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EXCLUSIVE: Phanteks Eclipse P400 Case Preview

SKYMTL

HardwareCanuck Review Editor
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Joined
Feb 26, 2007
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Montreal
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After operating in obscurity for a while, Phanteks is now well known for producing some of the best, most well thought-out and innovative cases on the market. Even though they have become something of a household name among gamers and system builders with the Enthoo lineup, they were still missing one key component to compete across all price points: a budget-friendly case. Enter the $69 Eclipse P400.

Believe it or not, it isn’t an easy task to design a low priced case that doesn’t end up looking like a black lump without any features. Doing so while challenging the likes of NZXT’s benchmark-setting S340 is even more difficult.

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The Eclipse P400 we received may be a very early pre-production sample but there are several flashes of greatness here and its strong lineage is clearly on display. While there may be some different aesthetics than the rest of Phanteks’ lineups it still retains understated good looks and a few strategically-placed (and fully controllable) LEDs to add a personalized touch. For $69 this thing will likely be seen as a screaming bargain and there will also be a $10 more expensive silent edition available when the P400 is launched in February.

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Opinions about the exterior will vary from person to person but there’s no doubt the Eclipse is made to blend into its environment while still retaining a unique character. It is loaded with some pretty robust additions as well. There’s a magnetic top dust filter, dual USB 3.0 ports, captured thumb screws and a handy –yet hidden- button that controls the LED color. The clear side panel even passed our usual scratch test which is a feat very few cases have achieved, let alone ones in the P400’s price bracket.

There are however some slight pre-production hiccups that will be ironed out once Phanteks begins full production: one or two of the panels didn’t fit quite flush and the black finish was a fingerprint magnet.

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Inside there’s a near-perfect layout with clear access to the motherboard mounting area, handy Velcro cable ties, and dust filters literally everywhere to insure a dust-free environment. Phanteks even includes a pair of 120mm fans but that’s just the tip of the iceberg since mounting points are extremely versatile: triple 120mm / 140mm points on the front panel, dual 120mm / 140mm points above and a single 120mm / 140mm exhaust port above the motherboard’s IO area.

It’s the small touches that really distinguish the Eclipse P400 though. The lower power supply chamber allows for easy, clean cable management, radiator support is absolutely phenomenal and Phanteks has even included a secondary LED hookup so an internal lighting array can be run off the exterior LED’s controller. Unfortunately, there are no rubber grommets or even a large-scale drive cage but those are all items that are available on cases that cost a bit more.

We will have a full review of the production-ready Eclipse P400 in the coming weeks.
 

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