Phanteks Enthoo Mini XL Super Micro-Tower Chassis Review

by Jack @ UNIXPlus October 22, 2015




Just then it seems that the Enthoo series had run its course in all of its various forms, Phanteks had another idea still on the shelf. Someone over there had the idea that they should take the Enthoo Series, and rather than make it a chassis for the bigger motherboards, make it more for those who like smaller motherboards, but still like style, modularity, and plenty of liquid cooling options. While they were at it, they realized they had a fair bit of extra room left over with Micro-ATX support as its largest form factor, what if, and stick with us here, what if with a couple of extra parts sold in a secondary kit you could also put a Mini-ITX system in this chassis. Not instead of, along with another Micro-ATX or Mini-ITX system in the bottom.

It is highly unlikely at this point that you have not seen the Enthoo series in some form. That being said, what we are used to is a unique style and way of offsetting the chassis with the side panel of mesh and or lighting. What we also know about these designs is that with the Enthoo lineup, what is build thoroughly and is indeed well thought out in its layout and ways of construction, but using screws to assemble major components makes it so these cases can be gutted to accommodate all sorts of extra goodies. We also find that this series delivers the goodies as far as hardware and accessories are concerned. Things like pump brackets, reservoir brackets, and in this instance an optional water cooling bracket, oh and, of course, we get a plastic sorter full of screws and mounting bits.


We know there are a lot of Micro-ATX and Mini-ITX builders out there looking for a chassis that can take on all sorts of water cooling, offering enough room for huge video cards that are out now, but don't necessarily want to stick their system into some of the smallest cases offered either. On the flip side of that, we realize multiple systems inside of one chassis is not normal, but there are plenty of ways to look at this. Two people in the same office can now condense the hardware into this. Then you can have a gamer at the bottom and a web surfing machine up top to save on the electric bill when the high power rig isn't needed. We can see the benefits of this design, and feel it is well worth the time to check out, because even if the thought of multiple systems in a single case hadn't crossed your mind, after seeing this, the ideas would surely come rolling in.






Phanteks offers a pretty serious chart full of information. Things start off with the 260mm width, its 550mm height, its 480mm depth, and tells us this is a Super Micro tower chassis. Making up this chassis is a mix of steel used throughout most of the chassis, receiving a non-textured black paint finish inside and out. The front of the chassis is made of aluminum and is anodized to match the black on the rest of the chassis. There are bits of ABS plastic as well, but that is confined to the top of the chassis and the front bay covers. This chassis can house a Micro-ATX or Mini-ITX chassis out of the box, and the front I/O offers two USB 3.0 ports, HD Audio jacks, and even offers an LED color change and dimmer button. Just like the other Enthoo cases, this left side panel offers a pair of tinted windows.


Inside of the chassis, you are given five expansion slots at the bottom of the chassis, as the PSU installs at the top in this design. The front of the chassis offers three 5.25" bays, and below that is a rack with six trays in it, each capable of either a 3.5" or 2.5" drive installing on them. If you are using 2.5" drives only, you can install up to eight of them, as there are two trays that slide on and off the back of the motherboard tray.


Air and water cooling options are pretty good for this chassis. The front can take on a pair of 120mm fans, although there is a pair of 140mm fans installed there already. The top of the chassis offers room for a trio of 120mm fans, and if you choose to use 140mm fans here, you are reduced to just a pair of them. The rear of the chassis can also support a pair of 120mm or 140mm fans, and from the factor the last included fan is the 140mm fan screwed into the back. Even the floor of the chassis is well ventilated and matches the options that the top affords. The right side of the chassis also allows for air flow in the form of optional water cooling. Removing the HDD rack, you can add in an adapter plate that offers a pair of 120mm fans to be installed. As for water cooling options, all fan locations are fully supported with the same abilities for a radiator as they do fans, except in the front, where only a single 140mm radiator is specified to fit there.


We like that these next measurements are referred to as clearances rather than limitations, as these do not limit you much at all. Video cards can be up to 289mm long with the HDD rack in play, without it the entire space is open, with possibilities of water cooling conflicting at the front with overall length. If you plan to use air cooling for the CPU, there is plenty of room with 215mm shown from the motherboard to the door panel. Behind the motherboard tray, there is 30mm of room for wire management, and they do mention the radiator clearance above the motherboard that is an astonishing 206mm away. Outside of the packaging information and the 13.8kg weight of this chassis when empty, the last thing you need to know is that the Enthoo Mini XL is backed by a five-year warranty.


Since this chassis has been on the market for a bit now, it is fairly easy to find. That being said, Amazon and Newegg both offer the chassis with no apparent stock issues. We did make mention earlier that there is an option to put a second system into this chassis, and the specs make no mention of it, and this is because it requires a second purchase. In this purchase, you will get a new rear I/O panel, a motherboard tray, and a front I/O panel that slides into the 5.25" bays. All of this comes at the cost of $26.70 on top of the initial cost, but for what it and this chassis offers, while you feel like over $200 should buy you two cases, here it is.


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Jack @ UNIXPlus
Jack @ UNIXPlus