath with small recesses and grooves adding to the three dimensionality of the case.
With the right side panel a smooth expanse of Matte Black, devoid of features, our eyes are more naturally drawn to the left panel. Here we see as with other models in the Phantom range NZXT have decided to split the area between a window and a 200mm fan intake. Both are of a parallelogram shape and fit well with the overall angled theme of the case. That said, we would much rather have had a single large window.
Zooming in on the roof of the 630 again we get a glimpse of the white bladed 200mm NZXT fan set on extract beneath a meshed panel. Forward of this we a rather striking area of ventilation slots cut directly into the moulding of the roof panel. At the very front of the roof down either side we finally find the front I/O and power area.
As you can see from the images below, NZXT have essentially split the sockets from the buttons. The left hand side of the case is home to 2xUSB 3.0 and 2xUSB 3.0 along with audio in and out.
Over to the right we find the switch panel. Al large power switch lives just off the main panel, with the reset switch slightly smaller and again camping out slightly from the main black. The main panel itself is home to a small switch which controls a white LED mounted above the rear I/O area giving illumination should you need it to that otherwise dark recess at the back of your case. central to this panel is a 3 position fan control slider and finally a set of 3 LEDs which indicate which speed is selected. The Look and feel of both these panels is one of class and quality, with all the switches having a nice firm positive feel to them.
Up Close: Front, Rear and Base
As with other models in the Phantom range the external 5.25" bay area is shielded from view by a flush fitting door. In the case of the 630 the 4 bays hide behind a door hinged on the right hand side, and unlike the 40 the door is not click and release but rather secured by a pair of magnets. a wise choice given the propensity for greasy fingerprints to be deposited on the sleek matte black finish as a result of pressing to open the door.
The mesh panels blanking the 5.25" bays are easily removed by means of a sliding lock on the left hand side, giving access to the bays behind.
Sliding down the sleek front we find ourselves at the intake area for the front cooling array. A single white bladed NZXT fan lurks behind a meshed and filtered triangular panel. At the very base of the case, and almost concealed from view we find the pull out tab for the front section of the base air filter panel.
The chassis of the 630 rests on 4 long narrow feet, blending nicely into the lines of the case, with each of the feet being outfitted with a rubber isolation pad.
Pretty much the entire underside of the 630 is covered by mesh air filters. Providing clean air to both the PSU area and, more interiorly any fans or Radiators you mount in the base. Both filters are easily removed with the need for any disassembly.
Finally on our trip around the exterior we come to the rear. Uppermost we find a bulged Hex mesh panel covering the yet another white bladed fan, this time a 140mm model. although the slotted location holes it is entirely feasible to fit a 120mm fan should you so desire. To the left of this fan as we would expect we find the rear I/O cut out, beneath which lie no less than 9 vented PCI slots, a hint that this case is able to accept the XL ATX format of motherboards. The very base of the case is home to the PSU cut out. You might of course be thinking that it's strange NZXT have not included any tubing cut outs. If you are go back and have a read of the Technical specification. With the ability to house a prodigious number of radiators internally, do we really think we need cut outs to mount further rads externally?
Up Close: Interior Overview Base, Roof and Rear
The interior of the 630 is pretty cavernous. able to accept XL ATX boards with room to spare, you get the feeling there's nothing you can't fit in here. A large angular CPU cut out will make for easy cooler or waterblock mount changing and a good selection of large grommeted cut outs provide the foundation for good cable management.
The grommets themselves in fact are of such good quality that we feel they're worthy of a few close ups. of course pictures can't hope to convey their suppleness or the strength with which they resist being dislodged by our big hammy hands when feeding cables through. Hats off to the grommets. What does baffle us just a little bit though is why NZXT have chosen not to grommet all the cable management holes. Down at the base of the case, around the PSU area, and indeed up by the 5.25" bays we find quite a few holes "moin le grommet" as it were. ok it's nice to have all these extra holes, but it would be even nicer to have them all tidy.
Un grommeted holes aside, the base of the case provides a more than sturdy mound for even the longest PSUs on the market, with a second set of isolation mounts providing dampening for the longer units. As discussed on the exterior, the intake area for the PSU has a removable mesh filter.
The rear of the case is home to a single 140mm fan with mounts available should you wish to downsize. Up in the roof we find a single 200mm unit, with mounts and filters for a second or should you choose, up to 3x120m or 2x140mm fans. As detailed in the Technical Specification, there's also room up her for a thick 140.2 or a slimline 120.3 radiator. We'll look more closely at sizes and tolerances when we come to the build.
Flipping the 630 round it's time to have a look at the rear. We've seen in the past that NZXT are past masters when it comes to cable management, and the 630 doesn't disappoint. No less than 20 well distributed cable tie points, coupled with a working depth of 35mm in the area immediately behind the PSU, and 25mm for the rest of the rear means even the numptiest noob out there should have no problem achieving a wondrously tidy loom.
