Description

I've not built a PC since 2011, so it had been a while. I've always been a fan of small form factor so when it came time to build a new machine, it was pretty much always going to be mITX. I have no need for masses of drives, and I'm not a major overclocker so for me the latest mITX motherboards have very little day-to-day compromises. Regarding AMD, I built a fairly serious overclocking system back in their hay-day so it was a great opportunity to get back to Team Red after everyone I know having only one option out there for so long (for context, I'm 40yo and have been into computers since the late 80's... okay, did I just lose 2/3rds of my audience?).

I had been looking at small cases for about a year, and I was close to purchasing one many times but I always found them to have one or two points I likely couldn't live with. Then along came the Phanteks' Evolv Shift. Like many, I fell in love with this fascinating chassis from day dot. Once it was eventually available I began sorting out a parts list...

Phanteks Evolv Shift case Its not that cheap, but I've always been of the mind that you often get what you pay for in a chassis. IMO for its unique design, execution, features and build quality the price is well worth it! I've spent WAY more on cases in the past and gotten a lot less quality. There is a lot of innovation going on here, from the layout, to the cable management, to the way each face is fixed to the main chassis. It really is brilliant executed for a first try at this design!

In regards to cable management, I think its as good as it could be really. The real advantage of its design are the two 'avenues' under the front and rear faces. Utilise these and you should have few issues. Of course, I've only got one drive, and only one case fan (at the moment), so YMMV. Also, there is the impact of your motherboard choice, which is very important in this case (as it is in most mITX builds). Overall, super pleased with the case, it was great to build in and a joy to observe once running!

Asus ROG Strix B350-i Gaming motherboard I guess this is where my build starts to deviate from the other AM4 Ryzen Shift builds out there (possibly the first one? I've been very slow to post this unfortunately). When I first started looking into mITX Ryzen boards, I was a little annoyed. It seemed all had compromises for no reason. When there were rumours of Asus bringing a Strix version out, I knew it would be one to wait for, so I did. I bought this on the first day of release (something I'd generally never advise for a motherboard...) after seeing its feature list and examining its layout.

Apart from the RGB features (which match and sync's with my Strix GPU, AIO cooler and RAM) I was also very pleased with the layout of this board for my application. It turned out great, and IMO is probably the best layout of any of the AM4 mITX boards. I hope that is illustrated in my cable management, but generally this case + this mobo = tidy build! I love the fact this motherboard also gives the option of running an M.2 drive on the top/front side as well as the usual bottom/back side, and its the only mITX board I know of (at least for Ryzen, possibly overall?) that has this feature. I haven't yet but will be utilising the M.2 mount/s in the future for an even cleaner build.

In summary, this mobo is expensive, yes, but I think it was worth it for the aesthetics, functionality and painless build. Its a high quality board too, with numerous heat sinks and a very thick, high grade (heavy!) black PCB.

EDIT: just to add, I didn't realise till I actually plugged this system in, but the RGB M.2 cover and LED strip on the back of this board can also be a feature when the system is off (PSU still switched on though, obviously). This was a nice surprise, you get a little light show even when the PC isn't running.

AMD Ryzen 1600X CPU Not much to say that's not already been said by everyone else. For the money, this chip (and its non-X brother) are great value and a sweet spot in the latest AMD lineup. Why the "X" over the standard 1600? Well, I already had a cooler, and I got this at a decent (for Australia...) price, so why not!

EDIT: I've been able to easily run my 1600X at 3.9mhz without any issues.

DeepCool Captain 120EX RGB AIO cooler A great fit for the Shift case, this cooler was my second choice next to the NZXT Kraken. As the Kraken is a squeeze in this case (as it officially isn't meant to fit) I went the Captain 120EX RGB. The fan seems decent quality and is very quiet during operation. Temps seem fine (more detail to go into on this once I overclock a little). Regarding fitment, its pretty simple, and I figured the base position would be the best in regards to airflow (fan sucking in from the bottom). I did read that the CPU glass tube on the Captain is a tight fit against the glass side panel of the Shift, and I was worried due to the added thickness of my Asus motherboard, but it seems to juuuuust fit.

EDIT: Managed to situate the DeepCool RGB LED strip under the front face of the case. This gives some extra ambient light to the internals plus gives some light out of the front fins. Not bad. I've uploaded a photo of the final product.

