Introduction, Specifications, and Pricing
As we have stated a few times before this, if BitFenix is known for one thing when it comes to chassis design, it is that they are in no way afraid to push the boundaries. Whether it be a unique exterior in lighting or shape, whether it be a trend setting Mini-ITX chassis that still to this day is hard to beat, or if it is something bringing forth new trends in interior layouts, BitFenix has come up with specialized and very successful designs in the past. Today, it's another one of those times, where BitFenix breaks the mold and introduces something we feel many will be fond of.
If you have ever played the series of Portal games in the past, you will know that there are a few things which are iconic to the game. First, there are the portals and the portal gun, which without them, the games name would not make much sense. Of course, there is also the companion cube, which became a useful tool in making it through many a level. Then we move into things like GLaDOS, and her promise of cake, which ends up to be a lie and running into many a turret, which were the bane of many levels. The last two we mentioned, both GLaDOS and the turrets, are where we can see the idea of where BitFenix derives the aesthetic appeal and design basis for their latest chassis.
While coming up with this latest Mini-ITX chassis simply called "Portal," we can where much of the design originates, and for one, we are smitten, just at a glance. There is much more to this design other than a rounded steel chassis which breaks the mold of boring square cases, in fact, BitFenix has done quite a good job with the limited amount of space that this chassis delivers. Up front, we should tell you that there are four versions of this chassis being offered, but the version we have been sent is the pinnacle of all of them, and for our money, this would be the only choice that made any sense. For those who were big fans of the Portal games, we feel that a chassis like this will take very little convincing. Even those who may have never played the series, we still feel, that much like the Prodigy, the Portal Mini-ITX chassis will be a huge hit, and can easily see it being modded by some of the best builders out there today.
As we mentioned, the Portal is a Mini-ITX chassis, and it is made of aluminum, SECC steel, ABS plastic, and in two models, there is a transparent acrylic window. The Portal also comes with a color choice. Two of the options come in black, one with a window, and one without. The second pair of offerings are made with a white exterior and black trim, and again, you have the option for a window or not to have one. Keeping with the flow of the provided chart, we are then shown that the CPU cooler height can be only 125mm in this chassis, the video card can be up to 300mm in length, and when it comes to choosing a power supply, you need to look at SFX offerings.
Inside, you will find no room for a 5.25" bay, but there are accommodations for a pair of 3.5" drives and up to three 2.5" drives. Cooling in this chassis is handled by a 120mm fan in the front of the case, and to help with exhausting air, the Portal ships with an 80mm fan in the rear. There is no room in the top of the chassis for cooling due to the inverted interior layout, but if it is desired, you can use a single 120mm radiator or AIO in the front of the chassis. On the side of the chassis is where the I/O panel is located, and it contains two USB 3.0 ports as well as HD Audio jacks. The Portal stands 395mm tall, 411mm deep, and is 247mm with the stand attached. The actual chassis which is supported on the stand is somewhat smaller in size. All told, the Portal weighs in at 5.81 kg empty, and in the highlights section, the only thing we have not addressed at this time is the ball bearing runner used to slide the interior of the chassis out of its shell.
While BitFenix delivered all of the information for us ahead of time, one thing they did not cover was pricing. Even though we were told to keep this chassis under wraps until the NDA lifts, we do see that NCIX does have listings for this chassis on the site already. At the Canadian NCIX, we see that both the white and black versions, with the window at the top, are both being offered at $184.99 and show that they currently have stock ready to ship. However, if you live south of the border, we see that the price does increase. At this time, we see that the Portal, in black or white, again with a window, will set you back $234.99.
This is quite steep at first glance for a Mini-ITX chassis, but bold, unique, and well thought out designs do not come cheap, and in this instance, all three descriptors are present in this chassis. While the cost may scare off some, we feel that even though the price is up there, we do not see it detracting many away from the BitFenix Portal.
Chad's Chassis Test System Specifications
- Motherboard: GIGABYTE GA-Z68X-UD4-B3
- CPU: Intel Core i7 2600K (buy from Amazon)
- Cooler: Corsair H80i GT (buy from Amazon)
- Memory: G.Skill Ripjaws F3-12800CL6D-4GBXH
- Video Card: ZOTAC GeForce GTX 970 AMP. Extreme Edition (buy from Amazon)
- Storage: SuperSpeed 128GB SSD
- Power Supply: SilverStone SST-ST85F-G (buy from Amazon)
- OS: Microsoft Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit (buy from Amazon)
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