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BitFenix Neos Mid-Tower Chassis Review

BitFenix delivers a mid-tower chassis with the most trim color options we've ever seen. Have a look at the Neos, and find a color to match your next build.

@chad_sebring
Published Tue, Jul 29 2014 5:10 PM CDT   |   Updated Tue, Nov 3 2020 6:59 PM CST
Rating: 87%Manufacturer: BitFenix

Introduction, Specifications and Pricing

BitFenix Neos Mid-Tower Chassis Review 99 | TweakTown.com
VIEW GALLERY - 37 IMAGES

Considering all of the cases we have seen from BitFenix over the years, we thought we had a pretty good handle on what BitFenix was all about; but today we found out that BitFenix is expanding their horizons yet again. We know that all BitFenix cases come with a rubberized front, and while some designs are more standard, they have been known to bend the rules of case design as well. BitFenix also offers all of the extra doodads like LED light strips, sleeved cables, and sleeved cable PSUs. BitFenix has even offered cases with color options for the smaller mesh inserts, which allowed customers to pick and choose custom parts to suit their build.

With all of that in mind, where is the next logical step? Well, the fact that we were sent three different versions of the same chassis to give you an idea of its possibilities seems to answer that question. BitFenix has delivered a chassis based on a mid-tower design that has a few options to consider when purchasing. The chassis comes in white or black, and it also offers a windowed or windowless option, but the kicker here is that the front bezel is mostly mesh. This allows BitFenix to play around with many color choices to grab the attention of potential customers. On the BitFenix website, you will see black, white, red, blue, and what appears to be silver, as color options for these mesh panels. But it gets better: our samples have a couple more options to choose from as well.

While this chassis does fall into the realm of a system builder's case, or the economical mid-tower that it is, there is still something to be had inside as well. Unlike our last sample from BitFenix, this isn't just a dressed up an old case. This chassis offers a completely different interior, which is made for systems that people use today, and shows that BitFenix does have what it takes to give us a competitive chassis at a great price point.

Even if mid-towers are not your thing, we think after seeing what the Neos mid-tower chassis is all about, you will also see that this is a drastic change from the mundane chassis that still sits very fresh in our minds.

BitFenix Neos Mid-Tower Chassis Review 01 | TweakTown.com

The outside of the Neos is made of steel, and ABS plastic for the front bezel. In the bezel there are covers for two 5.25" bays; the chassis actually has three, but the wiring is routed in the first one. Lower on the panel is more of the same mesh that covers the bays, and it is enough to cover the two 120mm fans behind it. The mesh also sports a black BitFenix logo near the bottom. The top of the chassis offers no ventilation, and neither do the side panels. However, with the side panels you have the option of getting a flat solid version, or one with a window that shows off the components and not the bays. Around the back of the chassis there are a couple of grommets in holes for external water cooling potential, the only fan supplied with the chassis, and seven PCI slots with knock-out covers.

Inside of the chassis there are tool-free mechanisms on the left side of the optical drive bays, while the right side requires screws to secure them. Under these bays there is a thinner storage rack that houses three 2.5" drives with plastic trays, and screws for mounting them. At the bottom there are three more drive trays, this time expandable trays. Because the trays are expandable, they can get around the 3.5" drives that go into that rack. The motherboard tray has built-in standoffs, and will house Mini-ITX, Micro-ATX, or ATX motherboards, while still offering some wire management as well.

The chassis also offers room in the front for a pair of 120mm fans, but they are not supplied at this price point. There are dust filters on the front of the chassis, as well as under the PSU in the floor. The last thing to cover here is that the front I/O panel offers a USB 3.0 port, a USB 2.0 port, and HD Audio connections, outside of the buttons and lights for the chassis.

Availability of the Neos in many of its forms is high, so finding one is definitely not an issue. Pricing is affordable, but it does vary depending only on the window option, it seems all color options are the same price, no matter its configuration. For the plain version without a window, in either black or white, we see the price ranging from just north of $50, to the $60 range, depending on where you are shopping. Across all stores though, it seems if you wish to buy one with a window in the left side panel, the cost only increases by $9 for that option. So, at this point, the real problem is personal to every reader that ends up liking this chassis. What colors will you choose to give it that personal touch?

