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5 out of 5 eggs Phanteks has earned itself another customer! 07/19/2016

This review is from: Phanteks Evolv PH-ES515E_BK Satin Black Aluminum / Steel ATX MidTower Computer Case

Pros: + Solid build quality and sturdy construction
+ SSD locations are abundant and have logical locations (subjective)
+ Plenty of cable room and management was a breeze
+ Can take E-ATX despite being a mid-tower chassis (don't usually see that)
+ LED color options for front panel (it's so hard to find LEDs that are green so a tip of the hat to Phanteks)
+ Panel doors that swing open
+ Radiator bracket is a thoughtful touch and made the installation process extremely easy, though it's a double edged sword (see cons)
+ Minimalist design; manages to look very sleek and sexy without being too flashy
+ Just the right amount of room for other HDDs and/or SSDs (this of course will be subjective if you require several drives)
+ Very roomy for a mid-tower and the stock fans produce quite a lot of airflow for being stock
+ On the surface this case doesn't seem fan-friendly with the front and top looking quite restrictive, but having felt the amount of air moving around in the case it's obvious that air-cooled rigs would do just fine in this environment
+ Accessories were thoughtful and not just thrown in, especially the screw-box
+ Manual was actually helpful and seems to have been written by a human being instead of a mentally challenged robot
+ Runs cool and quite despite six fans and zero sound-dampening utilities (aside from some foam)
+ Had room for my AIO CPU & GPU cooler

Cons: - No optical drive bay (not a deal breaker, but I always like to have one just because)
- White PCIe covers clash with my current rig (black + green); in my opinion Phanteks should have made them black to stay neutral
- Would have expected at least a couple more USB ports on the front, even if they were only 2.0
- Thick radiators will block the tops of motherboards because the bracket hangs down quite a bit; this makes it interesting for plugging in connectors and/or screwing in the board on standoffs, however this may be a moot issue to experienced builders
- Recommend gloves when handling as the exterior does attract fingerprints, though not as obvious as something like the H440

Other Thoughts: Disclaimer: I bought this product from a different vendor, but wish to give insight to the community since I frequent both sites.

To date I've experienced the Enermax Coenus, NZXT H440, Cooler Master HAF, and the Enthoo Pro. Of those cases I'd have to rate this one, the Evolv, as the best case so far. Even my cons aren't really cons per say, more like nitpicking to describe things that would have been nice to have. My main goal for this purchase was to find a case that I'd be happy with for future builds, since I find myself swapping cases like every six months. So I wanted a case that could take any size board, be a neutral color in case my color scheme changes, and something that would stand up to constant hardware changes. After several reviews on Youtube and other sites, it seemed this one fit the bill.

I listed my specs below so that others could gauge how their experience might play out. It should be noted that I do not have a lot of hardware by any means, and am pretty bare bones in that regard. I also don't have any exotic cooling happening, even though this case is set up to be friendly to those that do. So your mileage may vary. I place emphasis on my case selection as it's the first thing people see when they enter my office, so I want to make a good impression. Call it shallow but I want my computer to scream elegance, and frankly I believe this case does it. It's a subtle kind of elegance, but graceful in a way. Would recommend for users with casual to high performance needs.

Specs:
Maximus Formula VII
Intel 730 SSD
Kraken x61
GTX 980Ti Hybrid
16GB RAM (2x8GB)

READ FULL REVIEW
Phanteks Enthoo Pro Series PH-ES614P_TG Titanium Green Steel / Plastic ATX Full Tower Computer  Case
  • Verified Owner
  • neweggOwned For: 1 week to 1 month

