Overclockers UK Evolution Envy Mini Gaming PC Review

by - 7 years ago

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Introduction


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Overclockers UK is an established player in the hardware retail sector and provides a stellar customer service through approachable team members and impeccable communication on the site’s official forum. The company’s highly adept team of engineers produces a wide array of custom PC builds to suit varying budgets and contrasting tastes. OCUK decided to send the Evolution Envy Mini Gaming PC for review purposes which features a substantial upgrade compared to the basic model.

This particular configuration includes an Intel Core i7-4970K, 8GB DDR3 2400 MHz RAM, NVIDIA GTX 970, MSI Z97I AC ITX motherboard, 120GB Samsung SSD boot drive, 1TB Samsung SSD data drive and ultra-reliable SuperFlower HX 550W 80+ gold power supply. The CPU has been manually overclocked to a frequency of 4.5 GHz and remains relatively cool due to an Asetek-designed-240mm closed-looped-liquid cooler. OCUK combined this wonderful array of components in a portable form-factor which makes it the perfect LAN event PC. Although, it will be fascinating to determine if the restricted space causes any issues during stressful benchmarks.

Specifications

  • Name: Overclockers UK Evolution Envy Mini Gaming PC
  • Case: Phanteks Evolv ITX Windowed Gaming Case – Black
  • Motherboard: MSI Z97I AC (Socket 1150) ITX Motherboard
  • Processor: Intel Core i7-4790K Quad Core Processor Overclocked to 4.5 GHz
  • Processor Cooler: OCUK Techlabs 240mm AIO Liquid Cooler with Noiseblocker Fans
  • System Memory: Kingston HyperX 8GB (2x4GB) PC3-19200C11 2400MHz Dual Channel Kit
  • Main Boot Drive: Samsung 120GB 850 EVO SSD
  • Additional Storage Drive(s): Samsung 1TB 850 EVO SSD
  • Graphics card: KFA2 GeForce GTX 970 OC Silent “Infin8 Black Edition” 4GB
  • Power Supply: SuperFlower HX 550W 80+ Gold Rated PSU
  • Peripherals: None
  • Monitor: None
  • Optical DriveNone
  • Wireless: Intel Dual Band Wireless AC 7260
  • OS: Windows 10 64-Bit
  • Warranty: 3 Year (24 Month Collect and Return plus 12 Month labour) Mainland UK and Ireland Only
  • Price: £1321

Packing and Accessories

The Evolution Envy Mini comes in a surprisingly large box given the chassis size which contains two thick cardboard layers held together by banded wires. This ensures the package remains protected during transit as it’s virtually impossible for the box or its contents to become dislodged.

OCUK JW 1

Once the cardboard layers have been removed, we can see the main chassis alongside strong, protective foam. OCUK also employed durable side supports to enhance the box’s net weight and increase the packaging’s stability. Please note, the retail version is complete with component boxes but this isn’t included on press samples as the packaging is easily lost among other samples.

On another note, the system is bundled with a comprehensive setup guide and tasty selection of Haribo sweets. The setup manual is excellent and explains in clear, concise English how to attach your peripherals. It also gives an indication about fault checking and advises when to contact customer support.

OCUK JW 2

Here we can see the main chassis box which provides a good amount of padding to reduce impact during shipping. Thankfully, OCUK’s attentive approach with the outer packaging kept the chassis cosmetically and mechanically sound. In theory, they could have got away with just sending the item in a chassis box, but avoided this due to damage concerns.

OCUK JW 3

The chassis box contains a precautionary message informing you to retain the packaging for RMA purposes. This is very clear, and in bold writing so it’s impossible to throw away the original packaging without prior notice of OCUK’s return procedure.

OCUK JW 4

After the top seal has been broken, we can see the tightly packed case which features two supporting foam blocks and a large cover. I didn’t encounter any rips on the cover whatsoever which signifies the chassis was well protected and didn’t fall victim to any cosmetic marks.

OCUK JW 5

The foam supports are surprisingly thick for an ITX-size case and constructed from remarkably strong material. As a result, I found it difficult to bend or snap the supports despite applying a significant amount of force. This means, the chassis withstands a lot of punishment and offers enough protection against even the most heavy-handed couriers.

