In and Around the Rosewill Armor EVO

Generally when I receive a review unit from a vendor that's in any state of disrepair, I'll contact them and request a replacement. Unfortunately with the Rosewill Armor EVO, the problem wasn't any specific physical damage, it was just poor build quality in the first place. I'll get there in a moment.

First, the aesthetic for the Armor EVO is for the most part pretty staid. "Gamer" enclosures have been getting progressively less ostentatious as of late (thankfully), and the Armor EVO is more of a stylized black box. It doesn't greatly stand out but doesn't need to, it merely needs to look decent and serve its purpose. The red LED fans behind the front grill add a nice bit of flair to the EVO, and the whole front being done as a mesh is an attractive, uniform design.

Move to the top of the case and you see the I/O panel and what is both the best and worst design decision in the EVO: the extruded fan grill. As a means of increasing interior space to allow headroom for a 240mm radiator, this is a great idea. I don't think it looks particularly bad either; mesh is a specific design motif for the EVO, so it makes sense that it would appear here as a functional accent. Where it goes horribly south are the rubber grommets used to hold the fans in place. Simply put, they barely work. Jostling in transit caused one of the fans to fall into the case. Reaffixing it revealed the same fundamental problem: with a bit of force, you can actually pull the grommets (and thus, the screws) through the grill and inside the case. So while there's space for a radiator, I wouldn't dare mount one as I don't believe the existing mounts can actually support the weight. This is a fatal flaw in the EVO's design.

The side panels are held in place with four thumbscrews (two each) and unfortunately, Rosewill employs a notched mounting mechanism instead of a hinge or any other design. Working with the Armor EVO, I'm actually starting to take this design as a personal affront; the steel notches on the panels themselves are easy enough to bend that if you try to jam the panel back onto the case without applying equal pressure to almost the entirety of the panel, you'll basically dig them into the side panel itself and have to bend them back out with a screwdriver.

The EVO's interior is mostly smartly designed but still pretty bog standard for an ATX case. Rosewill includes seven laterally oriented drive sleds, and the drive sleds themselves are metal (NZXT, take note) and very sturdy. The toolless mounting mechanisms for the 5.25" bays are also nice and secure, and they're on both sides of the cage instead of just on the left. There are also the typical grommet-lined routing holes in the motherboard tray.

Honestly, it's difficult to press on with a review when you're dealing with such a glaring flaw as the mounting used for the top fans. I believe it's adequate to support the weight of the two included 120mm fans so long as they're not jostled, and if you opt to use screws with wider heads you can probably short circuit the problem. But the fact is, this seriously undermines the Armor EVO and needs to be fixed in short order.

Introducing the Rosewill Armor EVO Assembling the Rosewill Armor EVO
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  • max347 - Wednesday, January 23, 2013 - link

    Second paragraph, second sentence, seen->see*?
  • SunLord - Wednesday, January 23, 2013 - link

    You know what I would like to see in case reviews photos of the case with different size motherboards. I don't care about them testing the case with all the different sizes but it would be nice to see what a Full ATX and an E-ATX would look like installed in the cases that support them using a MicroATX MB is nice for a constant variable in testing across all cases but gives you zero clue on how well a motherboard you would actually use in this case would fit or look
  • Sabresiberian - Wednesday, January 23, 2013 - link

    I agree here. I understand the reson to stick with one size mainboard for all testing, but I'm very skeptical of the clams of some of these case manufacturers when they say their case will hold "XL-ATX" and "E-ATX". Get one of those EVGA SR-2s and slap that baby in there, heh.
  • Sabresiberian - Wednesday, January 23, 2013 - link

    reason*; claims*. Sheesh, my error checker was way on the blink on this post.
  • Barbarossa - Monday, January 28, 2013 - link

    The SR-2 is HPTX, most cases don't claim compatibility with that.

    By E-ATX most people mean a Rampage or Maximus board from Asus or similar, which isn't actually the same as the TRUE E-ATX spec.

    XL-ATX is kind of a made-up spec, but it was used to define longer than standard boards (more than 8 slots).
  • ForeverAlone - Wednesday, January 23, 2013 - link

    It's nice to see that twin-120mm fans on the front are standard now.
  • number58 - Wednesday, January 23, 2013 - link

    I noticed that the numbers from the recently reviewed phantom 630 were not in the tables to compare with this case. Any particular reason?
  • vol7ron - Wednesday, January 23, 2013 - link

    Not sure this would have much of an impact on results, but do you take ambient temperature before/during (maybe even after) tests?
  • pensive69 - Wednesday, January 23, 2013 - link

    how about a marriage between a small home or dorm room fridge maker and a case maker? you'd be able to do your install INSIDE an actual fridge with insulation and temp controls provided in a system designed to work at 35 - 45 F anyway?
    ambient air solutions start around 30 - 40 F higher out of the box
  • Beenthere - Wednesday, January 23, 2013 - link

    Some of the PC case makers seem to have lost the plot...

    There is a reason why the original tower PC cases were built the way they were with no openings in the top of the case. Here's a hint: what blows out can also fall in...

    While in theory an open top allows warm air to escape easily, it also allows dirt/dust/liquids/small objects, etc. to enter - even when unintended or unwanted. Thus top openings in PC cases are a bad idea on several fronts including NOISE, for those who don't already know.

    As far as buying this Rosewill case based on it's "thermal headroom", that is a sick joke. It hardly matters if your OC'd CPU runs at 49C or 51C as either is well within the low end of the operating range for ANY CPU. Hell 59C isn't even an issue.

    With all of the disadvantages to this case design be it the top opening, which being raised is REALLY bad, the noise, the shoddy construction, the excessive fan noise, the screened side panel and the excessive price, this unit can hardly be recommended for anyone with a clue. Yes some folks will buy it for it's "stealthy" look or it's pretty LEDs but not anyone with a clue, especially when you can buy a quality conventional PC casr for ~$70.

    It's actually quite silly what the PC case market has become in recent years to entice the 13 year old kids. I'm surprised they aren't selling PC cases with tit and arse plastered on the outside of them - aka Lara Croft/Anjie Jolie, like they do GPU cards. Those would fly out the door faster than they could produce them. The 13 year old kids could have their favorite fantasy babe half naked sprawling all over the outside of their PC case. Oh baby, I can't wait for these...soon to be on shelves no doubt. :(

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