|Rosewill Armor EVO E-ATX Computer Case|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Cases|
|Written by Tom Jaskulka|
|Tuesday, 29 January 2013|
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Closer Look: Exterior
The 230mm side fan is the defining feature of this enclosure. Prominent from almost every angle, this fan arguably is the secret to aggressively cooling a pair of hot GPUs (on air). While Rosewill opted for some style choices to the Thor v2, the Armor-EVO sticks to a very conservative design. If it weren't for the raised side and top panels, it would essentially amount to a black box with straight edges. Although somewhat "boring" in pictures, I have to admit the design was surprisingly attractive in person for something so visually...staid.
I was disappointed to see the 140mm rear fan did not carry over from the Thor v2 chassis - 140mm fans generally move the same amount of air at lower RPMs (therefore less noise), and there has been a general shift among many manufacturers towards 140mm fans. If anything, a bigger mounting area reduces possible clearance issues when mounting a 120mm radiator, or a large air-cooled CPU heatsink and fan. Thankfully, the included 120mm is subjectively quiet, even at full speed. Seven PCI slots, along with four grommeted holes (typically for water cooling hoses, although I've rarely seen them used for this purpose...still, it is nice that the space is utilized) complete the rear of the enclosure.
The top of the Armor-EVO is simple - a combination 120mm-140mm fan mount, allowing for two fans or a 240-280mm radiator for water cooling. The I/O ports are typical, and in a good location with USB2.0 and USB3.0 options - although you may experience some issues with certain wireless adapters or bigger USB thumb drives due to the orientation of the ports. Not much of an issue... What could potentially cause other issues are those soft rubber grommets holding the fans. While experimenting with different fan configurations, I had decided to remove the top fans - in the process, after removing three screws, the fan itself fell into the enclosure! The weight of the 120mm fan had caused the screw to pull the grommet with it. See those oval grommets, in the center? They allow for a convenient fit for either a 120mm or 140mm fan, but in the process compromise a bit of structural rigidity. A simple fix for the tinkerers out there, and in all reality not much of an issue (a radiator could cause some damage falling out - but, a 240mm radiator's weight should be spread out over 8 holes, possibly negating the issue). Still, something to watch out for, and something that may need revising.
The bottom is pretty standard for ATX enclosures. The feet provide enough height to keep the PSU supplied with cool air regardless of the surface it is resting on. The easily removeable PSU filter keeps the dust level down, and another 120/140mm fan mount is there as an option to supply even more cool air to the GPUs. You can also see the button used to turn the LEDs on and off for the front fans, located underneath the front panel.
In my fervor to discover if the Armor-EVO was just a smaller Thor, I had assumed it would carry many of the same design characteristics. I am very unhappy to discover that wasn't the case with the side panels. The Thor had used a type of "pivot" system, where the only edge to line up was the front edge. The panels would then just swing into place - making installation and removal drastically easier.
Not so with the Armor-EVO. The Armor-EVO uses the typical "raised line of tabs" mechanism that requires completely even pressure and a careful hand to line up properly. Any bend or flex in the side panel will result in a frustrating experience trying to get them back on. Above, you can see the fit of side panels - it seems as if they had the same experience preparing the chassis for shipping, as it came like this from the factory. Although it is possibly due to handling during shipping, there weren't any other marks or dents on the box or case - and the metal tab itself was actually bent back onto the side panel, causing the fit above. After I had used a screwdriver to bend the tabs back to the normal position, the panel went on a little easier...but why not use the same system as the Thor? A decision like this can make working in a case a good experience or a frustrating one.