PRICING: You can find the BitFenix Neos 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 Neos (Black/Black, no window) retails for $59.98 at Amazon.

The BitFenix Neos (Black/Blue, no window) retails for $59.98 at Amazon.

The BitFenix Neos (Black/Red, no window) retails for $59.98 at Amazon.

The BitFenix Neos (Black/Silver, no window) retails for $59.98 at Amazon.

The BitFenix Neos (Black/Gold, w/ window) retails for $66.74 at Amazon.

The BitFenix Neos (White/Blue, no window) retails for $59.98 at Amazon.

The BitFenix Neos (White/Red, no window) retails for $59.98 at Amazon.

The BitFenix Neos (White/Silver, no window) retails for $59.98 at Amazon.

The BitFenix Neos (White/Purple, w/ window) retails for $69.00 at Amazon.

Packaging

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In order to keep that cost down, BitFenix employs the use of screen printing on plain brown cardboard for their packaging. Going even further to cut costs, BitFenix has simplified the front panel with just the logo, the chassis name in large letters at the bottom, and the much smaller web address.

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This side of the packaging offers an idea of what the black chassis would look like via the rendering under the naming. Below that, we see a specifications chart that is very similar to the one we just looked at.

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They do put a bit more effort into the one panel that shows you everything you need to know. You get an idea of the layout over the four images, and along with those renderings, there are seven features listed and pointed out.

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The last panel of the packaging is where you can verify the color combinations. Both of the stickers by the names, as well as the large white stickers, show that we have a white chassis with red trim, sans the window. We also have white with purple trim, this time with a window. And last, but not least, we have a black chassis with gold trim, and a window.

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This was the first of the three cases to be opened, and we found that they were all wrapped in plastic, and protected with thin Styrofoam end caps. The cases with windows also have cling plastic stuck to both sides of the windows. All three cases arrived in great shape internally, even with varying degrees of damage visible to the boxes.

BitFenix Neos Mid-Tower Chassis

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With all three color choices we received, whether black or white, and despite the color of the mesh, they all share an identical layout. The bezels are flat, but with a thin edge of trim, and a vast expanse of round holed mesh that comes in almost any color you would want.

BitFenix Neos Mid-Tower Chassis Review 08 | TweakTown.com

The left side of the chassis can be had in two flavors. To the left, we see what the chassis looks like with the window in the panel. It gives a full view of the components, and blocks the front third from view. Or, you can opt for the windowless version, like we see with the case to the right.

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The front I/O panels on all versions are found at the top of the bezel where it meets the steel top. From left to right, we find the power and reset buttons, HD audio jacks above the LEDs, one USB 3.0 port, and one USB 2.0 port.

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The top of the Neos offers no options for ventilation, as we can see here in this image of the solid steel top. This is the same for any version of the Neos.

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At the back of the Neos, we have the holes at the top with grommets above the exhaust fan, next to the rear I/O. We then find seven expansion slots with one cover missing, and there is also a cover over the mounting area, since the slots are secured outside of the chassis.

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By releasing tabs at the top and bottom of the plastic cover, you can slide it out on two pins, and get it out of your way. Without any screws in place, we can already tell that these are break-away covers, and once removed, they will not go back.

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No matter what version of the Neos you get, all of the right side panels are flat as a board. These panels will be painted white like we see here, or black, if that is the base color of choice.

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Under the chassis we find round plastic legs with rubber pads, but this case's light weight will allow it to move around easily. We can also see the dust filter that slides out of the back to cover the intake for the PSU.

Inside the Neos

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Upon removing the bezel, we find the wiring stays attached to the chassis, and easy access is given to remove the bay covers. On the front of the frame there are knock-out covers in the ODD bays. Below that is a large dust filter for the intake, although you do have to remove the bezel to remove the filter for cleaning.

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Our first glance inside of the chassis shows that the wiring is left free to run around in the chassis during transit. Also, if you look closely at the bottom of the storage racks, you can see a bag with the hardware and paperwork.

