BitFenix Pandora Micro-ATX Slim Case Review
By Tom Jaskulka
Full Disclosure: The product sample used in this article has been provided by BitFenix.
It looks like BitFenix are at it again. Fresh off the manufacturing line, Benchmark Reviews has received something a bit different from the company known for cases like the Colossus, Shinobi and Prodigy. As their first case with aluminum panels the slim micro-ATX Pandora brings a sense of style that is a significant departure from some of their recent enclosures. Available in black or silver, with or without a window, and in Core or ICON versions (which contain a 2.4″ LCD display in the front panel) fans of the micro-ATX form factor will have quite a few possibilities to choose from. For those that are looking for something a little more elegant without sacrificing a large footprint, the Pandora may be just the thing. Are there any compromises made to keep this case slim? Let’s dig in and take a look.
It may be useful before getting started to set a few expectations. While cases have surprised me before, generally one can make a few assumptions based on size – that is, the smaller they are, the faster heat builds up inside. Both the top and rear panels of the slim Pandora are effectively mesh though, so perhaps the two included 120mm Spectre fans will be adequate. Of course, as with any small case, your components make the largest impact on heat and noise – an overclocked FX-8320 would have a substantial amount of heat to dissipate compared to something like an Intel Core i3 or i5.
In this review, we’ll take a look at using All-In-One liquid coolers on both the CPU and GPU, as well as an air-cooled CrossFireX configuration to see if the Pandora’s slim dimensions hamper an enthusiast-level gaming build. A Corsair H80i will effectively remove the Intel Core i5-3570K from the temperature equation, but graphics cards are the main source of heat in most gaming builds anyway. Before we get to the details, let’s take a quick look around the outside of the Pandora.
Features & Specifications
|Materials||Aluminum, Steel, Plastic|
|Colors (Int/Ext)||Black/Black, Black/Silver|
|Dimensions (WxHxD)||160 x 420 x 465|
|Motherboard Sizes||Micro ATX, Mini-ITX|
|LCD||2.4″ TFT, 240 x 320|
|3.5” Drive Bays||x 2|
|2.5” Drive Bays||x 3|
|Cooling Top||120mm x 1 (included)|
|Cooling Front||120mm x 2 (1 included)|
|PCI Slots||x 5|
|I/O||USB 3.0 x 2, HD Audio|
|Power Supply||PS2 ATX, up to 180mm in length|
|Extras||Brushed Aluminum Side Panels, BitFenix ICON Programmable Display, Cable Management|
Specifications taken from the manufacturer’s product page.