Asus ROG Strix GTX 1070 GPU I got a good discount on this card that was hard to refuse, so I had to jump at it. I was worried a 1080 may pump a little too much head into the case, so a 1070 was the perfect choice for me. I'm only an occasional gamer, and planning on upgrading my monitor to a 1440p 27" or Ultrawide, so that matches up quite nicely with this GPU.

Fitment... This was the first item I bought but I knew based on OEM measurements that it would fit fine in the case with a 120mm AIO in the bottom position. Turns out, its waaaay tighter than I anticipated! In fact, the GPU shroud is resting on the frame of the radiator fan (check the photos). I had planned on adding thinner fans and going a push-pull set up anyway, so this will get sorted a little later. This GPU does fit though, but with some 'persuasion' and tweaking of the radiator position... The GPU looks great though, obviously has RGB that can sync with my motherboard, and its IMO the best backplate treatment on the market, and works super well in this case with its second side glass panel.

G.Skill Trident Z RGB 3000mhz RAM Great looking RAM and probably has the performance to match, buuuut at this stage I've not been able to get the stock 3000mhz clock out of them (they default to 2133). This is likely a motherboard BIOS issue (running latest BIOS, though its only the second iteration at this stage). I need time to work more with voltages (also on the CPU side) so I'm confident I will be able to iron out this issue with time. Otherwise, I spent a lot of cash on 2133mhx RAM!! :[

EDIT: Was able to get my RAM to run at 3000mhz with a later bios, as expected.

Silverstone Gold 500W SFX modular PSU Great little PSU. I've never held a SFX PSU in my hands so it was amusing when I pulled it out of the box, even knowing its dimensions prior! Great quality feel, and slotted straight in without fuss (Phanteks have FYI started removing the brace at the bottom of the Shift case that was causing clashes with some PSU power switches), and nice cables that are more flexible than they look. I know many complain about the Corsair PSU modular cables being very stiff, I found these great to work with. "YFSMV" = Your finger strength may vary... ;p So far its been super quiet (an aim for this system) so I've been very pleased. Very glad I didn't go a SFX-L PSU.

Corsair Force GS 240gb SSD This was the drive I had in a previous build. I've reused it here (fresh install with Windows 10 Pro, free upgraded from Win 7 Ultimate) as its still very fast. Once M.2 prices get more reasonable I will go that route, but this drive is fine for my needs for now.

Final Thoughts Overall I'm super happy with this build. I'm only an occasional gamer, but I work from home now and then and require a decent rig to do so (for 3D modelling/CAD tasks). I am pretty aesthetics driven I must admit, and I'm blown away by the look and functionality of the Shift, its so different and striking sitting on the desk. Its exactly what I was after. :)

That's it really. Any questions please ask, I'm more than happy to answer any queries.

Cheers, *3o3

Part Reviews

CPU

Not much to say that's not already been said by everyone else. For the money, this chip (and its non-X brother) are great value and a sweet spot in the latest AMD lineup. Got mine running at 3.9mhz all day with no issues in my mITX B350-I Strix build.

CPU Cooler

Works and looks great, operates quietly, fan quality seems decent with rubber dampers, installation was a snap. Easily cooling my overclocked Ryzen 1600X in a mITX case. Mine has sync'd up to ASUS Aura flawlessly on my B350-I motherboard.

It would be 5 starts but I took 1 star off as the middle third of my LED strip appears to be out of sync and displays the incorrect colour.

Motherboard

Great layout for an mITX Ryzen motherboard, in fact I think its the best on the market. Seems to perform very well. The fact you can run 2 M.2 drives is great (unsure how this might affect heat in an mITX build though). The RGB effects are great, and Aura seems to sync with all my other parts seamlessly. Overclocking has been pretty rock solid for me too.

My only issue is my wifi seems to be super weak (aerial needs to be beside the modem or phone to even work) but I might have a faulty aerial - I need to test this further.

Overall, its one of the more expensive mITX motherboard choices out there for Ryzen users, but if you can find it for a discount now with the second gen Ryzen coming out then I highly recommend it.

Memory

Works as advertised, looks mint. That's about it...

Case

Its not that cheap, but I've always been of the mind that you often get what you pay for in a chassis, and often well designed mITX cases are a premium. IMO for its unique design, execution, features and build quality the price is well worth it! I've spent WAY more on cases in the past and gotten a lot less quality.

There is a lot of innovation going on here, from the layout, to the cable management, to the way each face is fixed to the main chassis. It really is brilliant executed for a first try at this design!

