Introduction, Packaging, and Specifications
The BitFenix Colossus has grown into a family of enclosures, from the massive E-ATX original all the way down to their diminutive mini-ITX version. But somewhere in between there lies a case offering some impressive flexibility, while still retaining a small footprint.
As the PC industry has evolved over the last decade, the days of high-performance rigs requiring large towers and full-size ATX and E-ATX motherboards are gone. Of course there is still a market (and need) for full tower systems, and the majority of enthusiast motherboards available are still full ATX. But the evolution in process technology and platforms has allowed for more and more to be done within a smaller footprint, and the micro-ATX form factor has emerged as a solid option for anything from budget systems to extreme multi-GPU gaming powerhouses. Regardless of the path you choose, all of those sweet components need a home, and finding the right computer case has long been a very personal odyssey.
BitFenix entered the PC enclosure market in 2010 with the original Colossus, and since then they have grown into a respected brand with a large and differentiated product offering. From that first massive Colossus to the popular Prodigy mini-ITX, they have created an enclosure for just about any build. And while many cases specialize in one or two particular areas, once in a while you will find an enclosure that just begs for experimentation. The micro-ATX variant of the Colossus from BitFenix is just such a case. Every aspect of this small enclosure has been given a close look by BitFenix, and there are options galore for a variety of builds.
Introduction and Technical Specifications
Courtesy of ASUS
The ASUS Maximus VI Impact is ASUS' newest mini-ITX member of the Republic of Gamer (ROG) family. ASUS integrated design innovations from its Z77-based mITX board and added in some ROG-based innovations to come up with a wholly unique entity. With an MSRP of $229, the Maximus VI Impact comes in at the higher-end of the mITX price range with enough integrated features to more than justify the cost.
Courtesy of ASUS
Similar to other members of the ROG-based Z87 releases, ASUS designed the Maximus VI Impact board with top of the line power components. The board's digital power system centers on an 8+2 phase power regulation system using 60 amp-rated BlackWing chokes, powIRstage MOSFETS, and 10k-rated Black Metallic capacitors. To save space on the board, the power components are mounted vertically on a hard-attached PCB to the right of the socket with the sound components and wireless networking on vertical removable cards to the upper left of the CPU socket and integrated into the board's rear panel.
Small form factor cases and the push to Mini ITX designs took a dramatic journey during 2013 as the popularity of the smaller PC once again became a popular trend. Though a company like Shuttle, that hardly exists in the form it did in 2004, was the first PC hardware company to really drive home the idea of an SFF system design, many other players have released compelling products helping to strengthen it as one of the unique possibilities for enthusiast PCs.
Even better, though a Mini-ITX based platform could mean limited options for hardware and performance, with companies like ASUS, EVGA, BitFenix and others in the mix, building an incredibly fast and powerful gaming machine using small hardware is not only easy but can be done at a lower price than you might expect.
One entry that found its way to our offices this December comes from Silverstone in the form of the Raven Z, RVZ01 case. This case includes unique features and capabilities including the ability to support nearly any high end graphics card on the market (dual slot or single), space for larger heatsinks and even liquid coolers along with a home theater friendly look and style. Oh, and it's
the same almost the same design that Valve used for its beta Steam Machines as well. (Update: Turns out the size of the Steam Machine is actually a fair bit smaller than the Silverstone RVZ01.)
Subject: Motherboards | October 11, 2011 - 04:47 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: mITX, llano, amd, asus, F1A75-I Deluxe, zotac, A75-ITX WiFi
If you are planning a microITX Llano build, it will be well worth your time to drop by The Tech Report as they are comparing two different mITX A75 boards. The ASUS F1A75-I Deluxe and Zotac A75-ITX WiFi boards have many similarities, a pair of DDR3 slots, a single PCIe 16x slot, 4 SATA 6Gbps slots, DVI, HDMI and DisplayPort video outputs with audio from the Realtek ALC892. The differences lie in the outputs, where ASUS only has a pair of USB 3.0 ports, Zotac managed to squeeze a half dozen in at the cost of lowering the USB 2.0 port count. To find out if there are any performance differences, you will have to read the full article.
"The tight integration of AMD's Llano platform is perfectly suited to Mini-ITX motherboards. We test two of 'em from Asus and Zotac to see what's what."
Here are some more Motherboard articles from around the web:
- AMD A75 3-way Motherboard Shootout @ Techspot
- Gigabyte GA-A55M-DS2 Motherboard Review @ Hi Tech Legion
- Zotac A75-ITX WiFi Motherboard Review @ t-break
- Asus Crosshair V Formula Motherboard Review @ Niinjalane
- GIGABYTE A55M-S2V (AMD A55) mATX @ Tweaktown
- BIOS Option Of The Week - PEG/Onchip VGA Control @ TechARP
- ASRock Z68 Extreme4 Gen3 @ Tweaktown
- Gigabyte Z68XP-UD5 LGA 1155 Motherboard Review @ Hardware Canucks
- GIGABYTE H61N-USB3 (Intel H61) Mini-ITX @ Tweaktown
- Gigabyte G1.Sniper 2: Military-Style Gaming LGA1155 Mainboard @ X-bit Labs
- Asus Maximus IV Extreme: LGA1155 Mainboard for Three Graphics Cards @ X-bit Labs
Subject: Cases and Cooling | August 26, 2011 - 01:09 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: SFF, mITX
The Thermaltake Element Q Mini-ITX case measures just 13" x 8.7" x 5.1" but still manages to have space for a DVD/BluRay drive along with the rest of the required parts of your PC, though you are going to have a hard time using anything but onboard graphics. The price is also small, $65 for a miniITX case is a great deal, especially when it looks as good as teh Element Q. For any sort of SFF or HTPC project this case is a great way to start; as The Tech Report proves in their recent review.
