TRENDING NOW: AMD's next-gen Ryzen 9 5900X CPU: 12-core, 24-thread Intel destroyer?!

Phanteks Enthoo EVOLV Micro-Tower Chassis Review

Phanteks Enthoo EVOLV Micro-Tower Chassis Review

Are you on the market for a new case to support your new Micro-ATX motherboard? Phanteks' Enthoo EVOLV micro-tower may be one for you to consider.

@chad_sebring
Published Fri, Dec 12 2014 9:12 AM CST   |   Updated Thu, Jul 30 2020 4:20 PM CDT
Rating: 98%Manufacturer: Phanteks

Introduction, Specifications, and Pricing

Phanteks Enthoo EVOLV Micro-Tower Chassis Review 99 | TweakTown.com
VIEW GALLERY - 40 IMAGES

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.

Phanteks Enthoo EVOLV Micro-Tower Chassis Review 01 | TweakTown.com

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.

United States: The EVOLV (Black) retails for $139.99 at Amazon, and the EVOLV (White) retails for $149.99 at Amazon.

Canada: The EVOLV (Black) retails for CDN$159.99 at Amazon Canada, and the EVOLV (White) retails for CDN$169.99 at Amazon Canada.

Packaging

Phanteks Enthoo EVOLV Micro-Tower Chassis Review 02 | TweakTown.com

Of course, the box is made of cardboard, but like the rest of the Enthoo case packaging, this too gets a very shiny exterior. On the front, Phanteks simply offers an image of the chassis with the product name at the bottom.

Phanteks Enthoo EVOLV Micro-Tower Chassis Review 03 | TweakTown.com

With half a look at the front panel to the left, Phanteks still has plenty of room to offer the full specifications chart right on the box.

Phanteks Enthoo EVOLV Micro-Tower Chassis Review 04 | TweakTown.com

On the back of the package, under the chassis name at the top, there are eight display images, along with small text to detail some of the features and design elements of the EVOLV.

Phanteks Enthoo EVOLV Micro-Tower Chassis Review 05 | TweakTown.com

The last panel covers the list of features for the Enthoo EVOLV in other languages, so Phanteks can use this same layout in all of their markets, and help keep production costs in the chassis.

Phanteks Enthoo EVOLV Micro-Tower Chassis Review 06 | TweakTown.com

Inside of the cardboard, we find the chassis has a layer of plastic protecting the outside of the window. Once that is on, the entire chassis is covered with a thin plastic liner. Styrofoam is used for the caps covering the front and back of the chassis in transit, and allowed our Enthoo EVOLV to arrive without a scratch on it.

Phanteks Enthoo EVOLV Micro-Tower Chassis

Phanteks Enthoo EVOLV Micro-Tower Chassis Review 07 | TweakTown.com

As we gander at the front of the EVOLV, we see the bezel is surrounded on all sides with the other panels sticking it past it, and even a thin line of black surrounds the front panel. This is aluminium, is bent near the top and bottom, and is cut with a lot of angles and shapes that play with the contrast of colors. The small slit at the bottom is the power indicator LED strip.

Phanteks Enthoo EVOLV Micro-Tower Chassis Review 08 | TweakTown.com

The top of the chassis is also made of thick aluminum, and on the sides there are four slots to help with upward ventilation. The front is open, and so is the back, but there are slotted plastic parts that help to cover the areas, while still allowing air to escape.

Phanteks Enthoo EVOLV Micro-Tower Chassis Review 09 | TweakTown.com

That panel is only held in by four clips, and comes off with little effort. Under the panel, you can see the layout of grooves that allows fans and radiators to go in, and still affords a bit of wiggle room to slide it back and forth.

Phanteks Enthoo EVOLV Micro-Tower Chassis Review 10 | TweakTown.com

Some of that same shaping and angular design is carried from the front into the leading edges of the side panels. On this side, almost two-thirds of the panel is composed of the tinted window, and with a black interior, it appears even darker.

Phanteks Enthoo EVOLV Micro-Tower Chassis Review 11 | TweakTown.com

At the top of the chassis is a removable panel, just in case you need a bit more room at the top for your radiator header. The removable panel is followed by the rear I/O, and exhaust fan. There are four slots with some passive ventilation next to them, and the PSU fits in the bottom, just above the removable dust filter handle.

