There are many things we can say about what is fantastic about the Shift from Phanteks. For such a small case, it is a beast when it comes to weight and being structurally sound. Every panel but the top can be easily removed; there is orientation of use options, the use of thick aluminum, tempered glass, and powder coated steel on the inside, which all lend to a pleasing aesthetic, and a case which seems bomb proof. While taking up very little room on the desktop, Phanteks chose vertical space to provide you with room for everything essential to a superior Mini-ITX gaming system, which no reason to compromise. Hiding wires behind a magnetic cover, which flops down for access, flip flips up to cover any mess, using grommets and hook and loop straps to help maintain any longer cables, and of course, that super cool GPU bracket in the back, all of which prove that Phanteks put a ton of thought into this design, and wanted to deliver the best chassis possible.
There are some down sides to the chassis which we must address, but none of them are deal breakers to us. The first of which is the PSU issue. We realize a company needs to make concessions when it comes to building a solid structure, but we do wish that extra support bar below the PSU was not there. With the SFX PSU we typically use, the power switch conflicts with this bar, and caused us to have to turn our PSU fan to the inside of the case. Not detrimental to the PSU or chassis function, but something simple like switch placement makes us have to install things against what was intended. With the Asrock motherboard we use, the USB 3.0 port is at the top edge of the motherboard, and the cable inside was not long enough to reach. Again, not tragic, just make sure the motherboard has the connection on the right side and you will be fine.
Lastly, planning and contemplation is a must. While not overly complicated to the point of frustration, we did have to install components in a trial and error fashion to ensure everything fit. On top of that, wires near the front have to be wired correctly not to get caught in the fan, and you need to run the PCI-e cable around the left of the motherboard tray before installing the SSDs, or you will spend forever trying to fight it through the small gap. As long as you are aware of these slight issues, with correct planning, you too can house a monster of a machine in this tall sleek and sexy Phanteks Shift.
When it comes down to the bottom line, we feel the price is more than justified with the Phanteks Shift. Considering that it will cost only $99.99 for this chassis, and you get the option of the satin black as we received, or anthracite gray as an alternative, you are given a significantly more solid chassis with aesthetics and views which are nearly unparalleled right now in Mini-ITX cases. As for the Shift X, from what we have seen on paper, the upgrades are nice, but it is the possibilities of its increased height which holds much of that value.
Without having one in hand, we can only surmise that it compares in structural integrity and style to match the Shift, and if you need the room, the $50 increase could be well worth it. For us, as it stands, we like this better than our previous favorites. The Shift is the most well thought out, convertible to HTPC, Mini-ITX chassis on the market, and as long as the height isn't a problem, the Phanteks Evolv Shift Is the superior choice at the moment for those that want their cake and eat it too.
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)
Product Summary Breakdown
|Overall TweakTown Rating||99%|
The Bottom Line: It does take proper planning and lots of homework, but with all the right parts, the Phanteks Evolv Shift can be an amazing chassis! Nearly perfect in every way, an unbeatable look and display of components, and at a price loads of customers will appreciate.
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