November 14, 2014

Unboxing & Review: BitFenix Pandora

Bitfenix has quickly become one of the most recommended chassis manufacturers among PC builders with their upbeat designs for PC enclosures and this new one we received from the mail is no different. Revealed at Computex 2014 and officially launched in September 2014, words just can't describe how much anticipation is built up waiting for it to arrive at our doorsteps... yet... here it is finally! 

Much thanks to BitFenix Malaysia and Inter-Asia Technology for the provision of the Pandora. This piece of art.. I mean chassis is now available in the market for RM479 (SRP).



As with all of BitFenix's packaging, you'll get a brown cardboard box with the product name and their logo printed in black.

At the back is where a simple diagram of the chassis inside, highlights of the main features are also done just here.


On one side, we have the specifications while the other side indicates which SKU is in the box along with some useful serial numbers I'm sure...

Popping up the top, you'll find the user manual, an accessory box and the chassis secured in it's molded hard foam and wrapped in plastic.

The accessory box is unlike any accessory box of BitFenix chassis we've previously reviewed, looks rather premium we'd say.

In terms of accessories, Bitfenix included some cable ties, two velcro ties, a bag of mounting screws, hex wrench and a metallic Bitfenix logo.

The Chasiss

The BitFenix Pandora takes on an new appearance that doesn't look anything any PC chassis we've encountered before. It's very slim profile makes it look more like a gaming console yet it has that stylish design that one would normally see in a Hi-Fi stereo system.

The side panel window cutout is worth a compliment as it kept the power supply hidden hidden from view, giving a neater look to the system in overall. Notice that the bottom part of the acrylic window extended slightly to the bottom in which you'll see what it is intended for.

The other side panel is plain, just a single, solid piece of brushed Aluminum. The side panels simply comes off when pulled. 

Turns out that they are held onto the chassis via the metal stubs on the side panel and a catch-mechanism on the chassis.

We do notice some blemishes on our unit and we're equally puzzled of the  existence of the threaded socket beside these stubs as well.

The side panels achieve the level fit against the chassis given the small latch-like cuts to both the aluminium pieces of the sidepanel and chassis.

Glad to see that the aluminium pieces are secured with a flat-headed screw, this means that the aluminium pieces that adorns the chassis can be completely removed for customization.

At the back of the Pandora, we have an I/O shield cutout, five ventilated expansion slots and a PSU mount at the bottom.

With both side panels removed, the front bezel reveals vents to cater for intake of fresh air. The reflective nature of this works especially well with the side panels on... not so much with them off...and do take note that this is a big fingerprint magnet.

Rest assured that there is an easily removable magnetic dust filter just behind that.

Which housed a pre-installed 120mm fan. Another 120mm fan can be mounted here and yes support for a 240mm radiator as well.

This is the main characteristics of the Pandora as behind the front panel lies a small LCD panel that was invisible from the outside. This will show the Bitfenix logo by default but the image is customisable via a simple drag & drop software downloadable from Bitfenix's website; we'll get back to this once we have the system built and fired up.

At the top front of the Pandora is where the I/O is located. As you can see, there is the power and reset switch, a pair of USB3.0 ports and audio ports for your headphone and microphone. The rest of the top panel is a dust filter.

The top dust filter is also a painless affair to remove, just push the left side.....

and the dust filter just swings open. Another 120mm fan is housed here for exhaust.

The latch on the top filter is rather small and looks to be a bit fragile so exercise some caution.

I'm really glad to see the cables being all black, this should help minimize cable clutter.

A full view of the top section, notice that while there is space for another 120mm there are no mounting points for it. The mounting points are for a 3.5" drive which we're not really a fan of really.

At the bottom of the Pandora you'll find a dust filter where the power supply unit is installed and 4 rubber feet with metal rings.

The dust filter is attached to the bottom of the chassis magnetically so cleaning is made easier and zero worries of breaking the sliders on most conventional dust filter design.

The front dust filter earlier is also accessible front the bottom of the chassis.

The sliding mechanism makes removal a breeze without having to remove the front panel, which is rather troublesome to begin with.

Taking in the full view of the interior, it is a pretty basic MATX chassis layout... minus the 5.25" and 3.5" drive bays that is normally found towards the front of the chassis.