OCUK JW 6

CPU-Z

CPU-Z Overclockers JW1
GPU-Z

GPU-Z Overclockers JW 2

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A Closer Look

The chassis’ top panel is permanently fixed by design and Phanteks doesn’t expect the end-user to remove it. This is because the fan mounts are on a separate sliding mechanism which makes it relatively straightforward to attach a radiator in such a confined space. This is certainly an interesting decision and helps during the install process. The case also features a smooth power button on the top and ample supply of vents to improve airflow.

OCUK JW 7

Moving onto the rear, we can see the case’s thumbscrews, rear 140mm Bitfenix Spectre Pro with a green LED hue, and other integral system components. The IO shield, power supply and graphics card are held perfectly in position and the rear fan’s central position seems a sensible choice given the airflow direction.  OCUK JW 12

The front of the case is constructed from plastic unlike the larger ATX versions but feels solid enough and integrates two USB 3.0 ports, a tiny reset switch and headphone/microphone 3.5mm jacks. These are easily accessible and the reset switch is the correct size to avoid accidental presses when inserting a USB stick. There is a subtle white LED line when the system is powered on which makes for a sophisticated aesthetic style.

OC UK JW 21

Four rectangular rubber feet are positioned on the bottom section to prevent the case from moving around and a dust filter is present underneath the power supply. Subsequently, it is quick and easy to wash the filter instead of cleaning the power supply directly with compressed air. This should also save you money in the long run.

OC UK JW 22

Here is a first look at the beautifully clean build which features expertly obscured cabling and a gorgeous black theme. As you can see, the power supply and its connectors are well hidden around the back and even the PCIe cables are difficult to spot. Additionally, the chassis’ ingenious use of cable covers dramatically improves the overall look and makes for a stunningly designed PC setup.

OC UK JW 23

Unfortunately, when we move closer, there is an issue with the CPU power cable’s trailing connector. The MSI Z97I AC motherboard utilizes a 4 pin instead of the standard 8 pin design and hangs over the motherboard. To rectify this, I tried to hide the offending cable behind the radiator but this was too much of a stretch. Obviously, this isn’t an error in workmanship but can become quite irksome. However, once the windowed side panel is shut, it’s pretty difficult to notice.

This angle allows us to analyse the pump mount and graphics card installation. I’m pleased to say the closed loop cooler is connected with a flush finish and I didn’t detect any over-tightening of the mounting hardware. The graphics card is completely straight and didn’t exhibit any droop whatsoever. Overall, OCUK did a fantastic job in obscuring the pump, top and rear fan cables.

From an aesthetic standpoint, I’m quite pleased with how well the stealthy black RAM compliments the motherboard’s black accents and other vital components. This creates an understated yet attractive visual style which grows on you over time.

OC UK JW 24

I have to commend OCUK for not skimping on the power supply selection and opting for one of the most reliable manufacturers in the industry. SuperFlower power supplies are legendarily reliable and often go way behind their official wattage range. During extreme testing, the unit was staggeringly quiet and didn’t encounter any problems with the manual overclock and wattage demands.

Although, as you might be able to tell from the picture, the case contained a line of dry PVA glue above the power supply. This was quite concerning at first, and I’m still fairly baffled by the root cause. The only plausible explanation I can think of is the glue came apart from the side panel window’s fixture. Whatever the case, it was easily removed and a very strange abnormality I wouldn’t expect to see ever again.

OCUK JW 13

The front portion comes with an enormous 200mm fan as standard which offers superb airflow without impacting too heavily on the system’s audio levels. Here, we can also see how well the graphics card cover hides the PCIe cables. Other notable mentions include the case holes above the power supply to allow it room to breathe and a single LED strip. Interesting, OCUK decided to attach the strip to the graphics card’s backplate. This works extraordinarily well and feels a lot more solid than if it was stuck near chassis’ side panel clips.

OC UK JW 20

OCUK’s logo is very smart and one of the nicest I’ve seen from any custom PC manufacturer.

