- Packaging and Specification
- External Impressions
- Internal Impressions Part 1
- Internal Impressions Part 2
- Test Bench and Installation Experience
- View All
Cheap cases are everywhere and something that sells pretty quickly too. They’re light and the enclosure is good enough for most people with few requirements and doesn’t cost a lot. This is the Bitfenix Outlaw Asia-Pacific edition. The speciality apart from the low cost is the inverted layout.
You’ve read about Betfenix’s cases that I reviewed before. They’re proved to be good cases with good value so far. So what’s more there to offer (Other than USB 3.0 headers) for cases that cost well under $60? Well, outlaw comes with an inverted ATX layout.
Nothing new with cases like this. Comes in an ordinary box with the black-inked illustrations about the case.
The case comes in the usual plastic and Styrofoam packaging.
As far as the specification is concerned:
You’re getting a mid-tower case with not very unusual specification for a case that’s worth $49. The case’s height is smaller than CM 311 Plus with the 450mm in height. I am curious to know how did they manage to cram in 4x 5.25” bays and 3.5” bays with 1x 2.5” drive bay with 2x 120mm front fan mount.
Although it’s the same height as Antec One S3, Outlaw smaller in width (208 mm on S3) and depth (488 mm on S3) is more. Bitfenix Merc has more width (190 mm) and depth (490 mm) compared to these cases.
Unlike in certain cases, Bitfenix has vents on the on the side on the front and sides of the front panel with orange paint on the mesh. Unlike Bitfenix Merc this case has SofTouch coat on the front panel. The SofTouch is present only on the non-APAC model and not on the APAC model. But it feels much less “soft” compared to BitFenix Shinobi.
And here’s why I need to keep in mind that this is a case for about $50.
Here’s what you should know. Since its an inverted ATX spec, you mount the system on the right sidepanel section, so the left sidepanel stays plain.
If you’re wondering about the damage on the left sidepanel, that happened during transport. Something happened that tore the box and made a sharp dent on the left sidepanel.
The right panel comes with 2x 140/120mm mounts for the fans but with no air filters. On both panels there are grips so you can pull it out of the case.
Since the case comes with an inverted layout, the 7x PCI slots are on the top with 2x rubber grommets for routing watercooling kits all the way through it. Below that is the 120mm fan mesh with a premounted fan, the I/O section and PSU mount.
The top panel has 2x 120mm fan mount with a single 120mm fan mounted on the top.
From the left: 4x USB 2.0 ports, the audio connectors with Power and Activity LED light on top of it, followed by Power and Reset Button.
There are 2x 120mm mesh on the underbelly- one for the power supply and one for the 120mm fans. In this case, there are no air filters at all.
The case feet is plastic with chrome-ish finish, but it has a rubber feet and uses screws rather than pushpins. Nice! BitFenix gets a +1 from me for this.
Just like Antec cases, this case uses screws with plastic thumb grips for securing both the sidepanels in place.
BitFenix provides the usual screws and cable ties, along with a Speaker buzzer and a nut to secure for fixing brass standoffs properly with a security lock loop attachment. BitFenix’s manual is something that many should take a note of: illustrations and instructions of installing a system is very written, enough that a first time assembler can get some confidence of putting a rig on his/her own. Antec, you need to provide a complete set of instruction manual- for your low cost and other cases.
The drive bays layout is the same- 5.25” mount on the top and 3.5” HDD mount below it. There’s no hole next to the PSU area to route the cables through the left sidepanel.
The tool-less clip is plastic, including the support.
From the right sidepanel view, there is an angled section for routing cable through for better cable management.
Rubber feet are provided for power supplies as well- not just for smaller units, but also for larger ones as well.
Internal Impressions Part 2
There are 3 fans- one on the top, one on the rear and one on the front. Its good considering usually cases such as these usually come with only a single sleeve bearing fan.
There’s not much to say, except these are LED fans with 7 wings and uses sleeve bearing with 3-pin fan connector. To note, you don’t get 3 pin fan connector to Molex adapter. Its not that bad- you are getting all 3 fans with it. Most likely users will prefer to remove the top panel fan and install it on the second 120mm mount for the front panel.
Annoying part- just like Merc Alpha- is that the front panel buttons and ports are attached on the front panel. As said in that review:
There’s also one more thing you need to know: the front panel connectors are on the bezel itself- and the header connectors are glued to the connectors. So if you can’t nudge your cable management just enough to remove the front panel (for cleaning the front fans) for any reason, you’re going to be in a little bit of a pickle.
The connectors, LEDs and ports are on the PCB (you can see the manufactured date of PCB towards the right) whereas the power and reset button is directly attached on the front panel.
Speaking of front panel:
There are 3x usable 5.25” bays, whereas the 4th one is used for mounting the fans. But still, not many use more than 1-2 5.25” bays. On the bright side, the cables are routed through the frame and not through the top 5.25” bay.
