Phanteks Enthoo Primo: Giant Tower Case

Cases|Damping
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AUDIO RECORDINGS

These recordings were made with a high resolution, lab quality, digital recording system inside SPCR's own 11 dBA ambient anechoic chamber, then converted to LAME 128kbps encoded MP3s. We've listened long and hard to ensure there is no audible degradation from the original WAV files to these MP3s. They represent a quick snapshot of what we heard during the review.

Each recording starts with ambient noise, then 10 second segments of product at various states. For the most realistic results, set the volume so that the starting ambient level is just barely audible, then don't change the volume setting again while comparing all the sound files.

FINAL THOUGHTS

Our favorite feature of the Enthoo Primo is the fan control hub which provides PWM control for multiple 3-pin fans. It's an elegant alternative to the physical knobs found on most high-end cases. The included fans have exceptional acoustics but we wish Phanteks had used bigger 18 or 20 cm models as there is adequate room in the huge case. The front fans could also have been positioned higher to better cool graphics cards, but instead they give way to 5 x 5.25 inch bays which are quickly going out of fashion. Having the front fan LEDs controlled in conjunction with the exterior lighting is a neat idea though it would be more practical to use regular fans and have an additional light strip running around them. It's a strategy designed to sell more of their LED fans.

There are nice touches not found in most of its competitors. The power supply placement is not only isolated from the rest of the components, its side-mounted orientation provides a more open intake point. If you happen to have a carpeted floor, you won't have to worry as much about the PSU fan begging clogged up with debris. The 2.5 inch drive trays attached to the right side of the 5.25 inch bays is a clever use of otherwise wasted space. The velcro straps behind the motherboard tray and the box of segregated screws brought smiles to our faces. It shows a high level of consideration for the user experience.

The vibration-prone drive cages are our biggest complaint. Stacked atop each other and secured to the 5.25 inch bays and case floor with thumbscrews, they are firmly supported only in one plane. An outer support frame would make a world of difference, but the modular design was necessary to allow front mounting of a radiator. There's another flaw close by — the removable reservoir bracket has to be taken out if a graphics card of any appreciable length is used.

The Phanteks Enthoo Primo isn't your average oversized enthusiast tower. With multiple installation points for reservoirs, radiators, and even a pump, the Primo is clearly optimized for watercooling. We're not talking about those integrated liquid CPU cooling units but rather complete, custom loops. Given our inexperience in this area and lack of appropriate hardware for testing, it's tough for us to properly judge how well the Primo works for its raison d'être. What we can tell you is that if you assemble an all-air-cooled system, you will not be making full use of the Enthoo's extensive capabilities for water cooling.

Our thanks to Phanteks for the Enthoo Primo case sample.

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