Colossus M Final Thoughts
I enjoyed building a system in the Colossus M. Even though it was the most frustrating out of the three (Phenom/Prodigy/Colossus) for me as a compulsive tinkerer, the end result was absolutely worth it. It isn’t a chassis I would experiment a lot with, but it’s a perfect fit for having a nice compact system that looks great powered on. It’s a little anemic in stock trim, but I think that’s the point: with the various BitFenix accessories available, the Colossus M becomes more of a “canvas” to design your own system – which is the fun part anyway! Seeing a chassis for what it could be is one of the greatest advantages of an open ecosystem; imagining, planning, shopping and assembling a system that is reflects you is what makes building your own PC such a unique hobby.
Placed into a lineup alongside its brethren (the Phenom and Prodigy), you can’t help but get the feeling the Colossus M was the culmination of the Prodigy design. While the sleek, subdued lines of the Phenom and the signature flexible curved handles of the original Prodigy help give each case a distinctive character and purpose, the Colossus M comes pretty close to “having it all.” Still, there’s enough trade-offs here to prevent the Phenom or Prodigy from becoming obsolete – each chassis does its own thing pretty well.
Colossus M Conclusion
I never really view “performance” of a case purely as a function of its cooling performance. It’s definitely a factor, but since very few enthusiasts leave anything stock (otherwise they’d just buy a pre-built system) I also try to consider the types of potential cooling a case accommodates. Depending on your components, the stock configuration won’t be enough. With enough room for five 120mm fans, or a 240mm radiator and 230mm fan (don’t forget the 140mm exhaust!) though, I think you’ll be able to find a configuration that suits you in the Colossus M. I still think the Colossus M would have been the perfect candidate to introduce a color-shifting 230mm LED fan, which would have drastically helped the stock performance of this case – any other option though is best left to the customer, since I’m sure most of them would rather start with a less expensive case and add their own fans.
Again, I’m not sure if stock performance is really the point though. Just look at it – the Colossus M begs for a matching suite of LED fans in red, green or blue. Speaking of looks, I personally like the edgier appearance of the Colossus M. The geometric styling compliments the diffused LED lighting design, and I love the use of that soft-touch coating on the front and top panels. I think what I appreciate the most about the Colossus M’s appearance is BitFenix’s willingness to iterate on the Prodigy and Phenom to create something unique. They weren’t content to just place some multi-color LEDs in a corner and call it good – they developed a diffused lighting system that results in a really unique effect. It’s too bad a wider spectrum of colors isn’t available – I can’t help but think the LiteTrack™ system would be a perfect home for a 256-color (16.8 million?) LED controller…
The almost-cube cases like the Colossus M have an advantage: their sturdy, square construction result in a very solid enclosure. Although the handles from the Prodigy are useful for transport, their rounded shape gave the chassis a tendency to rock; the Colossus M stays firmly planted. I remember being surprised at how sturdy the Prodigy felt while working with it and the Colossus M is no different. Every panel fits together precisely, and the front door is smooth and sturdy. Just like the others, the Colossus M is constructed well.
A discussion on “functionality” is always interesting. I usually define functionality with respect to computer cases as “how well does it accomplish what it set out to do?” For the Colossus M, that means aesthetics took priority, but not a lot was ultimately sacrificed to do so. Losing two 2.5″ drive mounting points and some wiring flexibility isn’t that much of a hit, and for those that prefer such things the lighting system is more than an acceptable trade. The rest of the Colossus M can accommodate a high-end build just like the Prodigy, and you get a door to help block some noise (but not airflow!) along with a smaller stature overall. You could even argue that the Colossus M is the most functional of the three, since it can accommodate 5.25″ bay devices/drives (unlike the Phenom), additional airflow, and still block more noise in a smaller overall package than the Prodigy.
The Colossus M (micro ATX version) is available now at a price of $109.00 (Amazon / NewEgg). That places it right in front of its Phenom and Prodigy brethren, and it’s in the price bracket where you start to get a little more than just a box to hold your components. Only you can decide what you value in a computer case, but the premium coatings, solid construction and unique features of the Colossus M make that a fair entry price for a stylish enclosure capable of cooling a high-end micro-ATX system.
The thing is, there really isn’t anything wrong with the Colossus M. It isn’t a tinkerer’s case (and it doesn’t pretend to be) so the small quirks I encountered aren’t deal breakers. Just look at it – the purpose of the Colossus M should be pretty clear, and it fills its role in the Prodigy/Phenom lineup very well. Whatever you’re looking for in a smaller case, chances are you’ll find it among the three – but the Colossus M makes me very glad BitFenix didn’t stop with the Prodigy.
+ The diffused lighting system is very well done
+ Mixes aspects of both Prodigy and Phenom with good results
+ Front door doesn’t block ventilation, usable 5.25″ bay
+ Compact enclosure that fits Crossfire/SLI
+ Substantial aftermarket options for customization
– Needs additional fans to reach performance potential (depending on your build)
– LED color choice resets on power off
– LEDs restricted to only red, green or blue
Final Score: 8.60 out of 10.
Recommended: Benchmark Reviews Seal of Approval.
COMMENT QUESTION: What did you like most/least about the Colossus M case?