Like my mother tries telling me, it’s not what’s on the outside that matters… it’s what’s on the inside that counts.
Once the side panels are removed, the modular chassis reveals its genius. BitFenix seems to have solved the mini-ITX riddle. That is… how to offer plenty of storage, cooling, and style, while being able to accommodate all the popular hardware (big video cards for small gaming rigs).
When opening the chassis, you are immediately presented with plenty of storage options. There are two drive cages that hold a total of five drives. The larger of the two drive cages can accommodate three 3.5″ or 2.5″ drives. The cage rests on plastic rails and can be removed easily by way of two clips for systems with large video cards. The drives are installed in plastic tool free trays that slide and lock into place. For 3.5″ drives metal standoffs are inserted into the sides of the HDD for a very snug fit. 2.5″ drives are screwed in place from the bottom.
The bottom cage can house 2 drives. The drives are installed in the same drive trays. Although this cage is removable, the process isn’t exactly as tool free and easy as removing the top cage. Instead, you have to flip the case on its side, remove the two front stereo styled feet, and then remove the six screws that hold it in place. Personally, I don’t see many scenarios where removing this cage is a necessity… it is more of a convenience thing. I removed it for a reservoir. Just below the cage are four screw holes for a 2.5″ drive.
When it comes to the motherboard, it doesn’t rest on the bottom of the case or on the side like a traditional ATX case. Instead, it sits above your PSU on a motherboard tray with wiring cutouts on either side. This tray not only acts as the motherboard installation point but it also provides an installation point for two vertically mounted 2.5″ drives (when the HDD racks are removed). Using a full sized screwdriver is not an option.
Unfortunately, there isn’t much room to work with when it comes to your PSU. There is a rear mounted plate for installing your power supply (in either direction) and when a 2.5″ drive or the HDD rack is installed, things get very tight. Total space is about an inch. Better get a modular PSU.
Now, I don’t know why this bothers me, but it does. Once the PSU is installed and the mounting bracket is tightened into place, there is a solitary rivet that keeps the plate from mounting flush. Nit-picky? Absolutely… weird things stand out to me though. Deal breaker? Not by any stretch.
Don’t mind the nest…