Interior and cooling
Building a system in a Mini-ITX case, especially a compact model, can be a real challenge. Phanteks makes it as easy as possible, by making the side panels easily removable. After removing a few thumb screws (they stay with the panel meaning you cannot lose them) you can effortlessly remove the four panels – two glass, two aluminium. Worth mentioning is how neat everything fits together, while still being easy to put back. You do not need to use a lot of force, but there are no unjustifiable seams or cracks. Below you can see how to the panels are removed one by one.
After safely putting away the panels, you are left with a rather bare skeleton. One thing is certain: there is no motherboard tray to tuck your cables behind. Fortunately Phanteks did think of other options.
At the top we see the mount for the motherboard with the graphics card holder placed parallel under it. This is connected to the motherboard with the use of a riser. Remarkable detail: you can place this holder and riser in two different directions. If you have a card with an extraordinary cooler, you can rotate it outwards so that you can see it through the glass. This can also be reversed; when doing so, the cooler helps removing hot air from the case.
Something that immediately stands out with the Evolv Shift X is that there is a lot of ‘wasted’ space at the bottom. This is of course meant for big water cooling radiators or the pump and reservoir of a custom loop. It is also possible to keep this part ‘empty’, and for example only put lighting here. After all, there are more than enough ATX-cases that contain more air than components. The Shift X emphasizes this unused space as not-so-functional, but if you look at it from an aesthetic standpoint, a build with such an open space has the potential to look pretty good.
This is most definitely possible, because Phanteks ingeniously executed the room for cable management. As stated before, there is no motherboard tray. However, you can route your cables behind the aluminium panels on the side. The case is completely set up so that you can route cables along the skeleton. In the middle we also find a cover with the brand logo that you can tilt forwards for easier access. Of course we also find the known Phanteks Velcro straps. This is another example of the ingenious thinking that made the brand popular.
At the bottom we find a bracket for an SFX(L) power supply. This is removable using two thumb screws, after which you can easily slide in the power supply; tighten the two thumb screws and it sits in place. Because of the design, Phanteks left some room here as well to route any left-over cables.
Even further down we find the connector for the power supply, which allows it to connect with the external connector. This is placed next to a 14 cm fan which helps the natural convection (hot, rising air). The Evolv Shift X comes with a second fan next to the motherboard, to supply the processor and graphics card with extra air. This is placed behind one of the closed aluminium side panels, but because there are small holes in this panel the fan is still able to bring fresh air into the case.
In terms of storage the Evolv Shift X has a few possibilities. The most obvious one are 2.5” drives that can be mounted on the back behind the aluminium panel using the known Phanteks brackets. Two of these are supplied with the case, but in total there is room for four. If you consider that we have 2.5” HDDs with a capacity of 5TB and 2TB SSDs in this format, you have more than enough room for most use cases this way. However, if you want you can also place two 3.5” drives at the front behind the aluminium cover and add 20TB of storage (at the moment). However, this is at the expensive of one of the positions for water cooling.
The graphics card bracket is removable for easy installation, as with the bracket for the power supply. For water cooling there is a removable tray that makes assembly easier. The dust filters for the vertical air intakes and beneath the fan are removable as well.
We have not even mentioned internal space. The cpu-cooler can be up to 8.2 cm high – which indicates that Phanteks had water cooling in mind when designing this case. However, for the graphics card there is 52.9 cm available. In other words: more than enough for every thinkable consumer card. For cable management there is 2.7 cm and the radiator at the front can be 8 cm thick, depending of the size of the GPU.
For water cooling there is room for a 120 mm model at the bottom and a 240 or 280 mm model at the front. If you prefer mounting fans instead, you can fit 3x 12 or 14 cm at the front and 1x 12 or 14 cm at the bottom.
We also have to mention that the Evolv Shift X has integrated rgb-lighting, discretely at the top and via optional strips, that is compatible with Asus (Auro) Gigabyte (RGB Fusion) and MSI (Mystic Light) motherboards.