When you're building a PC on a tight budget, some would disregard the type of chassis they'd get until the end after they have decided on the internal parts. Quite often, they'll be scratching their heads on which to buy with the little budget that's left that they would have to sacrifice quality and design.
Big thanks to the folks at BitFenix and Inter-Asia Technology for the star of today's article. Let's take a look at BitFenix's take at the budget chassis scene.
(The Bitfenix Nova retails at RM149)
BitFenix is on the cardboard box packaging as usual, a large BitFenix logo and the model of the chassis is printed at the front.
At the back of the packaging, we can see some highlighted feature of the BitFenix Nova.
Accessories included are the pack mounting screws, quick installation guide, a little buzzer for the motherboard.
Protection wise, Bitfenix has gone with their usual foam encasing the top and bottom of the chassis as well as a piece of clear plastic covering the chassis to prevent dust and possible minor scratches during transport.
The Bitfenix Nova is a budget chassis that comes with a large windowed side-panel. It's available in 2 choices of color: black and white.
The matte finishing on the front panel and the usual Bitfenix logo.
On the side of the front panel you'll find honeycomb mesh for ventilation purposes.
Right at the top edge of the front panel are where you'll find the USB2.0 and USB3.0 port, Power switch, Audio jacks and the reset switch.
The front fits 2 fans for intake, but due to the design limitations, it is strictly limited to 120MM fans with standard thickness of 25MM.
The bottom of the chassis itself.
The removable filter for power supply is an added plus, which isn't something you get to see on most budget chassis available in the market.
The chassis feet are lined with foam pieces to absorb vibrations that could generate potential noise, very thoughtful of Bitfenix.
The back of the Neos is pretty standard with an I/O knockout area, triple grometted holes for watercooling tubes, a 120mm exhaust fan mount, seven expansion slots and a bottom mounted PSU bay.
Note that the slot covers are the breakaway type that are not reusable after it is removed except the first one which is present inside the accessory box. According to Bitfenix, the reason for this implementation is because most people will be using the first slot anyway.
There's 3 pieces of breakaway cover right above the 120MM fan mount, can be utilized in case if you're planning to go for external water cooling setup with the Nova.
Before we dive into the main chamber of the Nova, let us direct our attention to the windowed side-panel. It's a basic large window which looks great but this also means that the side-panel will be wobbly when it's not attached to the chassis.
We can see that the interior looks pretty much same with the budget line Neos and Comrade, but Bitfenix have ditched the tool-free drive bay we've seen on both chassis to keep the cost down - the current SRP for Bitfenix Neos and Comrade is at RM199, which is a difference of RM50.
The 3.5" drive bay allows up to a total of 4 HDD. As there's no drive brackets available, you will need to secure your drives with the screws provided.
In case if you need an SSD for your system, this is where you install it.
For the 5.25" drive bays, only one of them is tool-free.
The cut-outs for cable routing allows better cable management compared to the budget chassis we normally seen used for budget builds.
Pre-installed stand-offs on the standard zone and large cut-out on the motherboard tray allows easier installation for both motherboards and CPU coolers.
The PSU mounting bay comes with rubber mounts to dampen any vibrations that may come from the PSU.
A 120mm fan is also included at the rear exhaust, not something you'd normally see on a budget chassis.
An inside view of the ventilated expansion slots.
Moving on to the back of the motherboard tray, space is pretty limited here for cable management but if you know how to conquer those cables, it shouldn't be much of an issue.
Not a whole lot going on at the back of the motherboard tray.
We expect that most of the cables will be hidden at this area.
Here's a view of the Bitffenix Nova with most of the major components installed - Both of the triple slot ASUS DirectCU II GTX680 with near to 300mm length and GELID Solutions Antarctica CPU cooler with height of 160mm fits in the nova without any compatibility issue.
Test Rig Configuration
GELID Solutions Antarctica
Intel Core i7-4790K
ASUS ROG Maximus VI Gene
Corsair Vengeance Pro DDR3 @2400MHz
Primary Hard Drive
Crucial M500 120GB
SilverStone SST-ST60F-P Power Supply
As you can see from the specification above, we're able to pack quite the machine there without much trouble. With ambient temperatures at about 30°C, lets see how these components fare in the Nova.
The temperature we're getting is where both CPU/GPU are being stressed to the limit for performance testing purposes and it is unlikely for both components to hit this temperature reading in most of real world usage (gaming, office work, music, video, etc).
It's quite high for the temperature but it still falls within an acceptable range. We do recommend adding some extra fans at the front to improve the air circulation in the chassis.
The Bitfenix Nova is one decent budget oriented chassis that offers a classy monolithic appearance with a huge window panel for hardware showcase, capable of fitting almost any high-end components. The only issue we encounter during installation are the front fan mount that fits only 120MM fans with 25MM thickness, cramping cables behind the drive bay.
If budget, feature and appearance is what you're looking for in a PC chassis, the Bitfenix Nova is definitely one chassis that is worth considering for when it comes to budget oriented build.
- Solid build quality
- Large window panel for hardware showcase
- Compatible with wide range of components
- Good appearance
- Solid and easy to close side panels
- Limited space at the back of the motherboard for cable routing
- No noise dampening feature on the fan filter at the bottom of the chassis
- Limited choice of LED color
- Awkward expansion slot securing mechanism