ATX Case Final Thoughts
Seeing the Colossus M staged right next to its full-tower predecessor was a neat experience. It was interesting to see the changes and decisions made to take the soul of the Colossus and shrink it to micro/mini size, while ultimately retaining most of the performance. At the same time, the unique LiteTrak systems evolved into an even better version on the newer Colossus M (while the older Colossus still outshines the competition even today in that area). It’s too bad the other unique features of the original Colossus didn’t make the transition (lockable storage container, cable management) and I still like the multiple recessed LED stripes and front panel design of the original better, but both chassis were enjoyable to work with and would make stylish additions to any setup.
BitFenix Colossus Conclusion
Two Colossi for two different times. While full towers aren’t as necessary as they used to be for multi-GPU configurations, it’s still hard to beat massive 230mm fans and a huge internal volume. The Prodigy-based Colossus M still manages to hold its own though. You’ll need to add to the stock configuration to compete, but fully outfitted the Colossus M was just as viable as the massive Colossus (especially for gaming). It’s amazing that the main choice you have to make between the two chassis is how much weight you feel like lugging around (or whether you wanted to be restricted to micro-ATX or smaller motherboards) – the performance of both Colossi, especially with carefully chosen components, ends up being pretty similar.
While Benchmark Reviews has reviewed the BitFenix Colossus before, I’ll still run down our Performance, Appearance, Construction, Functionality and Value categories as they would apply today. The Colossus is still available at a few online retailers, but stock seems to be hit or miss at times.
The Colossus was a great performer in 2010, and with today’s focus on energy efficiency and performance-per-watt components it has even more headroom. The newer components allow smaller chassis like the Colossus M to keep up, but there’s still “no replacement for displacement” when it comes to the massive internal volume of the Colossus. The stock fan arrangement strikes a nice balance between noise and performance, and there’s room to expand if necessary. The Colossus should be able to handle most enthusiast grade systems without a hassle, and remains one of the top performers through the years.
BitFenix picked the right case to start off their portfolio – it’s appearance turned some heads when it was introduced in 2010, and still does today. However you feel about LED case lighting, the Colossus is a sight to behold (even though the side panels need more diffusion or frosted acrylic to look evenly lit). The SofTouch finish is exquisite and really provides a unique effect, helping to further differentiate the Colossus from other cases. Rarely does a case so fully earn its name – the Colossus is just that, in styling, weight and volume. I hope they use the same monolith/ancient alien artifact/Tron look if they ever update the original Colossus with another full tower. Maybe it isn’t for everyone (you can turn the lights off, fun-haters!) but the effect is absolutely striking.
For a first try, BitFenix didn’t cut many corners with the construction of the Colossus – or weight, for that matter. It. Is. Heavy. There is little doubt about the stability and sturdiness of this chassis. This is the Venom Edition, which was released after the original chassis and received a few updates (ninth PCI slot, thumbscrews instead of tool-less PCI covers) but unfortunately the flimsy tool-less hard drive trays remain. They work sufficiently when loaded with drives, but when they are empty they have a tendency to fall out of their slots. Due to the overall weight, I wouldn’t expect you’d want to transport this thing around too often, so it’s a problem that ultimately isn’t a deal-breaker (but hopefully is addressed in any future revisions – I would expect so, considering it isn’t an issue on any newer chassis from BitFenix).
I appreciated the extra functionality the original Colossus offers. I’ve never used a case that integrated cable/cord management for peripherals so well, and the lockable storage container was a nice addition too. I can see some users might be annoyed about having to flip up the cover to turn the machine on (there are other ways to turn on a PC…), but the benefit of the S3 container could easily outweigh those concerns if you are concerned about the security of your peripherals/external drives. The lighting controls and analog fan controller (with multiple fan headers) were ahead of their time, and still provide a surprising amount of functionality for this class of tower.
While it may be getting harder to find in stock, the Colossus is still available online for $159.99 (Newegg | Amazon). That places it in a “premium tower” bracket, competing with chassis like Corsair’s Obsidian series, Silverstone’s Fortress and Raven towers, Cooler Master’s Cosmo SE/HAF Stackers, and NZXT’s Phantom 630. There are a lot of great cases to choose from both below and above that price point, but very few of them combine the price, performance, looks and features of the BitFenix Colossus. If you like the way it looks and don’t mind the size/weight, I feel like you’d get your money’s worth with the Colossus. If you don’t care as much about the lighting and opt for the windowed versions instead you could get into a Colossus for a bit less (they usually run ~$30 cheaper).
The imposing profile of the original Colossus still makes a statement a few years after its release; it would still be a great home for enthusiast-class systems. It’s fascinating, really. Since the release of the Colossus, BitFenix has churned out quite a few chassis: Shinobi (regular/XL), Survivor, Raider, Ghost, Ronin, Shadow, Outlaw, Merc (Alpha/Beta), Prodigy/M, Phenom, Colossus M, Comrade, and Neos (with a Pandora/Atlas/Aegis announcement just ahead of Computex 2014). They came out swinging with the Colossus, and I hope they don’t lose track of what captured the imaginations of so many back in 2010. If they updated the lighting, drive trays and added provisions for 2.5″ drives while keeping everything else the same, the Colossus could easily hold its own in today’s market, in my opinion. As it is, I’d still have no problems recommending the Colossus to anyone in the market for a unique, colossal enclosure that brings a lot of performance and features for its price point.
+ Great performance with today’s hardware
+ Unique, colossal appearance that still makes an impression four years later
+ SofTouch finish minimizes fingerprints
+ LED lighting system, while starting to show its age, still more innovative than most of the competition
+ S3 secure storage a plus
+ Cable management for peripherals
+ Reversible front door
– Very heavy
– Flimsy drive trays
– Only Green/Red or Blue/Red LED combos to choose from, no blends or custom colors