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Since the wiring blocks off the use of the top ODD bay, only the bottom two bays offer tool-free clips to lock drives into place. They are pretty solid on their own, but there is also the option to use screws to make sure the drive does not move.

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For storage drives, we find a thin top rack that houses three 2.5" drives on removable trays, and a matching one below, which is slightly larger in order to accommodate 3.5" drives. All of this is ventilated with large holes to allow optional fans a chance at getting air into the main section of the interior.

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The motherboard tray is placed high in the chassis, with little room above the motherboard. This will house Mini-ITX, Micro-ATX, and ATX motherboards, while offering six wire management holes, and a few places to tie wiring down.

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The floor of the chassis is only ventilated at the back, for the PSU. To support the PSU, there are bumps of steel to space the fan grill from the floor. There are also tight side tabs that the PSU must slide into before it is screwed into place at the rear of the chassis.

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The back of the chassis houses the only fan sent with the Neos. Of course, since they make so many varieties of fans with and without LEDs to match the mesh, why fill the chassis with these plain 120mm fans for the exhaust?

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Behind the motherboard tray there is only room for flat cable PSUs that use either a ribbon style lead, or are individually sleeved; typical leads are too thick. Off to the left, there is a bit more room for the chassis wiring to run where the management holes are, and you can stash some in the unused storage bays since the window won't show a view of it

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We do like that all of the wiring, including the USB 2.0 connection, the native USB 3.0 connection, the ribbon style cable for the buttons and LEDs, and even the HD audio cable, is sleeved in black with black ends. In a white chassis, they are high contrast and part of the aesthetic, but they will disappear in the black version.

Accessories and Documentation

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The hardware kit that is shipped with the Neos must be some form of a universal kit. The reason we believe the kit is universal is that the pointed screws and the trio of risers have no place to go in the Neos. However, the Motherboard screws, PSU and expansion card screws, and the SSD/ODD screws, all have their place. We do wish we had more hex head screws though, as we are short to fill the expansion slots.

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Inside of the bag with the screws, we also found four tie straps to use just right of the motherboard, and they do send a cover for the top expansion slot that is empty out of the box.

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The quick installation guide is exactly that, a guide. While it does offer a parts list, and a basic tutorial on assembly, even here costs are cut to give you just what you need to get the Neos finished, and nothing more.

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Here is an example of the sort of help provided in the guide. We can see they mostly depend on the illustrations to do the explaining, as the text that accompanies it is very short and to the point.

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The 3.5" drive trays actually expand in the middle to allow the tray to go around the drive, and then be compressed to the sides of the drive as the plastic pins go into the screw holes. There is an option to use screws, and we also see there are holes drilled for 2.5" drives as well.

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The 2.5" drive trays are solid, and you have to press slightly to fit the drive into this. The options for mounting allow you to choose between using screws in the sides, as we did closest to you, or using the holes in the bottom, as we did on the far edge.

Case Build and Finished Product

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Sticking with the red theme, we went with a NiC-C5 CPU cooler that is just short enough to fit and clear the door panel. We also went with the smaller video card for color, rather than using the longer card, which had no issues fitting with the offset in the top drive cage.

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Around back, the dust shield snapped in tighter than most, but the fit is quite solid. After installing the PSU and extra slot cover, we were left with only one screw to hold in our card, and we still have four slots to consider populating.

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While there is an eight-pin management hole, you need flat cables to get around the motherboard in the first place. Then, in order to not impede on the door, it also needs to lay flat against the tray for its entire length. Off to the left, we had no issues tending the chassis wiring, and we can use these tie points for the 24-pin lead, or anything else that runs on the other side.

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Since we had the option available to us, we took the side panel from the white and purple version, and slid it onto the side of the red and white one. The view of the components is not blocked with tinting, and is ready for some Alchemy LED strips, or fans to help light the interior.