Those of you that followed Staff Project NZXSPC will remember that we modded the rear of the motherboard area to accept a 2.5" SSD. No such need with the 630 as twin mounts are already provided (we assume our royalty cheque is in the post). To the left of the SSD mounts we find a fan power distribution hub. For those of us who find it abhorrent to power our fans from the Motherboard, and who don't want to sully the clean looks of a case with a fan controller the Hub is a godsend. Linked into the speed controller it's able to supply power for up to 10 fans.
Although we're not big fans of side panel ventilation here at OC3D it has to be said that the 630 does at least do the job well. No pointless little mounts for 120mm fans here. Instead we get a fully fledged 200m fan set behind a removable filter panel and snugged up under an hexagonal exterior mesh panel. Can't help thinking though we'd rather have a big window and the fan mounted up in the roof, but each to their own we guess.
Exterior: The Drive Bays
It's not very often we dedicate a whole section to the drive bays alone. However as you will see, with the numerous and flexible configuration options it was essential that we take the time to do this section justice. First up are the 5.25" bays, nothing that unusual here granted, but you do get tool free mechanisms, and none of that plastic clip nonsense, these boys are metal. Mounted on one side only, there's still the option to secure with screws if you wish.
It's when we come to look at the internal bays that things get a bit more interesting. On the face of it we have 8 bays, with each able to accept either a 3.52 or 2.5" drive. The bays are mounted vertically towards the front of the case with enough room between them and the front fan mount to mount a slim 120.2 radiator. at the top of the drive stack and facing inwards is a pivoting mount for a 120 or 140mm fan.
What isn't perhaps immediately obvious is that the bays are modular in nature. Split into a triple, a double and single bay blocks the bays can be configured to best suit your needs, or removed entirely if you feel necessary. Grooves in a plate that itself can be removed to allow 120.2 or 140.2 radiators to be placed in the base of the case provide a secure location for the bays, as to similar grooves on the underneath of the 5.25" bays and on each of the bay units.
Below we've shown various configurations that allow for the accommodation of longer GPUs in the primary and/or secondary slots, as well as configurations that allow easy tubing routing for a front mounted radiator.
However you decide to configure your bays you'll be using the ubiquitous NZXT mounts. Perhaps a little flexible to be called truly robust, they do however do the job well, just be sure to remove all drives if you transport the case as even with no drives installed they will shake lose in transit.
Up Close: Stripped
Finding it hard not to call this section "In the Nip" it's none the less essential to see what a case looks like "au-natural". What better way to get an idea of the build quality is there than to strip away all the extraneous knobs and excrescences and look at the bare metal chassis. Quality wise the 630 doesn't disappoint. The finish is good and the riveting and folding of the sheet steel is well done, nothing here to cut your knuckles on.
The actual stripping of the case is achieved by pulling off the roof and the front plastic sections, both of which are held on by strong plastic lugs. Once popped off we get a chance to look more closely at the roof and front fan mounting areas, along with the vast selection of fan mounting points and radiator options, the roof area alone is able to accept a slim 120.3 or a thicker 140.2 radiator with the commensurate sized fan mounted up in the roof section. Given a radiator of slim enough proportions it's entirely possible to set up a push pull configuration up here.
With the front of the case removed it's also possible to get a better look at the options for cooling and radiator mounting in this area. It's also worth noting that when you remove the plastic panels the mounts for both front switch and I/O areas remain attached to the chassis, so no having to feed cables through holes every time you pop the lid off.
With its cavernous interior it's hard to fight the urge to flip the case on its side, grab the motherboard and climb on in. But as this is a slight exaggeration of the internal dimensions we shall continue the build in the undertake the build in the conventional manner. First up then is the PSU. Here we're using a 160mm unit, but as you can see the case is able to accept even the very longest PSUs, and with a total of 6 rubber tipped isolation mounts the PSU in question isn't going to be left flapping around. passing the cables through to the rear is made easy by the large holes adjacent to the PSU area, although we can't help wondering why NZXT chose not to grace them with their wonderful rubber grommets.
With the motherboard in let's have a look at the clearance at the top of the case for roof mounted Radiators. A good 55mm of space here, so no problem with a slim radiator, and if it's under 30mm thick it's entirely possible to set up a 120.3 with your fans in a push pull configuration, but you will lose the top 5.25" bay. If you prefer a thicker single radiator then anything under 55mm should be fine as a 140.2 or 120.2. This does include AIO coolers like the Kraken series and the Corsair H100i.
When we looked at the front I/o you'll remember we mentioned a switch that controlled an LED above the rear I/O area. Well here it is. Look carefully at the centre of the image below right and you can just see it. Far from a gimmick, how wonderfully handy it is to have the luxury of being able to illuminate this area when you're trying to insert a fresh connection. Kudos to NZXT, take note everyone else. Below right we can see how the lowermost of the grommeted management holes is utilised to feed USB and Audio connections through from the back. Although this hole will be covered if you opt for an XL ATX motherboard there is another un-grommeted hole beneath it.
Those of you who read our reviews regularly will know we have something of a fetish for cable management. To us the look at the rear is nearly as important as the look round the front. With between 25mm and 35mm of space back there and 20 good sized cable tie points we're confident that a decent job can be easily achieved. In fact, if you chose to, there's easy enough room back here to route watercooling tubing, and more than enough holes to bring it from front to back and vice versa.
