Another mighty thanks to BitFenix and A.P.E.S for providing the chassis to be reviewed. Really excited to once again have the pleasure to review another quality product.
When it comes to the BitFenix line of products, we often hear about the innovative Collossus, water-cooling friendly giant Shinobi XL or the ever famous compact and versatile Prodigy along with the sleek Shinobi Window. But not many of us mention or probably even know about the Raider in the BitFenix line of chassis. Probably this time, is as good as any to sit back and take a good look.
To be accurate, I have with me the BitFenix Raider GunMetal Window Edition, which I understand to be a bit different from BitFenix's usual lineup of chassis. How s that so? well for one thing this one doesn't come in their trademark SoftTouch surface treatment. Retails for about RM319 in the Malaysian market, this places the chassis in contention with many famous chassis in the mid-tower category. Let me grab my camera and take the Raider out of the packaging.
Bitfenix Raider Specifications:
- Materials Steel, Plastic
- Dimensions 210 x 500 x 493mm
- Motherboard Sizes Mini-ITX, mATX, ATX
- 5.25" Drive Bays x 4
- 3.5" Drive Bays x 6
- 2.5" Drive Bays x 7
- 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)
- PCI Slots x 7
- I/O 4 x USB3.0, HD Audio
- Power Supply PS2 ATX (bottom, multi direction)
I received the Raider wrapped in a tornado of plastics. Though I'm not sure if it's intended for every Raider in retail, having the plastic wrappings kept the box in pristine condition.
As always, BitFenix have a minimalistic approach to their product packaging. going with a brown box as opposed to glossy ones means that more of the budget goes into making the chassis. The front of the brown box is decorated with a huge BitFenix Logo and the chassis name in black.
At the back, you'll find illustrations of the chassis that highlights the main features of the Raider itself.
The sides will have product information such as the specifications and colour.
Opening the box, the chassis is protected by hard foam with about 2 inches of space on both sides of the chassis. It's also wrapped in plastic which kept any dust away from the Raider during transport and storage.
As mentioned before, the GunMetal edition of the Raider didn't come in the trademark SoftTouch surface treatment but instead painted in GunMetal, which is grey with a bluish tint that gives it the finish look of metallic-alloy parts found in motor vehicles.
Although it's not the first time that I've seen GunMetal-coloured chassis, it's still quite rare and only a few brands have implemented on some of their chassis. I'm happy to report that the surface is still finger-print proof, which is essential given that you'll be touching the chassis more than the internal parts.
The front of the Raider is mostly steel mesh with access to four (4) 5.25" external bays. A nice metallic logo decorated the lower part of the mesh which is framed with plastic panels on either side.
After taking the front panel off and taking a look behind, you'll see that the steel mesh (including the 5.25" bay covers) is filtered to help minimize dust intake into the chassis. Just remember to pull off the top panel before removing the front panel as the two are interlocked to give it a snug fit.
You'll see why the dust filters are needed here, right behind the front panel are mounting holes for a 200mm fan or dual 120mm fans (included).
The top of the Raider follows through with the meshed design from the front panel.
Here, we find a fan controller slider, reset switch, power switch as well as activity lights at the left and four (4) USB3.0 ports, microphone and headphone jacks on the right.
Pulling off the top reveals a single 200mm fan mount. This means that the Raider is not able to accommodate water-cooling radiators at the top. Another kink in this design is that only the tail end is exhausting air from the top while the front section is dedicated to the cables.
At the right side, you'll see a sizeable clear window to show off your components, another feature that is not available out of the box of the Black / SoftTouch version of the Raider.
The left panel is plain except for the indentations near the back to provide some grip to pulling the panel off. I thought the side-panels were a bit too thin to my liking but solid enough to prevent it from deforming over a simple knock. I just hope it'll be adequate to keep vibrations as low as possible.
At the back, they've implemented an extra pass-through (should there is the need for external USB3.0 cables) alongside the dual grommeted ports for external water cooling tubes near the top. A 120mm exhaust fan mount, seven (7) expansion slots and bottom mounted PSU cut-out decorated the rest of the back.
At the bottom of the chassis are four (4) rubber feet and filtered intakes for the PSU and the 120mm optional fan mount. I like how the team implemented the separate dust filters so that you wouldn't have a single long filter that will be hard to remove as most users will have the chassis against the wall most of the time. Kudos to BitFenix for figuring this out.
Coloured to match the exterior, the interior is nice indeed. BitFenix have included 3 120mm Spectre fans, two of which are LED versions at the front and a black one at the back for exhaust.
First thing I take note of is the large cut-out on the motherboard tray which makes life easier when installing third party CPU coolers without having to remove the motherboard.
Rubber grommets on the cable management holes is a definite plus but they do look to be a little small compared to some I've seen in other chassis.
The four external 5.25" bays have tool-less clips to secure your optical bay and/or devices. These just swing out and clamp in from one side, easy.
Installing 3.25" drives in the Raider is also a tool-less affair with the flexible trays that clips into the drive cage place, users could also mount a 2.5" drive onto the flexible trays with screws.
The 3.25" drive cage is split into two sections, with a segment of the top section made removable by loosening two thumb screws to accommodate long GPUs should the situation desires it. Doing so will leave users with only three 3.25" drive bays instead of the initial six however, and sadly to say that the rest of the drive cage is riveted to the chassis hence denying the option of a front mounted 240mm radiator.
Front I/O connectors are mostly black though some red & yellow ones can be seen which belongs to the fans at the front and HD-Audio connectors. Would have preferred that all of the wires were black but it's not such a big issue.
One nifty implementation of the internal USB3.0 wire is the option to plug in the USB2.0 headers of older motherboards, simple and thoughtful.
Taking a look at the back of the motherboard tray, there is a gap of about 20mm for cable management which should be sufficient though it is always advisable to get a modular PSU to lessen the amount of wires needed to be stuffed at the back.
Love to see multiple anchor points for cable ties and a generous cut-out at the top right above the motherboard tray cutout for the 4/8 EPS-pin and/or fan cables to pass through, a feature that should've been there for all chassis of any size.
System InstallationMigrating my old AMD platform to the Raider is rather easy. First timers should refer to the quickstart guide should they run into any trouble installing any components, not that they will considering the myriad of tool-less options in the Raider.
The etched stand-off guide on the motherboard tray is a most welcomed feature. Included in the bag of screws is also a-hex adaptor to help with securing the stand-offs.
Routing all the wires to the back proves to be challenging for my 700w non-modular PSU, future revisions of the Raider should have enlarged cable management pass troughs to make life easier.
And here is what a typical setup would look like in the Raider chassis. A few more shots when the system is "alive".
ConclusionsThe BitFenix Raider GunMetal Edition is a nice case for air-cooling setups. To me, it has it's share of bad and good, for example, I didn't expect the side panel to be flimsy for a RM300 chassis but you do get rubber grommets that's absent in some other chassis of the same price range. But I'm happy to report that the side panels doesn't vibrate and cause unwanted noise while the system is powered on.
The absence of water cooling supports might be a concern to some but the Raider evens out the game by providing three 120mm Spectre fans and a built-in fan controller that powers up to 5 fans via a single 4-pin molex. Features that air cooling users will definitely appreciate.
- Gun-Metal colour
- Filtered front intakes
- Fingerprint proof exterior
- Inclusion of rubber grommets for cable management
- USB2.0 compatibility on USB3.0
- Inclusion of 3x Spectre fans
- Side sliding bottom dust filters
- Built-in fan control
- No 240mm Radiator support
- Side panels are a bit flimsy