Phanteks Eclipse P400S Case Review
We last saw the Phanteks Eclipse P400 during CES, when we published a preview of the company's plans for its mid-market case. The $69 enclosure is actually a series of models based around the P400 architecture, including different colours windowed and window-less models as well as the silent running P400S we have today. CES is full of promises, so let's see how the retail version of the case stacks up.
Despite the variation in the P400 line, the build experience should be the same because they all share an identical frame. Our glacier white model is the most expensive, at $89, and that gets into competition with Phanteks' own Enthoo Pro M despite the company's efforts to differentiate the lineups.
The white paint job on the P400S looks great. The metal panels have a glossy finish that catches the light well, but unfortunately that glossy finish doesn't carry over when it comes to the plastic sound-dampening covers on the top of the case. Those panels are magnetic, a similar modular design as that adopted by Fractal Design and its Moduvents, yet unlike the [a href="http://www.hardwarecanucks.com/forum/hardware-canucks-reviews/71579-fractal-design-define-nano-s-review.html"]recently reviewed Define Nano S[/a] the P400S comes with optional dust filters to replace the panels. The top of the case supports dual 120mm and 140mm fans, but given the limited height of the P400S it's unlikely you would be able to fit a radiator up top.
The I/O includes two USB 3.0 ports and audio jacks, an illuminated power button with a reset switch, a three-speed, two-fan controller and an ambient lighting switch that controls the 10-colour Phanteks logo at the bottom of the case. If you’re not feeling it, a long press turns off the LEDs. There is a second connection for the sold-separately Phanteks LED strip if you decide to add some extra ambient colour on the interior.
Behind the front panel we find a very familiar rail system for fans, compatible with triple 120mm or dual 140mm setups and with room for radiators up 360mm. Unlike other cases that have a single large dust filter covering the front intakes, the P400S has two small mesh pieces at the top and bottom of the panel. This is an interesting approach, and it remains to be seen how it holds up over long-term use. The P400S, being the silent edition of the P400 line, comes with sound dampening material applied on all exterior pieces including both side panels, the front panel and even the top covers.
The case includes a power supply shroud, which is a big help when cleaning up cables in your setup. The case has rubber grommets for cable passthrough, as well. One issue, which speaks to the customizability of the P400 lineup, is the hard drive brackets—or lack thereof. They're actually sold separately, and in a build like our reviewer's that features an AIO cooler and radiator on the front, there's no room to mount them. The P400S also includes two 2.5-inch SSD brackets and a dual hard drive cage in front of the power supply.
Phanteks really wanted to cut down on any additional costs, so the accessory pack is very basic and the user manual has been reduced to one sheet. Our reviewer actually preferred the simple approach, given that the full manual is available online. Cable management in the P400S is merely OK, with useful Velcro straps around the grommets but nothing in the front portion of the case. You need to get creative with how you secure some cables. The absence of a cable cut-out on the power supply shroud underneath the GPU may seem strange to some, but routing the PCIe cables from the back instead actually gives us cleaner results.
So at its core, the $69 frame of the P400 makes for a fantastic assembly experience with good airflow options and radiator accommodation at the front of the case. The upgraded $79 model adds so many extra features, including the side window and the sound-dampening panel, that the $10 premium is totally justifiable. That it's all executed in the budget category makes this one DAM GOOD case.
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