We’re taking a look at probably the case of the year for enthusiasts which completely blew me away from the very beginning. Designed by a Dutch company, Phanteks, which specializes in PC cooling solutions, this is their first chassis and I hoping they follow a similar path as Corsair as their legendary 800D really paved the way for Corsair to acquire a major chunk of the market share when it came to enclosures. The good news for this product from Phanteks is that it aims to redefine of how we think about enthusiasts cases. It’s no longer about is giving us room but giving us flexibility and functionality that is so long overdue. You’re looking at the Enthoo Primo with a hefty price tag of $250 USD but still surprisingly low compared to other similar enthusiastic enclosures on the market. Also this isn’t just a regular full tower but with specific emphasis on insane water cooling builds. Thanks to its moderately large size but not as massive as the 900D which means this the perfect alternative for those wanting to go overkill.
Phanteks Enthoo Specifications
|Dimension||25 x 65 x 60cm (WxHxD), 97.5 litres|
|Form Factor||Full Tower Chassis|
|Material(s)||Aluminum Faceplates, Steel Chassis|
|Motherboard Compatibility||ATX, EATX, mATX, SSI EEB|
|Front I/O||2x USB 3.0, 2x USB 2.0, Mic, Headphone, LED Switch, Reset Switch|
|Side Window||Yes, split-window design|
|Expansion & Drive Bays|
|Power Supply Slots||2|
|Internal 3.5″||6 (2 HDD cages x 3 slots)|
|Internal 2.5″||12 (2x 3 HDD cages + 2x doublestack SSD brackets) *expandable to 3x|
|Cooling||120mm fan||140mm fan|
|Front||2||2 (2 included with LED)|
|Top||4||3 (1 included)|
|Rear||2||1 (1 included)|
|Bottom||4||2 (1 included)|
|Liquid Cooling||120mm radiator||140mm radiator|
|Front||Up to 240||–|
|Top||Up to 480||Up to 420|
|Side (w/o HDD cages)||Up to 240||–|
|Bottom||Up to 480||Up to 280|
|Graphics card||257mm (reservoir bracket installed)
277mm (reservoir bracket installed w/o cover)
350mm (no reservoir bracket)
390mm (HDD cages in front position)
515mm (no HDD cages)
|PH-F140SP (included fans)|
|Speed (rpm)||1200±250 rpm|
|Max Airflow||82.1 CFM|
|Static Pressure||1.33mm H2O|
|Acoustical Noise||19 dB|
|Package Dimension||320mm x 725mm x 705mm (WxHxD)|
|Net Weight||17.9 kg|
|Gross Weight||20 kg|
|Release Date||September 2013|
|Warranty||5 Years Limited|
|Manufacturer Contact Info||
Manufacturer Product Page: www.phanteks.com/Enthoo-Primo.html
Support Email: [email protected]
Support Website: www.phanteksusa.com/index.php?p=support
Supports 420mm/480mm radiator in top
PWM-controlled fan hub
Toggleable blue LED lighting for trim and front fans
The Enthoo Primo is one elegant piece with tinted side panels brushed aluminum at the front the top. The front exhaust is covered by a removable double panel on that features a built-in dust filter attached with clips and screws so it’s not the most convenient if you need to remove it. The dual panel is spaced to allow airflow to enter plus there’s extra ventilation on either side the fans but still we know there will be quite a lot resistance because of all these barriers. Luckily, Phanteks is not new to cooling and too high airflow fans will deliver and ample airflow. Plus the retail for over $20 USD a piece which makes us happy they they’ve been included. The front cover opens a little past 90 degrees and we all know the disadvantages of this design it could easily break and cannot be swapped to be open from the other side. A total of five optical base are included with built-in dust filters on the covers.
The left side panel is occupied by one large window that will beautifully showcase your components while the smaller one is tasked with displaying Phanteks logo. The right side panel has dual fan ventilation and power supply intake, both of which are covered with magnetic dust filters. The power button along with the hard drive activity light are located at the top of the case but still within reach and the rest the connections are located at the very top with LED switch for the fans, a reset button, a total of 4 USB ports, 2 of which are USB3 and chrome-plated audio jacks. Now given this is a very tall enclosure the placement of the USB ports is not the most ideal but if you are showing off your rig and it’s not under the desk which is most likely won’t be, it really is not a big issue.
The top panel has a large easily removable mesh with a dust filter and really shows off the water cooling potential with the Enthoo Primo with quad 120mm on their fans are supported or triple 140mm with one included. Positioning of fans is flexible thanks to these strips instead of single holes for mounting. There it is plenty of room above the frame to push pull for your radiator.
Moving to the bottom case, Phanteks are truly delivering to what every builder wants and thats full dust proof enclosure with large dust filters covering the entire bottom which are easily removal and accessible from the side.