In regards to cable management, I think its as good as it could be really. The real advantage of its design are the two 'avenues' under the front and rear faces. Utilise these and you should have few issues. Of course, I've only got one SSD drive, and only one case fan (at the moment), so YMMV. Also, there is the impact of your motherboard choice, which is very important in this case (as it is in most mITX builds). On the fan, this seems okay flow wise, but if you sit this very close to you perhaps invest in a quieter fan. Its not bad though.

If I could I'd take half a star off as its not the best performing mITX case out there as my GPU (STRIX 1070) does get a bit toasty (sits in the low 80 degree C's) so if you value performance over all else, perhaps look elsewhere (though if that is the case, perhaps mITX isn't for you?). I think if you are even considering this case in the first place, then you probably are willing to sacrifice a little less thermal performance for amazing looks.

Overall, super pleased with the case, it was great to build in and a joy to observe once running!

Comments

  • 23 months ago
  • 1 point

It's the first build I've seen like this with photos. I've been considering an mITX and although I wouldn't go with this case for personal reasons, it's inspiring in how different and unique to turned out. Good job on this build.

  • 23 months ago
  • 1 point

Nice and clean build. Where did you manage to find the MB?

  • 23 months ago
  • 1 point

There were a couple of retailers in Oz that listed the mobo, but it seemed only Shopping Express were the ones who actually had any to sell... Usual story of Aussie retailers listing the latest and greatest parts without actual having it. It was the highest price listed but seemed to be the only option.

note that my prices are in AUD and include shipping

  • 23 months ago
  • 1 point

The case really defines the PC. Makes it unique upon itself and builder. I saw the one similar to yours posted after yours was and had a the same appreciation. I think I will have to build one of these towers.

  • 23 months ago
  • 1 point

Very clean. I like that motherboard. Wasn't available when I did my Phanteks Shift. Case is tight on building but yours looks great.

  • 23 months ago
  • 1 point

This build is glorious. I think it was just yesterday that I was discussing my philosophy of form and function with my coworker (we're also both engineers). He asked me what I thought about taking an econobox car and suping it up to supercar performance. Through this question, I realized I don't think pure performance is everything but that aesthetic had a place too. I thought it was funny that you would write what you did in your Final Thoughts paragraph. I only hope to be as cool as you when I hit the big four-oh.

  • 23 months ago
  • 1 point

Well thanks for the very kind words. Following the car analogy... I wasn't after a Ferrari or Lambo, but more a hot hatch. Lets say a Golf R. Compact, thoughtfully designed, practical, bit if a looker, with more than enough performance for everyday use, with a bit of extra 'poke' for laughts on the weekend. Haha.

  • 23 months ago
  • 1 point

That is perfection. Thanks for sharing!

  • 23 months ago
  • 1 point

luky you, in north america this modo is still not release, i'm waiting for it since october :'(. Really good looking case you have the same build i want to do but i have an AMD Vega 64 instead. Nice job

  • 23 months ago
  • 1 point

Cheers. Yeah I'm unsure why this motherboard is so hard to come by. Generally Asus stuff is available everywhere! I feel you though man, waiting for the release of this mobo held my build up a couple of months TBH. Best of luck!

  • 23 months ago
  • 1 point

Hey dude, that's a hella neat build you've got there! I'm still struggling in which mobo to get but I recently stumbled upon the rig strip b350i. Im confused though, is the graphics card mounted on the back? I may just be blind haha. I'd love to get this mobo but I don't think my case would let me Mount a graphics card behind the mobo haha. Sorry if I sound like a noob. Still new to all this.

  • 23 months ago
  • 1 point

Hi, cheers for the complement.

The rear mounting of my GPU is case specific, not motherboard specific. This case is very unique in layout. It uses a PCI-E riser cable plugged into the normal PCI-E slot to allow the mounting of the GPU at the rear.

The Asus STRIX B350i motherboard is a conventional Ryzen mITX board, with normal mounting position for the graphics card. Nothing different here, except that its a really well thought out layout (board connections wise, cooling etc). So yeah, go for it! Its an awesome board!

  • 23 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks for the reply! That's a pretty interesting layout. If I didn't already have my case I might've picked one up myself lol. Now I need to find one of those boards lol. They seem to be pretty darn rare at the moment. At least in my part of these world haha.

