BitFenix Neos Case Review
   
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BitFenix Neos Case Review

July 16th, 2014 Mike Leave a comment Go to comments

 

UPDATE: We had pulled the original BitFenix NEOS Review as it was discovered that the case was a pre-production sample, and this goes against pcG review policy.

NOTE: this was also unknown to BitFenix as the sample came to pcG via a re-seller.

UPDATE: Between BitFenix and the re-seller, we have now received a retail sample (the one you’ll be buying!) of the BitFenix NEOS and the review is now live. Many thanks to those involved in helping fix the predicament and apologies to all those who followed the original link to find nothing.

Happy reading! pcG Mike

 

Overview

 

Hot on the heals off the BitFenix Comrade, we have the BitFenix Neos(BFC-NEO-100-WWXKR-RP). Not an entirely new design, but more a revision of the Comrade. Why I hear you ask? Well as good a budget case the Comrade is, it isn’t exactly the best looking case one in the world, so BitFenix have thrown on a new front panel in a variety of guises and to be fair it doesn’t look bad at all. So with the slight danger of repetition, the Neos is an ATX case, has two 5.25″ drive bays, three 3.5″ bays and three 2.5″ drive bays, is cooled by one 120mm rear fan with two optional 120mm fans at the front. Where it differs from the Comrade is the front panel. Instead of a large predominantly flat piece of plastic with a side mounted IO panel, the Neos has a large piece of coloured mesh to help aid airlow and a top mounted IO panel.

How does this effect the looks and performance? It’s time to find out!

 

BitFenix - Logo ‘Simple yet stylish, feature-rich yet affordable, Neos is the ideal PC chassis for value seekers and first-time builders. The elegantly crafted mesh front panel brings a clean and uncluttered look to the chassis while bringing a splash of colour to brighten up any computing space. Users can look forward to dedicated 3.5″ and 2.5″ drive racks, and compatibility with graphics cards up to 30cm long. Neos makes installation easy with tool-free mechanisms and dual dust filters mean quick clean-up. To enable quick file transfers, Neos even comes equipped with a high-speed USB port. Brimming with niceties like an aluminium BitFenix logo badge and a powder-coated interior, Neos brings a colourful and smart design at an eminently affordable price point.’

 

BitFenix Neos - Box Front BitFenix Neos - Box Back

 

The BitFenix Neos M arrived in the now familiar and unassuming brown box. On the front is a large black BitFenix logo with the case model name beneath it. Underneath that you can also clearly see the company web address.

On the back of the box we have four different images of the Neos and a break down of its features as follows.

Features

  • Retaining holes for easy cable management
  • Tool free drive locking
  • Bottom and front dust filters
  • Side I/O panel for easy access (Single USB 3.0 port)
  • 120mm rear fan
  • 7 PCI Slots
  • Windowed side panel (Note: Neos window only)

 

BitFenix Neos - Unboxing BitFenix Neos - Unpacking

 

The BitFenix Neos is well packaged in a protective bag and between two hard polystyrene blocks.

 

BitFenix Neos - Contents

 

Within the box is a Quick Installation Guide, Warranty Information, cable ties, three motherboard stand-offs, an assortment of fittings and a PCI slot cover

At the time of review, the BitFenix Neos is available from Amazon for £34.61 or OverclockersUK for £29.99, OverclockersUK also offer a windowed version for £33.95 and all come with a typical 12 month warranty.