OCUK JW 19

At first glance, the cabling looks quite messy and it’s definitely not the best I’ve seen. However, you have to take into account the chassis’ restricted space and ITX form factor. While there are a lot of cables overlapping, it still provides ample room to shut the side panel door effectively. Furthermore, OCUK combined the integrated Velcro straps and zip ties to create a respectful finish. The average end-user could struggle with cable management in tight spaces so this might be worth the price of admission alone to let someone else do the hard work.

OC UK JW001

Upon closer inspection, we can see the labelled fan headers, main power supply cables and congestion around the CPU backplate. Frankly, the cabling is much better than it looks in this picture but could be improved.

OCUK JW 18

OCUK’s engineers crammed as many cables as possible into each zip tie to make for a better finish. This section is done quite well and demonstrates a high level of expertise.

OCUK JW 16

The molex and spare SATA power cables are stored in a compact manner and kept separate from other cable runs to make it easy to find a specific category of cabling.

OCUK JW15

OCUK decided to ignore the chassis’ embedded SSD mounts and use traditional clip-on 3.5″ trays. This seems a sensible move given the cabling’s natural direction and copious supply of SATA power options near the traditional hard disk mounts.

OC UK JW 14

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Testing & Methodology


To test each system or notebook, we want to stress every component of the system to check stability and performance, giving us an idea as to why those particular components were picked for this particular system. We use a wide variety of applications to gain a broad spectrum of results for comparing diverse aspects of system performance.

Unless specifically stated, all games are running at maximum settings but any vendor-exclusive features such as TressFX or PhsyX have been disabled to make the results fair. There are some titles where the maximum preset can be altered further in regards to AA, AF, Tessellation, and Draw Distance. To allow our readers to make the most informed decision, any additional options will be clearly labelled in this section.

Hardware

  • Acoustic dBA meter
  • AC “Killawatt” power meter

Software

  • 3DMark
  • AIDA64 Engineer
  • Cinebench R15
  • CrystalDiskMark
  • CPU-Z
  • GPU-Z
  • HW-Monitor
  • MSI Afterburner
  • OCCT
  • Passmark PerformanceTest 8.0
  • PCMark 8
  • Prime95
  • Super PI
  • Unigine Heaven 4.0
  • Grand Theft Auto 5
  • Metro Last Light
  • Tomb Raider
  • Bioshock Infinite

PC Mark 8

The PCMark 8 Home benchmark includes workloads that reflect common tasks for a typical home user. These workloads have low computational requirements making PCMark 8 Home suitable for testing the performance of low-cost tablets, notebooks, and desktops. Home includes workloads for web browsing, writing, gaming, photo editing, and video chat. The results are combined to give a PCMark 8 Home score for your system. Download here.

3D Mark

The new 3DMark includes everything you need to benchmark your hardware. With three all new tests you can bench everything from smartphones and tablets, to notebooks and home PCs, to the latest high-end, multi-GPU gaming desktops. Download here.

Unigine Heaven

Heaven Benchmark with its current version 4.0 is a GPU-intensive benchmark that hammers graphics cards to the limits. This powerful tool can be effectively used to determine the stability of a GPU under extremely stressful conditions, as well as check the cooling system’s potential under maximum heat output. It provides completely unbiased results and generates true in-game rendering workloads across all platforms, such as Windows, Linux and Mac OS X. Download here.

Grand Theft Auto V

Our GTA5 Benchmark is run on the standard benchmark with MSAA=Off, FXAA=On, Very High Preset, Advanced Graphics Disabled and the settings detailed below:Normal

Metro Last Light

Metro: Last Light (formerly Metro 2034) is a first-person shooter and horror video game developed by Ukrainian studio 4A Games and published by Deep Silver for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. It was released in May 2013. The game is set in a post-apocalyptic world and features a mixture of action-oriented and stealth gameplay. Metro: Last Light features technology which boasts new lighting effects and improved physics claimed to set a new graphical benchmark on the PC and consoles.

