Phanteks Enthoo Evolv MATX Tempered Glass Review

May 15, 2017 // 3:55 p.m.

Tags: #aluminium #micro-atx #mini-itx #phanteks #sff #small-form-factor #tempered-glass

Interior

While the hinged design of the side panels and pop-off abilities of the front and roof panels should make access to the case very simple, all is not as it should be. To be fair, it absolutely is until you come to actually lift the panels off their hinges. If you're just opening the case up to swap a minor component or give things a clean, you can get by just by opening the panels, but for major work and the initial build where you're working from both sides you'll need to take them off. Unfortunately, the hinges are extremely stiff, as the tubular holes on the panel grip the hinge pole far too tightly – you have to use a lot of strength and wiggling, and you suddenly become very aware of the fact that you're working with glass panels. It also makes the realignment process frustrating, as again you have to push down hard. There's no reason for it to be this way, so this is an annoying oversight on Phanteks' part.

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Nevertheless, inside things are pretty great. This area too has gone through something of a redesign, although the core layout is still the same – it's a standard tower setup with a mid-plate to hide the PSU, cables, and lower drive cage. Note that the chassis only has four expansion slots, so the subset of micro-ATX users that want to install a dual-slot GPU in the bottom slot of their board will need to look elsewhere. It'll be fine for water-coolers, however, as your card will of course be just single-slot when the water block is on. Compared to the original, there's no longer a front-mounted plate for drive installation, and the option to install an optical drive at the rear is no longer there.

As a result, things are more spacious and every piece of hardware is easy to install. All motherboard mounts come pre-installed, and there's a massive cutout for CPU coolers. You're unlikely to run into clearance issues with any hardware either, with one possible exception being if you have a really long graphics card and want to install a front radiator. The power supply simply slides in from the right and rests on thick, insulating foam as well.

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In the lower section, there's a two-bay HDD cage at the front with a pair of plastic 3.5”/2.5” drive sleds, the former capable of being installed tool-free. Furthermore, two SSDs can be installed on the dedicated trays behind the motherboard, and these use Phanteks' excellent rubber grommet-based Drop-n-Lock, tool-free docking system.

Phanteks Enthoo Evolv MATX Tempered Glass Review Phanteks Enthoo Evolv MATX Tempered Glass Review - Interior Phanteks Enthoo Evolv MATX Tempered Glass Review Phanteks Enthoo Evolv MATX Tempered Glass Review - Interior
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Cable management is often a strong point for Phanteks, but we weren't quite as impressed as we have been in the past, but maybe that's just because standards have improved (largely thanks to Phanteks). In fairness, there are still loads of large routing holes, most of which have rubber grommets on for extra neatness. You also get four of the nifty Velcro cable ties we've become so fond of, and there are extra zip ties too. All cables are sleeved in black, and this includes the two-header cable for adding additional RGB strips or synchronising with motherboards. There's plenty of space in the lower cavity too between the PSU and drive cage. Despite all this, however, we found that we still had problems when attempting to close the side panel. Admittedly, we hadn't done the finest job, but there wasn't much bulging out, yet it was still enough to break the magnetic connection on the side panel – perhaps some stronger magnets are in order.

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Phanteks has always catered to custom water-cooling loops well, and this case is no different. In the roof, 240mm and 280mm radiators are supported, and the same is true of the front. In fact, 360mm rads can go in the front, but this does mean you'll need to remove the front section of the PSU cover/mid-plate (easily done via two thumbscrews) as well as the HDD cage, leaving you without support for 3.5” drives. Phanteks also supplies one of its awesome little pump brackets, which is heavily rubberised on both sides to help dampen vibrations. There's no reservoir bracket here, but there's a lot of room in this case, so it shouldn't be hard to find somewhere to mount one.

Phanteks Enthoo Evolv MATX Tempered Glass Review Phanteks Enthoo Evolv MATX Tempered Glass Review - Interior Phanteks Enthoo Evolv MATX Tempered Glass Review Phanteks Enthoo Evolv MATX Tempered Glass Review - Interior
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One unfortunate omission compared to the first release is the PWM fan hub, which allows you to control multiple system fans based on the single PWM signal from your CPU cooler. We've always liked these, and at £120 we don't think it unfair to expect one included here. You are still free to buy and install one separately, but the inclusion would have been nice.
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