Pros: + Accepts just about every motherboard size on the market, so future upgrades won't be hindered by size
+ Stock fans are actually very good and for the first time I won't be swapping them out right away
+ Side panel design is a change of pace that's pretty neat; instead of having to line up slits, the door operates more like a hinge and makes it easier to slide in and out
+ Optical drives. Yes they might be on their way out, but I for one would rather have one and not need it than need it and not have one
+ Overall build quality; it's quite good considering the plastic components and everything seems to be designed quite well
+ The modding capabilities of this case are ridiculous. While I'm not much of a modder myself, I do appreciate the flexibility to switch things up should that need arise. If you want to know what I'm referring to, look up this case on Youtube and check out some of the reviews - they'll give a visual of what I mean
+ Plenty of room for different size radiators to mount on either the top or front
+ Elevated quite high to maximize bottom intake
+ Plenty of dust filters
+ PSU shroud is removable if it's not your cup of tea to hide your stuff
+ SSD mount in rear; personally, that's one component I don't need to show off but that might be a con for others
+ With the HDD racks installed, users have the option to install an additional 120mm fan to help move air from the 200mm intake

Cons:
- Somewhat louder than my previous case, but not by much (expected because of the size)
- Side panel window is a bit more tinted that I would prefer
- Packing material could be better; mine came a bit scuffed in the back but it's minimal and not worth an egg
- The green isn't exactly green except in bright light, but I'm really splitting hairs here to think of any cons

Other Thoughts: I came from the NZXT H440 and while that case was decent in its own right, I had no idea what I was missing with a full tower set up. To quote Will Ferrell in 'Step Brothers', "There's so much more room for activities!". No longer do I gotta squeeze my cables around tight corners and work real hard to organize all my components. Let's be clear, organizing in a mid-tower is not brain surgery, but never having this much room before it's like night and day. I'm sure other full tower owners won't be surprised, but being a full tower virgin it was a very pleasant surprise.

One aspect that would have made this case absolutely perfect would be a removable radiator mount, such as the one in their EVOLV lineup. It wasn't overly difficult, but if it had been removable it sure would be easier. But this is one of their earliest models so I can't really fault them for it; they were still a pretty new company when this debuted, so at least it was added later. It was the optical drive bays that actually sold me on this. I know it's a dying technology (for some reason), but I like having that option just in case I come across a CD or DVD and wanna pop it in real quick.

Phanteks has earned themselves a customer with this case. I shall review again when more time has passed. Perhaps after the honeymoon stage I'll find something I truly dislike about the case, but for now I'd recommend it if you're looking for a straight forward case with plenty of adaptive features.

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EVGA GeForce GTX 980 Ti 06G-P4-1996-KR 6GB HYBRID GAMING,
  • Verified Owner
  • neweggOwned For: 1 week to 1 month

Pros: + Excellent temperatures. Keeping the card at stock, I ran Aida64 for twenty-four hours and the highest temperature recorded was 56C. Idle sits in the low 30's, depending on what my ambient temperature is. For those unfamiliar with the program, it basically stresses your GPU (as well as other components) to a 100% load, simulating a worst case scenario, and records your temps as time progresses. This is of course way over the top, as your GPU will rarely, if ever, get to a 100% load for any significant period of time. However, it's good to put the card through its paces to test stability and this thing passed with flying colors.

+ Noise level is extremely nominal. During gaming and heavier loads, I can hear the fan but it's no where near what I used to hear on my previous GTX 980 open air cooler (ASUS Matrix for those curious). Though in reality I don't dock much for noise as I usually have my speakers blaring music or a game, so even if it were loud I probably wouldn't care. But for those going for a silent system this is definitely a step in the right direction.

+ Installation was a breeze. For those new to water cooling, myself included, this is an extremely simple set up. Plug and play and start gaming. My OS (Windows 10 Pro) picked up the card instantly and I was running at 1440p (my native resolution) without a single downloaded driver from Nvidia; of course you'll need the latest drivers for games, but it was kinda nice that it was instantly able to render my resolution rather than a fuzzy 1024x768 or something.

