Pros: RGB Lighting/ Tempered Glass/ Fits AIO EKWB Predator
Cons: If I had to pick something it would be with the manual
I have had the pleasure of building in some pretty nice cases over the past year. I came across several reviews of the Enthoo Evolv and fell in love with the look of the case, but wondered if Phantek was a quality company. Phantek was founded by a team of engineers and was established in 2007. They made it a goal to be the best in the industry and their motto is "no job is impossible". Phanteks main focus of products is for PC enthusiasts and has evolved into a product line of cases called the Enthoo series. I will be reviewing the Enthoo Evolv ATX glass (PH-ES515ETG). Tempered glass is the latest craze of PC case manufacturers on top of RGB. Add tempered glass to the mix and you have one great looking case. Let's see if the Entoo Evolv is as good as it looks on the outside as it is to build on the inside.
The specifications are as follows:
The product packaging is very simple.Everything arrived with no damage to the glass or any of the product. I think my cat was just as enthusiastic as I was to open this.
Most cases do not come with a lot of accessories but the Enthoo Evolv was packaged well. The styrofoam was nice and tight to help protect the glass and the accessories box was neatly organized. The first noticeable thing to stand out was there was an actual manual for this case.
The accessories box included:
- Extra drive cages
- Screw set and container
- Pump bracket
- Zip ties
- Warranty card
- Manual booklet
I actually appreciate the amount of detail that went into packaging this case. The container and the separated screws were very useful and convenient. Thank you Phantek for making the building process a bit easier. I have to admit my goal here was a little nerve racking, I was hoping to fit the EKWB Predator 280mm AIO cooler during the build process. We will see if my measurements were as accurate as I thought they were.
Design & Build Process
I have to say that just looking at the case I admire its design. The tempered glass makes it look even more premium than the traditional Enthoo Evolv. I actually took gloves out to handle the glass so no fingerprints were left. The case is pretty heavy weighing in at about 20 lbs.
The design of the tempered glass edition was based on the Evolv line and combines sandblasted aluminum and the tempered glass panels. Water cooling enthusiasts will enjoy the premium touch of glass panels with RGB illumination and amazing water cooling potential.
- Aluminum body (3mm thick)
- Clear interior (Hidden PSU and HDD's)
- RGB illumination - 10 different colors
The case offers two dust filters and a convenient radiator bracket for easy installation. The front of the panel offers quick release and the glass panels are removed by easy thumb screws. Almost every part of this case is detachable fro ma screw and offers a ton of modularity and configuration options.
The Evolv comes equipped with 3x Phanteks PH-F140SP 140mm fans. The cases cooling options offer support for every fan and radiator size. The fan hub included is PWM controlled and offers easy access to your case fans. One important feature to understand here is that those fan headers are 3 pin. You might say how can they be controlled by PWM then? Looking at the manual points out some options for you. First, make sure if you want variable fan speed to "NOT" hook up the SATA connector that also powers the hub. This will cause the fans to run at 12v 100% all the time. At the end of the hub is a 4 pin connector that controls the rest of the fans. This header must go to a 4 pin header on your motherboard but the manual suggest putting it to your CPU fan header as most motherboards offer PWM that fan header.
This case offers the best cable management features I have seen. The case comes with built-in velcro ties to hold down all your cables and offers 35mm of clearance.Even newer PC builders will have setups looking like a pro did it with all the cable management points. The PSU shroud houses a full-size PSU and is installed from the rear of the case. You can not remove the shroud due to it being riveted in. This is one area I wish to see this case improve upon in the future. There should be a way to adjust the shroud if needed.
This case has a ton of access points for cables and offers different configuration options. You can mount your 2.5-inch drives on the rear sleds or also on the side of the PSU shroud. There are a total of 3x HDD brackets as well that can be mounted inside the case if desired. My favorite option is the rear brackets used for the 2.5-inch drives. This offers easy installation of SSDs and gives you a clear shot of your drives through the tempered glass. The only downside is you better be sure you have superior cable management. This will be easily viewable if others can see the rear panel of the case.
The cases front I/O offer 2x USB 3.0 headers and 3.5mm Microphone/headphone jacks. The case also offers RGB lights with 10 different colors and effects. The main difference with this case and the regular Enthoo Evolv is the reset switch. The reset switch on the Evolv tempered glass edition controls the RGB lighting. It took me a bit of messing around to figure out that this has changed. So if you're wondering why there was no reset header cable for the case this is why.