 

Specifications/Features

courtesy of BitFenix

Material Steel, Plastic
Colour (Int/Ext) Black/Black, White/White
Dimensions (WxHxD) 185mm x 429mm x 470mm
Motherboard Sizes Mini-ITX, mATX, ATX
5.25” Drive Bays 2
3.5” Drive Bays 3
2.5” Drive Bays 3
Cooling Front 120mm x 2 (optional)
Cooling Rear 120mm x 1 (included)
PCI Slots 7
I/O Panel USB 3.0 x 1, USB 2.0 x 1, HD Audio
Power Supply PS2 ATX (bottom, multi direction)
Extras/Features Front Dust Filter, PSU Dust Filter, Tool-Free Drive Locking

* Additional details available here

 

First Impressions

 

BitFenix Neos - Front BitFenix Neos - Back

 

As you can see, of the variety of flavours available, our friends at BitFenix have sent us a predominantly white Neos with a red meshed front panel. You can easily see the two 120mm fan mounts and two 5.25″ drive bays through the mesh and the black powder coated BitFenix logo in the centre of the lower fan area. It looks pretty basic, but I really quite like it. Yet how much better would it look had BitFenix ditched the now rarely used 5.25″ bays and added an additional 120mm fan mount?

From the back we can see the 120mm exhaust port, cut-out for the motherboard I/O shield, seven PCI expansion slots (all bar one of these are press out, so once removed you’ll have to find replacements yourself), PSU cut-out, as well as two rubber grommeted ports for water cooling (does anyone use these). Looking to the right of the expansion slots you’ll see a black bar. This is a clip-on retainer bracket and cover for the PCI-E expansion slots so there is no need for thumb screws.

If you look closely at the side panels, you’ll notice that the panels aren’t symmetrical. This is because like the Comrade before it, the Neos has interchangeable doors.

 

BitFenix Neos - Top BitFenix Neos - Underneath

 

From above the only really thing of note is the I/O panel. Although sparse the paint finish on the Neos is very good.

Beneath the base we can see a cut out by the front panel to help aid its removal, four black plastic feet and towards the back a removable dust filter for the PSU air intake.

 

BitFenix Neos - Left Side BitFenix Neos - Right Side

 

Both left and right panels not only look identical, but are. Again the paint finish is very good and matches the rest of the case well. My only gripe is the panels are very lightweight and somewhat flimsy, so the panel handles are very easy to warp whilst removal.

 

BitFenix Neos - Left side Open BitFenix Neos - Right Side - Open

 

The interior of the BitFenix Neos, just like the Comrade looks deceptively large because of its high quality white powder coating. Whilst viewing clockwise and in order, we see the two ODD (Optical Disk Drive) retention mechanisms (unlike the Comrades two), three SSD racks, three HDD racks, 120mm PSU intake, PSU exhaust, seven PCI-E expansion slots, 120mm BitFenix exhaust fan and of course the motherboard tray.

Behind the motherboard tray is again finished in the same white powder coating. As usual there is not a lot to excite visually, but looking at the central cable ports you’ll notice quite a wide channel and instead of the usual cable ports beside the PSU, there’s a singular massive hole. These should make cable management quite a lot easier, especially with all the tie off points dotted around the motherboard area.

 

BitFenix Neos - IO Panel BitFenix Neos - BitFenix Logo

 

The I/O Panel is now situated at the top of the front panel. This consists of two USB 3.0 sockets, Mic In, Audio Out, USB 2.0 and USB 3.0.

Ok, so we may have seen these powder coated BitFenix logos once or twice before, but that doesn’t make them look any less good does it? ;)

 

BitFenix Neos - 120mm Exhaust fan BitFenix Neos - Front Air Filter

 

The rear exhaust is pre-fitted with a black 120mm BitFenix Spectre fan. This should knock out around 20dB-A at full flow and 1000RPM±10%.

Removing the front panel shows us why the top 5.25″ is no longer usable like it is in the Comrade. Personally I feel the trade off for a non side mounted I/O panel is more than worthwhile. The big black thing beneath this is the front removable dust filter. Just like in the Comrade the two optional 120mm actually fit to the dust filter and not the chassis itself.

 

BitFenix Neos - Cable Management BitFenix Neos - PSU Cable Management

 

Behind the back of the motherboard tray the BitFenix Neos is surprisingly roomy with 2.8cm working space. That combined with the tie-off points and a central cable channel should make all cable management fairly simple.