Phanteks Enthoo EVOLV Micro-Tower Chassis Review 12 | TweakTown.com

The right side of the chassis mimics the opposing side panel, only this time there is no window, and there is the I/O panel. At the top is the larger power and smaller reset buttons, then near the bottom is where the audio and USB 3.0 connect.

Phanteks Enthoo EVOLV Micro-Tower Chassis Review 13 | TweakTown.com

Under the chassis, we find the EVOLV is supported by large plastic feet that go side to side in the front and at the back. Each foot is capped with a small rubber pad. We see the dust filter off to the left, under the foot, and at the front there are a few screws that help hold interior components in place.

Inside the Enthoo EVOLV

Phanteks Enthoo EVOLV Micro-Tower Chassis Review 14 | TweakTown.com

Another very cool feature of the EVOLV is that the doors require no mounting hardware. Simply pull on the door to release the seven pins, and the door swings open to the back of the chassis. Once there, the door simply lifts off the hinge pin.

Phanteks Enthoo EVOLV Micro-Tower Chassis Review 15 | TweakTown.com

Now that we can see inside the EVOLV, we find a large aluminium plate with many holes blocking the view to the right, and we see the hardware box at the left. The lower section is separated by a false floor, and there is a sticker with the Phanteks name positioned so it peeks out through the window.

Phanteks Enthoo EVOLV Micro-Tower Chassis Review 16 | TweakTown.com

This plate isn't just for blocking your view; it will obviously support a pair of 3.5" drives, a couple of 2.5" drives, and is even drilled for the addition of the pump plate we have seen with the other Enthoo cases.

Phanteks Enthoo EVOLV Micro-Tower Chassis Review 17 | TweakTown.com

With the plate now out of the way, we can see there isn't an ODD by default. However, there is a support rail at the top of the front opening to help with fan and radiator installation, but first you need to remove the 200mm fan that is stuffed in there.

Phanteks Enthoo EVOLV Micro-Tower Chassis Review 18 | TweakTown.com

The motherboard tray is small and will only fit Mini-ITX and Micro-ATX motherboards. There is a smaller access hole, but we also fin six wire management holes for of which have grommets in them, and a few places to ties up wiring behind it.

Phanteks Enthoo EVOLV Micro-Tower Chassis Review 19 | TweakTown.com

At the front of the chassis, in the false floor, or PSU cover, there is a thumbscrew holding a cover in place. This cover can be removed to pass wires through, and there is a bit of sub-frame that will also come out to allow for thicker radiator and fan combinations once both are removed.

Phanteks Enthoo EVOLV Micro-Tower Chassis Review 20 | TweakTown.com

Inside of the chassis, now at the back, we find the three-pin powered fan with black sleeve on the cable, a black frame, and white blades to match the theme. The quartet of expansion slots uses thumbscrews to secure cards, and the covers.

Inside the Enthoo EVOLV Continued

Phanteks Enthoo EVOLV Micro-Tower Chassis Review 21 | TweakTown.com

Back on that sub-floor at the back of the chassis, we find most of the top is ventilated to allow the lower section to cool efficiently, but the front edge has a large cutout to provide a view of the PSU used. We can also see that the sticker is already peeling off.

Phanteks Enthoo EVOLV Micro-Tower Chassis Review 22 | TweakTown.com

We spun the EVOLV around to look behind the motherboard tray, and we see the connections stay with the chassis at the left, and the wiring is routed down to the bottom right, and is held in place with Velcro straps. We also find a single tray under the access hole for a 2.5" drive, and it can also slide over to the right to provide room for more wiring.

Phanteks Enthoo EVOLV Micro-Tower Chassis Review 23 | TweakTown.com

Under that sub-floor, in the front of the chassis, there is an HDD rack with two trays. These use new clip in sides to hold a 3.5" drive, but are drilled for 2.5" drives as well. The cage is removable, and with it in, that top cover doesn't offer much use.

Phanteks Enthoo EVOLV Micro-Tower Chassis Review 24 | TweakTown.com

At the back of the chassis, you would slide the PSU in from this side, and let it rest upon the four rubber pads that help isolate vibrations.

Phanteks Enthoo EVOLV Micro-Tower Chassis Review 25 | TweakTown.com

The wiring is not that long, but in such a small chassis, the lighting and button wiring gave us no issues, and the USB 3.0 and HD audio leads are plenty long enough as well.

