The Pandora does have a lot to like. There is a unique design to the front and sides of the chassis that is like only one other chassis we can recall in all of our time ever looking at cases. Although the near silent fans do make the internal components a little warmer than the average wide bodied mini-tower chassis, they are still capable of keeping things cool enough. We would advise that if you planned to build a system for gaming or very demanding usage, you also plan to add the two optional fans, and you should be happy with the results inside this slim tower as well.
This chassis is the perfect space saving idea for the casual gamer, internet surfer, or even for use in the living room as an HTPC. You could even put your TV or surround sound manufacturer's logo on the front to match the rest of your gear with the ICON display. Really, only size is the issue, as you have to adapt larger images to fit the limited resolution, but you could put Mario on it, or you could put a TweakTown logo on it (we won't mind). The depths of imagination are your only real limits to what can be displayed.
Getting back to the chassis itself, we would advise to be very careful with how thick wiring is if you plan to run it behind the tray, as we found out, you can easily exceed the accommodations. While we really like the design and the slimness of it, we did find that having feet the same height as the side panels made the sides drag on whatever we moved it on, quite a bit in fact, and made a horrible noise as it slid on the glass top of our photo booth. Speaking of the panels, we may be getting a touch picky, but the way they are cut leaves the top and bottom edges sharp, and if you're not careful, they could cut through skin.
We would also like to address that 180mm PSU maximum. We have to assume that is to keep the cover in the chassis, but if that PSU is modular, and the clips are too far to the left side panel, it does block its usage. If you don't plan to use the cover, or the drive location in front of it, there really is no PSU limitation at all. We also found the lack of a USB 3.0 to USB 2.0 adapter a bit challenging; not having an adapter rendered the ports on the front useless to us, but hopefully your system will be USB 3.0 ready, as most new systems are.
As much fun as we had building inside of this slim tower, we just find ourselves falling out of love with it the more we think about it. While considering if this chassis is accessible for anyone, we find ourselves saying "no," but not for the reasons you would expect. While this chassis is more than capable, when correctly ventilated, of taking on even a demanding multi-card gaming system, most users that are willing to fork over this kind of money will likely go in another direction. That leaves us with casual gamers, and maybe those who need an internet surf machine that sits in a public area and needs to look good.
While we get that aspect of it, most of customers are unlikely to pay up for a chassis like this in our opinion. However, this chassis would make a sleek addition to a room as a media server or HTPC. In both instances, this chassis is cooled well enough out of the box to handle the day to day workloads of streaming and file sharing, and will look really good doing it. While we completely understand the cost involved to do new and innovative things, we feel that the cost of the Pandora in any form may be just a bit too pricy.
PRICING: You can find the BitFenix Pandora Core 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 Pandora Core (Windowless/Silver) retails for $126.00 at Amazon, the Pandora Core (Windowless/Black) retails for $126.00 at Amazon, the Pandora Core(Window/Silver) retails for $137.00 at Amazon, and the Pandora Core (Window/Black) retails for $143.00 at Amazon.
PRICING: You can find the BitFenix Pandora 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 Pandora (Windowless/Silver) retails for $148.00 at Amazon, the Pandora (Windowless/Black) retails for $148.00 at Amazon, the Pandora (Window/Silver) retails for $166.00 at Amazon, and the Pandora (Window/Black) retails for $160.00 at Amazon.
Product Summary Breakdown
|Quality including Design and Build||78%|
|Bundle and Packaging||80%|
|Value for Money||75%|
|Overall TweakTown Rating||79%|
The Bottom Line: While we appreciate all the factors involved, with slightly misleading specifications, and the "rough around the edges" delivery of the product, we feel that while BitFenix is on the right path, the Pandora could use some refinement.
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