Whilst down at the bottom of the case in the PSU bay, the BitFenix Neos has a huge cut out for all your PSU cables.

 

BitFenix Neos - Motherboard Stand Offs BitFenix Neos - CPU and 8pin Cutout

 

Just like the Comrade, the BitFenix Neos has the motherboard stand-offs pre built into the motherboard tray. Which again is both good and bad. I’m sure I’m not the only person in the world who finds fitting mobo stand-offs a royal pain with no socket, but if you like to change your motherboard fairly regularly, you have the chance of cross-threading the built in ones which certainly isn’t good.

A pretty big design flaw of the Neos, was the placement of the 8 pin PSU cut-out, it’s totally in the wrong place and because of its positioning makes it nigh on impossible to even pre-fit the cable before installing the motherboard. The easy workaround for this is of course to route your cable through the CPU cut-out, which sadly also raises another issue, the alignment of the cut-out means you’ll have to at least install your CPU cooler backplate (or even entirely!) before installing your motherboard.

 

BitFenix Neos - Drive Bays

BitFenix Neos - Drive Sleds

 

As mentioned before, the Neos has has an I/O panel on the top lip of the front panel (unlike its brother the Comrade), which means the top 5.25″ is more or less redundant, so this leaves two fully working and tool-free 5.25″ Drive bays. Beneath this we have three 2.5″ and three 2.5″ drive cages. These again are of a tool-free design and are nice and simple to use.

 

BitFenix Neos - Angled

 

Hardware Installation

 

So unlike most cases and like I mentioned above, I first installed the Intel Core i5-4670K and the Raijintek Themis CPU cooler to the test motherboard at hand. This particular one being the ASRock Fatal1ty H97 Killer which I’ve grown rather fond of during testing, followed by the motherboard I/O shield, positioning the 8 pin PSU cable through the CPU cut-out, then of course fitting the board itself. I then connected the Neos I/O cables to the correct motherboard headers and fitted the BitFenix Fury 550G PSU PSU (BitFenix very kindly supplied one of its new Fury PSUs too. Which happens to not only look good, but is semi-modular with some rather lovely and individually sleeved cables). Once the MSI R9 290 GAMING 4GB is installed and the locking plate fitted, there is an awful lot of movement on the GPU, so I chose to use a thumbscrew to lock it in place instead. Fitting the Seagate Barracuda 2TB and a OCZ Vertex 3 120GB was a very easy task using the tool free drive sleds, then the Kingston Beast ram and all various cables resulting in a nice and tidy build.

 

BitFenix Neos - Fully Loaded - Side

 

At least until sliding the back panel on….. Because BitFenix have oddly chosen to go for an 8+4+4 pin power cable (the spare plugs don’t sit flush as you’d like) and because I chose to place it through the CPU cut-out and behind the motherboard, sliding the panel back is somewhat like packing a suitcase for your return from holiday. ;)

 

Testing Methodology/Setup

 

At pcGameware we use Prime95 and CoreTemp to evaluate CPU temperatures and we use MSI Afterburner to evaluate the GPU temperatures. Of course Prime95 being a CPU stress test also helps to generate heat for us to check the case thermals, but what about GPU’s? Why we use UNiGiNE Heaven 4.0 of course!

CPU performance testing is carried out using Prime95 to stress the CPU. Each run is timed for 15 mins and the maximum temperature is recorded for all cores and then the average core heat is taken in °C. Testing was carried out at both 3.4GHz (Stock) and at 4.0GHz (MSI OC Genie).

GPU performance testing is carried out by running UNiGiNE Heaven 4.0 for 15 minutes and then by recording the maximum GPU temperature.

* All case fans (x1 in the case of the BitFenix Neos) and the CPU Cooler (Raijintek Themis) are run at 100% throughout testing.

