Not too long ago we saw a trio of cases from NZXT that were taking this sub-$50 case segment by storm with the Tempest and Source series cases. Head to head, the BitFenix Outlaw comes out on top while even missing some things included with the NZXT solutions. The Outlaw may be lacking USB 3.0 and it may not have aggressive styling, but the Outlaw definitely isn't the typical case layout, and the sleek and smooth front of the Outlaw is the hands down winner aesthetically. Even with the minor issues I ran into with the Outlaw, the only thing that was anything I can blame on BitFenix was the missing bit of paint on the drive bays. The rest of what I ran into was due to my choices of what I wanted to do versus what the case will allow me to do. Once looked at from another perspective, the latter issues were easily remedied by either moving a screw, or sliding a drive into a different bay. In the end I was pleased with the finished product and the unique internal layout and its thermal based design.
Cooling is a bit lacking as far as air flow is concerned as the Outlaw comes out of the box. The sole reason for this is to keep the pricing down. Simply filling all seven of the optional holes could easily raise the cost $35 to $70 or more depending on the fans you choose. For someone like me who salvage fans from cases and have a big pile of leftover fans, filling these optional fan holes can be done easily and cheaply. Even with only one of the eight fan spots being filled from BitFenix, the openings in the roof, side panel, front bezel and the floor allow for temperatures of both the CPU and GPU to be at acceptable levels. Given things were a bit warmer than usual, I was using a new CPU cooler as opposed to the one usually do, and it isn't as efficient as the previous one, so the couple of degrees of warmth I saw over some of the others is partially there for the blame.
The limited availability is going to be reflected in the score, but should not detract you from your choice in the Outlaw. Sub-$50 pricing has been done in cases as NZXT showed us, but BitFenix showed us that we don't have to expect the same old boring layout for that cost. The Inverted ATX layout is a case design that seemed to have gone out of fashion for some time, and we are seeing it popping up more and more again. BitFenix is the first to deliver us this sort of sleek and elegant look outside, with an inverted layout that will make a standard ATX chassis pale in comparison at this price point. If this case is as interesting to you as it was to me, I say you go over to Outletpc.com with their $49.98 pricing as they offer the best shipped to the door pricing I was able to find, and get the Outlaw Inverted Mid tower chassis! - As I mentioned, even with a couple of limitations, the final product is the best concept and aesthetic appeal combination for the price.
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