As I said yesterday, I will review all components I used for my newest setup.
Today I will be grilling black edition of Phanteks Eclipse P400S Tempered Glass case.
Is it really worth almost 100 Euro? Is it user friendly case? Let’s find out!
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It's for me obvious that there are already some reviews of the components, made in professional way, including HQ videos and pictures, benchmarks made in wide range of games and benchmark software, etc.
I built dozens of PCs for other people in last 10 years but never thought about writing down any thoughts about them.
Well, today is the day when I give you my very first review with a perspective of ordinary user, a person who will use this rig mainly for flight simulator, Photoshop, gaming (racing and FPS) and in near feature video editing.
Due to the fact I do not have at this moment any worth of using camera or room to make high quality photos, there is only one photo in the gallery under article taken by me, presenting all parts (except tubing) assembled inside the P400S TG. Other photos comes from Phanteks' website. You will find there much more photos.
Before I bought all parts for this setup, I spent around 4 months on searching components which will not only fulfil my technical needs but also will be nice for an eye.
I knew that my next PC will land on my desk showing whole interior, instead of placing it hidden under.
I considered several cases with various dimensions, design and price tag between 50 and 200 Euro.
Factors I have taken into account were:
- Good airflow
- clearance for EK-KIT240 water loop (with perspective of upgrade to bigger kit in future)
- room for SSD and HDD drives
- good cable management
- Minimalistic design
- Tempered Glass
I must admit that my taste falls to minimalistic design. Simple, straight lines are what I prefer.
After a few months I narrowed selection to five cases which were:
Corsair Carbide 400C Midi
Fractal Design Define R5
Corsair Crystal 570X RGB
Phanteks Eclipse P400S
Fractal Design Meshify C
Each of them have pros and cons but the choice was finally made.
Phanteks introduced P400S TG in 2016 following P400S (with small window acryl panel) and P400 (fully closed) so it has been on the market for a while.
The current price depending on the country may oscillate between 85-110 euro and it is available in 5 different color versions:
1. Black (both exterior and interior)
2. Grey (grey exterior, black interior)
3. White (white exterior, black interior)
1. Black/Red (Black exterior with red air intake, some red interior details)
2. Black/white (Black exterior with white air intake, some white interior details)
As I said before, there are plenty of photos or videos presenting this case so I will skip deep overview section and give you few quick facts.
Front panel a ‘la Iron Man as some people call has two small air intakes:
1. Upper part - covered with a grill and a filter underneath.
2. Lower part - with another filter mesh, hidden under the front panel.
I was afraid that those intakes will have limited airflow. Surprisingly I was wrong and airflow through them is high. Unless instead of installing front fans inside the main chamber, you will decide to mount them between front panel and chassis frame. There is enough clearance to do it but the airflow through upper intake will be limited practically to zero.
In terms of filters, there is also a metal mesh for top panel if you decide to mount some extra fans like me.
The last filter is the one for PSU. Many people find as a minus the fact that you have to move a case away from the wall behind to be able to take this filter out.
Well, I don't see it as an issue at all since I am not going to clean this filter every week. When I clean a system, I disconnect all cables anyway and move the chassis to other room where I clean entire interior, not filters only.
Tempered Glass is tinted so even if you have some white details inside the case, they will look more like a grey with a very light blue shade. That's what happen with the details on my MSI Armor graphic card. Of course it will slightly change a shade of the full illumination inside the case if you use any.
Case has two LED strips, one back-lighting Phanteks' logo under the lower front filter I mentioned earlier.
The second magnet LED strip is included and you can mount it in the place of your choice. The lighting might be controlled via button placed in front of the case just under the top panel but then range of the colours is limited to 10.
The lighting is also compatible with ASUS, MSI and GIGABYTE lighting system if you would like to integrate it with more advanced custom lighting.
Keep in mind that due to the Midtower form factor the field of mounting some elements might be limited but generally is very nice product to work with.
In a default configuration there are two fans included, one installed on front and one the rear side. Both are completely black, without any lighting.
It give two advantages - it lower the final price of the case and they are neutral in terms of interior color.
Phanteks offers some LED fans and even HALOS RGB fan frames. I wonder how those frames would illuminate this specific interior, especially on CPU block, tubes and rear I/O sections where I'm missing any illumination.
LED Strip included with the case I placed behind radiator to give a backlight to reservoir and I want to keep it where it is. I also do not have any plans to add an extra strip. I would more appreciate some not obstructive lighting from the fans.
Both fans included in case I moved to the top cover and connected via splitter to motherboard. If you wish, you can connect them to the case and control their speed (low/high) by pressing a button placed on the underneath of the top panel.
Unfortunately, same as in many other cases, the mounting cut outs in the top panel are located centrally. Moreover, the space between the fans and MSI Pro Carbon motherboard's top cover and RipjawsV RAM sticks is simply too narrow to fit radiator. Even the one from EKWB's Slim Series which is 2-3mm lower than the ones from AIO kits, doesn't fit.
Again, for me it is not a big deal since I prefer to have radiators installed in front of the case where fans will get cooler air, instead of getting the one above GPU an CPU.
