Introduction, Specifications and Pricing
After having a virtual wall of BitFenix cases in the last month or so, we have finally arrived at the bottom of the pile with the last chassis BitFenix has recently released. The main idea with this design is that it takes all of the fundamentals that made the Prodigy a huge success. Unfortunately, despite the success of the Prodigy, we have seen a lot of hater talk in the past about the perceived notion that the handles are flimsy, cheap, or even unnecessary. Of course, there are those out there that just like things a bit more on the subtle side, and really have liked what the Prodigy brought forward on the interior, but for some reason or another, just were not sold on the exterior. We know it wasn't for a lack of color choice, because the Prodigy eventually came in almost every color under the sun.
For whatever reason you passed on the Prodigy when it was released, or since then, this most recent SFF BitFenix design may just sway you in their favor. BitFenix is taking another crack at this design aesthetically to try to sway those that were on the fence to come and party in their yard. If you already own a Prodigy, you may have been waiting for a return to this idea. The funny thing is that we just looked at the Core V1 from Thermaltake, and really liked what they had going on in that design, and there just so happens to be many external similarities to both the Thermaltake Core V1 and this BitFenix chassis. Even so, some major design differences are very apparent. It is nice to have the Core V1 fresh in our minds for comparison to the newest SFF chassis from BitFenix, along with many other Mini-ITX chassis designs that have crossed our photo booth over the years.
Today we are going to have a look at the latest Mini-ITX chassis to be offered from BitFenix, the Phenom Mini-ITX. So far in the lineup, there are only black and white versions of this chassis, both of which are trimmed in black. We can only assume this chassis will also be available in a multitude of flavors as time passes and customer interest develops. Yes, at the heart of it all, this is a Prodigy on the inside, but with a refreshing of the exterior to a sleek and smooth aesthetic approach. We feel this Phenom Mini-ITX case will be much more welcomed in HTPC use, or out in the kitchen for the kids to be using; wherever really, as this version will blend in much easier with any setting.
The specifications chart covers all of the majors things we need to concern ourselves with. We find the chassis is made mostly of steel, has plastic in the drive trays and in the front bezel, and we see the SofTouch coating has not been lost on this chassis either. There are color options of black on black, and white on white, but all of the images of the chassis show a white version with black logo and mesh. We also see that this Mini-ITX chassis measures 250mm wide, 330mm in height, and 374mm in depth.
Inside and around the chassis, you will find it offers room for six 3.5" drives, but an astounding eleven 2.5" drive bays. Also, while there is no mention of the 5.25" bay that is installed on the inside, this is due to the Phenom having a smooth front bezel with no access for this bay. There are two expansion slots in the back to fill, and if you swing from the back around to the right front edge of the chassis, there you will find the front I/O panel with two USB 3.0 ports and HD audio connections.
Cooling options are really good in this design. The front of the chassis ships with a single 120mm fan installed. However, there is room for a second fan once the ODD bay is removed, and to make it more secure, the chassis ships with fan brackets to allow screws to be used in the 5.25" bay at the top of the fan. The top of the chassis offers the same thing, with room for a pair of 120mm fans. This also means that with some adjustments, both the front and the top of the chassis are fair game for water cooling as well. Lastly, as far as cooling is concerned, there is a 120mm fan installed in the back of the chassis, but this location is also drilled for 140mm fan usage.
As we typically do, we scoured the internet to try to find the best deal for the chassis on hand. As we looked around for the Phenom Mini-ITX chassis, we found it readily available almost anywhere you would typically spend your hard earned money. On the lower-end, we found Newegg.com with a listing just shy of $90, including shipping costs. We also thought we had a great find over at Amazon, where they are showing the Phenom Mini-ITX for $79.99; that was until we realized that they are also asking $23 to ship it. The worst of it is, we also saw pricing well into the $120 range at quite a few places, so buyers: beware when looking to obtain this chassis. For our evaluation today, we will be going with an average of everything we saw, which is closer to the $100 mark; to be honest, at this price, things better be good.
PRICING: You can find the BitFenix Phenom Mini-ITX chassis 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 Phenom (BLACK) retails for $79.99 at Amazon, and the BitFenix Phenom (WHITE) retails for $85.87 at Amazon.
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