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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  • 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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