The empty space next to 3.5” bays from the left sidepanel view is useful since you can dump most of the unused cables. There’s also a plus point that since the board will be inverted and the psu is mounted on the bottom, you don’t need to route the 4/8pin ATX/EPS connector for the motherboard all the way to the top. In cases like this, usually there’s never much space between the sidepanel and the rear of the motherboard plate and you end having this cable connected all the to the top- and in my opinion it defeats the purpose of having a cable run all the way and have a transparent panel. You’re showing off that cable first.
But there’s one thing you should know. Non modular power supplies usually route their cable on the right hand side of the psu’s casing (with the fan facing the bottom). Since its an inverted layout, you’ll have to invert the power supply or else the cable from the power supply will go through the bottom 120mm mount and shown below.
If you choose to mount the psu with the fan facing up, on the bright side you do not have to worry about dust being pulled in by the psu’s fan.
How this translates to cable management effectively? We’ll know when we do it.
The space between the 3.5” bay and the sidepanel on the other side more bit more than 2”. As said before, this is a very good amount of space to tie own the cables, and you don’t need that 4/8pin ATX/ EPS all the way to the top.
It gives me great pleasure that companies such as Antec, Asus, Gigabyte, Noctua, Kingston, Western Digital and Coolermaster who give me hardware support by updating my test rig no strings attached. It’s because of these guys that I get to test only their hardware but also from others. Thumbs up to these guys!
I would like to thank
- Gigabyte India for providing Gigabyte 890GPA UD3H Rev 1.0 motherboard
- Asus India for providing Asus 990FX Sabertooth motherboard
- Kingston Taiwan for providing hardware support with memory kits and SSD drive.
- WD India for providing WD 300GB HLFS Velociraptor Hard Drive.
- Coolermaster India for providing Coolermaster GX450 RS-450-ACAA-D3 Power Supply
|Test Setup for:||BitFenix Outlaw|
|Motherboard+ Processor||Gigabyte 890GPAUD3H Rev 1.0+ AMD 965BE+ Thermaltake Big Typhoon|
|Graphic Card||Asus Direct CUII TOP GTX 660 2GB GDDR5|
|Memory||Kingston KHX1600C9D3P1K28G HyperX Genesis 8GB 1600MHz DDRIII|
|Secondary Storage(s)||3x WD Green, WD 3000HLFS Velociraptor 300GB; WD 320GB BLUE 320AAJS; Hitachi dead drive|
|Power Supply||Coolermaster GX450|
When it was mentioned that there was a 2.5” I was under the impression there would be an adapter, but the mount is on the base of the case.
You’ll need to turn the case upside down and use 4x M3*5 screws. I wish they figured a way to use the plate between the 5.25” bays and 3.5” bay for mounting a single SSD. Why? Because you will have to use a SATA power cable that is at the end of the cable and hopefully the sleeves of the power cable do let you bend it- and you cannot use the right angled SATA connector, not to mention the connector heads would be an obstruction for the 120mm fan on the base. I don’t really like the cheap mounting plastic that HDD/SSD manufacturers use for SATA interfaces. They’re incredibly fragile that the right angled plastic could snap off. At the very least- there should be a stand to maintain a distance from the base.
And this is when I’ve observed some missing screws.
I had all the motherboard standoffs, but not all 15 of 6-32*6mm, I had only 7 of them. I had eight 6-32*8mm thumbscrews as mentioned on the manual, no flat 6-32 screws or 16x M3 screws. Some screws were missing. Initially,I thought it maybe missing with other reviewers, but then again, since you need to snap the PCI cover on this case,and none of them were broken I doubt these were used. But there are missing screws for sure.
Speaking of thumbscrews, I wish they used that rather than using plastic clips.
Not that there’s anything wrong with them. The plastic of the clips is pretty good. The last time I saw plastic knobs with no metal head to hold the devices were on Zebronics’ Bijli 2– but that used a much inferior plastic- it bends pretty easily, and the plastic gets shaved.
But for some reason I had a tough time mounting these clips in place on both sides. Even if you slide it in, you will have to use you hands to hold the drive from the inside and keep on turning the knob until you can get it.
But there were only knobs for the first 2 3.5” bays. The rest relied on using 6-32*8mm screws, and there was a good rubber grommet on the mounting holes. BitFenix should have used THESE all the way- even for 5.25” bays if they can. The vibration grommet is reasonably thick enough that they do no go out of their place after tightening them.
The cable management here turned out decent here so far, but I made an error.
I should have mounted the motherboard first and then the HDD. The HDD sort of “overlaps” over the ATX formfactor motherboard.
Here we go again!!!
The securing nut- which strangely wasn’t mention on BitFenix manual (By the way, BitFenix’s manual is user friends even for a first time installer, but they had some empty space on the page where they could have given instructions on how to install the brass standoffs for first time users)- is much better. I don’t need to use the Phillips head. All I had to do was turn the secure nut like a thumbscrew.
