Bitfenix Phenom mATX case review
Bitfenix are known for building great small form factor cases, with the Prodigy being a well regarded case for its size, price and cooling options and the Phenom is no different. Much like the Prodigy, the Phenom has mATX and ITX variants, but today we will only be looking at the mATX version.
The front and top panels come with the same soft rubber feel we’ve come to love from Bitfenix cases. The front folds round at the top to make an almost seamless look. On top we have a mesh grill covering space for two 120 or 140mm fans or even a 240mm radiator. Round the back we have the PCI slots which include a great single thumb screw clamp which grips all of the five slots. Underneath is the motherboard I/O panel cutout next to a space for either 120 or 140mm fans or 120mm radiator and finally the power supple socket. Both side panels are plain without the soft touch feel with the right hand panel housing the power and reset buttons, front audio and two USB 3.0 slots as well as some mighty bright HDD and power LEDs. The bottom of the case has four screw in feet that aren’t that big meaning the case sits near enough on the floor and any fans placed at the bottom of the case like the one supplied will struggle to pull/push any air out.
Inside we have a large open space. To the left is a space for the PSU with the power extension running out to the back. Next along the bottom are spaces for two 120mm fans or one 140mm. There is a space for an optical drive but if your looking to put a full size graphics card in this case you wont be able to have both. However, a mini card like the Zotac 1080 Mini would fit but it would probably be tight. The motherboard mounts upside down and while this was probably necessary so that graphics cards didn’t hit on the power supply, it does stop you using SLI configurations with a 240 radiator up top. There is a removable HDD tray on the side of the case in front of the motherboard and an SSD tray on the right hand panel next to the front I/O ports. That’s about it which is great if you’re looking to put water cooling in this little monster.
Building in this case wasn’t the easiest. If this case is for your first PC build you’re going to be spending a lot of time taking bits out as it requires a lot of planning to get it built in one shot. I’ve built countless computers and still ended up taking the graphics card out more than once! I wasn’t all to pleased with the lack of space for cable management, but what can you expect in a case of this size? I had to swap the two side panels round so the power button and front I/O were on the left side rather than the right, mainly because my OCD wouldn’t let me have the USB/Power/Audio header cables just floating around inside the case. This did mean that the power button is upside down but I’m fine with that.
All in all I thought this case was brilliant, however tricky it came across. There was a few things that annoyed me, but after a took a step back and thought about how I could make the situation better everything worked out. If you’re looking for a small form factor case and but don’t want to make the move to ITX then this is a great case for the money. I’m sure like me you’ll be pleasantly surprised with it.
The BitFenix Phenom is currently selling for £72.95 on amazon click here to buy now!