Phanteks Enthoo EVOLV Micro-Tower Chassis Review 26 | TweakTown.com

Now we are back at the front, with the aluminum cover pulled from its four clips. The odd thing at the bottom of the door is to direct the LED light. The entire front of the frame has a huge dust filter that covers everything, and features a handle at the top for easy removal.

Accessories and Documentation

Phanteks Enthoo EVOLV Micro-Tower Chassis Review 27 | TweakTown.com

Just as we did with the rest of the Phanteks cases, with the EVOLV, we also get the full plastic sorter with all the screws you will need to get the build completed, and then some. Everything you will need is provided in here; if you plan to swap fans, you're covered; if you want to screw in drives, you're covered. Phanteks supplies the goods for anything you need to get done.

Phanteks Enthoo EVOLV Micro-Tower Chassis Review 28 | TweakTown.com

We found all of this in a bag. There are long and short cable management straps to put in as needed, three colors of LEDS to swap out for that power indicator strip in the bezel, and there are also six wire ties.

Phanteks Enthoo EVOLV Micro-Tower Chassis Review 29 | TweakTown.com

If for some reason you need the room at the top of the chassis, Phanteks does supply a shelf that can be installed, which can be seen in the back here. In the front, we find they have included the pump mounting bracket that will aid those looking to water cool this chassis.

Phanteks Enthoo EVOLV Micro-Tower Chassis Review 30 | TweakTown.com

The supplied manual is more like a small novel. The manual starts off with all of the parts and exploded diagrams of how things work, then takes you on through the build process, and even covers all of the options in full detail.

Phanteks Enthoo EVOLV Micro-Tower Chassis Review 31 | TweakTown.com

For instance, this is likely the best way to look at the EVOLV. This not only shows all of the components, but also describes them so you can sort out their use, and determine if you need it in the chassis.

Phanteks Enthoo EVOLV Micro-Tower Chassis Review 32 | TweakTown.com

This page really helps explain the multipurpose plate at the front. The plate has holes for 2.5 and 3.5" drives, but as shown here, it is also drilled for reservoirs and the pump bracket.

Phanteks Enthoo EVOLV Micro-Tower Chassis Review 33 | TweakTown.com

As we have tried to do lately, if there are water cooling options shown, an image is worth a thousand words, and we like to have it explained simply. This page leaves no doubt of what can and cannot fit inside of the EVOLV.

Case Build and Finished Product

Phanteks Enthoo EVOLV Micro-Tower Chassis Review 34 | TweakTown.com

To be honest, the build process seemed to fly by, even with the fact that we still used a full length GPU, a larger PSU, and even a dual radiator AIO. Everything was ready, willing, and able to accept our hardware with open arms.

Phanteks Enthoo EVOLV Micro-Tower Chassis Review 35 | TweakTown.com

No surprises out back either. The dust shield went right into place, as did the video card. The PSU took a bit of wiggling to maneuver into the space allowed, but even there, things are manageable if planned for.

Phanteks Enthoo EVOLV Micro-Tower Chassis Review 36 | TweakTown.com

We had plenty of room behind the tray, even for the bulkier cabling from the PSU. Also, note that with the HDD bays still in, even with a modular PSU, we were sure to make all the connections before sliding it into place. We also loved the PWM fan hub; all of the cooling in the chassis is now connected to that.

Phanteks Enthoo EVOLV Micro-Tower Chassis Review 37 | TweakTown.com

As we always do, we like to take a step back and appreciate what we have accomplished. Here we find that not much changes from start to finish outside of the view partially visible through the window. If you want a good view here, then we strongly recommend interior lighting.

Phanteks Enthoo EVOLV Micro-Tower Chassis Review 38 | TweakTown.com

What you are looking at here is the system power indicator strip that is part of the front panel of the EVOLV. The issue is that right now the system is powered, and there is not even a hint of visible light through this slit.

Phanteks Enthoo EVOLV Micro-Tower Chassis Review 39 | TweakTown.com

We removed the panel to make sure the default white LED was indeed lit, and it was. We thought maybe swapping them out would help, but even with this red LED at full blast, the tunnel on the front panel does little to move it to where it needs to be.

Final Thoughts

There is much good news when all things are considered, but there is also just a bit of bad news to go over, and we may as well get it out of the way. We are sort of splitting hairs about the name plate inside the chassis, but spending this amount of money, we do sort of expect perfection, and by the time we got it, there were fibers already stuck to it. Even though we were able to make it look nice and proper again, it did sort of suck.

