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Phanteks Enthoo EVOLV Review

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Phanteks Enthoo EVOLV Closer Look:

Removing the side panels, explained earlier, requires lifting the them off its hinges before the panel comes off. Once removed, the interior seen through the window before is now fully exposed once opened. Inside, the chassis is very compact (length wise) with just enough space for the components to fit. Installation of up to 318mm video cards is possible, which covers nearly all video cards currently on the market. You still may want to check if the card length when a hard drive is installed on the vertical bracket. This is because they may interfere with each other. Clearance for the CPU cooler limitation isn't as severe as the video card, clocking in at 193mm height limit, which allows practically any aftermarket CPU cooler on the market.

 

 

By default, the 5.25" bay is not installed, but the parts are included in the accessories box. The reason for this is to give the best expandability and cooling options for the EVOLV in such a small form factor. With the bay used, any sort of fan or AIO (All In One) cooling option on top is severely limited. Having a optical bay in the back does not help its small foot print at all, as the chassis has to be away from any wall if the bay wants to be utilized. I really do not see why the EVOLV could not have this bay in the font with a small redesign to the front panel. Having this bay is better than nothing, but that's about all I can say for this design.

 

 

Phanteks has changed it up by allowing additional hard drive spaces for installation. Installation of either 2.5" or 3.5" hard drives requires to remove the bracket first before installing anything. The bracket itself is held in by four screws on top and one below the chassis. Up to two 2.5" drives can be installed or a single 3.5" traditional hard drive on the back of the vertical bracket. The downside of this setup is, any large video card may interfere with at least one of the hard drives depending on the motherboard form factor and PCIe slot used, if installed. Using this vertical bracket should be considered a last resort rather than a first choice. Chances are, the wiring will cause more of a headache than the drive placement itself

 

On the lower half, next to the power supply, is a miniature 3.5" hard drive cage that supports up to two drives. This, of course, can be removed if a large power supply is necessary or for any other reason. The trays themselves are plastic and held in place by pressure. Simply squeeze both ends while pulling for the tray to slide out. To re-install, just slide the tray back in and it will click into place on its own.

 

Behind the motherboard tray, the Enthoo EVOLV has one pre-installed 2.5" tray, which is a nice addition and is becoming somewhat of a necessity, as water cooling kits and large video cards tend to cause problems for traditional hard drive bays. Given the fact that this is a much smaller chassis, installing SSDs on the back make more sense. To remove the tray, all you need to do is push up and lift off. Sometimes it can be a snug fit, therefore loosening the screws slightly can solve this problem. Installing the tray after you placed an SSD in there, is simple and requires you to put the tray flush to the screws and slide into place. I have no problem using an SSD on the back.

 

 

The Enthoo EVOLV continues with its relentless quality and bang for the buck, by including a fan hub with five fan headers, along with a dedicated CPU header. To use it, run the PWM cable on the right to the CPU fan port on the motherboard. At this point, all the fans will run at the same speed. The fan hub requires the use of the CPU fan header on the motherboard. Alternatively, you can use the second CPU fan header if your motherboard includes one, which I verified, does work. Make sure to double check what type of PWM header it is, as the manual warns that using other ports besides the CPU fan header can cause unexpected problems. The downside of using the CPU fan header, is that your CPU cooler cable may not be long enough to reach the hub. The absence of an extension or Y-cable hurts the design, as not everyone has a long cable or a second CPU fan header. The chassis is small enough that this cable length issue really shouldn't be a factor.

 

Support for up to 193mm CPU Coolers is insane considering the EVOLVs small form factor. It's not all perfect in the Phanteks camp as some coolers will interfere with the optional 5.25" drive bay. There is no way to distinguish which coolers will work or not, as length is an issue, and not height. It's more directly based on where the CPU socket is placed relative to the top. For an example; on the Asrock ITX motherboard, the Thermaltake C4 cooler, which measures roughly 6" with the plastic shell, interferes with the 5.25" Bay. The Noctua NH-D14 on the other hand, being slightly larger than that, manages to fit just fine in an ASUS M-ATX motherboard with room to spare.

 

 

Here you have it: a fully assembled Enthoo EVOLV chassis! Installation of the motherboard and components couldn't be easier. With a generous amount of space behind the tray, this chassis allows for good wire management and can be seen through the exterior window. Having multiple options for installing hard drives cages, gave a good amount of options depending on the components used. For the review, the SSD was installed on the back to keep it the same across each chassis review. My only actual problem during installing components was, when I installed an aftermarket CPU Cooler, as it hit the 5.25" bay forcing me to remove it.

 




  1. Phanteks Enthoo EVOLV: Introduction & Closer Look
  2. Phanteks Enthoo EVOLV Closer Look: The Case
  3. Phanteks Enthoo EVOLV Closer Look: Working Components
  4. Phanteks Enthoo EVOLV: Specifications & Features
  5. Phanteks Enthoo EVOLV: Testing & Setup
  6. Phanteks Enthoo EVOLV: Conclusion
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