BitFenix Phenom Mini-ITX Review

Written by Antony Leather

November 26, 2013 | 10:19

Tags: #best-mini-itx-case #bitphenix-phenom #cube-case #mini-itx #prodigy #quiet-case #water-cooling

Companies: #bitfenix

Many of the features that made the Prodigy great are still here. In fact there are even some improvements with a larger number of drive mounts on offer. You get up to six 3.5in or up to 11 for SSDs (or a mixture of the two), with five dedicated 2.5in mounts (two in the side panel, two on the side of the PSU mount and one underneath the main drive bays) and either a 2.5in or 3.5in spot in a bundled 5.25in bay adaptor, meaning you can remove all the drive bays (except for the 5.25in) and still kit the case out with five SSDs and a hard disk.

BitFenix Phenom Mini-ITX Review BitFenix Phenom Mini-ITX - Internals BitFenix Phenom Mini-ITX Review BitFenix Phenom Mini-ITX - Internals
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All the dedicated 3.5in drive mounts are tool free, while the back panel mounts are screw-in, with a slightly different arrangement on the micro-ATX model, which uses slot-in rubber grommets to secure the drives. The down side, as with most cases is that while there's plenty of room for storage drives, there's next to nowhere to hide the cables, requiring some ninja cable tidying to get things looking respectable.

BitFenix Phenom Mini-ITX Review BitFenix Phenom Mini-ITX - Internals BitFenix Phenom Mini-ITX Review BitFenix Phenom Mini-ITX - Internals
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There's also the issue with space for the PSU, specifically in front of it - we've found several fully modular PSUs aren't able to bend their cables at right angles tight enough to actually get the PSU in, but we found the same thing with the Prodigy and haven't heard too many major complaints.

BitFenix Phenom Mini-ITX Review BitFenix Phenom Mini-ITX - InternalsBitFenix Phenom Mini-ITX Review BitFenix Phenom Mini-ITX - Internals BitFenix Phenom Mini-ITX Review BitFenix Phenom Mini-ITX - Internals
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As aforementioned, the drive bays are all removable which clears out a vast chasm at the front of the case. However, this can be done in stages, for example, leaving the lower drive mount installed for an additional two storage drives. Of course, if you're going all-out water cooling, then getting shot of the lot opens up plenty of options, providing a handy place for a pump and allowing for lengthy graphics cards.

BitFenix Phenom Mini-ITX Review BitFenix Phenom Mini-ITX - Internals
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The fan mounts are identical to the Prodigy, with two 120mm top fan mounts, a rear 120/140mm fan mount and the versatile front mount offering a home to either two 120mm fans (with room for a double 120mm-fan radiator) or a single 140, 180, 200 or 230mm fan (or radiators). The top fan mounts are only really limited in radiator size by the height of CPU cooler you use but full height radiators and single rows of fans are clearly possible, as are all-in-one liquid coolers with slim radiators and push-pull fan setups. Out of the box the Phenom is equipped with two 120mm fans - one in the front, one in the rear.

All told, the case is just as versatile as the Prodigy in terms of cooling options, although the solid front will limit the appeal of mounting radiators here. The PSU mount once again doubles the motherboard tray, at least in the mini-ITX version, whereas the micro-ATX version has a more traditional tower layout, albeit with the PSU at the front.
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