First Look: BitFenix Colossus

Manufacturer: BitFenix

We reported on new chassis company, BitFenix, back in April, where we discussed that pretty much the whole design team of Cooler Master's CM Storm division had set up a new rival company. True to its schedule, the first couple of prototype cases came back from the factory this week and we duly popped down to BitFenix HQ to nose about.

Due in the shops sometime in late June, the Colossus is BitFenix's first case. Instead of setting a trend for BitFenix's design, it's actually different than how its other anticipated future cases will look. Clearly the full-ATX case commands a striking presence - not because of size, but because of the strange but attractive wavy lines that break up the front and the sides.

The lines are back lit by blue or red LEDs, and can be set to either 'breathe' gently, be always on or just be turned off. The actual chassis is made of steel and will be available in either white or black. One burning question will be the longevity of that coating - since it's gloss painted inside and out, we wonder whether the final product will scratch easily compared to the powder-coated exterior of other cases.

First Look: BitFenix Colossus and Survivor Cases First Look: BitFenix Colossus First Look: BitFenix Colossus and Survivor Cases First Look: BitFenix Colossus
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As it stands, the case still needs work - as you can see above, the light leaks behind the front door and the hinges aren't sitting correctly. We were assured that these issues are on the list of things that will be fixed in the final version. This is the first sample the crew have made and seen, so it's still in the natural process of refining and development.

For example, all the front ports will be moved inside the top storage box, instead of being split half and half. This means that the front door closes properly even when you use the front ports - which include USB 3, eSATA and the usual audio jacks. The hidey hole in the top of the case is lockable in order to store all your valuable nicknacks. One groovy addition (literally) are the pre-cut channels that are designed to neatly snake cables around the front panel so they remain out the way of the door and any optical drives. These also double up as a security device, because it means you can connect your mouse or headphones and still lock the lid.

First Look: BitFenix Colossus and Survivor Cases First Look: BitFenix Colossus First Look: BitFenix Colossus and Survivor Cases First Look: BitFenix Colossus
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Internally there's little space for water cooling, but there are four holes in the back to route tubing through. BitFenix plays it safe with the internal layout of the Colossus, although it maintains that the design incorporates plenty of airflow, with one 200mm fan in the front, a 140mm fan in the floor and another 200mm fan in the roof. That's plenty of large fans, and they have a manual fan control knob that sits next to the front panel ports.

Because BitFenix chose aesthetic consistency over the use of a side-panel fan, it means the all-important graphics area will have second-hand airflow. For a company that launched with gaming co-operation, that decision is possibly questionable to its core ethos: many gamers use multiple graphics cards, or at least one hot graphics card.

First Look: BitFenix Colossus and Survivor Cases First Look: BitFenix Colossus First Look: BitFenix Colossus and Survivor Cases First Look: BitFenix Colossus
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BitFenix pointed out several areas that could change internally: as it is, the sides and internal cabling needs a large scale tidy and rework.

Its choice was to go for the single cavernous compartment, rather than compartmentalisation. There is space for several hard disks that use slid-in drive mounts, but the whole front mounting infrastructure (including the 5.25in drive bays) is non-removable. This is partly to simplify design, but it also reinforces the internal structure. However, the non-removable front section means less customisation options for anyone but the boldest of modders.

The PSU sits on little rubber nipples in the floor of the case, and the fan filter for both this and the 140mm floor-intake fan just slides out of the rear of the case. There are eight expansion slots and a seriously funky tool-less retention mechanism.
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