The Phanteks' fans are built with high quality and are very quiet. After setting a custom speed curve in BIOS, it is really hard to hear them.
But even when connected to the case and set on high speed, the sound wasn't irritating.
On the rear panel you can mount one 120mm fan. However, with some motherboards - like mine - there is not even 1mm of space between the fan and read I/O panel. To be able to mount a fan there, it is necessary to use a little bit of force when positioning it. Should I blame Phanteks or motherboard vendor for this issue ? With other motherboards it might be not a problem but since I don't have any other one here, I can't compare. So either Phanteks could move the mounting cut outs a little bit to the glass panel or MSI could do slightly lower I/O panel cover.
At the front panel you can mount 2x140 or 3x120 fans, including radiator. Worth of notice is the fact that if you decide to mount 360mm radiator you will have to remove a small cover on the PSU shroud cover and HDD cage hidden underneath. Due to the fact that I don't have any NAS yet, both my HDD landed in the case so I was limited to 240/280mm radiator. Unfortunately there is no rails to shift the HDD cage a little bit to the back. That's a shame since there is a plenty of space when using for example 160mm deep PSU.
Another important fact is that as long as you plan to use custom water loop, by removing this small cover to fit 360mm radiator, you will lose 2 mounting cut outs for your water pump. It will be necessary to use a vertical bracket and attach it to the radiator.
A space for mounting a water pump to the PSU shroud cover between GPU and radiator mounted to front panel is also limited. The space from reservoir is respectively 5mm to GPU (MSI 1070Ti Armor) and 2cm to radiator. Not much room left if I decide to switch radiator to the one with 40mm of height. Again, the other solution would be to install pump on vertical bracket mounted to the radiator. That also means there is no space for push-pull configuration on radiator, extra pair of 25mm fans will not fit there in current state.
The clearance for GPU as long as you want to use AIO kit is really huge, about 365mm so you will fit there even the longest 1080Ti without any single issue.
However, as I mentioned above, in the configuration I made, you will be not able to assemble GPU longer than 300mm with the pump in the position I have now.
SSD brackets are hidden behind the motherboard with "Drop and Lock" method and HDD cage is hidden under the PSU shroud cover. It might be also possible to install SSD drive on PSU cover in case you would like to make them visible but I can't confirm that, didn't try it (yet). There are also mounting cut outs for another extra 4 drive brackets that can be added on the right side of the motherboard but only when you don't use any radiator. Those brackets are sold separately.
The clearance between the GPU and the glass isn't huge and after closing a case the PCI cables from GPU are touching her. Not a big issue however, I did not have to use any force when mounting glass panel.
Would you like to install GPU vertically to show its glory? Can't do it without small modding.
You are able to do it by using vertical GPU holder bracket and PCI extension cable - none of them are included when buying a case or graphic card. It would be also necessary to cut small pieces of metal out to make a room for connecting monitor cable.
TIP: If you have a case with slots prepared to install GPU vertically, be aware that if the fans will be close to the side panel, airflow will be disturbed and you will end with higher GPU temperatures and fan speeds.
Cable management is another factor I am always looking at. Believe me or not but sometimes it might be a really big issue, even when using fully modular power unit.
Phanteks have always a logical vision on how to route the cables and this time it is no different. Like in other Phanteks' cases, there are Velcro straps holding case cables. There are of course spots where you can add extra cable ties if you need.
I used fully modular power unit so there was a plenty of room under shroud cover and routing them behind motherboard plate was also a pleasure.
There are also cut outs just above and under the motherboard edges letting you connect CPU power, fan cables and whatever you need. It allows you to keep them almost invisible.
If you ask me if I would recommend this case my answer would be... definitely YES. Even with the small things that bother me or I wish they were changed/added, it has everything I needed. Besides of that, with the tempered glass showing entire interior, it looks gorgeous. When you add its 85-100 Euro price tag, you get a product worth every cent, even after more than a year of being available on the market.
But I want to make it clear. The other cases I mentioned at the beginning of this review are also very good, having a lot of features making them very valuable products.
It's all about personal preferences, paying attention to the single details which is very important when you make custom build.
Would I reconsider other cases with the same hardware I installed in P400S? I ordered it back in the November while still waiting for 8600K and at that time there was no better case for my vision of this build. Few days ago however, Fractal Design announced their newest product - Define R6 - which might be a great alternative to P400S. I checked cursorily the specification sheet of R6 and it could be a really strong competitor to P400S. However, it's too early to say if I would switch from P400S.
I wish I could have them both next to each other to compare physically but unfortunately Fractal Design refused to provide any of their products for review.
If you have no plans for custom water loop, you might take a look at smaller sister of P400S - P300 TG, which is still rated as Midtower and looks also very promising. There are some slightly done differences in exterior design and of course less room inside but depends on the needs, for you it might be enough.
I think I gave all details I wanted to share with you. Hopefully, you will find this review informative.
If you have any questions or suggestions, just drop them in comment section below.
If you have this case or planning to buy it, share your thoughts. It's interesting what other people think about it.