The gorgeous Phanteks Evolv Shift is not your average PC case

The sleek metal stylings of the Phanteks Enthoo Evolv grace our shortlist of the best mini-ITX cases and our collection of the best cases for any PC build. They're reasonably priced cases that look and feel premium, with a bold sense of design that's smarter than your average gaming gear. At Computex this year Phanteks showed off the near-final version of its next case, and it's a beauty: a bolder take on the metal-and-glass tower in a tall, narrow tower that looks more like a high-end floor speaker than a PC case.

The Evolv Shift and the larger Evolv Shift X are both mini-ITX cases, but they aren't aiming for the usual compact approach. Both towers have ample room for a full-size graphics card, and the Shift X can hold a full-size ATX power supply and up to a 280 radiator for cooling. The Shift X is really designed for a custom cooling solution, as Phanteks showed it off with a water block and hard piping.

The shorter Shift is better suited to an all-in-one water cooler and can only fit an SFX power supply, and is the slightly more budget-oriented model. The plate that rests on its head and covers the I/O ports is plastic instead of aluminum. It can only hold a pair of SSDs and one HDD, whereas the X has space to mount four SSDs and a couple HDDs if you need that much storage. But the rest of the system, like the Shift X, is a mix of tempered glass sides and gorgeous aluminum front and back panels. Both have integrated RGB controllers.

The Shift is especially striking opened up, and you can take all four panels off the case for amazing access to its guts. That should mitigate much of the annoyance of building in your typical mini-ITX case, and the panels are easy to slot back into place. A pair of pins at bottom of top guide it into place, then lock in when lowered. And if you want the Shift to lay on its side, it can do that too. Either orientation is fine, though it's definitely a bit more striking standing tall.

Both variations of the shift reek of premium design, and they're not cheap, but they're definitely cheaper than I expected. The Shift X will sell for $160, while the smaller Shift will sell for $110. Both should be available a bit later this year in Q3.

Wes Fenlon
Senior Editor

Wes has been covering games and hardware for more than 10 years, first at tech sites like The Wirecutter and Tested before joining the PC Gamer team in 2014. Wes plays a little bit of everything, but he'll always jump at the chance to cover emulation and Japanese games.

When he's not obsessively optimizing and re-optimizing a tangle of conveyor belts in Satisfactory (it's really becoming a problem), he's probably playing a 20-year-old Final Fantasy or some opaque ASCII roguelike. With a focus on writing and editing features, he seeks out personal stories and in-depth histories from the corners of PC gaming and its niche communities. 50% pizza by volume (deep dish, to be specific).