Phanteks Enthoo Mini XL Review

Manufacturer: Phanteks
UK price (as reviewed):
£129.58 (inc VAT)
US price (as reviewed): Currently unavailable

After three hefty cases catering to full tower and mid-tower systems, we expected Phanteks to turn its sights on smaller form factors. This proved to be true, with the company first launching the micro-ATX Enthoo EVOLV chassis, followed up by the announcement of the Enthoo EVOLV ITX, which we'll also be reviewing soon. However, the Enthoo Mini XL is something we're happy to admit we did not see coming. It's another micro-ATX chassis, but you wouldn't guess it from the size – it's easily bigger than a number of mid-tower ATX cases. In fact, Phanteks has actually made up an entirely new form factor altogether for the Mini XL, calling it a Super Micro chassis. What this refers to is the Mini XL's ability to house and power two fully functioning systems at once; one micro-ATX and one mini-ITX. To find out how, you'll just have to read a little further.

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Externally, it's a fairly standard design as far as the Enthoo range goes - sand-blasted aluminium front and roof fascias, a rectangular cutaway section in the front panel, an indented trim section along the right hand side and a split window design on the left which affords onlookers a great view inside. Looking to bolster the aesthetics more is an LED strip which runs the length of the roof and front along the right edge inside the glossy black plastic trim.

One of the first things you notice about the Mini XL is its weight. At just under 14kg it's a bit of a beast, but the weight is reassuring. As we've come to expect from Phanteks, the build quality is first class with very few exceptions. It's certainly expensive, but the material quality goes a long way to making up for that.

The Mini XL is equipped with a whopping 14 fan mounts. It thus has oodles of options when it comes to expanding its air cooling abilities, and as you'll see the numerous mounting locations lend themselves well to water-cooling support. Plus, the front, bottom, rear and roof fan mounts have elongated mounting holes, rather than fixed position ones, allowing you to align your fans exactly where you want them and catering for radiators that have different spacings.

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With that much potential airflow, it's important to protect your components against an invasion from the dust army, and Phanteks has you covered here too. The front and bottom fans are guarded by a trio of push-to-release filters for easy cleaning. The lower ones require a firm push, but they can be easily used without the need to tilt or lift the case up. The mesh in the centre of the roof is also backed by filtering material though it's not independently removable. The smaller mesh sections in the indented trim areas are likewise shielded. Finally, there are two internal, magnetic dust filters for the PSU intake area and dual fan mounts on the right side panel. These latter mounts also have a blanking plate fitted for when they're not in use, but it's a single plate rather than two separate ones for the different mounts.

The I/O panel is located on the right of the roof, making it easier to access with the case on the floor than a desk. It has the standard set of connections as well as a reset button and one that controls the colour of the LED strips, which can be set to one of ten colours.

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It's worth noting that the Mini XL is equipped with five expansion slots, which allows you to use a dual-slot graphics or expansion card in the lowest slot of your micro-ATX motherboard without issue. We also find six large rubber feet on the bottom, which gives the chassis plenty of grip.

Specifications

  • Dimensions (mm) 260 x 480 x 550 (W x D x H)
  • Material Aluminium, steel
  • Weight 13.8kg
  • Available colours Black
  • Front panel Power, reset, LED toggle, 2 x USB 3, stereo, microphone
  • Drive bays 3 x external 5.25in, 6 x internal 3.5in/2.5in, 2 x internal 2.5in
  • Form factor(s) "Super Micro ATX" (micro-ATX, mini-ITX, micro-ATX + mini-ITX via optional ITX Upgrade Kit)
  • Cooling 2 x 140mm/120mm front fan mounts (2 x 140mm fans included), 2 x 140mm/120mm rear fan mounts (1 x 140mm fan included), 2 x 140mm or 3 x 120mm roof fan mounts, 2 x 140mm or 3 x 120mm bottom fan mounts, 2 x 140mm/120mm side fan mounts, 2 x 120mm internal HDD fan mounts (fans not included)
  • CPU cooler clearance 215mm
  • Maximum graphics card length 290mm (410mm without HDD cage)
  • Extras Removable dust filters, external RGB LED lighting, PWM fan hub, pump bracket, reservoir bracket, radiator bracket

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