Introduction, Specifications, and Pricing
When it comes to the name Phanteks, we immediately think back to all of the CPU coolers, and the trio of cases we have seen so far. Since we are dealing with cases today, we can go past the coolers, and get right into the tank-like designs that Phanteks offers. The three Enthoo cases we have already seen are super sturdy, offer the best of the best in options and functionality, and all have a unique and highly recognizable design. While Phanteks has really impressed us with their large tower designs, we are curious to know: What happens if they decide to go small?
Well, Phanteks has done just that with what they are labeling as a micro-tower chassis design. While it is smaller, and more compact than most mid-towers, the main reason for the name here is that Micro-ATX motherboards are the largest boards you can fit into this chassis. Phanteks is trying something completely new to them as far as the scale of the chassis goes, but while we expected something along the lines of other Enthoo series cases, we find that was definitely not their intention. While sticking with the Enthoo series for this chassis classification, the exterior of the chassis is unlike anything we have ever seen from Phanteks, or any other company for that matter.
As with other Enthoo cases, the EVOLV we will be reviewing today is yet another design where Phanteks has taken what is hot in the market, and found a way to blend it all in near perfect harmony. There are a lot of firsts for this chassis, and for Phanteks. The design is stunning, and the functionality in such a small design tops most, if not all competition. With a unique and aggressive design, this micro-tower chassis is something you just cannot pass up, and it will even make you dig deep for an entirely new Micro-ATX build; it is just that cool. Don't take our word for it, stick around and find out for yourself, as we have a lot to go over for such a small chassis.
The Enthoo EVOLV chassis features an all steel interior frame that uses extruded aluminum panels on the top, the front, and the sides to give the EVOLV a very unique look. We see the EVOLV is listed as a Micro-tower not only for its dimensions, but also because it can house either a Mini-ITX or Micro-ATX motherboard. In that first section, we also see the front I/O (which is actually on the right side of the chassis) contains HD audio and USB 3.0 connections. There is also a side panel window, but no mention of its dark tinted appearance.
On the inside of the EVOLV, there isn't an ODD per se, but there is a modular bay shipped with the chassis to use the area to support other devices that need not go through the chassis. There are three 3.5" bays in this design, and room for up to five 2.5" drives with the ODD bay conversion, and a hidden tray behind the motherboard.
As far as cooling goes, there are two fans that come in the chassis. There is a 200mm fan installed in the front as an intake fan. If 200mm fans are too big, you also have to option to install a pair of 120mm or 140mm fans instead. The top of the chassis follows the same fan mounting options, but there are no fans installed there. The rear of the chassis is the last fan location, and this is where Phanteks has pre-installed a 140mm fan, but you can opt for a 120mm fan here as well. As far as water cooling goes, if you can fit a fan there, the chassis is also designed to house the same dimensions in radiator as well, even thicker ones.
There are some limitations to the chassis, but all of them are right here for the taking before anything else even gets purchased. With the limitations listed on the box, you will know there is 318mm for video cards, 216mm of room for the PSU if you remove the HDD cage, and only 180mm if you plan to keep it. The CPU air cooler can be 192mm in height, the gap behind the motherboard tray is 24mm deep, and we even are informed that 68mm of fans and radiator will easily fit above the motherboard. They also supply the package dimensions, and the weight with and without the box; more importantly, they also note the five-year warranty of this chassis.
Another thing to mention is that the Enthoo EVOLV has color options. There is an all black version, and then there is the version we received with a black interior and frame, and all white aluminum panels on the exterior. The reason we waited for this bit of information is that it does affect the pricing. While we did locate listings at Amazon, at the time we are writing this, they do not show any in stock. Newegg.com does show stock, and has the all black model listed for $134.99, and there is a $5 premium to get the white version. There is shipping involved as well, but currently, shipping is only an additional $5. Right out of the gate, for a smaller design we expect a smaller price, but once you see the thickness of the aluminum, the interior layout, all of the options, and the additional goodies, you will see that Phanteks definitely makes the investment worthwhile.
PRICING: You can find the Phanteks EVOLV for sale below. The prices listed are valid at the time of writing, but can change at any time. Click the link to see the very latest pricing for the best deal.