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BitFenix Nova Midi Tower Case

black or white, with or without a side panel window. Cooling support for 3x 120mm fans, dust filter, and single 5.25″ bay. The Bitfenix NOVA is retailing on the day of review for just £27, with a side panel window. Explore the entire range at Overlockers UK. Pricing for the plain (none window) panel version, in either black or white is just £24 What’s the verdict then? A bargain or one to pass on? Let’s find out…

[Features & Specifications]

Bitfenix Nova delivers style, performance and silence at an incredibly competitive price. Whether you plan to build a basic office, home or gaming system, Novas simplistic design, aluminum badge, color options and optional window side panel mean it will blend in perfectly. Long air vents running along the sides of its front, hidden behind sleek mesh strips, provide plenty of airflow to cool the system. And as a result allowed us to keep Novas top and front panel completely closed to block fan-noise from escaping the enclosure, and dust from building up inside. To seal fan noise inside the chassis, we developed a closed front panel for NOVA. Concealed behind a our signature mesh strips running along the sides of the front panel, lie a series of 134 air vents, that let fresh air stream into the case effortlessly. Thanks to this noise-shield design of a raised, closed front panel with side vents, NOVA is capable of keeping even powerful components supplied with the airflow required to keep them cooled adequately, all the while confining the fan-noise to the interior of the chassis. NOVA offers a dual 120mm fan intake in the front, and a single 120mm exhaust in the rear, which when fully equipped results in excellent cooling performance, and a net positive air pressure inside the chassis, greatly reducing the buildup of dust. The frontal fan vents are positioned to channel fresh air directly over the storage drives, and onto the GPU and CPU, while the rear fan vent is positioned right above the CPU and supports even high-performance closed water-cooling systems.  
Colors Black – White
Motherboard ATX, Micro ATX, Mini-ITX (7 expansion slots)
CPU Cooler up to 160mm tall
VGA up to 320mm long and up to 140mm tall
Power Supply up to 220mm long
5.25” ODD Slots 1
3.5” HDD Slots 4
2.5” SSD Slots 2
Dust Filter Bottom slide-out PSU Dust Filter
Cooling Front 120mm x 2
Cooling Rear 120mm x 1 (included)
Radiator Rear 120mm
I/O USB 3.0 x 1, USB 2.0 x 1, HD Audio MIC & Headphone, Power LED (white), HDD LED (red)
Dimensions (WxHxD) 183 x 437 x 465 mm – 7.20 x 17.20 x 18.30 inch
Materials Steel, Plastic
Weight 4.8Kg – 10.6lbs
Special Features Closed Frontpanel to block noise, Frontpanel sidevents for good airflow, Large window sidepanel, pre-installed mainboard stand-offs, ruberized anti-slip casefeet, PSU dust filter
Courtesy of BitFenix, read more HERE

[Packaging and Accessories]

Packaging for the NOVA, is what you’d expect for a budget product. Brown packing with a brief look at the product, from front and sides, along with a brief overview. [gallery link="file" ids="23772,23770,23769,23768"] The bundle is basic but fair, considering the price tag. In fact, the manual is better than I expected, very detailed and clean. The included screws and such are the bare minimum, notice only 3 additional standoffs, as the rest are already installed. 5x PSU screws, 2x screws and some for optical drives. BITFENIX NOVA CASE REVIEW TECHCIZE (3)

[Closer Look]

[Video Review]

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2xgh2jqlZvA As always, we will start our tour at the front of the case, and work our way around it.   1895 From the front, the NOVA is a no-nonsense case. With very little to mention other than a Silver Bitfenix badge near the lower section, and a single 5.25 bay cover at the top. You could argue that having only one,  keeps costing down, for me it’s more logical but still too many! I mean who is using  one, let alone three optical bay products in 2015 anyway? Personally, I could do without them completely, yet it seems it’ll be a few more years till they disappear completely.   [gallery link="file" ids="23774,23777,23778"] An unexpected but welcome addition to the front plastic fascia, is two strips that run down the entirety of either side. This will prove vital allowing air into the case. The I/O is found at the top, at a slanted angle. The NOVA has 2x LED  indicators (white for power, red for activity),  1x USB 2.0, 1x USB 3.0, a large center power button. Audio jacks for mic and headphone and finally a smaller reset button. In terms of visuals, the plastic panel is apparent, as in color difference between the actual case, and material of the fascia. [gallery link="file" ids="23776,23775"] With the fascia removed, we can explore the cooling options the NOVA has to offer. The Case can handle 2x 120mm fans but there is no scope for adding an AIO/ Radiator here. As the fixed hard drive bays sit directly behind. You could go for a 120mm AIO in the rear however.  What I do appreciate is that the mount is open, rather than meshed. This will help with air flow…  

[Floor]

BITFENIX NOVA CASE REVIEW TECHCIZE (8) I didn’t expect a dust filter on a sub £30 case, but Bitfenix has added one on the PSU area. Removal, is the generic pull method, but it was tough to do and upon closer inspection, I found left over rough plastic, making the mechanism difficult, after manually peeling it away , the filter was easier to use.     [gallery link="file" ids="23781,23779"] To aid with PSU ventilation, the NOVA sits on four large feet, with rubber pads. Raising it up about 15mm in height. The front fascia overhangs, so from the front you won’t notice. Nothing extra is found, no mounts for fans or SSD spots in sight.

[Roof]

Nothing to mention about the top, no mesh, no ventilation and no mounting spots for fans.