I preferred this more than the previous type where you had to use the Phillips head screws. Because at times securing some of these brass standoffs in any cases from any manufacturers, its very tight. I highlighted this on Antec’s P280 and Eleven Hundred’s review that a secure nut should be provided. I think I did maybe mention it in one of the BitFenix and CM reviews that if you use the screw driver to secure the brass standoffs in place, you will need to use some force, and because of the quality of the secure nut it may turn in a way that it can get stuck with the brass standoffs. This is brilliant! Its much appreciated.
Securing the 8 pin EPS connector was a pain. I had to remove the rear 120mm fan so that I can get enough space for my hands. This is happening on a cooler like the Thermaltake Big Typhoon, imagine this happening on larger coolers. There should be some space between the motherboard and the bottom PSU mount.
The HDD mount and 8 pin EPS connection inconvenience is a minor con- not even a con. You have to realize that this is a low- cost case and not a full fledged mid budget mid towers with 6x 3.5/2.5” HDD/SSD mounts.
Also, I removed the top 120mm fan because most likely you’re going to use it to mount it on the second 120mm mount on the front panel.
There’s also one more advantage of having an inverted ATX mount layout- you don’t need to have longer front panel cables!!
There are also cable tie clips to tie away front panel header cables,and there’s enough space between the motherboard and the top panel and you can tie up 4-5 cables easily once you remove the top fan. You can still install the top panel fans easily. The fan will simply overlap the cables, in a way hiding them, but its best if you do all the cable management with the headers, then the fan wiring and then mount the fan on the top. This case is great to work with- only if you work in a particular order. Its not that bad, it’s a low cost case.
I don’t mind the overlapping of hard drives over the ATX motherboard, but I wish there was some space between the motherboard and the power supply. Then again, I wish I could turn the power supply with the fan facing towards the base of the case. But if I do that- I seriously wish there was a filter atleast provided for the power supply.
But I was able to mount Asus GTX 660 Direct CUII- a graphic card that eats 3 slots but its 10.5” long- and on top of it, I mounted an Asus Xonar DX and the floppy power connector. Other low cost cases can do that- but when you use a low-cost case with a 10.5” long GPUs on a noninverted layout, you will end up sacrificing one of the 3.5” bays to provide space for the long GPU- and on top of it, the combo of 6 pin PCIe cable, the floppy cable, the SATA and the SATA power cable would create a mess on the lower right side.
I love the case. I love the idea. BitFenix nailed it!! The only frustration I had because its not usually I get to work on inverted layout cases (strike that, this is the first time I am working on one) cases. I wish they provided a bit shorter 3 pin header cables for the rear fan.
Now, towards the other side:
Just to point out, BitFenix could have just mounted the top 120mm panel on the front. “You can do it yourself you lazy” YEAH but if they did do that, they could have provided a 2x 3pin male to Molex adapter so that you can connect to one of the Molex connector. There’s also enough space between the sidepanel and the 3.5” caddy so I would rather use this space to mount an SSD. Whoopie-doo!!
There’s much lesser mess on the other side- most because of that angled section for routing the cables through and the fact that there was enough space between the HDD bay and the right sidepanel and not to mention I don’t have to reroute the 8 pin EPS cable from the other side.
As of now, this is my impression so far: Antec- after looking at P280- they can give you good Super Mid towers for a low cost price and good space+ “unofficially” let you mount an EATX form factor. Coolermaster is great too- especially they cooked CM Storm Trooper/ Cosmos S2.
But BitFenix simply is making a lot of effort in low-cost cases. You can see it in Shinobi, you can also see that on Merc Alpha. I prefer Outlaw over Merc Alpha. Why?
They provide 3x sleeve bearing fan (APAC Edition only) with matching LED, depending on the colour choice of the front panel mesh- compared to others with same/similar budget who provide one.
the inverted ATX solves a lot of problem- cable mess between the HDD and GPU which requires 6 pin power cable and also soundcards which uses front panel headers and floppy power connector.
It also solves the problem of not requiring to reroute the 8 pin EPS cable
You can use all the HDD mounts without worrying about not able to stuff the 10.5” long GPUs. The chances of end users using all the 4 HDD mounts is much higher than people using all the 4 mounts for 5.25” bays.
Vibration pads for the 2x 3.5” drive bays.
4x USB 2.0 ports with a space of 1/2” between them so even if you use multiple thick USB flash drives/ devices,- no problem!
Cable tie clips in the required areas- especially on the top panel.
I didn’t like the mounting for the SSD on the base though, especially having the need to turn the case upside down to secure the screws. There were some screws missing as well so BitFenix need to take care of that. BitFenix also should have used vibration pad+ 6-32*8mm thumbscrews for all the HDD mounts. Also providing a 2x 3 pin male to Molex for the front fans and if they can, either provide space between the motherboard and psu- or a dust filter on power supply’s fan mesh on the underbelly.
The cost of the case of non APAC Edition are as follows:
The cost of APAC Edition (Asia Pacific Only) are as follows: