Build Process

I started the build process by fitting my mini-ITX motherboard.

This was actually easier than usual for one simple reason:

The enclosure's standoffs have a small ridge that holds the motherboard in place, a thoughtful touch that kept the board from moving while I worked on attaching the screws.

Graphics Card

To add a full-length GPU, Phanteks designed a hinged panel on the panel that carries the second 2.5-inch storage mount. Removing a pair of thumbscrews allows a GPU to slide in without completely removing the panel.

I still chose to remove the panel completely during installation, but it isn't necessary. The complete removal simply requires taking off another pair of thumbscrews, located on the other side.

And here's a view of the area soon to be below our graphics card (you might notice an installed hard drive in the photo, and we'll cover storage in a bit).

With the bracket removed the 3.5-inch storage bays are revealed (far right)

The holes in the metal surface will theoretically help with GPU airflow, but as close as the PSU will be (it's just below this panel) I'm not sure it will help very much.

The GPU is in place, and a couple of things are immediately apparent. First, this GPU sags. A lot. Second, there is very little space below this dual-slot card, which tells me GPU temps might be a little warmer than usual with this enclosure. We'll have to wait and see.

Very little space remains with a dual-slot GPU installed


The enclosure's storage is primarily accessible from behind the motherboard tray (the exception being that extra 2.5-inch mount up front, above the GPU).

The included 2.5-inch drive tray is pre-installed back here, and it's a simple matter to slide it off and install an SSD.

Down below this SSD mount is a pair of tool-free 3.5-inch hard drive trays, which slide out to allow easy HDD installation.

The trays are plastic, and have vibration reducing rings where direct contact with the drive is made.

With the HDD inserted, snaps on each side lock it in place

Power Supply

The PSU mount is located on the bottom of the enclosure, under the metal panel that hides cables from view from the front.

The case floor has four soft mounting points to help prevent vibration, and the PSU fits (rather snugly) against them. My 160 mm deep PSU had just enough room for the modular cable connections, but a slightly longer, non-modular PSU could be used.

Cooling Options

We've already seen the pre-mounted 200 mm fan up front, and if you choose to keep that in place the rear and upper fan mounts remain for liquid coolers. Like the last two Phanteks Enthoo enclosures I've reviewed, this EVOLV ITX offers a convenient slide-out bracket for the upper mounts.

I chose to use the open rear fan mount for benchmarks done with the test system's Corsair H75 cooler (120 mm), which also provided the enclosure with something of an exhaust fan as airflow was directed out. With an intake fan as large as the one included with this case I would expect sufficient positive pressure to allow efficient airflow without an exhaust fan (especially in an enclosure this small), and for the tests done with an air CPU cooler no rear fan was installed.

There are a lot of options, and too many to cover here. The front 200 mm fan can be replaced with a pair of 120 or 140 mm fans, or up to a 240 mm radiator. Up top there's room for another pair of 120/140 mm fans, or up to a 280 mm radiator. The rear fan mount adds another 120/140 mm fan/radiator option. To have a mini-ITX enclosure that offers the user this much flexibility is not typical, and is appreciated.

We'll check out the test system setup on the next page, and then see how the EVOLV ITX performed!

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