BitFenix Phenom mITX Case Review


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BitFenix Phenom Overview

I received the white version of the Phenom, coated mainly with BitFenix’s trademarked SofTouch finish.  I realized quickly upon receiving the case that I’ve never had to photograph a white case before!  I’ll ask for a little leeway in some of these photos, as getting the images to correctly display the accurate shade of white was more difficult than I had expected.  I will mention though, that if photographing a white case is difficult I couldn’t imagine how tough it would be to paint it.  There’s a mixture of metal and plastic panels here each with their own subtle texture before paint is applied – the fact that BitFenix pulled it off this well is impressive, as each panel matches the rest of the case very well.  I wanted to mention this at the beginning, so if you notice slightly different shades from picture to picture it isn’t the Phenom!


Fresh from reviewing the BitFenix Prodigy M with micro-ATX layout, it’s interesting to note that the Phenom looks much more different from the original Prodigy while being more similar than the Prodigy M.  It’s physically smaller with the loss of the FyberFlex handles, and uses a smooth transition from the front panel to the top.  These two panels use BitFenix’s SofTouch paint which is a very matte, premium finish that feels great to the touch.  I’m a huge proponent of using matte finishes – maybe they don’t “wipe off” easily to a sparkly finish like a gloss would, but at least you don’t have to constantly wipe them down in the first place…  Personally, I just prefer the feel of matte finishes; I really think they’re under-utilized in most products but BitFenix does a great job with them on the Phenom.


The back of the case displays the usual ITX Prodigy layout, with power supply at the bottom and a 120/140mm fan mount above the motherboard.  You’ll notice some extra thumbscrews around the PSU mount, they attach the removable power supply mounting bracket to the case.  We’ll see how this works during the build process.


There probably isn’t much of a reason to show this side of the Phenom, other than on an ITX Prodigy this would include some perforations for the GPU.  The intent of the Phenom was to provide a more streamlined enclosure better suited for HTPC and minimalistic builds, so the perforations were exchanged for a smooth panel.


The SofTouch finish covers the front and top panels, while the sides are painted normally.  The mesh strips are mainly cosmetic and extend along both sides with a slight curve in the front (which allows for a bit more airflow from the bottom cutout under the front edge). They may be a little hard to spot, but there’s some circles cut out behind the mesh trim of that front panel.  These help provide a little additional airflow to the hard drives while not allowing a lot of sound to escape.


This side panel features the I/O cluster, with a typical arrangement of USB 3.0 ports, headphone/microphone jacks, power button, reset button and the blue power/hdd activity indicator LEDs.  This back of this panel contains a bracket for two 2.5″ drives and is interchangeable as well, so if you want to swap this to the other side of the Phenom (to fit whichever side you place the Phenom on/beside your desk, etc.) it’s a simple task.


The top panel carries over the removable mesh filter (covering 2x120mm fan mounts) from the Prodigy.  This panel sits on top of the chassis, creating a little extra space between the filter and fans than in the Prodigy but not enough to mount fans in between (thus the clearances for radiators are the same as always).


The bottom strays a little from the Prodigy design, swapping out the handles for four standard case feet.  You can easily see the two “rails” that the HDD cages inside are mounted to; if you want to remove the cage that is attached to the bottom you’ll need to remove those six screws (and two case feet to reach some of them).   The removable power supply intake filter carries over from the Prodigy, and is an always appreciated feature.


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1 comment

  1. David Ramsey

    I’ve always like the internal design of the Bitfenix mITX cases, but this modern conceit of putting the I/O panel on the side of the case continues to annoy me. Sure, you get a sleek front panel, but it reminds me of all the stupid things Jobs used to do at Apple in the name of aesthetics (1-button hockey-puck mouse, anyone?)

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