With the Enthoo Evolv X, Phanteks has dialled up the refinement a notch, and not just in terms of cooling. The hefty £200 price tag implies that the Evolv X is a serious case, and it backs up that impression by standing 52cm tall – it’s an imposing look, especially in the gunmetal grey sample we received.
The huge top-to-bottom tempered glass side panels sits flush with the edge of the case, and have no visible screws or pins either. To stay shut, thumbscrews located behind the front panel lock the panels in place, but you need to remove the front panel in order to swing out the side panels to reach the case’s innards. Thankfully, that front panel pops off easily. Alternatively, we found that rubber supports for the thumbscrews actually hold the panels in place fairly well, allowing you to temporary ditch the thumbscrews if you’re regularly fiddling with your hardware.
Phanteks does an excellent job of maintaining that clean look too, with the front panel hidden by a flip-open door, which can stay open if you use the ports regularly. You get a pair of USB 3 ports, an RGB lighting control button, a reset button, audio ports and a USB 3.1 Type-C port too. The latter needs a USB 3.1 Type-C header to work, which are included on many modern premium motherboards. There are also no large vents or mesh sections, with the front fans simple drawing in air from around the removable front panel, while the roof has inconspicuous mesh vents running down the sides.
There’s a generous inclusion of two 140mm fans in the front, with room for a third one, directing airflow towards your CPU cooler and graphics card. Both these fans are protected by a front dust filter that’s accessed by removing the front panel. There’s space for either a 360mm or 420mm radiator in the front, with a maximum clearance of 95mm for both the fans and the radiator, and plenty of scope for installing a combined pump and reservoir unit in a fan-mounted bracket too.
The roof, which can be removed by dealing with several screws, can play host to a trio of 120mm fans, or a pair of 140mm fans, and the corresponding radiator sizes, although the maximum depth here is just 65mm. However, Phanteks claims that, if your motherboard’s components rise no more than 50mm above the PCB, 120mm and 240mm radiators will clear these components, allowing for essentially unlimited radiator thickness.
As you would expect from a £200 case, you get the option to mount your graphics card vertically as well, although you’ll need to invest in a PCI-E riser cable as you don’t get one in the box. Lighting is a big feature with the Enthoo Evolv X too, with an RGB LED strip running down the side of the PSU cover, plus two further strips hidden on the rear of the removable front panel. The lighting isn’t garish, though, and it glows attractively off the front panels. You can control the lighting via the on-board controller, or using Asus’ Aura Sync or MSI’s Mystic Light Sync software, and with full digital addressable control of each individual LED.
Another handy addition is a 7-port fan hub – it offers both three 3-pin and four 4-pin fan headers that can be hooked up to a single motherboard fan header, with the three included case fans already connected to it. Phanteks has employed some interesting cable tidying tools as well, with large metal covers behind the motherboard tray hiding the cables after you’ve made use of the numerous large Velcro ties. There are also adjustable cable routing holes too, with covers that slide over unused holes.
There’s plenty of room inside too, with 190mm of CPU cooler clearance and 435mm GPU clearance – that’s enough for pretty much any graphics card or CPU air cooler you can imagine. You also get space for up to four hard disks and six SSDs, using a mix of trays under the PSU cover and SSD mounts behind the motherboard tray.
The Evolv X’s cooling performance was higher than we expected, given that the fans are extremely quiet and there’s a solid front panel. The CPU delta T was one of the lowest we’ve seen, though – only mesh-fronted cases have managed to achieve lower results. It’s undoubtedly helped by those two 140mm fans at the front. The GPU delta T was also excellent at 49°C, although the Fractal Design Define R6 was only a couple of degrees behind this result, and many mesh-fronted cases manage cooler temperatures.
We can’t think of a single major fault with the Phanteks Enthoo Evolv X. Its unique design works well, the cooling performance is solid and you get a hefty feature set. It’s easy to work with the Evolv X, it looks great and it has plenty of useful tools to make installing your hardware that much easier, whether it’s Velcro cable ties, a fan hub or easily removable panels. It also performed much better than expected in our cooling tests, meaning it’s at home with air-cooled hardware, but it can also offer a good deal of space for water-cooling hardware.
The price is steep, but its aluminium construction and enormous feature set put it in a different league from the usual contenders, which helps justify its price tag. There are certainly cheaper options if you want a large, well-featured case, such as Fractal Design’s Define R6 and Corsair’s Obsidian 500D. However, if you’re planning to own a single premium case over the next decade, and want a feature-rich design that’s a future-proof as possible, with a flexible cooling arrangement that can handle both air and water cooling, cases don’t come much better than the Enthoo Evolv X.
Phanteks Enthoo Evolv X specifications
- Dimensions (mm) 240 x 520 x 520 (W x D x H)
- Material Aluminium, steel, tempered glass
- Available colours Gunmetal grey, black, silver
- Weight 11kg
- Front panel Power, 2 x USB 3, 1 x USB 3.1 Type-C, headphone, microphone, RGB lighting
- Drive bays 4 x 2.5in/3.5in, 6 x 2.5
- Form factor(s) E-ATX (up to 272mm wide) ATX , micro-ATX, mini-ITX
- Cooling 3 x 120/140mm front fan mounts (2 x 140mm fans included), 3 x 120mm/2 x 140mm roof fan mounts (fan not included) 1 x 120/140mm rear fan mount (fan included),
- CPU cooler clearance 190mm
- Maximum graphics card length 435mm
A stunning case with an excellent set of features, decent cooling performance and loads of room for water-cooling gear.