This uniquely designed drive bay allows you to not only mount a 2.5" inch drive for showcase purpose, it also helps to keep the large chunk of cables out of sight. 

The power supply unit mount comes ready with 4 pieces of rubber not only to dampen the from moving parts that could lead to potential noise, it also helps to keep the power supply unit elevated to reduce the risk of scratching against the base.

The motherboard tray comes ready with the standoffs to make motherboard installation easier. 

Behind the motherboard tray, you can see some cable tie hooks but there's hardly space here to tuck your cables here save through the bottom section of the cable management shroud. Use of modular PSU will make assembly easier.

The rear Aluminium frame is somewhat annoying as it's blocking the access to PCIe expansion slots, but we noticed that BitFenix has something up their sleeves for using hex thumb screws.  

Apparently there's a hex wrench included in the pack of screws which is intended for the hex screws on the PCIe expansion slots.

Similar to both Neos and Comrade, the Pandora comes with a plastic cover for its PCIe expansion slots to keep the screws out of sight. 

It's Alive!!! as you can see, the BitFenix logo is the default image on the LCD screen.

And here's the answer to why the bottom part of the acrylic window extended slightly to the bottom, SSD showcase! 

Software Test

As we've mentioned earlier, the Bitfenix Pandora comes with a customisable LCD panel that allows you to display almost any image aside of the default Bitfenix logo via a very simple drag & drop utility known as the Pandora Display APP.

The Pandora Display APP is very easy to use and all you need to do is to drag the desired picture to the BitFenix ICON and wait for the the magic to happen. It's recommended to use image in resolution of 240x320 and JPEG/PNG format.

Thermal Performance Test
Test Rig Configuration
CPU Cooler
Prolimatech Samuel 17
Intel Core i7 4790K
ASUS Maximus Gene VI 
Corsair Vengeance Pro 8GB@1600MHz
Primary Hard Drive
Kimtigo KTA-350 120GB
Power Supply
BitFenix Fury 550G
BitFenix Pandora

Moving on with the thermal performance test, we're using the CPU stress test utility Prime95 with the option 'In-place large FFTs' and GPU stress test utility FurMark with its Furry Donut stress test for maximum heat output from both the CPU and GPU. Our room temperature throughout the test is 30ÂșC in average and the stress test is repeated for several times in order to get a stable temperature reading. The final result is presented in the following graph:

Do note that it is very unlikely for both components to hit this temperature reading in most of real world usage (gaming, office work, music, video,etc) as both CPU/GPU are being stressed to the limit only for performance testing purposes.

Due to the fans included doesn't seems to be doing well with the airflow design of the chassis  the temperatures we're getting is higher than we've expected. Replacing the existing fans with high performance fans in positive pressure is recommended to improve the air circulation in the chassis.


The BitFenix Pandora is truly a piece of art of a PC chassis that would pique the interest of users. It's slim outlook made it suitable for a HTPC as it would blend in very well with contemporary entertainment systems.... or for one to hide a monster gaming PC in a minimalistic, fresh layout instead of the usual box-like chassis (which is the current trend). Of course, it's not a perfect chassis.  It's hard to do proper cable management given the amount of space in the Pandora and the side panel mechanism doesn't help either despite us using a modular PSU. The height restrictions on the CPU cooler and GPU also means that you can't have an oversized beastly graphic cards and tall heatsinks should you require one. The overall fit and finish is also quite rough on the aluminium side panels as I have suffered minor cuts during assembly. They also scrape against the table or floor when they're on so do exercise caution when placing on a wooden floor. I do hope that BitFenix will have these details ironed out in the future of what is otherwise a very beautiful chassis.

  • Great aesthetics
  • Programmable LCD screen with easy to use drag and drop software 
  • New outlook for HTPC or small systems
  • Support 240mm radiator at the front
  • Support graphics card up to 378mm in length
  • Finish of side panel is rough, may cut user
  • Included fans isn't powerful enough for its intended positive pressure fan setup
  • Too little space behind the motherboard tray for cable management
  • Front plastic panel glossy finish is a fingerprint magnet and prone to scratches