Introducing the Rosewill Armor EVO

As NewEgg's house brand, Rosewill has been growing in very interesting ways. Being the house brand of a major electronics retailer means dipping your toe into a lot of different markets, and Rosewill has expanded dramatically, to the point where their products are starting to crop up on other vendors' sites. At the same time, those products are gaining attention in their own right. Rosewill's own Thor v2 may not be the best built enclosure, but it's a dynamite performer and can oftentimes be found at a bargain.

Rosewill has also been fairly aggressive about pursuing enthusiasts. It's not enough to simply have a product and offer it; you don't see Best Buy sending out Dynex or Insignia televisions to websites for review. There's also sweet money to be had in chasing mid-to-high end buyers, and that's where the Armor EVO comes in. The EVO is a fairly modestly sized tower capable of supporting E-ATX motherboards and promises healthy cooling performance. It also comes with an unusually optimistic MSRP: $119. Is it worth the money, or did Rosewill misfire?

The company has made a habit of producing no frills products at competitive prices; their mechanical keyboards are absolutely killer deals for users who want a basic, comfortable keyboard but don't want to fork out the bread for a high end gaming keyboard. Their cases have been more hit and miss, though: the Thor v2 is fantastic, but the Ranger we reviewed left a lot to be desired. They're fairly young as a case manufacturer to be sure, and unfortunately with the Armor EVO, they may yet have a ways to go.

Rosewill Armor EVO Specifications
Motherboard Form Factor Mini-ITX, Micro ATX, ATX, E-ATX
Drive Bays External 3x 5.25” (includes 5.25"-to-3.5" adapter)
Internal 7x 2.5"/3.5"
Cooling Front 2x 120mm intake fan (supports additional 2x 120mm behind drive cage)
Rear 1x 120mm exhaust fan
Top 2x 120mm exhaust fan (supports 2x 140mm)
Side 1x 230mm intake fan (supports 4x 120mm)
Bottom 1x 120mm/140mm fan mount
Expansion Slots 7
I/O Port 2x USB 3.0, 2x USB 2.0, 1x Headphone, 1x Mic
Power Supply Size Standard ATX
Clearances HSF 170mm
PSU 220mm
GPU 320mm
Dimensions 8.62" x 18.58" x 22.4"
219mm x 472mm x 569mm
Weight 21.6 lbs. / 9.8 kg
Special Features USB 3.0 connectivity via internal headers
Toolless 5.25" drive bays and 3.5" drive sleds
Support for 240mm/280mm radiator in top of enclosure
Toggleable red LED lighting on front fans
Price $114

What's important to note about the Armor EVO is what's specifically missing from the spec table: a fan controller. You can turn the LEDs on and off, but you can't actually control the multitude of included fans. This is not the EVO's biggest problem, but it is definitely a problem because as you'll see later, the EVO has a tremendous amount of thermal headroom.

One of the other things the EVO has to worry about is another case in Rosewill's own stable: the Thor v2. I don't have comparison results for it as the Thor v2 was reviewed on our old testbed, but on the spec table, the only thing the EVO can consistently beat the Thor v2 with is size.

In and Around 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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