A Closer Look - Outside
The chassis we have received is not the final, silver version, as the silver strips have been taped on by hand, but Xigmatek will be incorporating these into the tooling for the final chassis. Besides that, the chassis features the same build quality we have come to love from the other cases - especially for the price. Xigmatek has used solid plastic, lots of metal mesh along with a very good quality, all-black metal frame.
The overall looks of the case are very traditional, with straight lines and rounded corners. I for one am a fan of the understated looks, but it may not be "sexy" enough for some, who like the all-out design of some other case manufacturers out there. Turning the chassis over, we can see, that the PSU is bottom mounted and the overall design is achieved by placing a cover on top of the metal frame of the chassis.
Both sides feature vents to allow air to pass through. One is placed above the mainboard, giving the components some breathing room, while another opening can be found next to the hard drive bays. Naturely the rear panel only has an opening in the latter location, so it seems possible to use four fans for a pull/push configuration to cool any hard drives. The only downside would be that there is no dust filter present at these locations.
Taking a closer look at the front, it does have a few surprises. While there seems to be nothing unusual at first sight, you can easily remove the entire bottom half metal mesh cover to reveal all the hard drive bays. These hold individual, screw-less trays. Xigmatek has also equipped the top two slots with SATA data & power connectors, so that these are hot-swappable. For those who require more, further such connectors can be bought separately. The top section is not so exiting, but is taken by four 5.25 inch drive bays. There are no 3.5 inch bays and there is no frame to allow you to convert one of the larger ones to fit this purpose. This would have been a nice addition, but Xigmatek is clearly pushing the price envelope with the Pantheon, so this may be forgiven.
Turning the case around, we have the afore mentioned PSU bay on the very bottom. It is of the standard fare and allows you to install the unit with the fan facing downward - pulling fresh air through the bottom opening, or facing upward, pulling air from the case interior and out the back. Above that are the seven mainboard expansion slots and four openings for water cooling to be routed through the rear wall of the chassis. This is especially interesting as the Pantheon can hold a radiator in the top compartment, with two large openings coming out the back there as well. This means that you can route tubing from the radiator up top through the openings back into the chassis. I am just afraid, that the overall height may not allow for every radiator to fit in this location.
The compartment is covered by a metal mesh piece, which can easily be removed as it is only held in place by a single clip. Besides that you will find the nerve center of the chassis in form of a control panel here as well. Besides offering you the usual connectivity of USB 2.0, eSATA and pair of audio jacks, you will also receive a basic USB 3.0 implementation. On top of that, you have the possibility to turn the LED lighting of the installed fans on or off and also have total control over the fan speed with two large dials, each controls three fans. This is more than enough for an affordable case like this - well done Xigmatek!