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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  • 1d107 - Thursday, January 24, 2013 - link

    Completely agree. In older days I tested an Antec P-180 with a 130W Core-i7 and didn't find any advantages of having the top fan. And now, when CPUs have lower TDPs, this becomes even less relevant.

    But, mot of all, this case looks plain ugly on the outside. Look at all those unused mounting holes on the side panel. Even the most hidden corner of my closet doesn't deserve this.
    Reply
  • Galatian - Thursday, January 24, 2013 - link

    Actually you are missing the point of the opening. It is (at least for some persons) the best spot to put in the radiator in their water cooling loop. And I believe people who buy cases with as many fan screw holes as this are usually the market demography this case is designed for. A complete silent freak (who doesn't use watercooling) will probably just get a smaller case with noise insulation. Reply
  • WeaselITB - Wednesday, January 23, 2013 - link

    I don't understand the slight against this case (and others) for lack of a fan controller. Sure, back in the day when motherboards had 1 fan plug for your CPU (if you were lucky), I could understand, but doesn't everyone just plug the fans into the motherboard and let the automatic thermal monitoring control them? It seems odd to ding the case for not including a fan controller, but then ding the motherboard for not having enough fan plugs on the board (which has happened in other reviews).

    Which is it?

    -Weasel
    Reply
  • chaos215bar2 - Wednesday, January 23, 2013 - link

    This is pretty much what I thought. I have no interest in a manual fan controller, builtin or otherwise. The inclusion of one is actually a drawback, since it wastes space with controls that I don't want or need.

    There's definitely room for a case to do something really innovative in this area, but until that happens, I'll either use the motherboard's builtin thermal controls or, if there aren't enough headers, I'll use one of the various third party options. That way I end up with a system that doesn't need any manual intervention for thermal control and has exactly the features and behavior that I want.
    Reply
  • Onus - Wednesday, January 23, 2013 - link

    I also agree with this. Furthermore, sometimes proprietary fans are used, for example Antec's, with the HL (or HML) switches.
    Although I've been satisfied with all of the Rosewill cases I've used so far, that top fan problem looks like a dealbreaker on this one.
    Reply
  • dtolios - Wednesday, January 23, 2013 - link

    I agree that the manual fun controller is kinda outdated. I would prefer a smart placed pwm splitter with aux power supplied directly through the psu. Long cabling and sharing a "fan xpert" or equiv smart fan header with more than one fan is more than enough. Imho Reply
  • ezekiel68 - Thursday, January 24, 2013 - link

    It's good that you pointed out the top grommet flaw, but I'm not sure it's fatal. Most radiator designs have the screws pointing into the case with the screw heads on the exterior. Knowing the grommets could come loose, a simple set of four (slightly) larger black washers could be used to ensure a cooling unit would not fall in.

    Should this be necessary? No, of course not. Rosewill should certainly address the issue. But, given the other pluses of the case, it's worth noting there is an easy work-around.
    Reply
  • ol1bit - Friday, January 25, 2013 - link

    Wow,

    I must have missed that info in the past. Interesting it is a New Egg brand.
    Reply
  • Mike89 - Friday, September 13, 2013 - link

    Looks like a pretty nice case to me. The way the sides connect are no issue to me, I've had a lot of them and they are no problem to open and close (I think the reviewer made too big a deal out of that). What's attractive to me is the extended side and top for more room inside the case and I think it looks good. Another really good thing is all fan's are included. You hardly ever see that in any case even the expensive ones. Adding a fan controller would be a cheap and easy thing to do here. The price is about $100 now so I think it's a pretty good deal. I think the reviewer should spend less time on cooling comparisons and more on the case itself. This review didn't even pop off the front to show the fans. I personally could care less about cooling comparisons and skip them when I'm reading about a case. I mean with front, rear, side and top fans I already know what the airflow and cooling is going to be like. Thought this review could have been more thorough. Reply

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