So good are the cable management options that it's pretty hard to see the cables at all in the finished build. this is of course made easier by NZXT having all their own cables coloured black, the same as the interior of the case. Although we've only used a modest GPU for the test build (our now ancient EN 8800 GT) it's easy enough to see that the 630 is more than capable of accepting truly monstrous GPUs, either with or without the removal of the HDD bays.
With regards to CPU coolers the 630 is able to provide a home for anything up to 170mm in height with the door fan in place, or 200mm in height with the door fan removed, which basically means you'll be hard pushed to find a cooler that won't fit inside. Here we've used the NZXT Havik 120, which although a good sized cooler at 160mm in height, as you can see it looks a little lost in there.
Performance, Testing and Conclusion
It's fair to say that although we're no stranger to NZXT products here at OC3D towers they have always received fair and impartial reviews, as is the case with all manufacturers. If we like something we say so, if we don't like something we're not afraid to say so either, and if we think something is truly god awful we sure as heck make sure you, the paying public, do not part with your hard earned wedge on it. If you've been a frequenter of OC3D for a number of years you'll know what we're getting at here. So how does the Phantom 630 measure up? Well NZXT have nothing to fear. We are more than impressed with the latest sibling to enter the Phantom family.
We know the 630 fits into the family between the larger 820 and the smaller 410, but it might be worth looking at exactly how it stacks up size wise. Comparing it to the larger 820 the 630 is 130mm shorter in height, with depth being roughly the same (only 12mm in it). What is perhaps surprising is that the 630 is in fact slightly wider than the 810 at 245mm as opposed to 235mm. if the saying "Never mind the length, feel the width" holds true then the 630 is at something of an advantage. In terms of size and perhaps flexibility there's a much bigger gap when we step down to the baby of the family. At 215mm the 410 is much slimmer and at only 515mm in height and 532mm in depth is an all-round smaller case. Granted, sharing the same design cues as the two larger cases it is no less imposing when sitting on your desk, and as we saw with project NZXSPC it's entirely possible with a bit of light modding to get a pair of 120.2 Radiators in there.
No such modding is required with the 630 though. The watercooling radiator mounting options for this case are far to extensive to cover in the conclusion, if you want the skinny you'll have to head back to the Technical specification at the start. Suffice to say that the case is able to accept multiples of 120.2 and 140.2 Radiators, and even 120.3s in the roof this obviously means it fully supports NZXT's AIO Kraken Series and the likes of their nemesis the Corsair H100i.
Even if you're not planning to get wet, the 630 is still an awesome air cooling case. Huge 200mm fans are located in the front, roof and door of the case, with an additional 140mm fan in the rear. As with the radiator placements, the options for fan accommodation are far too extensive to be addressed in the conclusion. Worried you're not going to be able to control all those fans? you needn't be, NZXT have included a 30 watt 3 position fan controller, linked to a power distribution hub on the reverse of the Motherboard the 630 is able to route juice to up to 10 fans. Add in the ability to house 170mm CPU coolers, or 200mm units with the door fan removed and it's fair to say you'd be hard pushed to find a cooler that won't fit in here.
We were also particularly impressed with the modular HDD bay system. Although not a new concept and by no means unique to the Phantom 630 or indeed NZXT we did however feel the concept was well applied, giving not just the ability to remove bay modules, but to re locate certain units elsewhere in the case. essentially enabling you to customise the layout to best suite your needs, whether that be front Mounted radiators, huge GPUs or a bit of both.
Building into the 630 is one of the more pleasurable building sessions we've had. there's a real feeling of space with everything just where you need it. Plenty of grommeted cable management holes, with some of the best grommets we've ever seen, and bizarrely quite a few management holes that for some reason NZXT have chosen not to cover. We can't really call this a fault, but we will say it could be better. Still with the good handful of cable ties supplied, and the plethora of mounting points behind the motherboard it's still very easy to do a bang up job on the wiring. In fact, if we ever see one of these cases untidily loomed we will call out the owner publically and call them a girl (harsh we know, but that's how it is).
At £150 the 630 can't be called bargain basement, but then neither is it by any means the most expensive full tower case you can buy. In this price bracket though it is however up against some renowned competition, no least of which is its own cousin, the Switch 810. Don't want a NZXT case? then your £150 will buy you a Raven, a CM Storm Scout, or the ever popular Elysium to name but a few.
Does the 630 have what it takes? We think it does. Do we feel all tingly and excited by it? Yes we do. Do we want to whip out the Dremel and convert the fan cowling to a full window? Good god yes! Rubber grommets aside, the choice of a split window/fan is about the only real criticism we can lay at the feet of the 630 and even then it's subjective at best. For all we know you could be one of those really odd people that like fans in the doors of their cases.
At the start of this review we asked how it would feel to be the middle brother, placed between two very successful siblings. Would you feel a bit better knowing you'd been awarded an OC3D gold? That's two Gold's and a Silver for the Phantom brothers. Not bad at all.
Thanks to NZXT for sending the 630 in for review, you can discuss your thoughts in the OC3D Forums.