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The LEDs are white when active, and since they are placed at the top of the chassis, it is highly unlikely that these will bother most users. It was also at this time that we had to look at the fan to be sure it was spinning, because we could not yet hear it. Once we spun it around and set the meter a foot away, we found the mere 25dB of noise to be very nice.

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In case you had forgotten that red and white are not the only option, here we have all three versions we were sent to remind you that once in full swing, this chassis can be customized to your exact tastes.

Final Thoughts

On the basic level, the Neos does pretty well. Being a budget friendly chassis by design, we don't expect a whole lot as far as removable components, great wire management, or even anything that offers a whole lot when it comes to style or options. There is room for six 2.5" drives, or three of each 2.5" and 3.5" drives, so storage is of little concern. There are three bays in the 5.25" rack, and due to wiring, only two are usable, but there is a bright side here too.

Not only did it allow the wiring to be mounted to the chassis so that you don't have to deal with that when cleaning the fan dust filter, but there is also still room for a Blu-ray drive, or even a dual bay reservoir, since the back of the chassis will allow for the use of an external radiator. The wiring is sleeved, and even if it's the only thing to fit behind the motherboard tray, it does so cleanly, and still reached the furthest HD audio motherboard connection. In the end, it just all worked pretty well, and went as expected.

There are a few things to watch out for though. Of course, there is the odd thing of getting a few hardware pieces we don't need, rather than receiving enough screws to hold the PSU in and still use all, or more than two expansion slots. We also found the steel to be on the thin side, so the panels take a bit of work to get on and off. Also, while the panels are off, there is a bit more flex to the chassis than we really thought would be there. The amount of flex is not detrimental, and the chassis is not flimsy by any means, but it is just not as strong as many others. The last thing worth a solid mention is that with only one fan provided in the chassis, and it being a lower RPM model, temperature does suffer in this chassis as it is shipped from BitFenix; although, that can easily be remedied by adding two more fans in the front.

As far as customizability is concerned, there is the option to buy a windowed or windowless version right off any shelf. However, when it comes to color, maybe you just can't find the one you want. Well, BitFenix has a plan, and it is of course subject to change, but we were told they will offer parts for the Neos in the new U.S. and U.K. store fronts. BitFenix plans to offer the option to buy a side panel if you thought you didn't want the window and found out later you need one, and they will also offer bezels in all of their color choices, with black and white frames. Essentially, you could buy the whole set of bezels and change the front of your chassis depending on mood that day, or select just one that best suits your style or theme.

As for the $50 to $60 that you would have to pay out to get a Neos, we think it is money well spent. After the last chassis we looked at, we see that BitFenix is still in their right mind, and they do offer a really slick idea of a chassis in this mid-tower design. With a few more of their cases to come along very soon after this, our faith in BitFenix has been restored.

While it's not the perfect choice for every builder out there, where else can you get a chassis with this sort of a layout, and with all of the options in coloration that can be had with this Neos? The answer is nowhere. Only BitFenix is willing to take the chance to make everyone happy with their options, and give case modders a leg up on readily available aftermarket parts.

PRICING: You can find the BitFenix Neos 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 Neos (Black/Black, no window) retails for $59.98 at Amazon.

The BitFenix Neos (Black/Blue, no window) retails for $59.98 at Amazon.

The BitFenix Neos (Black/Red, no window) retails for $59.98 at Amazon.

The BitFenix Neos (Black/Silver, no window) retails for $59.98 at Amazon.

The BitFenix Neos (Black/Gold, w/ window) retails for $66.74 at Amazon.

The BitFenix Neos (White/Blue, no window) retails for $59.98 at Amazon.

The BitFenix Neos (White/Red, no window) retails for $59.98 at Amazon.

The BitFenix Neos (White/Silver, no window) retails for $59.98 at Amazon.

The BitFenix Neos (White/Purple, w/ window) retails for $69.00 at Amazon.

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After a year of gaming, Chad caught the OC bug. With overclocking comes the need for better cooling, and Chad has had many air and water setups. With a few years of abusing computer parts, he decided to take his chances and try to get a review job. As an avid overclocker, Chad is always looking for the next leg up in RAM, cooling, as well as peripherals.

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