Now I have been using this chassis for a little while and put it through its paces, let’s see how it has handled itself against some of the other chassis that we have had previously.
In the mainstream case market these days, innovation is hard to come by. Since the inception of the Prodigy, BitFenix have been working hard to keep hold of their title for innovation. In fact, I consider them to be one of the best innovators in the market currently, along with Silverstone and Parvum Systems. The Phenom MATX has redefined what you can fit into such a small chassis. I was surprised to see that my two R9 290 graphics cards were able to squeeze into this, and was even more dubious to see how they were cooled. In all honesty the stock cooling, for the graphics cards at least, was poor, however, add in the spectre pro fans like I did and the chassis is pretty much transformed into a cooling powerhouse. It also has a lovely sleek aesthetic and the inclusion of the matte black SofTouch really does make this case look stunning. Primarily, there will be people out there who are going to want to use it as a small form factor gaming rig, which it will do perfectly. However, because of its minimalist look, it could also be a very capable HTPC.
In the thermal and acoustic tests the Phenom performed as expected, pretty much sitting in around the same area of the table as the Prodigy in most of the thermal tests and generally beating it in the acoustic testing that we did. I did get the feeling when using the Phenom that it is more of a complete package than the Prodigy, but then it ought to be. It’s a newer chassis and design and the airflow around the CPU is generally going to be colder and the heat from the graphics cards is rising out the top of the chassis.
In summary, the Phenom is one of the best small form factor cases that we have had the honour of being able to test. Not only does it provide some excellent cooling options for those of you wanting to create a small gaming rig but it also bares a simple, sleek aesthetic for those wanting to use it as a discrete PC or a HTPC in your living room. Much with the Cooltek U2, the minimalist styling will not be to everyone’s tastes, but I feel the vast majority of people will love this case. With regards to performance in the thermal and acoustic tests, whilst it was not the best we have had, it certainly isn’t the worst, generally keeping itself in the top end of our graphs. Even being very picky, it is hard for me to look for ways to improve the Phenom. I think the only thing I can really say I was disappointed in was the inability to mount the roof fans under the grill. If the plastic panel was maybe five millimetres higher than those fans would have fitted under the grill which would have given the user the option to use an all in one solution such as a Corsair H100i in push pull, or give more options with regards to custom water cooling radiators. Whilst on the subject of water cooling, this case has the potential to be a beast in that department. Yes, it is not going to be conventional by any stretch of the imagination, and you may have to get creative with pump and reservoir solutions, but this case does have a lot of potential for custom waterloops. As there are no big issues with the chassis, I am happy to award the BitFenix Phenom with our Editor’s Choice Award, and if we had an Innovation Award, It would be getting that as well.
I would like to thank BitFenix for sending us this sample and hope to see more from them in the future.
The BitFenix Phenom and accessories are available to purchase from Overclockers UK – http://www.overclockers.co.uk/mfrList.php?mfrid=556
From the outset the Phenom oozed quality. With its sleek good looks complete with the trademark BitFenix SofTouch finish, teamed up with brilliant build quality in a massively innovative package. The BitFenix Phenom is totally deserving of the Editor’s Choice Award.
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