Introduction, Specifications, and Pricing
In the time we have been reviewing cases for Phanteks, what started out as an odd-duck company coming into the market from left field, has since developed quite the following. It does not matter if you wish to discuss the Enthoo Series or the Eclipse Series, three things are guaranteed. Outstanding build quality, and by this we mean that attention to detail is paid, they tend to use high-quality materials, and if needed, their cases can be used as a stool; they are just that sturdy. The second thing you are given, in spades, is aesthetics. There is not a single chassis in either lineup that does not deliver sleek elegance, with a design that is uniquely Phanteks and can be easily spotted amongst any other chassis out there. The third and most important thing that tends to ring true with Phanteks cases is that you are given great bang-for-the-buck. In all of the cases we have reviewed from Phanteks, not once have we sat there thinking "the price is going to send buyers elsewhere."
What we have been given last, is yet another addition to the Elite Series, and going a tad further, is another of the Evolv cases that we have seen much of recently. With the Evolv cases, no matter the size or internal features, two things are consistent across all three of them. All of them have an individual look, with the dog bone shaped front panels, streamlined external design, and have panels which pop off the chassis to make life easier on the user. The second thing that rings true through the series is that with the latest trend of using tempered glass side panels, any of the Evolv cases can be had with this option. Since the series spans various dimensions externally, what is inside can be found in some form across the lineup, but with the Evolv Series getting smaller and now smaller as the cases have been released to the public, not all share the same capabilities.
The chassis we are about to discuss just arrived at our doorstep a couple of days ago, that is how fresh this product is. Before we get too far though, there is one major thing to note when it comes to what you are going to look at today. There are two new cases which share this new moniker. We have been sent the Phanteks Evolv Shift, the smaller of the two, but there is another, slightly better equipped, and slightly taller, Evolv Shift X that is also released as you read this. We will be sure to address what changes between the two options, but if you are looking for a chassis with most of the benefits of much larger solutions, all within a small footprint, then the Phanteks Evolve Shift or Shift X is certainly worth your attention.
The specifications discussed here were taken from the manual, and comparisons between the models were ascertained by looking at the media provided from Phanteks for either model. The chart shown is that of the Evolv Shift, which we were sent for review, yet we will make sure to mention any changes. As for the Shift, it is 170mm wide, it stands 470mm tall, 484mm with the feet, and the case is 274mm deep. As for the Shift X, the heights change to 650mm and 664mm with the feet. Both designs are sold as Small Form Factor models, as both will only support Mini-ITX motherboards. The materials chose to comprise these case is the use of anodized aluminum, which can be Anthracite Gray or could also be Satin Black on the front and back panels. The interior of the chassis is made from powder coated steel segments screwed and riveted together, while both of the side panels of these cases are delivered with tinted tempered glass panels.
In the inside, you will first need to know, that only an SFX or SFX-L PSU will fit inside of it, and since it is to be used with a Mini-ITX motherboard, there are two expansion slots found at the top of the Evolv Shift. There is a location at the back of the chassis for a single hard drive, but the Shift also offers a pair of trays for 2.5" drives. The Shift X differs slightly. It still houses only a single HDD, but there are trays for four 2.5" drives. If you plan to air cool the processor, you have 82mm of room, which limits choices a bit. Graphics cards can be 350mm in length, depending on the type of CPU cooling used. Speaking of which, if you plan to water cool the CPU, the thickness of the radiator cannot exceed 55mm.
With the Shift, cooling can be handled with a pair of 120mm or 140mm fans in the front of the case, which can be accompanied by a single 120mm or 140mm fan at the bottom. As to how the chassis arrives, only one of the front slots is filled with a 140mm fan. For those with plans to water cool components, the Shift allows for a 120mm or 140mm radiator in the front, or a 120mm radiator on the floor. When it comes to the Shift X, the fan arrangement is similar, but the literature we looked at, shows the front to allow for a trio of 120mm or 140mm fans, but it is now possible to install a 240mm or 280mm radiator into the front of the Shift X as well.
In the manual and the literature, we are told the warranty is five years in duration. That is partially correct, depending on which part of the chassis is giving you problems. If the fan or fans go bad, Phanteks will replace them for five years. The I/O port gets two years of coverage, and the same can be said for the LED on/off switch. The chassis is covered for the full five years, and so is the top and bottom panels of the Shift and Shift X
Since we are preparing this review for launch day, we cannot verify the pricing, or see if there are any deals to be had, as the Shift and Shift X are not yet listed. Upon our request to look at the chassis, we were also sent the MSRP for both cases in that email chain. What we are being told is that the Shift, as you are about to see it, will be sold at $109.99, which we think is appropriate. As for the Shift X, for the additional room, a couple of extra drive trays, and the increase of fan locations, increase of water cooling options, as well as having more space for longer video cards and things like pumps and reservoirs, the fifty-dollar hike to $159.99 seems to be worth the asking price as well. With two options of virtually the same case, it appears that Phanteks is covering all that might want to delve into the Shift and Shift X, which allows anyone with a Mini-ITX motherboard to be able to enjoy what we are about to show off.
Chad's Chassis Test System Specifications
- Motherboard: GIGABYTE GA-Z68X-UD4-B3
- CPU: Intel Core i7 2600K (buy from Amazon)
- Cooler: Corsair H80i GT (buy from Amazon)
- Memory: G.Skill Ripjaws F3-12800CL6D-4GBXH
- Video Card: ZOTAC GeForce GTX 970 AMP. Extreme Edition (buy from Amazon)
- Storage: SuperSpeed 128GB SSD
- Power Supply: SilverStone SST-ST85F-G (buy from Amazon)
- OS: Microsoft Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit (buy from Amazon)
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