+ Packaging was superb. Now, I know most people probably don't really care about this aspect, but to me how the product is packaged is a big deal. There was plenty of cushion and everything was in its proper place. EVGA (or perhaps UPS) went a bit overboard on the boxing. I had the main UPS box which was plain cardboard, under that an 'outer shell' of an Nvidia box that was just plain black, then under that the box itself with the wrapping material, and THEN the slim box that housed the actual card. I suppose I can't complain for being too careful can I? Product was also undamaged and unblemished and all extra components were accounted for.

+ General gaming performance has seen a definite increase. Even though I came from the 980, and on paper the specs are slight, real-world performance has been obvious. I tested this card using the most graphically intense games I own at the moment: GTA V and BF4. Both were played at their HIGHEST available settings; I didn't hold back as I wanted to stress this thing in a real world application, not just synthetically. Both games can be played in 4K with frames hovering between 30 and 40. Definitely playable. At 1440p, my preferred resolution, both were buttery smooth and exceeded 100 FPS. Bear in mind I have a 144Hz monitor from ASUS with G-Sync, so they look absolutely stunning. Temps were very reasonable, with GTA V maxing at 48C and BF4 maxing at 45C.

+ Backplate. I don't care that it doesn't provide thermal benefits (as some other manufacturers claim with theirs), it provides stability and rigidness to a card that's going to be fighting gravity for its entire life. At a premium price I would expect a company to include such an important feature. Hop on Youtube and see what happens to cards over time without a backplate. Scary, considering how much of my paycheck just went to this thing.

+ Overall construction. I'm paranoid and OCD when it comes to how the card looks and how solid the components are. I look at the components, the soldering and the wiring to see if there is anything that would strike me as sub-standard. Loose screws, wobbly shroud or bent wires drive me crazy. This card has none of that. The build quality is quite excellent, with everything tight and feeling premium.

Cons: - The shroud isn't exactly the easiest to match to a color scheme. It's like a champagne gold with a hint of silver thrown in there. It looks great don't get me wrong, but would be very hard to match to a traditional theme.

- No LEDs. Now to some this doesn't matter, and that's cool, but I at least wanted SOMETHING even if it was just the GTX logo lit up or something. Not the end of the world and certainly not something worth taking off a star for.

- No software to control radiator fan (perhaps that can come later with some sort of patch).

Other Thoughts: *Did not purchase from Newegg but like to give feedback to the community since they've helped me so much in the past, so it won't show me as a verified purchase*

TL;DR
By far one of the best cards I've ever owned. Price to performance ratio is perfect; basically 90% of the Titan's capabilities without the hefty price tag (though $700 is still a good chunk of change). There is no need, nor will there be for several years, for 12GB of RAM realistically for most of us. 6GB will give even a hardcore gamer a nice buffer to work with for the next five years. I'm not sure why more designers aren't going with this design, it's a very efficient way to keep both temps and noise to a minimum. There is plenty of headroom for overclockers as well, though I typically don't do it to my components. If you want a card that'll last you for the next couple years (conservatively), then this card is for you. As of this writing, Pascal is still several months away and at least a year from becoming attainable by your average consumer. Maxwell is and will be a strong contender for gamers for quite some time.

*Any and all temps were recorded with RealTemp (updated to latest version) and CAM which is NZXT's software for monitoring CPU and GPU temps. Both temps were within a degree of each other.

For comparison sakes my specs are posted below. The radiator is being utilized as a rear exhaust for now though I might try a different set up in the future. Longevity will be the most important factor, so I hope to report back in a couple years stating how fine of a card this has turned out to be. My old 680 FTW lasted around three years without so much has a hiccup. EVGA quality hasn't let me down...yet.

Core i7 4790k 4.0GHz
16GB Corsair Vengeance 1866MHz (CAS 9)
Intel 730 SSD
NZXT H440 Razer Edition Case (Positive pressure environment)
Windows 10 Pro x64

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Colin G.'s Profile

Display Name: Colin G.

Date Joined: 10/18/07

  • Reviews: 34
  • Helpfulness: 23
  • First Review: 12/28/08
  • Last Review: 07/19/16
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