Author: Chris Ledenican
Editor: Howard Ha
Publish Date: Tuesday, January 24th, 2012
Originally Published on Neoseeker (http://www.neoseeker.com)
Article Link: http://www.neoseeker.com/Articles/Hardware/Reviews/BitFenix_Raider/
Copyright Neo Era Media, Inc. - please do not redistribute or use for commercial purposes.
Over the last few months we have examined multiple cases from BitFenix which were all designed to offer the best bang for the buck, while still including high-end features. The BitFenix Raider is slightly different as it has a higher MSRP than the previous case we have looked at from the manufacturer, but to be sure it is still priced under $100.
By selling the case for with a slightly higher MSRP, BitFenix is able to include even more enthusiast grade features including a built-in fan controller, contoured ventilation covers, BitFenix's Spectre case fans and four SuperSpeed USB 3.0 ports. The Raider also comes with plenty of internal volume to accommodate high-end components. This gives the owner up to four 5.25" bays, six 3.5"bays, and space for up to seven 2.5" drives. Additionally, the Raider uses a modular hard drive cage design, giving it a potential 15-inches of extra space for larger graphics cards.
So far BitFenix has managed to impress us with their case designs, and judging from the list of features alone we are confident the Raider will follow suit. However, the $89 MSRP puts this case in a very competitive market, so it will be interesting to see how it fares against other cases in a similar price range.
|Dimensions (H xW xD)||210 x 500 x 493mm (ATX Mid Tower)|
|Motherboard Sizes||Mini-ITX, mATX, ATX|
|5.25" Drive Bays||x4|
|3.5" Drive Bays||x6|
|2.5" Drive Bays||x7|
|Cooling Front||2 x 120mm (included) or 1 x 200mm (optional)|
|Cooling Rear||1 x 120mm (included)|
|Cooling Top||1 x 200mm (optional)|
|Cooling Bottom||1 x 120mm (optional)|
|I/O||4 x USB3.0, HD Audio|
|Power Supply||PS2 ATX (bottom, multi direction)|
All the boxes we have seen thus far from BitFenix have been remarkably similar, including the one the Raider arrived in: a small and plain with illustrations of the case on the front along with a few of the key features and images of the Spectre fans. While the packaging is simple it is also informative, and the illustrations on the box nicely display both the inner and outer design of the case.
The Raider is a relatively small mid-sized tower measuring just 210 x 500 x 493mm and is constructed predominantly from steel and mesh. In addition to these the Raider also uses BitFenix's SofTouch Surface Treatment, which gives the case an elegant matte finish while reducing visible fingerprint buildup. The case also uses an all black color scheme, with the silver BitFenix logo at the bottom and blue USB 3.0 ports at the top providing some contrast.
The back of the case uses a standard design for a mid-sized tower. From the top, the Raider includes two grommet covered water cooling holes, along with a rectangular cutout that allows cables to be run both in and out of the chassis. Continuing down, there is a rear mounted 120mm BitFenix Spectre fan, the rear I/O panel, 7 expansion slots that each have a perforated ventilation cover, and finally at the very bottom is a multi-directional power supply installation area.
Both sides of the case are symmetrical, and are actually identical down to the handles at the back of the panel. Both the panels are secured to the case using two thumbscrews. From the view in the photos, it is easy to see the Raider's use of rounded edges to compared to the traditional boxy design.
The top of the case includes both an I/O area and the control panel, which are located on the left and right side of the panel, respectively. The I/O options consist of four USB 3.0 ports and HD audio option. The Raider is the first case on the market to include four SuperSpeed USB 3.0 ports, which are both connected internally. However, the cables also include a internal USB 2.0 adapter. This allows the cables to be attached to a USB 2.0 header, which means the the front USB ports can still be used even if there are no USB 3.0 headers available. We really like this feature and hope other companies follow suit.
The control panel is on the opposite side of the case and includes the active LEDs, a power and reset button as well as a built-in fan controller. The integrated fan controller is able to control up to five internal fans, allowing you to customize your system's cooling profile for either the best thermal performance, or low acoustics..
The top panel uses an all mesh design which wraps around the front of the case and extends along the back. The panel is designed to allow airflow to easily travel in and out of the case, improving the total thermal performance. To prevent dust build up, the panels have integrated dust filters. The top panel can be easily removed, and underneath it is an installation area for an optional 200mm fan. Unfortunately, the top panel is not designed to fit a water cooling radiator.
The external expansion bays are located at the top portion of the front bezel and includes support for up to four external 5.25" drives. Like the top panel, the front is made predominantly of mesh with dust filters integrated into the back side. Behind the front bezel are two 120mm Spectre case fans that pull the air in from the front and push it into the case. All in all, the Raider includes three case fans which are set up in a push/pull configuration by default.
