BitFenix Pandora Review

Manufacturer: BitFenix
UK price (as reviewed):
£94.99 (inc VAT)
US price (as reviewed): TBC

You can usually rely on BitFenix to come up with interesting and different case designs. In fact, many companies are taking to their sketchbooks to create cases that look like anything but a bland black box. Corsair's Graphite 380T is a classic example, and numerous others are slimming down on their cases' dimensions or changing the internal layouts too. With its latest micro-ATX case, the Pandora, BitFenix isn't quite throwing out the rule book but it is a rather unique case nonetheless.

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Our early sample is more of a final prototype with some sharp edges and lack of instructions being the main issues here but as you'd expect, BitFenix will be addressing these and other issues with the final version. So what's different here compared to your average tower case? Externally, there's clearly no drive mounts be them 5.25in or slimline, but the most noticeable features are the large curved aluminium side panels.

BitFenix Pandora Review BitFenix Pandora Review
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There are no thumb screws; instead they pop on and pop off using protruding pins that clip into the case. These are pretty stiff on our pre-production sample so getting them on and off can be tricky but at least this means they'd stay put once they're on. The case is 42cm high and just over 46cm deep - relatively compact but at just 16cm wide, there are clear implications for the interior.

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There's a large vent behind the glossy front section that hides an equally large dust filter, with a further filter for the PSU in the base. All the front panel paraphernalia is located on top of the case at the front, and comprises two USB 3 ports plus the usual minijacks, power and reset buttons. Other than this, the exterior is relatively featureless apart from a large removable vent in the roof. There's an adhesive BitFenix logo included but perhaps the party piece of the Pandora is its 2.4in programmable front display.

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This is able to display JPEG or PNG images up to 240 x 320 pixels and connects to a spare USB 2 header on your motherboard. To display your own image on the display, you'll need to download an application from the product's support page and then simply drag your image file onto the application icon - there's no interface as such.

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However, it works fine but while it's a colour display, viewing angles aren't too great with the colours fading quite quickly as you move from head-on. Still, along with the eye-catching design, it's another sure way to get noticed at LAN parties. BitFenix has also stated that the source code for the application will be made available in the next few weeks so there's the possibility for those with code-friendly brains to write their own scripts to display clocks or CPU temperature for example.

Specifications

  • Dimensions (mm) 160 x 456 x 420 (W x D x H)
  • Material Aluminium, steel
  • Available colours Black
  • Weight 5.9kg
  • Front panel Power, reset, 2 x USB 3, stereo, microphone
  • Drive bays 2 x internal 3.5in/2.5in, 3 x internal 2.5in
  • Form factor(s) Micro-ATX, mini-ITX
  • Cooling 2 x front 120mm fan mounts (1 x 120mm fan included), 1 x roof 120mm fan mounts (1 x 120mm fan included)
  • CPU cooler clearance 134mm
  • Maximum graphics card length 350mm
  • Extras Removable dust filters, front programmable display

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