Phanteks Enthoo EVOLV ATX Review

June 1, 2015 | 04:42

Tags: #aluminium-case #atx-case #best-atx-case #phanteks-case-review

Companies: #phanteks

Interior

The side panels simply open up like doors from the front – it couldn't be easier to gain access to the case, and they also lift off of their hinges in case you want them out of the way completely. We did experience a very minor alignment issue on one of the panels when closing it, but it was easy to overcome. There's padding where the side doors meet the case so there's no need to worry about the metal vibrating against itself.

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Inside there's a full-length PSU cover which keeps everything looking very neat and clean from the outside. The steel interior is well machined and nicely painted too. You'll also notice just how open it is; the EVOLV ATX has no optical drive mounts at all, and in its default state has no HDD mounts or cages in the main section, leaving you with heaps of room for the longest of graphics cards.

The motherboard tray is indented slightly and includes pre-installed mounts. The usual finishing touches are there too – the large CPU area cutout, PCI bracket thumbscrews, and padding for the PSU to rest on. The PSU cover is also ventilated, allowing graphics cards to draw air in from the lower section as well as the main one.

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At the front of that lower section is a removable HDD cage that houses a pair of 3.5in/2.5in drive trays, with tool-free, anti-vibration mounting offered for 3.5in devices via the mounting arms. Just behind the cage on the chassis floor is a set of four rubber grommets, which you can use to install an extra drive tray (sold separately). Likewise, there's a similar set-up on the outside of the PSU cover just next to the left side panel.

Continuing with drive placement, there are two of the nifty Drop-N-Lock SSD brackets behind the motherboard tray. Finally, there are three further 3.5in/2.5in brackets bundled with the case, though these have a different design to the ones in the HDD cage. For starters, they're made of metal, and installing either size drive will require screws. They are installed in the main cavity up front, and simply hook onto the extended motherboard tray; you can then secure them properly with thumbscrews. There are five potential mounting points, and Phanteks will sell extra trays separately in case you want to install even more hard drives. Each position has a removable plastic blanking plate too, through which the power and data cables are fed. Overall, it's a neat, modular design that adds nicely to the case's flexibility.

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Cable routing is something you can always rely on Phanteks to excel at and this case is no exception. The company does a great job pre-routing all of the black sleeved cables and connecting the trio of fans to the awesome PWM hub; capable of controlling the speed of up to 11 fans using a single PWM connection from your motherboard. It's a great way of introducing system wide fan control and keeping fan cables neatly tucked out of view, and all you need is a single SATA power connection. Also included are the nifty Velcro cable ties, with extra standard zip ties also provided. Rubber grommets are included on most of the holes, adding further to the neatness of the design, and there's lots of space behind the motherboard too.

Radiator support is the same in the roof as it is up front – 360mm and 280mm are the maximum sizes. Using the front bracket for a triple radiator will mean removing the HDD cage and mid-plate bracket and losing all support for 3.5in drives unless you buy Phanteks' extra cages for use with the previously mentioned rubber mounting points, and the same is likely true when using double radiators too.

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As for the roof, it features a handy bracket which you release via a series of screws before attaching your radiator and fans and sliding the whole unit back in place. It will make things a little easier, and even the 140mm mounts are offset past the motherboard I/O panel so clearance is pretty much unlimited. However, there's quite a lot of wasted space above the bracket – the roof struts and sliding mechanism prevent anything being installed in this area, yet there definitely appears to be room for a row of fans. The offset mounts means clearance isn't the issue; instead, the bracket means that almost any size set-up will block you from having full access to your motherboard, and it will also obscure the view from the outside.

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Phanteks is one of the few companies that pays proper attention to pump and radiator placement too. The Enthoo EVOLV ATX is supplied with a rubberised pump mount which can be installed in place of the two-bay HDD cage on the case floor, and there are tube resevoir mounting points to the side of the PCI brackets and just in front of the motherboard.
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