Phanteks Enthoo EVOLV Review

Manufacturer: Phanteks
UK price (as reviewed):
£99.95 (inc VAT)
US price (as reviewed): Currently unavailable

It's fair to say that Phanteks has established itself in the case market as a force to be reckoned with, having churned out three fantastic full tower cases covering the mid-range, high-end and premium markets. However, it's not stopping there and is now turning its attention to smaller form factors. The Enthoo EVOLV is a micro-ATX chassis with a fairly high-end price tag of £100. While it continues the Enthoo series by name, its design is not particularly reminiscent of the three full tower cases before it. The rounded edges and corners have been replaced by sharper angles and a striking, indented front section.

Phanteks Enthoo EVOLV Review Phanteks Enthoo EVOLV Review
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£100 is a lot of cash for a micro-ATX enclosure, but a lot of clearly goes straight to the building materials. The core chassis is hewn from steel like most others, but the front, rear and two side panels are all made from anodised aluminium. This isn't just a thin sheet stuck on top of a plastic frame either, this is the real deal – all four panels are single, thick sheets. This results in a build quality that is utterly fantastic and unmatched by all but a few. As ever though, it's rather prone to picking up smudges and fingerprints, so you'll want to give it a careful wipe down once you're done working with it.

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The indented front panel is entirely bare except for a small strip at the bottom that's lit up by the power LED behind it. The panel is held in place by four clips and can be quickly released with a firm tug, and Phanteks has made it easy to get a grip on it in the gaps between it and the side panels, which double up as the main intake areas for the front 200mm fan. With the aluminium cover off, a secondary plastic panel is revealed which has a full cover dust filter, and a handle at the top allows you to unclip this panel too for easy cleaning and access to the front fan mounts (you can replace the 200mm fan with two 120mm or 140mm fans if you like). Finally, you can even replace the white power LED at the bottom right with a red, green or blue one, as Phanteks supplies all three: simply unplug the white LED cable, connect the new one and slot the LED into its housing as shown.

The roof has hidden grilles at the front and back for air to pass through should you choose to utilise the fan mounts beneath the panel. There are also small vents along the two angled sides of the roof for the same reason, and these are backed by dust filtering material. As with the front panel, the roof is held firmly in place by four quick release clips and is thus easily removed by pulling upwards. This reveals the numerous, height adjustable fan mounts.

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The left hand side hosts a large acrylic window that is well fitted and flush with the rest of the panel and gives a good view of the main components while hiding the hard drive area. The basic I/O panel and power and reset buttons are found on the opposite panel, which is otherwise empty. Though this does maintain a clean aesthetic, it isn't all that practical, as for most users they won't be able to see the ports or buttons without a bit of a stretch – the Fractal Node 804 has this same issue too.

The rear plays host to another height adjustable fan mount, this time fitted with a 140mm fan. The case has only four expansion slots, so using a dual-slot card in the lowest slot of your motherboard won't be possible here. We also find the hinges that hold the side panels in place and, rather surprisingly, an optical drive bay cover – more on these features over the page.

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Finally, the bottom of the chassis has a pull out dust filter to protect the PSU, making the Enthoo EVOLV a case that's fully guarded against dust, which is a thumbs up in our books. It's not the easiest filter to replace without resorting to tilting the case, but you should be able to do it after a few goes. The enclosure is supported by four rubber feet, which give it excellent grip and stability on any surface.

Specifications

  • Dimensions (mm) 230 x 400 x 450 (W x D x H)
  • Material Aluminium, Steel
  • Available colours Black, white
  • Front panel Power, reset, 2 x USB 3, stereo, microphone
  • Drive bays 1 x external 5.25in, 3 x internal 3.5in/2.5in, 2 x internal 2.5in
  • Form factor(s) Micro-ATX, mini-ITX
  • Cooling 1 x 200mm or 2 x 140mm/120mm front fan mounts (1 x 200mm fan included), 1 x 140mm/120mm rear fan mount (140mm fan included), 2 x 140mm or 3 x 120mm roof fan mounts (fans not included)
  • CPU cooler clearance 192mm
  • Maximum graphics card length 318mm
  • Extras Removable dust filters, PWM fan hub, pump bracket, replacement power LEDs

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