BitFenix Colossus Micro-ATX Case Review
When BitFenix first entered the chassis market they did so with a case which was much more impressive than a debutant should be able to create. Clearly they had a lot of design expertise behind the scenes but even down to the finish on the case the original Colossus was a unit with buying. Since then they have vastly expanded their range and one of the more recent units is the Colossus Micro-ATX. Today we have one of those on our test bench to see how it handles an enthusiast compact build.
Packaging and Bundle
BitFenix package the chassis in a reasonably plain box which has basic product info along with the company logo. Inside the case is suspended in foam and wrapped in a protective bag. Bundled with the case we get a short manual, cable ties, a USB 3.0 to 2.0 convertor and the various screws etc which are required for a build.
The Colossus Micro-ATX
The Colossus Micro-ATX is a compact system, finished in black soft touch rubber coating and it features a lighting strip on three sides. The dimensions are 250x330x374mm and it weighs a touch over 8KG. The majority of the construction is steel however there are sections of plastic such as the front door.
The front door area is shown above and features a perforated revers which allows airflow to pass in the top surface, down through the door and then it is pulled in through the dust filtered front intake vent to our PSU location. Above the intake we have a single 5.25″ drive bay and our “front panel” connectors are located on the right side. These are 2x USB 3.0 and 3.5mm audio in/out which sit above the power/reset buttons.
The top of the case features a perforated panel which can be removed by sliding the switch on the end. This reveals an area suitable for fans or radiators in the 12/24cm variety. As mentioned earlier there is a lighting strip on the side, along with the button which switches it through blue, red and green (as well as rotating/pulsing). Turning round to the back we find 5PCIe slots, a perforated vent, our I/O location and an exhaust which is populated with a 12cm fan. On the image above it is also possible to see the power input which then connects to a cable, running round to our PSU location which is on the base…
On the base we find the front mounted PSU, four rubber feet and a magnetic heat shield/cover. This cover should be used when drives are installed on the bottom surface. When we use fans, the cover is removed to promote airflow.
The Colossus Internal
This is the inside of the Colossus micro-ATX and the first thing we should note is that the drive caddy (the large metal panel in the right image) is removable. This is something which is pretty much required for an enthusiast build and we would place it back in as the last step. This version of the Colossus supports micro-ATX and mini-ITX boards with stand-offs for the latter being pre-installed. It also supports 4x 3.5″ drives and 3×2.5″ devices. Also visible in the above image is the SATA power connector used to power our LiteTrack lighting.
The inside of the case also features a decent CPU back plate cut our, quality edges and BitFenix support plenty of fans in the Colossus Micro-ATX, including dual 12cm at the top and 200mm on the base. Installed at the factory as two exhausts, one on the base and the other on the back. This means that the ideal solution is to use an intake on the top surface and blow air down into the chamber for the stock fans to exhaust. 320mm GPUs are supported along with 16cm tall coolers.
What did we do for our build? We went for a micro-ATX system and had no issues installing a board of that size, or the AMD Radeon R9-290X. We opted for a 12cm liquid cooler and mounted it on the top of the case, replacing the stock fan with a green LED based BitFenix Spectre which will glow beneath the perforated intake when on.
In terms of PSUs we would recommend compact modular models where possible, especially when using a larger graphics card.
We noted the use of a Spectre fan above. These are available in different colours and can be mixed with some BitFenix Alchemy LED strips. Not ideal components for the Colossus Micro-ATX where we have a closed side but as is shown in the image above, with a case window (for example in the Neos Window) it is possible to pair these with LED based RAM and specific GPUs to really add a bit of flair to a build.
Here are the temperatures we recorded on one of our builds within the Colossus Micro-ATX, this one using an i7-4770K and R9-290X GPU along with 1TB Hitachi Drive.
Starting with the build quality of the Colossus Micro-ATX we have a case which is very much in the high end of the spectrum. The main body of the case is very sturdy, the paintwork flawless on our sample and we love the soft touch coating… as we did with the original Colossus. Design wise there is a lot to like about the case too. For example there is plenty of flexibility in terms of the coolers and GPUs which can be installed… including multiple high end cards if we wish. The case easily takes liquid coolers too and there are plenty of drive locations for those who need a bunch of storage.
Would we change anything? Certainly, yes. There are for example a number of areas (such as next to the PSU mount thumbscrew where a little cut-away would allow easier access with a screwdriver. We would also look at adding an area to mount SSDs on the back of the motherboard tray which is a tidier way to have them than hanging “above” the motherboard. There appears to be room for 14cm fans up the top too, so it would have been good to see a mount provided and maybe BitFenix could have added some channels/covers to help us hid wiring. Like so many Micro-ATX cases there is little space to store wires and keep a tidy build here.
In terms of the build process, we had no significant concerns. Maybe the PCIe devices should use screws as standard but past that each component fitted with ease. That said we would lose the use of the 5.25″ bay with some liquid cooling solutions or second GPUs where they are longer models. Really though, the ability to install a decent wattage PSU, R9 or GTX 700 series GPU and Z87/97 motherboard makes for a pretty great mini-system. Especially when we add in multiple SSDs and a high end CPU, liquid cooled. Temperatures in that sort of config were within our expectations which was great. Also worth of note are that the fans BitFenix use are low noise models. Some of the quietest stock fans around in fact.
At £82.99 with some really great LED styling, plenty of flexibility and some high end build quality the BitFenix Colossus Micro-ATX wins our recommended award.
|Where to buy…|
|Overclockers.co.uk – £82.99|