[Rear]

[gallery link="file" ids="23785,23783,23784"] Interesting feature on the rear side of the NOVA, with 3x pop out watercooling sockets, I don’t imagine anyone is really going to make use of them, but they’re discrete so I don’t mind them and who knows? Below those, is the 120mm fan, no scope for a 140mm due to case width also because of this, the NOVA has a limit of 160mm for CPU Coolers. Nothing else of significance to mention about the rear. 7 PCI slot covers, but only one is ventilated fully.

[Sides]

BITFENIX NOVA CASE REVIEW TECHCIZE (23) Starting at the left side, first impressions are good. The window is a logical size, and only shows what matters! I’m not a fan of looking at the optical bays/hard drive area (other brands take note) Panels are held with traditional thumb screws (2 per side) BITFENIX NOVA CASE REVIEW TECHCIZE (24) After removing the panel, we are greeted with the internal layout. At first glance, it appears generic but Bitfenix have added some welcome features, especially for a £27 product. 4 main cable routing points (no grommets) [gallery link="file" ids="23789,23790,23791"] The PSU area has 4 rubber pads to help with vibration, but also protects the PSU from scratching.  The main grommet for routing cabling thought isn’t the largest I’ve seen but should be ok, it’s what’s above it that I really appreciated on the NOVA. See those 3 holes? They are fantastic for routing cabling to Audio/USB headers and front panel wires.  Speaking of cabling, the internal wires are ample length and all black.   [gallery link="file" ids="23787,23786,23800,23794"] Remember, the front fascia has only a single 5.25 cover, so Bitfenix has only included a single twist to lock mechanism. Rather than the other bays sitting idle, Bitfenix has adapted the lower 5.25 chamber, with an additional mount for a 3.5″ hard drive. Below it is a further unusual feature, in the form of the vertical SSD mount (meshed section). The lowest chamber allows up to 3x 3.5″ drives to be installed, and they’ve added a 2.5″ bracket on top, (Total of 2x 2.5″  & 4x 3.5″ slots in the NOVA)   As the hard drive brackets are fixed, the NOVA has a limit of 320mm for GPU length   BITFENIX NOVA CASE REVIEW TECHCIZE (15) Around the opposite side, Bitfenix have opted to use  a simple, plain panel.     [gallery link="file" ids="23796,23799,23798,23797"]   Looking now at the rear side, First impressions are good, but the amount of space behind the motherboard is almost zero… I’d imagine you’ll struggle with some PSU’s. For example our Coolermaster M2, has chunky and stiff cables. The only real option would be to bundle them down in the 3.5″ area. (Which is ample in room) The CPU cutout is a good size, but I was disappointed to find no dedicated hole for routing an 8 pin EPS. Fear not, that’s common on such sized product, and here’s a little tip. Just fee the cable through the CPU cutout window, before installing the motherboard.    

[The Build]

The build process was simple and efficient, our monster 220mm PSU was not viable today. It was simply too long, and we could not make use of the cable routing hole, that said because of the layout in the lowest bays, you could route them their. Instead we fitted Bitfenix’s own FURY PSU. Which was much more suited and logical for this product. BITFENIX NOVA REVIEW BUILD TECHICIZE (8) As I explained in the video, the routing point directly next the PSU is small. So much so, that you must route the 24 pin first, otherwise you may struggle. On that note, the 8 PIN EPS must also be routed through the CPU cutout window first, as the NOVA has no dedicated hole.   [gallery link="file" ids="23951,23952,23955"] Apart from that, the NOVA took all our test hardware with no issue, we even added a super-sized CPU cooler (155mm)   [gallery link="file" ids="23954,23953"] As suspected the lack of room behind the motherboard tray was a slight nuisance, but with some creative thinking, reattaching the side panel without the need of sitting on top of it, is doable! Most cases under £30 tackle this very issue, using bulge out side panels. They work but visually they tend to look poor.   BITFENIX NOVA REVIEW BUILD TECHICIZE (1) Theirs nothing to praise or complain about really, a fairly generic looking build.  

[Final Thoughts]

It’s  to wrap it all up and deliver a verdict on the BitFenix NOVA. In short it’s a good product but we must first deal with some negative aspects. Right of the bat I must bring your attention to the NEOS, also from Bitfenix. It’s extremely similar, but is also available in multiple color option, it has a better hard drive system for longer GPU’s, and its only about £6 more… Because the NEOS exists, the NOVA is a tough product to grade, on the face of it, that’s a lot case for under £30. However,Bitfenix are not the only brand targeting the under £30 segment of the market. One other product that comes to mind is the Raijintek Arcadia, that I reviewed a few months ago. It’s not only the price point that these share in common, internally they are strangely similar too. Both sporting that unusual but clever meshed vertical SSD mount. What separates the two in terms of features is very little. The NOVA has a side panel window but no roof mounts for fans.  The Arcadia is the opposite…. Actually the Arcadia has  one or two features that the NOVA does not, such as a floor mount for 120mm fans, bulged out panel for better cable management. It’ll come down to the top fans meaning something to you or not, I suspect, but the NOVA has the upper hand in the visual department, as the exterior is much more subtle, refined and natural. That all said, I can’t ignore just how much the NOVA has to offer for this price point. Thinking back to few years ago, for under £30 the choice was very poor, in 2015 the NOVA shows how much we’ve progressed.  The budget section of the market has evolved a great deal. The NOVA is a great case for the price point, and I appreciate the option for white too. A colour that’s been on the up for some time now.   If you want something discreet but classy then the NOVA is one for you, want something more colorful and exciting? Then go for the NEOS instead. Based on everything we’ve seen, it has to be Silver & Value! for the Bitfenix NOVA [taq_review] We would like to thank Bitfenix and Overclockers UK for providing the sample, and we look forward to seeing more from them, in the near future!  ]]>

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