Completed Build, Performance, and Conclusion
The EVOLV ATX goes together with zero issues, and was a joy to build in . Cable management is outstanding with plenty of openings with soft grommets to protect cables and provide a finished appearance. The bottom of the enclosure reminds me of the NZXT H440 with its large covered space that serves to hide both 3.5” hard drive mounts and PSU cable mess, and this really helps keep the front of the case looking clean without much effort.
Around back we have another similarity to the Define S: Included velcro straps for cable management. Really, at this point every manufacturer should adopt these. Build one system with cable management like that of the EVOLV ATX or Fractal Design’s Define S and you’ll never want to go back. There is a lot of room behind the motherboard tray for thicker cables and I had no trouble closing the EVOLV ATX’s rear side panel.
Next we'll see how it performed.
|Processor||Intel Core i7-4790K|
|Motherboard||ASUS MAXIMUS VII GENE (mATX Intel Z97)|
|Memory||G.Skill AEGIS 8GB 1600MHz DDR3|
|Graphics Card||MSI Radeon R9 290X Lightning|
|Storage||OCZ Vertex 460 120GB SSD|
|Power Supply||SilverStone Strider ST-1000P 1000W Modular PSU|
|OS||Windows 8.1 64-bit|
Temperatures results from the following tests were obtained using RealTemp to monitor the CPU and GPUZ to monitor GPU temps. CPU loads were generated using Prime95 with a 5-minute torture test simulating a worst-case load temperature for the H105 cooler. GPU load temps were created using the Unigine Valley benchmark with the “Extreme HD” preset, and after the card was allowed to warm up the maximum temperature was recorded during a benchmark run.
The EVOLV ATX performed very well, finishing ahead of the Fractal Design enclosures thanks in part to the high-airflow 140 mm fans. These did a very good job of helping remove hot air generated by the MSI R9 290X Lightning cooler as well.
Here the EVOLV ATX didn't fare as well, but it is still far from a noisy case even with everything at default settings as I have them here. With some tweaking to the fan speed (the 140 mm fans are all connected to a PWM board, which attaches to a fan header on your board) this could be more silent. As it is the whoosh of air that these fans generate is not an unpleasant sound, though I did notice more noise than usual from the H105 cooler, I believe this is due to the solid top panel and and venting system for the upper fan mounts. The H105 needed the fans to spin a bit faster to keep CPU temps low under full load, though it should be noted that I would have likely achieved better results with the radiator mounted at the front of the case.
The Phanteks Enthoo EVOLV ATX is an excellent example of thoughtful industrial design. Phanteks has incorporated elements from different successful designs in the enclosure world and combined them into a well-made, easy to use product that looks great too (at least in my opinion - tastes vary greatly with computer enclosures).
The construction of the EVOLV ATX was top-notch, with excellent fit and finish throughout. I liked the look of the aluminum exterior panels and the decision to use steel for the rest of the enclosure is understandable as they are trying to hit a price target. Still, $179.99 is high for an enclosure, though this is clearly on the premium side of the market.
As a premium mid-tower that features a lot of room for custom cooling, fully hinged doors that easily swing out of the way for system access, and a striking yet functional overall design, I think Phanteks has made a compelling product with the EVOLV ATX. I highly recommend it if you're willing to spend this much.