The other issue we have to mention is more of an issue for us. With the near complete failure of the tunnel to deliver any light to the slit in the front panel, we wonder why Phanteks went through all the trouble in the first place. While the guy doing the stickers may have had a bad day, this is an outright design flaw, and the fact that we got optional colors to play with but never see, sort of twists the blade a little.

With that off our chest, we can now move onto everything good about this design. As we have seen in previous designs, Phanteks likes to look around at the market, mix in a fair amount of customer feedback, and stir in a solid dose of originality, all at the same time. The exterior feels bulletproof with its thick aluminum cladding. Even when completely stripped of its armor, the EVOLV is still a structural delight. The fact that we are in a micro-tower really only limits the motherboard size; everything else is designed to offer good air and water cooling options, enough room for just about any video card, and if you remove the HDD rack, there is plenty of room for a monster power supply, and even some water cooling gear at the front. Then, of course, there are additions like an ODD tray to allow use in other things, and the included pump plate. At the top, and even in the sub-floor, accommodations are made for even the serious water cooling users out there, and not just for the average AIOS, but real custom loops with push/pull fans, and even thick radiators and fans on a single side. The EVOLV is ready to go.

The stock cooling of the EVOLV does very well with the 200mm fan in the front, and along with the 140mm in the rear of the chassis, the EVOLV emits only the slightest hum at a distance, and within a foot, the meter read only 31 dB. Most of this is due to the flat front panel redirecting air around the sides, which also blocks fan noise. Even the top is solid, so it's difficult for sound to exit this chassis anywhere but the back. Of course, with an AIO in play, the CPU was fine, but even in such a small chassis, we found the video card was in no way starving for fresh air, and our temperatures were slightly below average. The handy six-port PWM fan hub that hangs behind the motherboard tray made cooling in this chassis super simple for us, and allows the whole system to perform its cooling in unison.

So, while $134.99 for the black model, and $139.99 for the white model may have seemed a bit extreme at first, as you can see, Phanteks delivers in every aspect, even despite having to accomplish this in nearly half the space of the other Enthoo cases. With a few minor issues to consider, we still feel that with all of the modularity, the feature set, and the way everything is designed and works, you are really hard pressed to deny how awesome the Enthoo EVOLV is.

While we do wish the LED worked in the front of the chassis, this case is one of those you really need to have in your hands to fully appreciate, and at $139.99, we are still compelled to recommend that you buy one. Although, we would wait for some sort of notice that the front panel has been adapted in some way first. However, for those of you who plan to really work this chassis and completely fill it, with all of that skill, and if you just cannot wait, the LED issue could be easily remedied, leaving no reason for the more advanced and experienced users to pass on this chassis. The rest of the EVOLV design is just that good.

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.

United States: The EVOLV (Black) retails for $139.99 at Amazon, and the EVOLV (White) retails for $149.99 at Amazon.

Canada: The EVOLV (Black) retails for CDN$159.99 at Amazon Canada, and the EVOLV (White) retails for CDN$169.99 at Amazon Canada.

TweakTown award
Performance97%
Quality including Design and Build98%
General Features98%
Bundle and Packaging100%
Value for Money95%
Overall98%

The Bottom Line: While completely different than the rest of the Enthoo series, the Evolv keeps the heritage of the Phanteks name, warps it up in a tiny all new package, and delivers one of the coolest looking and most functional Micro-ATX cases we have seen.

PRICING: You can find products similar to this one for sale below.

USUnited States: Find other tech and computer products like this over at Amazon.com

UKUnited Kingdom: Find other tech and computer products like this over at Amazon.co.uk

AUAustralia: Find other tech and computer products like this over at Amazon.com.au

CACanada: Find other tech and computer products like this over at Amazon.ca

DEDeutschland: Finde andere Technik- und Computerprodukte wie dieses auf Amazon.de

After a year of gaming, Chad caught the OC bug. With overclocking comes the need for better cooling, and Chad has had many air and water setups. With a few years of abusing computer parts, he decided to take his chances and try to get a review job. As an avid overclocker, Chad is always looking for the next leg up in RAM, cooling, as well as peripherals.

We openly invite the companies who provide us with review samples / who are mentioned or discussed to express their opinion. If any company representative wishes to respond, we will publish the response here. Please contact us if you wish to respond.

Related Tags

Newsletter Subscription

Latest News

View More News

Latest Reviews

View More Reviews

Latest Articles

View More Articles