Building inside this case was a treat. I won't spoil the fun "YES" the predator 280mm fits inside the case, although not without a bit of sacrifice. I had to forgo regular sized HDD space to make the radiator fit and it had to be mounted on the front upright. I had to remove the HDD cage that was under the shroud and it takes up the space of the HDD brackets that can be installed vertically. I had to use SSDs only but those fit nicely behind the motherboard tray. Given the dimension fo this case, you can easily fit large GPUS up to 420mm long and even full-fledged custom loops. You can probably get away with more space even on a custom 360mm radiator. The EKWB predator is an annoyance on fitting in most cases and offers very little room for extras. It, however, is the best performing AIO cooler on the market with expandability.
My test bench is as follows:
ViewSonic XG2703-GS Monitor
Motherboard- EVGA Z170 Classified K
CPU: Intel Core I7 6700K
Network Card- Netgear AC 1200 USB
Cooler- EKWB Predator 280mm AIO
Memory- Avexiir DDR4 3000 MHz
Video Card: Nvidia GTX 1060
Storage- Zotac Sonix 480GB (Boot Drive) / Toshiba VX500 512GB / OCZ TL100
Power Supply- Corsair RM650X / Sleeved CableMod red/black cables
OS: Windows 10 x64 Pro
For testing, I overclocked my CPU to 4.5 GHz and will test noise and cooling. I used Prime 95 and Aida64 Extreme to test load performance. The load performance will consist of max RPM for fans and temperatures recorded. You can use the included fan controller on the case or use your motherboards software or BIOS to control fan curves or PWM fan speeds. I will compare the MasterBox 5 vs the 5T due to the built in fan controller. I suspect the 5T to have a higher noise level on the high setting but better cooling performance.
I record temperatures using Real Temp and an IRT207 infrared thermometer for case temps.
For noise testing, I used a high gain microphone. I want to explain a few things about noise testing, and this unit in particular.
First: Testing noise levels can be difficult. First, don't expect the same levels even with similar hardware. There are too many differences and variables that go into sound testing. You have to account for background noise and other sounds in the environment.
Second: I am one reviewer, and am not a professional sound studio. I am not testing these items in perfect conditions. I do not have an anechoic sound chamber in my test studio.
The Evolv is more the premium case compared to the 5T as far as price and design are concerned but they share a similar fan setup for airflow and also both have built in fan controllers. The Evolv offers control over PWM and the 5T offers a switch to choose high or low. They are not exactly the same but close enough to show the differences in testing. 50dB is about the noise level of a normal conversation. The front fans on the predator get quite loud on max settings (68dB). Both AIO coolers were mounted on the front of each case. I also used a dual fan AIO cooler from Raijintek for the MasterBox review but surprisingly settles at similar noise levels on high fan speed (RPM). The Predator and Evolv both used 140mm fans compared to the 120mm fans on the Masterbox 5T and Raijintek cooler.
The case temperatures turned out to to be pretty accurate with what I expected for the fan controller. For a premium case, this definitely offers some pretty high-end features and design elements. I used a 280mm Radiator AIO cooler from EKWB to represent these temperatures. The Predator is one tough AIO cooler to fit in most cases and the Evolv was able to do it. The temperature tool used is an IRT207 infrared thermometer for case temps. I picked some of the hotter spots like near the CPU block. I then compared them to my temps recorded from core temp while stress testing. The temps seemed to be very close, so I used the temps from Real Temp represented above.
One of the more compelling features of this case is the different RGB profiles. You can cycle the profiles using the built in reset button in the front I/O panel. To control the LEDs, you simply long press to toggle on and off, short press for selecting between up to 10 colors, and a slightly longer press to cycle between modes, which include static, breathing, and color cycle. I set mine to red to match my color scheme of my system.
This case has been an absolute pleasure to work in. It's pretty hard to find faults with it, but if I had to pick something it would be with the manual; Although I understand why they use the same manual for the Enthoo Evolv as they do for the tempered glass edition. There are differences that don't show in the manual. The main difference is the reset button being the control button for the RGB lighting. This case surprised me in fitting the EKWB Predator as I wasn't exactly sure with my measurements but ended up fitting with some sacrifice.
The Enthoo Evolv is most certainly one of the best cases I have built in so far and has definitely made me a Phantek fan in the long run. I tried to stay subjective during the whole build process but was constantly reminded of small design details that really helped make this case outstanding. There is plenty of room to work with for all kinds of different PC combinations from water cooling to regular air setups. The best part about this case is the cable management! I found it took very little effort to make my build look good. Having the 2.5 brackets on the back helped make the predator fit nicely in the front but I lost the 3.5 HDD bracket behind the PSU shroud. The predator is also big enough to block any additional mounting for 3.5 Drives vertically on the extra mounting points. I highly recommend this case for anyone looking for a premium case and loves the tempered glass look. You can buy the Phantek Enthoo Evolv tempered glass edition right now on Amazon for $179.99 (Phanteks Enthoo Evolv ATX Computer Case - Tempered Glass Edition, Satin Black PH-ES515ETG_BK).