The bottom panel of the Raider includes two individual dust filters and four attachable feet that are secured to the case via double sided sticky tape and screws that are threaded though the bottom. Like the rest of the case, the bottom is solid back, and at the upper portion is a handle to help remove the front bezel.
The internal layout of the Raider is actually very nice. On the right side there are dual hard drive cages that each support up to four internal drives (8 total), room for four 3.5" drives and four grommet covered cable management holes between the motherboard tray and drive bays. When both hard drive cages are installed in the case, the Raider only has around 10-inches of internal space from front to back. However, a portion of the upper hard drive cage can be removed to increase the internal volume to 14.9-inches.
Most of the components installed within the Raider are secured via tool-less bracket or locking mechanism. This reduces the amount of time it takes to install hardware inside the case, but a screwdriver is still required to install the motherboard and power supply.
The external 5.25" drives slide right in through the front and are secured via tool-less locking clip on the sides of the bay. While installing the drive was a simple affair, we were a bit disappointed that the drive didn't sit entirely flush with the front panel. This was due to the panel having a slightly bowed out center, but as you can see from the image the result was not too noticeable.
The tool-free brackets that can support either a single 3.5" HDD, or 2.5" SSD. This means the case can potentiality support up to 8 solid state drives, which is usually not common in the sub $100 market. Additionally, all the brackets include four pins that secure the drive in place, and each pin has a rubber anti-vibration cover to reduce the noise output of the installed hard drive during operation.
When the drive is secured to the bracket it is placed back into the cage with the power and data ports facing the back. This allows the cables to be easily routed behind the motherboard tray, where they can be placed through the cable management holes to prevent the cables from cluttering up the case or reducing airflow.
The CPU retention cutout worked flawlessly. As you can see, the entire back-plate of our H100 was clearly accessible and there was ample room to spare on all sides. This means the cutout should work with the majority of motherboards on the market, including the latest AM3+ and LGA-2011 sockets.
Installing our components into the BitFenix Raider for the most part hassle free, but we did run into some issues. With everything installed into the chassis, the amount of room to maneuver the cables though the cable management holes proved extremely limited due to the positioning and size of the holes. This prevented us from routing all the cables behind the motherboard tray and left the case cluttered with cables at the bottom. We also had a hard time installing our Corsair H100, as there is no area dedicated to installing a 240mm radiator. However, we were able to get it in with a little awkward positioning, but as you can see it didn't sit flush with the top of the case.
Still, we were able to fit all our high-end components in the end, so even while the case isn't exactly the most accomodating in terms of installing hardware, it can still house a killer rig inside it.
For testing I maintained an ambient room temperature of 70°F and used HWMonitor to monitor each component's internal temperature. The idle temperatures were taken after the computer remained on, but with no operating load for an hour. The load tests were taken after a 15 minute period with Kombuster's power supply test active.
The thermal performance of the BitFenix Raider was on par with the other cases we have tested using our Intel 2600k configuration. However, the chipset lacked proper cooling due to the poor cable management which increased the maximum load temperature to 43°C.
Overall the BitFenix Raider is a good case for its price range. It sports more features than expected for a case under $100 and also looks visually appealing. Both of these factors will go a long way in driving appeal, as when comparing the BitFenix Raider to other cases at the same price it is going to be hard to find a competing option that includes a built-in fan controller, massive CPU retention area and still have enough spacing to fit a HD 6990. All of these make the Raider an outstanding case in its own right, but the case does fall short in a few areas.
The largest issue we had with the Raider was the cramped interior, which just doesn’t give the system builder enough room to comfortably install all their components. This could have been addressed by increasing the width of the installation area by just an inch or two to make the case that much more roomier. Additionally, increasing the size would have also addressed an issue we had with cable management. With our components installed, the motherboard tray was left with very little room remaining, making routing some of the larger cables very difficult.
Other than these installation issues, all the included features worked well and we were impressed with the fact the case can support up to six SSDs, a 200mm top mounted fan and comes stock with three high performance BitFenix Spectre fans.
One of the features we liked most about the case was that the USB 3.0 ports on the front aren't wasted if the user doesn’t own a motherboard with a USB 3.0 header. BitFenix integrated an adapter onto the cable itself, allowing it to be connected to either a USB 2.0 or 3.0 header. This is a huge step in the right direction, as we have reviewed too many cases where the user simply would not be able to use the USB 3.0 ports on the front panel if they don’t have a motherboard with the appropriate headers.
While the BitFenix Raider is not a perfect case, it is still a well-rounded product that offers plenty of high-end features for a mid-range price.
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