BitFenix Outlaw Case ReviewBluePanda - October 5, 2011
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Opening the case, I am once again introduced to its “backwards” orientation. With that all figured out and my brain working with the upside-down motherboard configuration, I can finally start visualizing how my build will fit inside. As a note, it looks like my radiator might have to find a home at the top of this case – the back 120 mm fan slot is rather closed-in on two sides, significantly limiting the amount of space to mount anything other than a fan.
Looking at the opened case, I find room for 4 HDD and 3 optical drives of my choice. The two bottom HDD slots seem to have soundproofing rubber grommets to help reduce noise inside the case. I wonder, though, about the extent of effort to get drives in there while my PSU is installed. Turning it around to the backside, I start to question why this back panel even comes off – there isn’t even a bit of space between the back panel and the actual back of the case. There is a little nook where they have placed the tiny cardboard box of screws and zip-ties – maybe they think I’ll cram some cables there? On a rather serious note, there is maybe a millimeter of space back there. Don’t count on running any “secret” cables behind the motherboard tray.
With both panels removed, we get a better look at the internal guts of the case. The build quality, as noted prior, is pretty feeble. The panels are thin and easily bendable, but they bounce back to their original shape without a problem. While I am saddened to find only one fan in the case – a simple exhaust out the back – I am not too surprised and just glad to see a fan included, given the price. There are, however, two spots on the top, one spot on the bottom, and two spots on the side panel for additional cooling. I think this case would perform best with more fans, but for review purposes, I will be testing it as delivered.
Looking at a few of the case’s “key” features, there really isn’t a whole lot to talk about it really is about as basic as you can get. I’m not complaining on that point, as it is intended as such and ends up coming at an affordable price. I must remind you, however, there aren’t going to be a lot of “bonus features” with this case. The thumb screws on the back (holding on the panels) are plastic-capped screws; this isn’t really an uncommon feature, but something I’m still surprised to find on cases today. The front panel cables are already fed through the back and ready to be plugged in. Unfortunately, it seems they have forgotten about the upside-down motherboard placement (or are using a standard set of cables) and lack of need for such an extensive length of cable. It will be a bit difficult to hide these wires, but it shouldn’t be too big a deal in the end. And to make you feel a little better about setting up your rig, they pre-mounted two of your mobo standoffs in the case! These feature lips that hold the standoff in place while you screw it in. It’s a nice feature that seems to be showing up on cases of every price level.
Taking things apart, I decided to pop off the front bay covers. There is nothing behind the first slot, but the second and third slots hide the old-school punch-outs. It only takes a couple twists to take out, but I’m not quite sure why they would even be left here during manufacturing. While I’m up here, I pull off the entire front panel to take a look at the front fan mount. Perhaps they use this front panel on another case, but there is a removable slot below the third bay that also contains mounting holes – this seems silly and unnecessary – if you take it out, it is gone for good and if you put a fan here for some odd reason, it will only be held by only two screws. A little engineering failure here – if it somehow helps decrease the price of the case though, then it is an understandable oversight.
It’s time to get all my hardware in this tiny little case. I’m a little worried about it all fitting, but I’m confident I can make it work. My little radiator did end up on top – the back fan slot didn’t allow for my ECO ALC radiator to fit, due to some constricting metal fins around the stock fan. However, I managed to fit both 120 mm fans and the radiator up top without too much of a problem. Most enthusiasts won’t have my water setup, though, so your mileage may vary. Otherwise, I squished the front panel USB cables quite a bit, but they technically do fit. My long 4870 X2 heat-dumping video card fits in there just fine. An unusually long optical drive may prevent this, but my board features more than one PCI Express slots, so I can move it down (or up, in this case) a slot or two – again, this is not a big issue.
No matter how much I tried, the cables became quite the mess in the case. What you see is about my best attempt, short of re-tubing my water loop and somehow making my PSU cables shorter. I’m just impressed that I got everything in there – I am used to working in much larger cases. Overall, it doesn’t look too bad – with the side panel attached, you won’t even see that mess inside.
I must note that with the build finished, the biggest pain dealt with the little front covers for the drive bays. Not only are they directional, but each one has a slight difference in depth that requires them to be inserted in a certain order or they will fall into the case. In my build, I went through all three to get my water bay in. Needless to say, putting them back in required some puzzle skill, especially because they were not numbered. Don’t feel bad if it takes you some time to figure it out (or if you are smart, you’ll number them as you pull them out). For the price, I can deal with it.