BitFenix Colossus M MicroATX Computer Case Review


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Building in the Colossus M

If you read my review of the BitFenix Prodigy M, many of the steps below will look familiar.  Stay tuned to the end though, as I encountered a few unique differences between the chassis.


The power supply is mounted up front in the micro-ATX versions of the Colossus/Prodigy/Phenom, and sits on this removable rail.  I used a bigger ATX power supply than necessary (180mm modular!) just to see if it would fit (it did), but if you are planning to use multiple high-end graphics cards you may want to consider choosing a 140mm power supply.  If anything, it will give you more room to work and more space for cables.


The power supply attaches to the removable bracket and if your PSU uses thumbscrews you’ll be happy to know they’ll still fit when installed (it’ll just be a bit trickier to slide into place).  I’d recommend installing the motherboard, CPU/heatsink and RAM first though, as things will get cramped pretty quickly.  I used an AIO water cooler when I reviewed the Prodigy M, and the same caveats would apply to the Colossus M.  Really, a Corsair H80i / SilverStone TD03 / Thermaltake / any other 120mm radiator seems like the best option if you simply must use an AIO kit, but if you only have one graphics card a 240mm radiator would fit nicely up top as well.


I wanted to try something different in the Colossus M though, and decided to use a 120mm tower-type CPU cooler.  This is about the tallest you could fit and still install 3.5″ drives on the vertical drive mounts, but of course you would have more room without 3.5″ hard drives or by just removing the drive mounts entirely.  You may also want to use a CPU cooler that allows for different mounting orientations to make the best use of your specific airflow setup (with a giant fan slot in such close proximity, you may want to intake/exhaust from the bottom instead of out the back).


With both of the side panels removed, routing cables is surprisingly simple for such tight confines.  There’s enough room to work around larger CPU coolers, but I’d hold off on installing any graphics cards until the very last moment.  If your front panel header on the motherboard is located along the bottom edge (top edge, in this case) it’ll be tricky to plug those in with a GPU in the way.  On the other mATX cases from BitFenix you could swap the panels and plug those cables in at this point in the build; with the Colossus M you might find yourself waiting until later.  They’re long enough to plug in now, but moving the case around might get tricky with a side panel attached by cables.


The Colossus M uses the same vertical drive bracket as the other cases.  They install as shown above, and this arrangement actually makes connecting the SATA data and power cables pretty easy even after you install the drive bracket into the case.


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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

      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.

  5. Mudsucker

    Putting together my own build at present.It consists of the following components.

    Bitfenix collosus micro atx

    Maximus V2 Gene.Motherboard.

    Intel I5 4690k.

    16gb G.Skill sniper FS-2400C11D-16GSR Ram.

    Gigabyte Geforce GTX 780TI OC {Windforce Cooling]

    NZXT Kraken X41 Water cooler and radiator Cooling Solution.[140mm]

    Had to make up bracket and have mounted unit up the inside top of case using the existing 120mm fan mounting holes.Couldn’t mount the Radiator to the 140mm mounts at the rear of the case as the Graphics card wouldn’t fit as the radiator is about 20mm to long..

    Seasonic SSR-750RT S12G Series 750W 80 PLUS Gold [150mm high]

    Mushkin Chronos Deluxe 480 GB 2.5 SSD

    Seagate 2TB Hard Drive.

    Win 8.1 Pro

    230mm Bitfenix Led cooling fan [Bottom of case} Exhaust.
    140mm Bitfenix Fan.[Rear case] intake.
    Going to mount another Bitfenix 120mm fan in front of the Kraken Radiator up the top as there is room.Need to Modify abit,maybe make another bracket mount.

    Couple of things Ive found so far
    Had to go with a smaller Height PSU as GTX 780 TI Card is 292 mm and you start running out of space real fast with any longer PSUs.
    Be careful of Radiator size if utilizing existing rear 140mm fan mount.

    Will post again once installation finished.and powered up

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