Very High Preset, AF=16x,  Tessellation=Very High, SSAA=Off, PhysX=Off

Tomb Raider

In Tomb Raider, the player is confronted with a much younger Lara Croft who is shipwrecked and finds herself stranded on a mysterious island rife with danger, both natural and human. Tomb Raider is a demanding game offering up ultra quality textures, full DirectX 11 support, SSAA, FXAA, MSAA and AMD TressFX technology.

Bioshock

BioShock Infinite is the third and last game in the BioShock series. It is a first-person shooter video game developed by Irrational Games and published by 2K Games. BioShock Infinite supports dynamic shadows, post-processing, light shafts, ambient occlusion, object level of detail, Diffusion Depth of Detail, FOV adjustment controls and other advanced DirectX 11 features.

Cinebench R15

Cinebench is a widely respected benchmark for testing the performance of x86 CPUs. The program allows you to test single and multi-threaded performance as well as GPU performance by rendering with Open GL. Download here.

Super Pi

Super PI is a single threaded benchmark that calculates pi to a specific number of digits. Super PI is a single threaded benchmark ideal for testing pure, single threaded x87 floating point performance and while most of the computing market has shifted towards multithreaded applications and more modern instruction sets, Super PI still remains quite indicative of CPU capability in specific applications such as computer gaming. Download here.

AIDA64 Engineer Edition

AIDA64 Engineer is a streamlined Windows diagnostic and benchmarking software for engineers. It has unique capabilities to assess the performance of the processor, system memory, and disk drives. AIDA64 is compatible with all current 32-bit and 64-bit Microsoft Windows operating systems, including Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012. Memory and cache benchmarks are available to analyze system RAM bandwidth and latency. Download here.

CrystalDiskMark

CrystalDiskMark is a portable storage drive benchmark utility that enables you to measure sequential and random read/write speeds on different block size data. CrystalDiskMark will work with any storage drives including hard drives, SSDs and USB flash drives. Download here.

Passmark

The PassMark Advanced Network Test (which is part of PerformanceTest) is designed to test the data transfer rate between two computers both of which must be running PerformanceTest. One of the computers must act as the server and will sit waiting for a connection. The other computer acts as a client. It connects to the server machine and sends data to it for the duration of the test. You can download a trial version of PerformanceTest from here.

Acoustic Performance

The amount of noise produced by any computer is a vital consideration for most buyers, even gamers don’t really want a noisy PC because less noise is always better. We use an acoustic dBA meter held 2 feet behind our test system at idle and under load to get the idle and load noise levels for the system. For idle we allow the system to sit at the Windows desktop, for load we let Unigine Heaven 4.0 and Prime95 to loop together – we take the acoustic measurements 5 minutes into both of these scenarios.

Power Consumption

To test power consumption we measure the total system power draw during idle and load scenarios. For idle we allow the system to sit at the Windows desktop, for load we let Unigine Heaven 4.0 and Prime95 to loop together – we take the power measurements from the “Killawatt” AC power meter 5 minutes into both of these scenarios at the same point.

Temperatures

To test thermal performance we measure average CPU and GPU core temperatures during idle and load scenarios. For idle we allow the system to sit at the Windows desktop, for load we let Unigine Heaven 4.0 and Prime95 to loop together – we take the temperature measurements from within CPUID HWMonitor 5 minutes into both of these scenarios at the same point. For load we take the average of the maximum temperatures, for idle we take the average of the minimum temperatures.

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Synthetic Benchmarks


PC Mark 8

pcmark8-logoThe scores in PCMark 8 are ridiculously close as any of the tested systems can easily cope with low-horsepower, daily desktop tasks. Clearly, the Evolution Envy Mini’s results are within a margin of error and only distinguishable in synthetic benchmarks.

PC MARK OCUK ENVY MINI

3DMark

3dmark13

During intensive gaming benchmarks, the system performed admirably, despite its small stature and recorded the best results we’ve seen from a GTX 970-powered machine. Furthermore, the figures are strikingly close to the PC Specialist Vortex which features an X99 motherboard and GTX 980 graphics card. Given the system’s tiny size, this is a very impressive feat.

3D MARK OCUK ENVY MINI

Unigine Heaven

heaven

The Evolution Envy Mini achieves excellent numbers in Heaven 4.0 and emphasizes the price to performance sweet-spot from the GTX 970. As expected, the higher end cards perform better but it’s not by a colossal amount to warrant any concern at this price range.

