There aren’t lots of mini-ITX chassis which are really, y’know, mini. However, whereas the Phanteks Evolv Shift XT might need a giant ol’ identify, it is one of many smallest gaming chassis round that may take a full-size graphics card.
Although typically it isn’t. The sensible factor about this wee case is that it may possibly evolv(e), relying on how a lot cooling you need. With three completely different dimension profiles, the Evolv Shift XT permits you to have a super-compact system, one thing with a little bit extra cooling, or a system that may pack in a 240mm AIO CPU cooler with out compromising overly on scale.
I will be trustworthy, I hoped for some kind of mechanised technique of shifting dimension profiles, like some whirring, sliding motion the place the chassis grows in entrance of my eyes. However that is not the way it works, and sure, would actually be pointlessly advanced if it did. All you really want do to vary the dimensions is transfer two standoffs between three completely different factors on the roof of the case, and screw in or take away the related backplates to prop it up.
It is delightfully easy, which is one thing the Phanteks chassis has as an indicator of use. Entry to the within of the case is totally tool-free, and to interrupt it down fully you solely must take away a single thumbscrew.
Evolv Shift XT specs
That makes diving in and altering issues actually easy… however solely as soon as your machine is definitely constructed. Whereas the precise construct course of stays easy, it is positively not enjoyable. This can be a common problem with mini-ITX machines; the cramped confines of the case inevitably makes for an ungainly constructing expertise most occasions.
That is what makes one thing just like the NZXT H1 V2 such a breath of contemporary air in relation to the really placing your rig collectively.
It should be mentioned, nevertheless, that upon getting your system up and operating, you’ll rapidly neglect these preliminary teething issues. Nicely, as long as you have not sliced a finger or scraped the pores and skin off a knuckle on a very egregious motherboard heatsink, that’s.
And that is really the place issues really feel probably the most tight with the Evolv Shift XT; across the motherboard. It is so tightly positioned to the sting of the chassis’ body that attempting to get all the required cables plumbed in requires some severe digital gymnastics. Particularly in case your mini-ITX board additionally has these egregious heatsinks.
Your choose of energy provide will have an effect on your construct and the way pleasing it’s within the last reckoning, too. I’ve a 750W SFX-L PSU which I have been utilizing for mini-ITX builds, and whereas it does match comfortably into the Shift XT, it does prohibit your construct. Phanteks does advocate you go for an SFX possibility as an alternative.
Most noticeably utilizing an SFX-L PSU stops you having the ability to drop in an AIO cooler, even with the case on its largest setting, as there is not sufficient house for each the liquid tubing and the facility cables to coexist.
What I’ll say, nevertheless, is that there’s nonetheless an enormous quantity of house for a graphics card to stay. Your complete left-hand facet of the case is dedicated to your GPU, and with twin followers put in with the chassis on its center dimension setting, you additionally get a wholesome quantity of airflow, too.
Although, not each graphics card. We did strive the brand new Radeon RX 6950XT and that didn’t go so properly. I imply, with the PCIe 4.0 riser cable unscrewed we may get it operating… however the lid did not fairly match.
I am going to admit I had a little bit of a adverse expertise constructing into the Phanteks, and that originally colored my emotions concerning the case. However the extra time I’ve spent with it, the extra I’ve tweaked, and poked, and prodded it, the extra I prefer it.
I actually admire simply how small it may possibly go at its most diminutive, and nonetheless pack in a full GPU. You may match a low profile CPU air cooler into the case and never should increase it. However should you’re going for something above mid-range GPUs or processors then you’ll profit from having the additional cooling putting in a pair of 240mm followers within the roof will ship.
And, with a straight SFX PSU inside it, having a 240mm AIO CPU cooler put in will preserve a robust processor in line, whereas nonetheless providing some further ambient cooling in your GPU and motherboard.
In a world the place mini-ITX gaming chassis aren’t that mini, the Phanteks Evolv Shift XT can ship a pint-sized gaming PC that may carry out. But it surely’s additionally a tiny chassis that may actually develop along with your PC, and that is a particular bonus. Simply try to stay calm through the construct course of and know that the fallibility of human reminiscence will erase the inevitable ache.