Being completely honest is what we are all about, and while the Neos is the better looking of the two cases being offered with this interior layout, we do see the need, and the place for the Comrade. For those of you who were into what we showed off in the Neos, but aren't willing to shell out that much money for flashy colors and a bunch of mesh, well the Comrade is the BitFenix chassis for you. The Comrade offers all of the same abilities, and even takes back the third optical bay by relocating the front I/O panel, so internally, you actually get more bang for your buck.
We still find the hardware kit to be a bit lacking. We have no idea why there are short pointed screws in this kit, or why are there not enough screws for the expansion slots. While we don't like break-out covers, in economically friendly designs, it is usually what happens, so we will sort of overlook that aspect. We did like the Comrade's silence, but you are going to need to invest in some extra fans if you have any plans to run more than stock settings on any of the hardware. The last complaint is more of a personal quirk, but all the same: while we like that there is a dust filter for the intake, having to remove the bezel for cleaning each time is excessive. However, at this price point, concessions have to be made in some form.
It is very handy to have a fully equipped front I/O panel with a fan controller that takes the fans from full speed at 42dB, to a more suitable level for most users at 30 dB when the toggle is set to the lower fan speed setting. It is also very handy to have a chassis that can house motherboards over the ATX standard. Some cases offered from Corsair have had a bend in the tray that would prevent that, but it's not present here.
When it comes down to it, we do find the $49.99 price attractive. While this may be a great choice for system builders, or a beginner with lower powered hardware, it will take some work to make it worthy of housing a gaming system, and keeping temperatures under control. There is definitely a use, and need for cases of this type, and BitFenix does have something worthy of your attention if you are looking for a case on a budget.
We know there are some slightly better designs out there in this price range, and that will be reflected in the numbers you are about to see. However, as the Comrade is the kid brother to the Neos, with much less flash and business going on, we feel that BitFenix will indeed sell these cases without mush issue.
PRICING: You can find the BitFenix Comrade for sale below. The prices listed are valid at the time of writing, but can change at any time. Click the link to see the very latest pricing for the best deal.
United States: The BitFenix Comrade (Black, no window) retails for $49.00 at Amazon, and the BitFenix Comrade (White, no window) retails for $49.00 at Amazon. The BitFenix Comrade (Black, w/ window) retails for $72.29 at Amazon, and the BitFenix Comrade (White, w/ window) retails for $76.11 at Amazon.