Now there’s plenty going on at the rear starting with the top exhaust with height adjustment mount. There the only once we’ve seen to implement this design aside from NZXT and we like it which allows a a little extra top clearance for your radiator. Below are the 8 PCI slots plus additional venting and plenty of different mounting holes for a reservoir. After all this a case designed for water-cooling enthusiasts and functionality. At the very bottom we have a fan mount on the right that is also a secondary spot for power supply and on the left is the stock location for your power unit.
Now I’m very excited to get inside the and to primal particularly because there’s a lot to talk about and taking off both panels the internals look a little different from what we use to. First, we do have tooless mounting for all the optical drives and hard drive cage below is access exclusively from the rear which is preferable. The bottom portion includes a fan bracket to be used with 240mm and 280mm radiator and with one intake fan included.
There’s about six inches of clearance untill the motherboard area which is plenty of room for thick radiators. The fan bracket is removable that allows a 480mm radiator be installed at the bottom which is quite impressive but also allows clearance for power supply to be installed. The 2 adhesive rubber strips are included to prevent noise from vibration and the orientation on your power supply is dependent on preference as ventilation is available on either side of the unit.
Going to the motherboard area. Given Enthoo Primo’s emphasis on water cooling, a reservoir bracket is included which can also be used to cover up the rubber grommets. It is easily removable and has a brushed aluminum plastic panel and many pre-drilled holes for different types of reservoirs.
The only disadvantage with this is the limit clearance for your GPU as once installed, only 10.5 inches graphic cards will fit at only in the top five PCI slots as the cut-out on the bracket doesn’t follow all the way down. Otherwise without the bracket 13+ inches is available.
We do have a lot of rubber grommets around the motherboard tray and the large CPU cutout. So far it doesn’t seem like Phanteks missed anything regarding compatibility, so let’s turn the case around and see how it handles with cable management.
The first thing you notice is how all the stock cables are sleeved and cleaned up, which makes working with the case a lot simpler. It’s also very clever cable management system in place with Velcro straps that you can loosen up to fit more cables or vice versa.
There plenty of cable tie mounts as well and generally a lot of room. You just have to work around the stock cables as they do cover a lot of the rubber grommets. We do have a central fan hub for 7 fans, which your motherboard might be able to power through a single 4-pin connector but if not the molex connector is available. You will also able to re-position the fan hub a little further down so Phanteks emphasizes on flexibility with this case.
Drive Cages and Caddies
The hard drive cage is located in usual spot with unique drive caddies that you don’t need to flex or widen but it sort of has this wing design where you place the drive and close the wings. It’s actually quite sturdy and hassle-free and of course SSD compatible.
Each cage can also mount 120mm fans to drive better airflow and of course it is modular, very much expected from what we’ve seen so far. You can move the entire assembly closer to the front to allow better cooling for the drives or remove the assembly completely for installation of front radiator with ample of 6.5 inches of space.
The front will support 240mm or 280mm radiators but also Enthoo Primo comes with side radiator bracket which can be used with 240mm radiators. It is very simple installation but with radiator in place, you lose out on the entire hard drive cage.
However if fans are installed on the outside the bracket, it fits in just fine with drive cage installed. This means extra cooling for your drives and the panel closes just fine without touching the fan. We also have designated SSD brackets above the main cage that are easily removable, each bracket houses two drives and I think the uses space is appropriate plus their specific cutouts available to route your SATA cables.
You can also place one in the brackets to another location if you don’t want to route your SATA power all the way up there or have a side radiator installed. The rubber grommets are available right underneath for appropriate cable routing.
Moving on to the power supply, it is elevated with rubber standoffs and is mounted sideways. The chassis comes equipped with a pump bracket which is installed in front of the power supply but can be moved slightly forward for a little extra room for all you cables and can be installed instead of the bottom hard drive cage.
There’s also a tube cutout so you can easily route your tubing from the pump into the main chamber. You can see that watercooling is sort of the essential focus for the Enthoo Primo.
To recap, here all the supported radiators which is quite amazing this is due to functional design that allows is so much flexibility for preference and Phanteks did a really good job in making sure there are no compromises.
Starting with the assembly, the extended middle motherboard standoff is really useful to get you going and a small toolbox is included the contains all the needed screws that improves the overall user experience.
There’s over 80mm of clearance between the top frame and the memory on our board which is good news for thick radiators. Finally looking in the finished build, it is very clean and tidy thanks to their rear power supply chamber and turning the case around everything is well secured. There were no issues with cable routing. Enthoo Primo really screams for more hardware and radiators. This certainly is one of the top choices for watercooling.
Now we are going to conclude with our pros and cons list. Phanteks certainly didn’t cut any corners with the Enthoo Primo as the build quality and the looks are outstanding.
A total of five quality high airflow fans are included with plenty more airflow options.Rear power supply chamber does allow it cleaner looking build without compromises with the optional second replacement for the unit. The chassis is full dust proof with easily accessible filters and features an excellent Velcro strap system for your cable management. Really the core purpose of the chassis is water cooling and Phanteks has done an excellent job with multi radiator support and even include a pump and a reservoir bracket.
