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.
|Quality including Design and Build||98%|
|Bundle and Packaging||100%|
|Value for Money||95%|
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.
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