WTF?! Open-air case designs have long been a viable choice for PC users who want something a little different. However, EVGA’s latest boutique option takes things to the extreme with a price to match. Those willing to spend the money on this unique system should know there won’t be many of them.
The E1 Frame Set is a new open-air chassis from EVGA that’s available now. Open-air cases aren’t new, but this one stands out by holding PC components in-place with steel suspension cables. The nonexistent covering and 100-percent weave carbon fiber frame likely make this one of the lightest chassis ever at just 2.76lbs.
The frame and cables hold the motherboard in place while brackets on the front band back hold the graphics card and power supply, respectively. Mesh racks on the side and top can support coolers. It also includes analog temperature gauges to enhance the E1’s industrial theme. Attached to the meters is a front I/O port with two USB 3.2 Type-A and one USB-C port. The E1 supports mini-ITX, micro-ATX, ATX, and eATX motherboards.
The three packages EVGA offers are notably expensive, and none include a complete PC. The Chassis on its own (with the gauges and GPU bracket) start at $1,599, while the other two options add PC components. The middle-tier E1 Kit 1 includes an RTX 3090 Ti K|NGP|N and a 1600w PSU for $3,699. The priciest set — ironically dubbed the E1 Bare Bones — throws in a Z690 DARK K|NGP|N motherboard, a PowerLink 52u adapter for the 3090, and a fancy shipping case for $4,999. That still leaves a CPU, RAM, storage, and CPU cooler that users must purchase separately.
Those prices might look crazy to most people, but EVGA clearly labeled the E1 as an exclusive product when unveiling it in January. Quantities will be quite limited, and only EVGA members can purchase the E1.
Open-air cases may leave PC components more exposed to dust and moisture than standard chassis while also increasing noise. However, the superior airflow helps the system stay cool while potentially allowing more space for components and easier access to them. Antec started offering its still-expensive but more reasonable $500 Canon case in May. Japanese company Nagao Industry produces the N-Frame-OP01 mount to allow monitor installation on the side of an open-air chassis.