While $250 USD price tag may seem like a lot, the Enthoo Primo packs in an incredible value for those wanting to take the full advantage of what the case has to offer. My main critique here is that I wish there weren’t that many stock cables as they do blocked the rubber grommets and make a little bit more difficult with routing. I also wish the design of the reservoir bracket wouldn’t conflict with longer GPU but in reality there is just me being picky and the Enthoo Primo exceeded my expectations and deserve the damn innovative award because every inch of this case serves a function. I can’t wait for their next case. To be honest, I think this is the best case we have reviewed to date. I highly praise Phanteks for not leaving anything out. What do you guys think about Enthoo Primo? Do you think it’s a bit overkill and would you pay such a price given the watercooling. Let us know in the comments below. Thanks for reading and we’ll see you in the next review.
Phanteks Enthoo Pros and Cons
- Hard Disk Bays: Innovative tool-less design. Spread the wing-clips, insert the drive and close the wing-clips. Much easier to insert and remove hard disk without the need to flex the plastic. Flexing posses risks of breaking the plastic hard disk frame.
- Hard Disk Cage: Modular cages. Allows user to remove them to allow better front intake air flow if they do not have many hard disk loaded into the case. Each hard disk cage can install a 120mm fan to pull air from the external fans to your graphic cards. Also, each cage allows to install a SSD vertically on its side instead of using the hard disk bays.
- Filter: Uses mesh instead of foam. Mesh allows smoother and less restrictive air flow to your fans. It also dries faster when cleaning with water. There are filter for the bottom, top, front and side panel. The one at the bottom is removed from the side instead of from the rear. This allows it easier to remove since you do not have to turn your case side ways and you do not have your power cables blocking you from removing it.
- Toolbox: Contains a toolbox with 8 segments, separating different types of screws to be used, very user friendly. Most case manufacturers uses few mini plastic bags to house each type of screws to cut cost down.
- Cable Management: Has a unique Velcro system to help tie down the cables neatly instead of providing zip ties that might be cut off if there is need to insert more cables.
- Top Case: Gently push the rear of the top cover to unclip from the case to be removed. To reinstall, just place the top cover and gently pressed down. No screws required! Once the top is revealed, you can see there is no mini-hole metal plate that usually comes with most cases. This allows less restriction to the intake/exhaust fans. It can install up to 3x140mm fans or 4x120mm fans or a water radiator. You can install fans on top or bottom of the top case. The mounting design seems to be inspired from NZXT rear fan placement.
- Rear Case: The back has a slot for 140mm fan with adjustable height placement similar to NZXT fan case. This allows for more spacing should the user wish to place a water cooling radiator on the top.
- Power Supply: This is the only case that supports mounting 2 power supplies, one in the conventional way and the second is behind the motherboard tray placed on its side vertically. Both methods have the power cable cord fitted from behind. The new method allows intake air from the side which means less dust being pulled from the floor especially is carpeted. Since it can be placed behind, you do not need to tuck your cables from front to behind, save some hassle.
- Fan Hub: Phanteks also includes a PWM fan hub which allows you to centralize all of your fans to a single channel and later can be controlled with a knob to either increase/decrease speed of all fans. This saves the trouble of finding the right spot plug-in to the motherboard to power them up. Plus, if you were to replace/remove/reinstall the motherboard, you will not need to remove those fan plugs. Save some hassle there as well.
- Price: It’s very expensive mainly targeting consumers at enthusiasts level. If its sold at a slightly lower price of $100 USD, it allows Phanteks to penetrate the computer case market faster with the aid of mainstream users buying and recommending to their peers. They could cut down the cost by having optional purchases for case accessories such as adding additional fan, PWM Fan Hub and filters. This is beneficial for users who might be able to transfer their existing custom case fans to their new case.
- Weight: Very heavy. It weighs 17.9 kg without any computer components loaded. Once its loaded with your processor, graphic card, motherboard, memory, power supply, hard-disks and 3rd-party fans, it easily bringing it a total of 23-28 kg depending on the number of items installed. Not recommended as portable gaming rig. The case does not have any handles to carry around easily. More likely you would need to install custom roller wheels at the bottom when you want to move your case somewhere such as outside your house/office to dust OR place it on a roller chair to move it around. To reduce the weight, use thinner but sturdy metal plate similar to the ones from Cooler Master 690 III. A bigger acrylic window also contributes in reducing the weight of side panel. The best would be a case weighting around 6 kg or less which most case manufacturer overlooked.
- Cable Management: By default, it comes with many internal cables which includes with the fans, LED lightning and Input-Output cables which might make it a hassle for some users who wants to install their own components.
- Filter: Some of the filter are not external, therefore you need to open your side panel to remove them. A little bit of a hassle. Since its attached along with the case external panel, it will be a lot more difficult to clean them with water and takes more time to dry. Each of the filter is restricted with plastic which basically used to reinforce the structure of the filter.