At CES 2022, PC cases and cooling specialist Phanteks has taken the wraps off an intriguing new case. The Phanteks Evolv Shift XT name gives a clue to its heritage, but this model can "Shift" more than its brethren. This mini-ITX case can be physically user-adapted to your choice of three sizes. Thanks to its adaptability, Phanteks promises the Evolv Shift XT provides "Maximum Cooling, No Compromises."
Buyers of Mini ITX cases often face a sticky situation balancing the goal of a compact PC system with the need for a certain amount of power and expandability. Once you make a choice, you are normally stuck with what are sometimes quite severe limits, particularly with a mini-ITX chassis. The Phanteks Evolv Shift XT can help remove the potential for such buyer's remorse.
The central idea behind the Phanteks Evolv Shift XT seems to be that a modest PC build with lower power / higher efficiency components can settle for the most compact option. If you add a powerful GPU, you can crank up the height of the case, giving GPU fans more room to breathe. Finally, a higher third level allows users to add in a large AIO radiator as well. It looks good too, with its tempered glass infinity mirror exposed front panel.
Some key specs of the Phanteks Evolv Shift XT, beyond its triple modes, are its 2.5mm anodised aluminium build, its standard fitting of ultra fine mesh dust filters, and a convenient radiator bracket installed in the top of the case. In the video up top, you can see how all the different internal components relate to one another and the way the top radiator section of the case swings on a hinge at the back to provide decent system access. With the side panels removed, you can get at and upgrade/replace all major components quite easily.
One of the biggest performance components in a gaming PC is usually the graphics card. Despite its Mini ITX form factor the Phanteks Evolv Shift XT can fit up to triple slot designs that are up to 325mm in length, providing ample space for most users. Phanteks says that a PCIe Gen4 riser cable is included in the box, and it will be necessary to fit your GPU vertically, as pictured.
One thing we must be clear about is that the Phanteks Evolv Shift XT doesn't feature any mechanised system to expand and contract the vertical height of the case. It isn't a hugely expensive flight of fancy like some of the exotic articulated InWin cases that can be popular at trade shows. The height of this Mini ITX case is a build decision you will make as you put together your PC. However, you can be comfortable knowing that you can change the height later as you see fit, or as needed.
Availability and pricing
At the time of writing we haven't got the full specs of the Phanteks Evolv Shift XT, only some outline details that Phanteks wanted to share at CES ahead of a full-on launch in Feb. The Evolv Shift XT will hit retail with an MSRP of €169.90 / £159.90 / $169.99. It will be available in Satin Black and Galaxy Silver finishes.
Phanteks also recommends pairing with the new Evolv Shift XT case with its also new for CES 2022 Revolt SFX PSU series, available in 650W Gold, 750W Gold, or 750W Platinum. We aren't certain whether you will need an SFX PSU for the Evolv Shift XT chassis, or if that will just make things less cramped in the case. Either way, it's an attractive looking SFF option that can grow as needed with future upgrades.
Stay on the Cutting Edge
Join the experts who read Tom's Hardware for the inside track on enthusiast PC tech news — and have for over 25 years. We'll send breaking news and in-depth reviews of CPUs, GPUs, AI, maker hardware and more straight to your inbox.
Mark Tyson is a Freelance News Writer at Tom's Hardware US. He enjoys covering the full breadth of PC tech; from business and semiconductor design to products approaching the edge of reason.