Wed. Nov 30th, 2022

My feelings about the state of the PC case design are: familiar (spoiler: it sucks), but every now and then someone does something different enough, or smart enough, to get my attention. Enter the Phanteks Evolv Shift and Shift X, two classes made from tempered glass and aluminum that eschew the standard PC tower form factor for something more vertical. Both are available today from Overclockers for £104 and £145 in Satin Black and Anthracite Grey.

The Evolv Shift picks up where Silverstone’s venerable Fortress FT03 series left off, sporting space for a mini-ITX motherboard, SFX or SFX-L power supply and a full-length (350mm) graphics card in a footprint chassis of only 170 mm wide and 274 mm deep (it is 470 mm high). The Shift is split into two parts, with the graphics card behind a tempered glass panel on one side and the motherboard and power supply behind another tempered glass panel on the other.

The front and rear panels, which can be easily removed for cable management, are made of anodized aluminum, while the internal frame is made of powder-coated steel. Despite its small size, there is room inside for two 120mm all-in-one liquid coolers, or a single 140mm AIO liquid cooler. Air coolers up to 82mm high are also supported. Case I/O is limited to just two USB 3.0 ports, but since the motherboard is rotated 90 degrees with the IO facing up, it’s easy enough to connect peripherals.

Elsewhere, there are two PCIe slots, a 3.5-inch hard drive bay, and two 2.5-inch hard drive bays. A 140mm fan, GPU bracket and a PCIe riser cable are also included. There’s even support for MSI Mystic Light Sync, Gigabyte RGB fusion and Asus Aura sync for the built-in RGB power button.

Those who need a little more space for cooling are served by the Evolv Shift X, which is larger by 650mm. The extra height allows the installation of a 240mm radiator at the front, with a 120mm at the bottom, or a single 280mm radiator. Combined with the extra space under the motherboard – which also allows full ATX power supplies up to 160mm – it is possible to install a fully custom liquid cooling loop with reservoir.

Phanteks includes a pump bracket for that purpose, along with two 140mm fans, a GPU bracket, PCIe riser cable, and an 8-pin CPU extension cable, which may be necessary thanks to the Shift X’s extra height.

Phanteks is launching both the Shift and Shift X as living room cases, and I can definitely see that work is just based on looks. The fact that they can be laid flat also means that you could place one under the TV like you would a soundbar, albeit a fairly large one. Anyway, these are cases that, for once, offer something different from the usual array of big boxes and gamer aesthetics that the PC case industry spawns.

Look out for some fun builds in these cases on Ars Technica soon.

By akfire1

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