[section_title title=Closer Look – Exterior]
Closer Look – Exterior
Starting with the front of the case. We can see that it is a rectangular design which has a black ventilated bezel to allow the fans behind it to breath. The small rectangle we can see at the top of the front panel is the 5.25″ bay cover which is removable in case you wish to use the bay for a DVD drive or a fan controller, for example. Towards the bottom of the front panel is the BitFenix logo, in black, which matches the rest of the case nicely. The orange finish on the front panel is done with BitFenix’s SoftTouch treatment, which does give the case a lovely finish and feel.
Once we take the front panel off we get a good look at the front of the chassis. BitFenix have decided to include one 120mm Spectre fan with the chassis in the front as an intake. The front of the chassis can accomodate a 200mm fan as well as a single 140mm. There is also tooling to fit a second 120mm fan which is nice for people who are air cooling but also give an option of placing a 240mm water cooling radiator in the front of the case if you so desired. If you wanted to do that, or place a 240mm radiator on the roof mounts you would need to remove the 5.25″ optical bay. This can be done by unscrewing the screws around the cut out on the front panel. The fan mounts themselves are not dust filtered. This is a little dissapointing as I feel that with all of the effort BitFenix have gone to making this case as good a possible with a brilliant finish, it seems a little odd to leave that out. I would have liked to see a Dust filter implemented like they had done with the Shinobi XL, which is a 200mm dust filter, with a rectangular bit on the top edge to filter a 2x 120mm fan set up.
Moving around to the back of the case, we can see that BitFenix have given us another 120mm spectre fan as standard, as well as providing tooling on the panel for a 140mm fan. Down the right hand edge we can see the dual PCI cutouts for the graphics card solutions and the motherboard IO. at the bottom is the PSU bracket. I would like to point out that the black panel that you can see around the PSU is one that BitFenix supply with the chassis. The grey one is an adapter that I have to use with the Silverstone PSU as it is an SFX supply. As you can see, the PSU bracket is held on via the four, large thumbscrews. Essentially, you can attach this plate to the PSU before you put into the system. Then you can plug you PSU cables into all of their respective slots on the motherboard, graphics card, etc, and then into the PSU and slide the PSU and bracket into the case, and attach the bracket with the thumbscrews. I found that this saved any needless fiddling around trying to plug cables into the PSU once installed and allowed you to hide the cables around the PSU area easily upon installation as well.
On the ‘back panel’ of the case the only real thing to note on there is the IO panel. This is situated down the far left hand side of the panel and quite unusually the panel itself it built into the side panel, so when you remove the panel you remove the IO too. This is something to be wary of as you could inadvertently remove the panel and pull all the headers out of your motherboard, so please bare that in mind. On this IO we have a large power button, which has a reassuring click upon pressing it. We can also see a small reset button, headphone and microphone jacks, and two USB 3.0 super speed ports which are powered by an internal USB 3.0 header. The panel itself is made from a strong steel and there is practically no flex at all.
Moving around the case to the other side we can see the optional window panel installed. This is a nice addition. The way the BitFenix have size it gives a nice view into the case, but blocks out the parts that you may not otherwise want to see such as the hard drive cages and the PSU. As we can see from the photo, the window is extremely glossy and is picking up a reflection of the floor, it is also a huge dust magnet and is a bit of a pain to keep clean. The window itself gives a good view of the graphics card, but as the case is very small and the orientation of the motherboard, you are really not going to see much more.
On to the roof. We can see the two FyberFlex carry handles as well as the removable meshed roof panel. Just through the panel you can make out the mounts for the fans. The roof has only been tooled to allow mounting of two 120mm fans, there is no support for 140mm fans. There is also no support for fans to be mounted on the outside of the case, as there is on the Aerocool Dead Silence. This would have been a nice addition as it would have allowed for a larger water cooling radiator to be mounted on the inside, or for a H100i to accommodate a push pull configuration. On the right hand side of the panel it is possible to make out a small switch. This allows you to lock the roof grill in place, or to remove it to fit fans or clean it.
Here is a better look at the roof grill. As you can see it is a plastic honeycomb frame with some fine honeycomb mesh over the top. Whilst this would not give any dust filtering, anyone using the roof mounts should be using the fans as exhausts, therefore negating any real need to have a dust filtered roof grill. The locking mechanism for the grill can been seen a little better on the left hand side.
Moving onto the floor of the case. We can see the FyberFlex feet, again in keeping with the roof handles. As you can see, they are curved, and as a result, the case does tend to rock slightly. This is a little unnerving, considering a lot of people have their cases on their desks and potentially packed with very expensive hardware. We can also see that BitFenix have implemented a PSU dust filter for the PSU fan. This dust filter is removable from the back of the chassis for easy cleaning. We can also see six screws, these hold the lower two hard drive cages in place, so if you were wanting to remove them all completely, these would need to be removed to facilitate that.
Finally, this is one of the best features I have seen for a little while. It may be simple but it made me smile when I saw it. On the back of the IO side panel there are these two meshed plastic SSD holders. This is a brilliant idea as it still gives the user a place to securely and tidily place their storage devices if they chose to remove the hard drive cages. The only criticism that i can have is that they did not at least implement a third one at the bottom.