|Rosewill Armor EVO E-ATX Computer Case|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Cases|
|Written by Tom Jaskulka|
|Tuesday, 29 January 2013|
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E-ATX Case Final Thoughts
Maybe it isn't fair. Perhaps I started on the wrong foot by comparing a tried-and-true full tower with a brand-new mid-tower. The performance speaks for itself, but it seems that is about the only thing that carried over from the Thor v2. It is hard to forgive some of the frustrating design choices made with the Armor-EVO, since we know Rosewill has delivered some excellent computer cases in the past.
Rosewill Armor-EVO Conclusion
There is no doubt the Rosewill Armor-EVO is a good performer. It cools just as well as one of the better air-cooled enclosures out there, but fails to deliver the same price to performance ratio. At the time of this review, the Armor-EVO was listed for sale at $99.99 (NewEgg / Amazon) - perhaps they came to the same realization. However, this is a competitive category; frankly, the competition offers similar performance, better build quality and more features.
It is always difficult to judge appearance - I've mentioned before the (arguably useless) actuating fins on the Thor are one of my favorite features. Obviously, things like that are very subjective. Hopefully, the pictures give you enough of an idea to decide for yourself, but I can admit the Armor-EVO does look quite nice in person. The simple lines and "black monolith" look work very well. Clean lines and simple designs are usually pretty timeless - the mesh front does a great job of combining form and function, while the side and top meshes are solid and decent looking as well. I suppose all I can really say here is this case looks better in person than in a picture - as to whether it fits your tastes is up to you.
The Armor-EVO is constructed well, made almost entirely of steel with very little plastic. I simply cannot forgive those side panels though - if Rosewill would have carried over the same hinged panels from the Thor, this review might have gone just a little differently. Honestly, it perplexes me: why have a proven system that works well, and go back to a poorly implemented inferior version? The "tab" system only works well when every tab and hole is lined up perfectly - an unnecessary inconvenience and something that could be avoided entirely. Unfortunately, the side panels weren't the only issue. Most of the other quirks are pretty easy fixes (use a washer or a little glue for those top grommets, and problem solved - should this be necessary?), and would be acceptable if this was the only case available at its price point. However, there are other computer cases for the same price or less that don't force the user to tinker to get an out-of-the-box solution.
The Rosewill Armor-EVO has average functionality for an extended-ATX capable enclosure. It's easy enough to build in but made more frustrating than necessary by the side panels. It doesn't use a fan controller, although one could easily be added (again, something that is provided in some of the competition...) The omission of a fan controller doesn't by itself change the rating here; the fact that the price doesn't reflect the omission hurts the score. The Armor-EVO provides ample space for additional fans or water cooling, but moving massive amounts of air is about the limit of this enclosure's functionality - again, this by itself is impressive; when it is virtually the only "function" compared to the similarly-priced competition, it becomes an issue and reduces the rating accordingly.
If all you need to do is move massive amounts of air, this case will do it. Therein lies the value problem - there are lots of other cases out there that will accomplish this as well while adding a couple more features (either hotswap bays, fan controllers, latching panels, etc.). For the launch price of $119, I simply would not be able to strongly recommend this enclosure over the available alternatives.
+ Great air-cooled performance
- "Expensive" compared to the competition
Final Score: 7.4 out of 10.
COMMENT QUESTION: Would the Rosewill Armor EVO score high on your wish list?