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BitFenix Colossus M MicroATX Computer Case Review

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BitFenix Colossus M Detailed Features

The details are what differentiate the Colossus M from the others, so let’s take a closer look.

ColossusM_10

Aside from the LED lighting, the other main addition is that of a front panel door.  You can see that, even closed, the power supply intake fan (if you choose to position it this way – I suppose you could reverse the PSU entirely and use it to pull hot air from the inside of the chassis instead) is still supplied with cool outside air through the door cutouts.  The door does not feel cheap whatsoever, and opens smoothly on its hinges – it is held closed by magnets, and BitFenix did a great job with tuning the force required to open it.  It won’t swing open by itself, but it doesn’t require much effort to pop it open either.  It’s the only “Prodigy” chassis to feature a door and it has the effect of blocking/redirecting internal noise – making it a little quieter than the mATX Prodigy M.

ColossusM_7

Since the PSU exhausts hot air out of the bottom of the case, you can cover the mesh with an included shield that stays in place with the use of a few magnets.  It’s designed to keep the warm air from re-entering the bottom of the case, but I’d imagine most users would make use of the 200/230mm fan option here.  It’s there if you need it though!

ColossusM_11

Taking the side panels off gives us a better look at BitFenix’s LiteTrak™ system, but it also reveals another detail that is unique to the Colossus.  The 2.5″ drive mounting points are missing from the side panel as they would have interfered with the lighting.  If you needed every last bit of storage you may be disappointed (the mini-ITX version may be a better option for storage, although I would assume the mini-ITX Colossus version uses the same panels shown here), but that’s the price to pay for a unique lighting system.  Personally, I don’t think it’s a negative since this chassis was designed with aesthetics as a priority, but it is something to be aware of.  On a bit of a side note, there aren’t any LEDs to power on these side panels (no wires to hook up), the light from the front LEDs is “piped” into them from the front.  It’s actually very effective, kudos to BitFenix for trying something new (although they have some experience from their first Colossus case) – I hope to see more solutions like this wherever LEDs are used.

ColossusM_12

With the 2.5″ drive mounts missing from the side panel, you’ll need to utilize the “side bar” drive mounts – but you can still fit a total of five drives here (three 2.5″, two 3.5″).  The interior is the same as the other mATX BitFenix cases, so building in the Colossus M should be a familiar experience after building a system in the Phenom and Prodigy cases.

ColossusM_13

A large CPU cutout from the motherboard tray allows access to CPU cooler back plates.  I would have liked to see a slightly bigger opening for routing that pesky 4/8-pin CPU cable from the power supply, but it is just as easy to route this cable alongside the bottom of the case – most fans will leave enough room to do so.  You can also see the optical cable up front that helps pass along the LED light to the side panels – there isn’t a mechanical attachment here, but the ends of these fiber-optic type tubes (there’s one on the side panel too) seem to stick together; securing themselves and allowing for that wrap-around lighting.

ColossusM_14

The removable mesh filter up top detaches with a latch and reveals two mounting points for 120mm fans.  They’re spaced for most 240mm radiators as well but you may need to remove the 5.25″ drive bracket in the front (and using any sort of optical drive or 5.25″ device is pretty much out of the picture if you want to use this space up top).  A Crossfire/SLI configuration would place the “bottom” card right up against this intake, supplying fresh air to that card.


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11 comments

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  1. David Ramsey

    I’m personally a little disappointed in this case: it annoys me when cases advertise room for a 240mm radiator, but then you discover that in order to utilize this, you can have a 5.25″ device or two graphics cards. Sigh.

    1. Tom Jaskulka

      I think the Prodigy-based cases from BitFenix make more sense as mATX enclosures, but even with the additional space there are trade-offs. I would imagine those users that need space for two graphics cards would be fine without an optical drive (5.25″ bay devices should still fit – depending on the device of course…), but the 240mm radiator is much more of a tradeoff. It may be possible to fit both though (two GPUs and rad) – I don’t have one on hand to test, but it looks like an H100i *could* fit on the bottom of the case in place of that 230mm fan. If I get a chance to install one, I’ll have to update the article!

  2. Kharntiitar

    Just wondering what CPU cooler that you used?

    1. Tom Jaskulka

      It’s a Xigmatek Dark Knight II , a 120mm tower cooler similar in size and performance to most other 120mm coolers (like the Hyper/EVO 212+, Argon AR01, etc.). The ceramic coating is what gives it the black color! Any other 120mm cooler should fit in this case as well, depending on your motherboard of course (for GPU clearance, etc.).

  3. Neon

    So what is the best orientation of fans? Bottom exhaust and rear intake? Or both exhaust? Or… Something elese?)

    1. Neon

      *else.
      Btw nice review, thanks)

    2. Tom Jaskulka

      Glad you liked it! Fan orientations in the Prodigy-based chassis are numerous, so the unfortunate answer to your question is…it depends :) If I did have to pick one fan configuration though for a *typical* gaming build (one GPU), I had some of the best results with two 120mm fans up top as intakes, then the bottom 230mm fan as exhaust (along with a 140mm exhausting as well). That configuration kept the GPU’s fans (an XFX 270X, in this example, a little more heat than the 7850 in the article) from having to spin up too high, keeping overall noise down. SLI or Crossfire configurations in the mATX cases would almost have to use blower-style coolers (or water cooling), unless you’re willing to deal with the extra noise.

      If you want to overclock the CPU too, that 230mm fan does a decent job of getting rid of the heat – still, you’ll probably have better results with a 120/140mm AIO cooler set as an intake on the rear 140mm fan location (then let the 230mm dump the heat out of the bottom).

      I realize that most users would say “well, heat rises” so the above configuration would run contrary to common sense, but with a GPU installed you run the risk of hot pockets (of air, not the “magma in a croissant” variety) getting trapped. With fans up top directing cool air to the GPU’s fans, and those dumping heat into the case, that 230mm fan spot on the bottom seems best put to use by getting rid of the heated air. You can then adjust CPU temps with the rear fan by flipping it to intake (improve CPU temps slightly at the expense of overall system temps) or exhaust as needed.

      Sorry for the long reply – incidentally, I’d be interested to know how many more users out there would like to see the effect of different fan configurations…but I hope this helps for now!

      1. Neon

        Wow, thank you for such detailed reply) I’m planning to use a little bit overclocked intel core i5 4690k and nvidia gtx780 or gtx780ti in this case. And i’m afraid there will be too hot in there. noise doesn’t scare me, but temps do) So, what do u think? Your opinion is really important to me =)

        1. Tom Jaskulka

          That’s a pretty similar build to what I have running in a Prodigy M right now, and I’m even using the stock Intel cooler for now with a slight overclock (4.2 GHz i5-4670K) – runs very quiet, even with the case fans undervolted to 5V. You should be just fine! Do you know if you’ll be getting the reference cooler for the GTX780/ti? Or will you use one of the open-air custom coolers (like the EVGA ACX model, etc.)?

          1. Neon

            I’m pretty sure I’m gonna use non-reference cooler for the GPU. I suppose the temps will be fine and some overclocking too

  4. Tom

    I can understand why you’d take air in from the top, makes perfect sense but i still have the nagging feeling that it feels just…wrong. I know the fans will completely ignore the ‘heat rises’ science due to their RPM but still gets me a little edgy.

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