"For just $65, Thermaltake's Element Q Mini-ITX chassis offers a 200W PSU, support for 5.25" optical drives, and subtle styling reminiscent of the Golf GTI. We take a closer look to see if this really is the PC equivalent of a hot hatchback."
Here are some more Cases & Cooling reviews from around the web:
- Bitfenix Colossus Venom Edition Chassis Review @ eTeknix
- Fractal Design's Define R3 mid-tower chassis @ The Tech Report
- BitFenix Shinobi Mid Tower Case Review @ Hardware Canucks
- Thermaltake Chaser MK-I Case @ VR-Zone
- Enermax Hoplite @ techPowerUp
- Rosewill Thor v2: The God of Cooling and Silence? @ AnandTech
- NZXT Sentry Mix Fan Controller Review @ Hi Tech Legion
- NZXT Sentry Mix Fan Controller Review @ Neoseeker
- Thermaltake Jing Heatsink Review @ Frostytech
- NZXT HAVIK 140 CPU Cooler @ Benchmark Reviews
- Corsair Hydro series H80 CPU cooler review @ Madshrimps
- Corsair H80 Self-Contained Liquid CPU Cooler Review @ Techgage
One challenge when building an HTPC is finding an enclosure that won't end up being half of the cost of building the machine. You could use a cheap SFF case but it will look a little gauche when sitting beside your other home theatre equipment. Habey now offers a choice with a $70 case and 120W PSU combo that would blend seamlessly into a living room with the new EMC-600B. There were compromises made in the design to keep the costs low, the most important of which is the lack of anywhere to put an optical drive which is exacerbated by the lack of any extra USB ports on the case. If that doesn't completely deter you then check out Missing Remote's full review.
"The Wesena ITX7, HDPlex H10.ODD and Vidabox vCase3 are all great cases with a direct focus on HTPC aesthetics and each has their pros and cons. The one con almost always present when discussing HTPC chassis is PRICE--SFF chassis with home theater A/V focused designs are frequently over the $100 price range, not including the power supply. What Habey is offering in their EMC-600B enclosure is a stylish aluminum SFF chassis for mini-ITX only that occupies a tiny footprint with a nice appearance to fit just as appropriately in your A/V stack as in your bedroom--and it includes a power supply, all for under $70."
Here are some more Systems articles from around the web:
- AC Ryan PlayOn!HD2 Media Player @ Tweaktown
- AC Ryan PlayOn!HD2 Media Player Review @ XtremeComputing
- Toshiba BDX5200 Review @ TechReviewSource
- Patriot Box Office Core Open Source Media Player Review @ Tweaknews
- Pico Power Supply Backplate Review @MissingRemote
Subject: Cases and Cooling | May 24, 2011 - 04:17 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: HDPLEX, silent, mITX
Silent PC Review just met it's first so called 'silent' case that actually lives up to the name without needing user modification. The HDPLEX H3.SODD is an mITX case which looks like a home theatre component or a fancy rack-mount case. The inputs and outputs are hidden nicely as are the power button and slim DVD eject port. The design should be cool enough to handle a CPU of about 85W TDP, the i3-2120 SPCR used had no problems which lead them to make that estimate on the cooling power. It is a little more expensive than some cases, coming in over $200, in this case it does seem you get what you pay for.
"The new H3.SODD media case for mini-ITX from HDPLEX is a more compact version of the H10 we examined a couple of months ago. This slim-line case performances and exudes high end chic despite its modest price tag. Our sample also manages to be the very first completely silent commercial computer SPCR has encountered after nine years of continuous operation."
Here are some more Cases & Cooling reviews from around the web:
- NZXT H2 Classic Review @ OCC
- SilverStone Raven RV03 Full-Tower Chassis Review @ Techgage
- AZZA Toledo 301 Case Review @ Hardware Secrets
- Cooler Master Silencio 550 Chassis Review @ HardwareHeaven
- Silverstone Fortress FT03 @ Overclock3D
- BitFenix Shinobi Case Review @ Hardware Secrets
- Corsair Obsidian Series 650D Mid Tower Case Review @ Legit Reviews
- Cooler Master Silencio @ OC3D
- Cooler Master Centurion 5 II Review @ OCC
- LanCool First Knight PC-K63 @ TweakTown
- AZZA Toledo 301 Review @ OCC
- Fractal Design Arc Midi Tower @ techPowerUp
- SilverStone Raven SST-RV03B-W EATX @ TweakTown
- NZXT H2 Silent Mid-tower Case Review @Hi Tech Legion
- Cooler Master Silencio 550 Chassis Preview @ eTeknix
- Spire CoolGate 10 cpu cooler @ Hardwareoverclock
- Prolimatech Genesis CPU Cooler Review @ Hardware Secrets
- Noctura NH-C14 Heatsink Review @ Ninjalane
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