 

Hardware Performance

 

  • CPU RESULTS – BitFenix Neos with Raijintek Themis and Intel I5-4670K @ 3.4GHz(Stock)/3.8GHz(Turbo)
  • Case Ambient Temperature Max CPU Temperature (core average) Delta Temperature
    Cooler Master Cosmos SE 19.00 47.25 28.25
    Cooler Master HAF XB 26.50 64.25 37.75
    BitFenix Shadow 23.50 64.25 40.75
    BitFenix Comrade 20.00 63.00 43.00
    BitFenix Collosus M 20.50 64.75 44.25
    BitFenix Neos 24.50 65.00 40.50

     

    The table above shows that the Neos doesn’t have any problems at all with the i5-4670k at stock. Admittedly it’s a tad warmer than our other test cases at 65.00, but it’s really nothing to worry about.

    What happens when we introduce a small Overclock?

     

  • CPU RESULTS – BitFenix Neos with Raijintek Themis and Intel I5-4670K @ 4.0GHz(via UEFI)
  • Case Ambient Temperature Max CPU Temperature (core average) Delta Temperature
    Cooler Master Cosmos SE 19.50 63.00 43.50
    Cooler Master HAF XB 19.50 68.00 48.50
    BitFenix Shadow 24.00 70.25 46.25
    BitFenix Comrade 21.50 74.00 52.50
    BitFenix Collosus M 22.50 81.25 58.75
    BitFenix Neos 26.00 78.25 52.25

     

    Even with the Themis CPU cooler and Neos case fan (all one of them!) at a full 100%, the BitFenix Neos gets pretty warm at 78.25. This is of course whilst stress testing with Prime95 and through day to day use your unlikely to reach these temperatures. I guess we’ll have to see what difference an additional two intake fans make. ;)

     

  • GPU RESULTS – BitFenix Neos with MSI R9 290 GAMING – OC MODE (Core: Core: 1007MHz / Mem: 5000MHz)
  • Case Ambient Temperature Max GPU Temperature Delta Temperature
    Cooler Master Cosmos SE 21.50 86.00 64.50
    Cooler Master HAF XB 27.50 86.00 58.50
    BitFenix Shadow 24.50 94.00 69.50
    BitFenix Comrade 20.00 94.00 74.00
    BitFenix Collosus M 21.00 87.00 64.50
    BitFenix Neos 26.00 94.00 68.00

     

    Ok, so we all know the Hawaii based AMD R9 290 can be one hot card and sadly the Neos in its off the shelf state as shown in the table above, is not the case to home it in. It throttles in a very short space of time whilst benchmarking with Heaven 4.0. You could of course drop the clock speed on your GPU to prevent the heat build up, but would you really want to when adding the additional fans might make all the difference?

     

  • Acoustic Performance
  • Despite its incredibly thin panelling (it’s pretty easy to warp them with thumb pressure alone!), the BitFenix Neos does a fairly reasonable job at holding sound in. Whilst running at idle, the noise produced is approximately 38db, perhaps a little louder than its sibling case the Comrade, but this is most likely down to the open expanse of mesh on the front panel. Knocking the Raijintek Themis up to 100% and the Neos and Themis stand neck and neck at 53db and exactly the same 56db from the MSI R9 290 Gaming 4G.

     


    BitFenix Neos fully loaded!

     

    What happens when you add a little extra to a budget case like the BitFenix Neos? Well for additional cooling it’d be daft not to take advantage of the additional front fan mounts, so we’ve thrown in two 120mm BitFenix Spectre Pro LED and to show off all those lovely components inside, a window. ;)

    It’s worth noting that instead of fixing the two additional 120mm fans to the Neos chassis itself, BitFenix have rather unusually chosen to use the front air filter as the mount. This in turn just clips into the case. All nice and easy, but does have the awkward side effect of having to remove the fans in the event (even if rare) of a dust filter deep clean.