HEAVEN OCUK ENVY MINI

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Gaming Performance


Grand Theft Auto 5

gta5

Grand Theft Auto V’s graphically diverse open-world-environment is a good indicator of a system’s gaming capabilities. The Evolution Envy Mini swept through the game at 1920×1080 and consistently attained over 60 frames-per-second during our extensive 2560×1440 testing procedure. This creates a silky smooth and visual exhilarating experience.

GTA V OCUK ENVY MINI

Metro Last Light

MetroLastLightgpureviews

Despite its age, Metro Last Light is a taxing game and able to bring low-specification systems into single figures at high resolutions. Thankfully, this doesn’t apply to the Evolution Envy Mini which surpassed 85 frames-per-second at 1920×1080 and fell just short of 60 during 1440p testing. Although, this is still perfectly playable and only occasionally drops below 50.

METRO OCUK ENVY MINI

Tomb Raider

tombraider

In a strange turn of events, the Evolution Envy Mini outperformed a GTX 980-powered system by a significant margin at 1920×1080. Furthermore, the system managed to exceed 83 frames-per-second at 2560×1440 which is nothing short of remarkable. Tomb Raider is optimized extremely well and the GTX 970 encounters no stutter, hitching or major frame drops.

TR OCUK ENVY MINI

Bioshock Infinite

bioshock

Bioshock Infinite is an absolutely breathtaking atmospheric shooter and looks sublime at 1920×1080 and 2560×1440. Once again, the Evolution Envy Mini provides more than enough graphical grunt to play at a smooth framerate on the Ultra preset. It’s actually quite surprising how capable the GTX 970 is as a gaming card given its very respectable price.

BIO OCUK ENVY MINI

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CPU & Memory Performance


Cinebench R15

In terms of multi-threading, the system’s i7 4790K falls behind the enthusiast-class X99 CPUs and Intel’s latest Skylake chipset. Despite this, the CPU and OpenGL benchmarks are more than adequate for gaming purposes, video content creation and other commonly used demanding workloads.

CINE OCUK ENVY MINI

Super Pi

The system’s 4.5 GHz overclock vastly enhances single-threaded capabilities and outperformed a lower clocked X99 CPU. Additionally, the margin between the 6700K and 4790K is dramatically reduced and shows how similar the chips are when fully maxing out 1 core.

PI OCUK ENVY MINI

AIDA64 Engineer

The 2400 MHz RAM elevates the Evolution Envy Mini above other DDR3 systems but lingers behind the DDR4 results. This isn’t a surprising revelation and the RAM speed even at 1333 MHz isn’t a bottleneck in gaming situations. Furthermore, very few applications will use the extra throughput going from high-speed DDR3 to DDR4.

OCUK AIDAYES

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Storage and USB Performance


CrystalDiskMark – Sequential Read

Samsung’s entire range of SATA SSDs are highly regarded and feature some of the best read speeds available. This is exemplified in the testing results and there was a minimal speed differentiation between the 120GB boot and 1TB data drive. However, the read speeds are absolutely destroyed by PCIe SSDs. I wouldn’t be overly concerned about this though as the ITX form factor only allows for 1 PCIe card and you won’t notice the huge speed benefit outside of synthetic benchmarks.

CDM OCUK ENVY MINI

CrystalDiskMark – Sequential Write

A similar pattern occurs during sequential write tests as both SSDs hover around the 530MB/s rate and surpasses the majority of other SSDs in competing systems. Once again, PCIe-based SSDs reign supreme but the Samsung drives hold up rather well and feature consistent write speeds.

CDW OCUK ENVY MINI

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Networking Performance


Passmark PerformanceTest 8.0

passmark8

Ethernet (LAN)

The Realtek 8111G Gigabit Ethernet provides a fairly stable network interface but doesn’t compare well against competing products from Killer and Intel. Although, this shouldn’t cause any noticeable problems for standard network tasks.

