In January of 1986, someone thought it was an OK idea to put the Replacements on live TV. SNL, to be more precise. In retrospect, to many, this may not sound like such a bad idea. After all, the Replacements were those guys who did “Can’t Hardly Wait”, and then were sorta, kinda on the “Singles” soundtrack (though it was actually Paul Westerberg solo). In 1986, the Replacements weren’t those guys doing poppy, morally acceptable songs. In 1986, the Replacements were still absolutely notorious for their live performances, which were more “drunk and disorderly charge waiting to happen” than musical events. The Replacements did not disappoint in their second number of the evening….drunk, sloppy and positively energized. Lorne Michaels may have banned them from SNL, but (to quote a Westerberg title) you could certainly color me impressed.




Over the next few years, the Replacements evolved dramatically. While the high energy and brilliant songwriting remained, the delivery became much more refined and at the same time more complex. Bob Stinson and his drunken antics were gone from the band and live performances became cohesive and polished. The band went from a brilliant rough idea, to being a polished product that managed to retain the spark that made them special in the first place. Strangely, of all things, the NZXT Phantom series seems to have taken the same route. A brilliant concept with odd looks and more quirks than you could count has evolved into one of the most polished finished products to date, all while retaining the individuality and stellar performance that got it noticed in the first place. However, I have been assured that the new Phantom 630 will not have any songs appearing on movie soundtracks in the near future.



With the Phantom 630, NZXT has evolved the line in a very natural way with some very unexpected results. While many cases naturally favor air or liquid cooling, the Full Tower NZXT Phantom 630 actually manages to be an incredibly well engineered performance case for both. A unique modular HDD cage system allows the user to configure for optimal airflow, and also allows for components to be built around. Radiator mounts for 240/280mm in the front and bottom, 140mm in the rear and 240/280/360 on the top give liquid coolers vast flexibility. 200mm fans on the front, side and top coupled with a 140mm in the rear give air coolers all the flow they need, while the modular cages allow for direct flow configurations. The three HDD cages can hold a maximum of six HDD, while two 2.5” SSD can be mounted on the rear of the MB tray. The cages are broken down to 3, 2 and 1 capacity, and can be hung from the optical bays, stacked from the floor, moved back to accommodate tubing and/or improve airflow. A split level MB tray adds to the already spacious cable routing, and winged doors help to make installation easier. Niceties abound on the outside of the Phantom 630 as well, with gunmetal, black and white color choices, all with meticulous finish and a side window in the left panel. The front I/O sports two each USB 2.0 and 3.0, front audio, three speed 30 watt fan controller and an on/off switch for rear I/O lighting. Four 5.25” optical drives can be mounted behind the Phantom 630’s front door, with a built in SD card reader positioned above them.