BitFenix Phenom Mini-ITX Chassis Review
Peter Donnell / 10 years ago
Available from £69.95 at Overclockers UK and $79.99 from Newegg the Phenom is a solid contender and offers great component support for this price range to compete with rivals such as Silverstone and Cooler Master. It’s the same price as the Prodigy too, so that gives consumers a good choice on which model is right for them, without having to incur extra costs.
I really like this chassis, it’s hard not to given that I loved and owned the original Prodigy chassis for a long time and this is in many respects the same product with a new front panel and new side panel. I hate to call BitFenix lazy in this respect, but they have pretty much used most of the components of the Prodigy, likely in a bid to save on production costs, which is understandable in many respects. They’ve also kept it at the same price point of the Prodigy, and the Prodigy is a great design to build upon, so it’s not such a bad thing. However, we must admit we like to see new and fresh products that advance and innovate the market, such as they did recently with the Ronin.
As a gaming chassis the Phenom will fall flat on its butt, cooling will be a big issue for you if you’re wanting overclocked components and an air hungry graphics card. Airflow isn’t terrible, but it’s not exactly in abundance either in the default configuration of the chassis. You can of course add in extra fans at the top to draw in extra air and a 230mm fan at the front will keep things running nicely, but I get the impression this isn’t designed to be a gaming chassis like the Prodigy was.
Gaming might not be its forte, but when it comes to storage the Phenom is a beast! 11 hard drives, clean exterior looks, thick exterior panels that will keep noise inside the chassis, room for large low RPM fans makes this an ideal candidate for a HTPC, home NAS or similar system. Pop this thing next to your TV and it’ll likely go unnoticed thanks to its clean and slightly dull appearance. It’s hardly ugly, but it’s far from loud in terms of design.
If you want to pack a lot of storage into a compact and relatively portable system, or just need something discrete to tuck away in a home cinema environment, office space or where ever you like really, then the Phenom is one of the best solutions on the market. Plus the fact that it is based on the Prodigy makes it backwards compatible with all the after market modifications, panels and other devices on the market that were created after the Prodigy was released.
- Extensive room for hard drives
- Water cooling capable
- Supports large fans on front panel
- Thick side panels
- SofTouch finish
- High quality interior and exterior paint job
- Supports long graphics cards
- Modular storage bays
- Competitively priced
- Airflow can be limiting
- Cable routing is hard work in such a small space
- Borrows many components and panels directly from the Prodigy, very little new in terms of design
“Overall a very solid and reliable product, it echoes heavily of the original Prodigy, but the new exterior panels give it a much more profession and clean look that make it ideal for NAS and HTPC solutions.”
Thank you BitFenix for providing us with this sample.