     

    BitFenix Neos - Angled with window

     

    As you can see, all of a sudden and at very little expense you can turn a reasonably good looking PC case into something a lot more desirable (hence I’m keeping it, don’t tell pcG James! ;) ), but what about the performance?

  • CPU RESULTS – BitFenix Neos with Raijintek Themis and Intel I5-4670K @ 3.4GHz (Stock)
  • Case Ambient Temperature Max CPU Temperature (core average) Delta Temperature
    BitFenix Neos (+2x 120mm fans) 26.00 63.00 37.00
    BitFenix Neos 24.50 65.00 40.50

     

  • CPU RESULTS – BitFenix Neos with Raijintek Themis and Intel I5-4670K @ 4.0GHz(via UEFI)
  • Case Ambient Temperature Max CPU Temperature (core average) Delta Temperature
    BitFenix Neos (+2x 120mm fans) 26.00 73.00 36.00
    BitFenix Neos 26.00 78.25 47.25

     

  • GPU RESULTS – BitFenix Neos with MSI R9 290 GAMING – OC MODE (Core: Core: 1007MHz / Mem: 5000MHz)
  • Case Ambient Temperature Max GPU Temperature Delta Temperature
    BitFenix Neos (+2x 120mm fans) 26.00 94.00 68.00
    BitFenix Neos 24.50 94.00 69.50

    Ok, so the additional airflow provided by the extra two 120mm fans has a big effect on CPU cooling. You could argue that the CPU max temps weren’t all that bad, but where I was expecting the big performance boost with cooling the R9 290, the overly toasty GPU still hits its 94.00 throttle limit. :(

     

    Final Thoughts

     

    The BitFenix Neos arrived in a very familiar brown cardboard box and was well packaged. The main chassis is solidly built and has the usual BitFenix high quality white powder coating, three 3.5 tool-free drive sleds and three 2.5 sleds and two tool-free 5.25 ODD bays. Most of the cut-outs are well placed for easy cable management, two good quality dust filters and a far more convenient I/O panel. Like the Comrade before it, the Neos offers phenomenal value at only £29.99 or £33.95 for the windowed version.

    Sadly like the Comrade before it, there are the same negative oddities. The same nigh on useless 8 pin CPU power cable hole, which is poorly placed and practically unusable. This leaves you the choice of trailing the 8 pin cable across the top of your motherboard or using the CPU cut-out. Then there is that odd CPU cut-out, it’s large enough for any CPU cooler backplate, but about an inch too far to the right? (isn’t this cut-out supposed to mean you don’t have to remove the motherboard to change your CPU cooler?!?!?!?).

    I rather like the simple styling of the BitFenix Neos with its open mesh on the front panel although I think it would have looked and no doubt performed that little bit better if BitFenix had ditched the 5.25 bays in favour of an extra 120mm fan mount (with the right fans you could make it look like a traffic light! :-? Or perhaps not….).

    Then with the additional 120mm front fans and window, the BitFenix Neos gains a big chunk in cooling performance and looks even better for it.

    The BitFenix Neos off the shelf offers a pretty good package and at £29.99 (OverclockersUK) fantastic value, with a little extra cash thrown at it (certainly worthwhile) it not only looks, but performs better and even with the extra expense offers more than its competition. The CPU and 8pin cut-outs are both pretty big design faults. Should it stop you making the Neos your next case purchase? Personally I don’t think so and despite the faults I’d recommend it. It’s an ideal case for a first time or budget Gaming build and potentially a great entry into PC modding. Like the BitFenix Comrade before it, the Neos is very hard to ignore for the price (possibly more so than its less attractive sibling) and certainly worthy of your attention.

     

    Verdict

    Please Share, Like & Comment below, we really value your thoughts and opinions…



    Where possible we always use Amazon’s price for Value…
      Design/Quality pcGameware awards the BitFenix Neos Case a Silver
    Performance
    Value
    Overall

     

    Many thanks to BitFenix for providing this sample for review

     



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