Phanteks Enthoo Evolv ATX Review
Published: 10th September 2015 | Source: OCUK | Price: 139.99 @ OCUK |
There's a very good chance that this is going to be a short conclusion. If you read our reviews regularly you'll already suspect the reason why, but just in case you don't, let us explain. A lengthy conclusion is usually a sign that we're not entirely happy with a product, or that we've found several areas where it can be improved. Rather than just tell you what's wrong with something, we take the time to tell you why it's wrong, to explain our reasoning, and to suggest ways in which it could be improved. If we find a product to our liking then all we really have to do is tell you about the features and how great we think they are, and this, believe me doesn't take half as long to do.
Starting on the outside then, the Enthoo Evolv ATX has quite a striking aesthetic. Angular yet at the same time smooth and sleek, and although the inner chassis may be steel, all the external panels are made from 3mm thick Aluminium. A large full length, full width window dominates the left hand case side, with only a small deviation along the bottom edge which serves to hide the PSU mount area. We guess this is because Phanteks have decided that on the whole PSUs aren't actually sexy enough to warrant being shown off. Ventilation might look quite minimal, but there are several stealthy solutions at work here, the details of which can be found in the body of the review. Suffice it to say that we don't have any concerns about enough air getting through. Continuing the stealth theme, the front I/O panel can be found nestled behind a small flip down panel up near the front edge of the case. The panel, when opened does so in a nice slow and smooth action prompting as it did for the first time a little "ooooh" from me, so smooth was the motion.
Inside the case the layout is near identical to that found on the much cheaper Pro M case. In fact, we'd go so far as to say they share the same chassis. Don't go thinking this is a complaint, far from it. It's a well-known practice amongst case manufacturers to share internals and chassis designs, sometimes even between rivals as they are made by the same OEM. The advantage to the manufacturer is that it helps keep R&D and manufacturing costs down, with the knock on effect to us that the retail price is kept down.
With the case measuring 495x235x510mm (HxWxD) There's accommodation inside for ATX as well as E-ATX up to 264mm wide, and of course M-ATX and M-ITX. The case is able to take CPU coolers up to 194mm tall as well as GPUs up to 420mm long, with this figure dropping to 300mm allowing for HDD mounts. In the front you get 2x140mm fans, with mounts for up to 3x120 or 2x140. It's an identical story up in the roof, but with no fans included as standard. At the rear there's also a 140mm fan with slotted fittings for either a 120mm or 140mm unit. While we're talking about cooling we should also mention the Evolv's prodigious water-cooling credentials, which pretty much mirror the air cooling available, with the case able to take 280s and 360s in either the roof or the front. There are a couple of provisos to this, the first being that to mount a 360 in the front you will have to unscrew and remove a section of the false floor and sacrifice both the three modular cantilever HDD brackets from the front, and the pair of traditional drawer type HDD brackets from under the false floor. All is not lost on the storage front though as there two Drop-N-Lock SSD bays at the rear of the Motherboard and another show off Drop-n-Lock at the front. The second proviso is that in order to enable thick rads to be placed up in the roof, Phanteks have very cleverly generated a removable radiator mounting plate, which when re inserted back into the case allows rads to be mounted offset from the motherboard. In the case of 140mm based rads, this offset is 48mm, and for 120mm based rads this rises to a very generous 68mm of clearance above the motherboard. All of this means that provided you don't have items on your motherboard that exceed these heights you can, in theory at least have thick rads dropping down from the roof. The down side of course is that if you choose to have a thick rad that when in place, covers over your RAM, you're going to have a hell of a job changing or reseating your RAM without having to take your loop apart.
So that's pretty much it, and as you've already guess we're more than a bit happy with the Enthoo Evolv ATX. But then, we've been more than a bit happy with everything we've looked at from Phanteks so far. There is though, one last thing to consider, and that's the cost. £140 is a lot to spend on a PC case, especially when cases with near equal capabilities can be had for much less. Take for example the Evolv's sister case, the Pro M. It shares much of the functionality and can be had for just £60, which is well under half the price of the Evolv ATX. Of course it lacks the looks and wow factor of the Evolv and does not have the Aluminium exterior panelling etc. All in all though we think if you're looking for something special the Evolv ATX is worth the money, however if you want the functionality, are happy to settle for less svelte looks and need to save the thick end of £80 then the Pro M is most likely the case for you. We think whichever of the two you go for you’ll be delighted.