OCUK LANJWR

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Acoustic, Power & Thermal Performance


Acoustic Performance

Under idle conditions, the Evolution Envy Mini is extraordinarily quiet which makes for a glorious desktop experience. However, the radiator fans ramp up during extreme stress which leads to fairly loud operation. It’s not obnoxiously loud though and falls within a similar bracket to larger ATX systems. Overall, the noise output is quite good when you factor in the constricted airspace.

NOISE OCUK ENVY MINI

Power Consumption

The Haswell refresh architecture implements a wide array of power saving techniques to create absurdly low idle wattage demands. Once overclocked, the 4790K’s 4.5 GHz frequency remains relatively efficient under extreme load and was well within the 550 watt power supply’s safe limits. Similarly, the GTX 970 consumes a mere 145 watts and features a very impressive TDP.

TDP OCUK ENVY MINI

Thermal Performance

In terms of thermal performance, the Evolution Envy Mini exceeded my expectations and wasn’t overawed by our rigorous testing procedure. Rather surprisingly, the overclocked CPU remained cool for an ITX-based system. Additionally, the GTX 970’s temperature to performance ratio is shockingly good and reduces heat build-up throughout the chassis.

TEMPS OCUK ENVY MINI

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Final Thoughts


Pricing 

At the time of review, Overclockers UK’s retail price for this particular configuration is £1321 including next day delivery. The basic model is on offer this week for £929.99 but lacks the graphical horsepower from the GTX 970 and suffers in the storage department. To determine a system’s value proposition, it’s vital to down a component rundown and work out the cost of building the system yourself. This task is made quite easy due to OCUK’s large quantity of stock.

According to current pricing, the total cost of this system is as follows:

  • Case: Phanteks Evolv ITX Windowed Gaming Case – Black = £49.99
  • Motherboard: MSI Z97I AC (Socket 1150) ITX Motherboard = £89.99
  • Processor: Intel Core i7-4790K = £289.99
  • Processor Cooler: OCUK Techlabs 240mm AIO Liquid Cooler with Noiseblocker Fans = £84.99
  • System Memory: Kingston HyperX 8GB (2x4GB) PC3-19200C11 2400MHz Dual Channel Kit = £55.99
  • Main Boot Drive: Samsung 120GB 850 EVO SSD = £62.99
  • Additional Storage Drive(s): Samsung 1TB 850 EVO SSD = £269.99
  • Graphics card: KFA2 GeForce GTX 970 OC Silent “Infin8 Black Edition” 4GB = £289.99
  • Power Supply: SuperFlower HX 550W 80+ Gold Rated PSU = £59.99
  • BitFenix Spectre PRO 140mm Green LED – Black = £13.99
  • BitFenix Alchemy Premium Modding LED Strip = £9.29

This equates to a rough total figure of £1277 including weekly promotional discounts, so the recommended retail price is very close to the system’s  Overclockers UK’s fee of £44 for the build is extraordinarily generous given the painstaking work involved in tightly spaced ITX designs. In terms of value, the Evolution Envy Mini is an attractive package given the premium component selection and excellent customer service.

Overview

The Evolution Envy Mini’s portable stature doesn’t come at the expense of overclocking headroom, heat dissipation or raw performance. Rather surprisingly, the system is more than capable of matching a full-size ATX build and encapsulates the viability of high-end ITX designs. The Phanteks Evolv ITX is aesthetically pleasing and able to withstand the strain of our vigorous testing procedure. Although, the front plastic panel leaves a lot to be desired at this price range and doesn’t evoke a sense of premium build quality. Nevertheless, this isn’t a major criticism, and the chassis’ weight lends itself beautifully to LAN parties.

On another note, the CPU and GPU temperatures were shockingly good and I expected the chassis to heat up exponentially. On many small form factor PCs, the chassis struggles to expel the internal heat build-up and results in very warm load-level results. Thankfully, the Evolution Envy Mini remains relatively cool due to the efficient closed-loop-cooler and front 200mm fan. However, in extreme situations, the radiator fans’ RPM can dramatically increase causing a noticeable curve. At first this was quite bothersome, but my ears adjusted to the load level noise within a few hours. It’s important to reiterate that the system isn’t loud under extreme testing, but other review units have fared better.

