Completed Build, Performance, and Conclusion

To say the Enthoo Primo was "easy" to build in would be an understatement. It was a dream to build in, and the result is a very clean-looking system. You can see the panel on the reservoir bracket to the right of the motherboard was removed to allow for my GPU installation, and while it doesn't look quite as nice this way there is still little visible cable mess.

Back behind the system we see a fairly tidy result with little effort, thanks to the massive amount of room and generous number of velcro ties – which, I will add, were installed very intelligently just where they needed to be.

There is a powered fan header back here as well, and while it connects to the included case fans with standard 3-pin connectors, it is actually PWM controlled. This was the only tricky part of the build, as I initially didn't take seriously the label that told me to connect this PWM cable to the CPU fan header. I attached it to a PWM system fan header instead, and all of the fans spun at 100%. Switching to the secondary CPU fan header on the motherboard eliminated this, and I was able to control the fan speeds using the same linear curve as the CPU cooling fans. I haven't figured this part out, but the CPU header works as intended so I just accepted it!

Performance

We'll look first at results with our Corsair H75 cooler on the CPU:

Outstanding results here, with only the very high performing RIOTORO case ahead of the Primo. The GPU results, however, stand alone:

The card I use for all enclosure benchmarks uses an aftermarket cooler, rather than a blower, and I think this is why the Primo destroyed the other enclosures in this test. There was a significant amount of airflow from the bottom to the top of the enclosure (leaving the fans in their default configuration with one below, and one above the motherboard), and it seemed to exhaust a lot of the the warm air that otherwise builds inside the enclosure with this type of GPU cooler. Fantastic results here!

Now we'll look at noise levels:

Here the Primo was less impressive, but I will point out that load noise was greatly affected by the included fans spinning up with the CPU (the controller connects to the CPU fan header). If the fans were manually controlled doubtless the temperature results would be less impressive, but noise levels under load would be lower, as well.

Conclusion

True to its name, the Phanteks Enthoo Primo is a premium enclosure in every sense of the word. It houses just about any system, offers a ton of cooling support, has excellent storage support, and includes no less than five 140 mm case fans with a PWM-controlled header. The design is not exactly exciting, but it's not monolithic thanks to the (switchable) blue LED effects and large double-windowed side panel.

Temperatures were some of the best we've ever seen, and though noise was a bit higher than some enclosures, I can't say I've ever benchmarked an enclosure with more pre-installed fans (maybe the Antec S10?). In all, building with the Enthoo Primo was a breeze, and I was impressed by the organization that is possible so easily given the depth of the area behind the motherboard tray.

If you've been thinking about a premium enclosure, this is a great option. If you need SSI EEB server motherboard support or even dual-PSU support (more on that last one in a follow-up article soon), this is an even better option. There's really no system it can't accommodate, and you could continue building in this case for a long time.

Strengths:

  • Very high quality construction
  • Ideal cable management
  • Outstanding component support
  • Immense cooling support
  • Excellent storage support, including 5.25-inch bays
  • Excellent cooling performance

Minor weaknesses:

  • Average noise levels
  • Cost

$229 is steep for an enclosure, and noise levels will depend greatly on component selection, given the lack of noise insulation. These are fairly minor complaints against an enclosure of this quality, however, and I would easily recommend the Enthoo Primo to anyone looking for a high-end enclosure.

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