  • 23 months ago
  • 2 points

Cool, just be mindful that these Phanteks Shift cases have quite a few limitations when it comes to a build, and you need to consider your parts to fit (eg: watercooling the CPU due to lack of clearance and airflow). Best of luck.

  • 23 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks dude! I'll be careful!

  • 23 months ago
  • 1 point

Hey, my A10 rig is aging to all hell and my motherboard is dying, I'm really interested in the B350-I STRIX board and I'm gonna be pairing it with a Ryzen 3 1200 @4.1GHz, is it any good?

(i know all the other ITX boards atm are rubbish)

  • 20 months ago
  • 1 point

Sorry only just seeing this comment.

So far so good for me with this motherboard. Building with it was seamless and very straightforward due to its great layout. Wifi seems a bit weak, thought I may have an issue with my aerial. Need to try a different aerial to be sure.

Overclocking is simple and seems reliable so far. My Ryzen 1600X hits 3.9mhz out of the box using the basic OC tools, and although I had issues initially I've managed to now get my 3000mhz RAM to its advertised speed with the latest bios.

Cheers,

  • 23 months ago
  • 1 point

Have you tried temps for this build with the STRIX fans oriented to the rear panel?

  • 23 months ago
  • 1 point

I tried mounting the GPU with fans facing out initially but it didn't fit due to the cards backplate clashing with the radiator fan. I'm looking at moving the 25mm thick fan to under the rad and adding a slim fan (around 15mm, possibly a Cryorig XT140 or Prolimatech Ultra Sleek Vortex 140) on top for push-pull. This would prob give me the clearance i require for flipping the GPU. I might add another slim fan in the lower front vertical position as an intake.

Very few run the GPU facing out tho as it can be difficult with the length of the PCIe riser cable. Depends on GPU height though so YMMV. Then there is the obvious air starvation possibilities for you card.

  • 22 months ago
  • 1 point

Do you know if this motherboard supports ryzen 3 out of the box? Mine won't display VGA haha

  • 20 months ago
  • 1 point

Pretty sure it should support Ryzen 3. Make sure you've got the latest bios/drivers installed as the initial ones were a little hit and miss (as usual with mobos).

  • 20 months ago
  • 1 point

Have you noticed any thermal throttling with this case while gaming? Do you have a work around for using headphones with that mobo since this case does not have the front audio ports found on most cases?

  • 20 months ago
  • 2 points

Hi abdukted,

CPU temps seem fine. GPU temps do get high (up to 83 degrees Celsius with a custom fan curve). I would preume its throttling slightly as it doesn't seem to go beyond that temp, but honestly its not noticeable in game. I am not a massive gamer though, and play PUBG (moderate setting for as many frames as possible) non-regularly as well as Ironsight, a free to play and very optimised/light FPS game.

I am soon going to pull the trigger on a couple of slim Cryorig 140mm fans to add some extra circulation, so I will report back on how this affects things. This case definitely isn't a great choice for high TPD GPU's. This is one of the reasons I didn't go higher than a GTX 1070.

Headphones?? I run mine via my monitor audio out. Obviously your monitor needs to have a USB cable back to your system for this function.

If you want to know... For my setup I run a USB cable from my monitor back to my PC and have my keyboard, mouse and headphones all connected into my monitor. I do it this way as I regularly share my monitor between my work lappy and this PC and simply use a USB switch to swap between both PC's. Essentially my monitor acts as the hub for my peripherals if that makes sense (I've got an AOC AG271QX 27" 144hz monitor BTW).

Cheers,

  • 20 months ago
  • 1 point

Wow, I was not expecting such a swift reply . Thank you for the insights and I look forward to the update after you add the slim 140mm fans. With you connecting to your monitor for sound, is that still taking advantage of the sound card on your mobo? Part of the reason i bought the Strix B350-I was for the "soundcard" that comes with it. Beautiful build btw, mine will be nearly identical accept it will have a R9 Nitro Fury instead of your strix gpu (i'm so jelly lol).

  • 20 months ago
  • 1 point

No worries dude.

Soundcard? Hmm good question. Honestly not sure. The audio seems decent enough for gaming through the USB but not sure if its using the onboard soundcard. I don't listen to music through this method.

Cheers,

  • 11 months ago
  • 1 point

is this for sale?

  • 9 months ago
  • 1 point

This is honestly one of the best looking builds I've honestly ever seen. I got a decent pc right now but I got that itch to build an MITX and this case has always been a dream of mine. Hope the build is working well for you :)