The MSI Z97I AC motherboard is reliable and features a comprehensive BIOS. Additionally, the manual overclock of 4.5 GHz was achieved using a sensible voltage rating to reduce load temperatures without impacting on stability. There wasn’t any complications from the motherboard’s 4-pin CPU power connector and remained perfectly stable under extreme wattage strain. Overclockers UK also opted for a sensibly priced ITX motherboard without unnecessary features such as on-board BCLK adjustments. The average end-user shouldn’t feel overly intimidated by the motherboard’s tweaking options and will become more confident about diagnostics in due course.

In terms of gaming performance, the Evolution Envy Mini is spectacular and finds the perfect balance between cost and frames-per-second. The GTX 970 is an affordable graphics card compared to the higher-end NVIDIA behemoths and still performs beautifully at 1920×1080 and 2560×1440. Throughout the gaming benchmarks, the GTX 970 attained superb results to create a fluid experience on maximum detail settings. Clearly, there are some exceptions and future games might need the odd setting turned down, but it’s a wonderful card for the money. However, I would recommend a 1920×1080 monitor to accompany this setup given the soaring VRAM demands in modern titles. In my opinion, the GTX 970 is up there with the 8800GT (for it’s time) in terms of value, and the perfect accompaniment to visually rich 1080p PC gaming.

The main concession from smaller chassis is the lack of room to perform tidy cable management. Sadly, the Evolution Envy Mini suffers in this department and close up macro shots make the cabling look rather ordinary. Despite this, Overclockers UK did a good job and I didn’t encounter any problems when shutting the side panel door. Additionally, the rubber grommets, case straps and zip ties combined rather nicely to make a flush finish without any protruding cables. Another highlight is the decision to hide the molex adapters in a dedicated section and it’s great to see labelled fan headers. Overall, it’s not the best cabling I’ve encountered but pretty good when you factor in the chassis’ size limitations.

I’m a little perplexed by the dual SSD storage selection in this particular configuration. Surely, it would be better to use a 250GB-500GB SSD and a large 2-3TB mechanical data drive or SSHD. Opting for a 120GB boot and 1TB data drive might suit some customers but I’m guessing this selection will be very niche. Thankfully, you can alter the default hard drive configuration to fit your storage requirements. In all honesty, this was probably the default setup on my review unit and will be quite uncommon on consumer models.

In conclusion, the Overclockers UK Evolution Envy Mini is a fantastic portable gaming system and offers exceptional value-for-money. While the cabling could be slightly neater, the complete package is difficult to beat. Therefore, if you’re in the market for a small-form-factor gaming PC, the Evolution Envy Mini should be high up on your list.

Pros

  • 200mm chassis fan is a welcome inclusion and helps keep the temperatures down
  • Fantastic value proposition for high-end PC gamers
  • Flawless performance in visually demanding games at 1920×1080 and 2560×1440
  • Green LED strip and rear fan adds an exuberant touch
  • Great alternative to Skylake-based PCs which incur a hefty price premium
  • Lovely stealth black colour scheme
  • Impeccable temperatures given the ITX form factor
  • Stable overclock with a high frequency out-of-the-box
  • SuperFlower power supply is whisper quiet
  • Wonderful packaging

Cons

  • Cable management could be neater
  • Radiator fan curve can become loud during benchmarking (easy for user to change)

Neutral

  • Secondary 1TB SSD is a strange choice, but can be changed at POS
  • Chassis’ front plastic cover feels a little cheap, but is hardly a deal breaker

“The Overclockers UK Evolution Envy Mini adopts a compact, convenient design and rivals the performance of hefty, full-size ATX systems at an affordable price point.”

Editors-Choice

Thank you Overclockers UK for providing us with this sample.

Article Index

  1. Introduction
  2. A Closer Look
  3. Testing & Methodology
  4. Synthetic Benchmarks
  5. Gaming Peformance
  6. CPU & Memory Performance
  7. Storage and USB Performance
  8. Networking Performance
  9. Acoustic, Power & Thermal Performance
  10. Final Thoughts
  11. View All

Author Bio

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