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Wednesday, 28 September 2011 11:50

BitFenix Survivor computer case tested - 4. Conclusion

Written by Sanjin Rados
survivor_lil1

Review: Grab it by the handle and take it away
BitFenix is a relatively young company that managed to significantly enrich its offer, thanks to quality user support and feedback as well as the company’s willingness to accept constructive criticism. In fact, its popularity was already on track with the company’s first case, the Colossus.

With Colossus, BitFenix has shown that computer cases need not be classic rectangular tin cans, but that a well designed and thought out case can be a real exhibition material.

Apart from looks, BitFenix wanted to make sure that users are pleased with performance, strength and durability of their products. That’s how our today’s case, the Survivor, came to be and it looks like a godsend for frequent LAN party goers.  That the case’s mobility is great is evident from the picture below. The handle you see can be folded within the top panel and not disrupt the looks.

rucka-2

SofTouch



Before we move onto a more detailed description, you should know that BitFenix offers two versions of this case – the Survivor and Survivor Core. Compared to the Survivor Core, Survivor comes with USB 3.0 connectors and an additional fan. However, many users who aren’t quite hot for USB 3.0 asked for Survivor Core, mostly due to pricing. You can find the Survivor listed at around €80 whereas Survivor Core goes for about €70, here.


 

Packaging is pretty nice and informative. The sketches are clear and reveal many details. The packaging is tough enough to survive normal transport, but not GLS shipping.

survivor-box-1

survivor-box-2

The included Styrofoam protection did not help our Survivor much in transport. In fact, a drop in transport shattered parts of the front panel. While the picture is quite sad, the fan remained in one piece so we could still finish our review.

survivor-box-inside

survivor-front-demaged-1

survivor-front-demaged-2

Note however that the design of the front panel allows it to remain in place, despite the screw brackets being broken. While the panel reinforces the image of toughness, it gets in the way when removing side panels. Namely, you’ll have to remove the front panel and its adjoining parts before removing the sides.

The entire front and top panel, as well as rear panel additions, are coated with the so called SofTouch mass. We’ve already seen this on the Colossus and we liked it a lot, as it not only offers additional protection but improves the looks as well.

SofTouch

As you can see from the photo below, the Survivor is quite different from the Colossus.

survivor-duo

Survivor Specs:

Materials: SECC, ABS
Color (Int/Ext): Black/Black
Dimensions (WxHxD): 230 x 502 x 510 mm (ATX Mid Tower)
Weight (Kg): 11.10 / 9.40 (Gross / Net)
Motherboard Sizes: Mini-ITX, mATX, ATX
5.25" Drive Bays: x 3 external, x 1 internal
3.5"Drive Bays: x 7
2.5" Drive Bays: x 9
Cooling Front: 1 x 200mm Red LED Fan (or optional 2 x 120mm)
Cooling Rear: 1 x 120mm (optional)
Cooling Side Panel: n/a
Cooling Top: 1 x 200mm Red LED Fan
PCI Slots: 7 (tool-free)
I/O: 2 x USB3.0, 2 x USB2.0, eSATA, Audio
Power Supply: PS2 ATX (bottom, multi direction)
Extras: S2, Lockdown, LED on/off control

 

The top of the front panel has a large BitFenix logo on it, which lights up when the case is working. Unfortunately, the drop damaged ours. On the bottom of the front panel are air inlets, with three 5,25’’ bays above them.

prednja

 

The I/O panel is hidden behind a sliding lid on the top panel. It holds a power ON/OFF and resset keys, two USB 3.0  and two USB 2.0 connectors, e-SATA port and audio in and out.



Top1


The carrying handle is released with a simple push, after which you can carry the case around freely. BitFenix claims that the handle will take up to 40 kilograms, although we didn’t quite get the impression that it’s capable of it. Still, it’s not like it matters since it is strong enough to take the Survivor’s 9kg.



rucka1

rucka-2

The side panels are flat and have no special details. There is no SofTouch here, so the panels are fingerprint magnets.


side

The rear panel has two watercooling holes and an oval opening intended for routing USB 3.0 cables from the back of the motherboard to the top I/O panel.

The rear panel also has a spot for an additional 120mm fan, which is of course not included. There are also seven expansion slot holes covered by mesh grill. You can see that the PSU spot is on the bottom.

backside2

Below the PSU is an air outlet, which comes with a dust filter. The dust filter can be removed by a tug from the back of the case, but you’ll first have to remove the SofTouch part on the bottom edge of the rear panel.

donjastr


 

Before we removed the side panels, we had to remove the two SofTouch parts on the top and bottom parts of the rear panel. These parts are fastened with two screws each and only after removing them will you be able to access the sides or dust filters. The side panels are removed by tugging them towards the back of the case, but it gets a bit difficult since they are completely flat.

Opening1

PSU-Filter

The insides seem pretty roomy, but let’s fill it up with some gear first.



inside

The Survivor will take any graphics card. In its standard setup, the Survivor will house graphics up to 293mm in length, but removing the top HDD cage extends this to 423mm. Thankfully, there are no such graphics cards on the market. Yet.


Hdd_Cage_Out

Removing the top HDD cage means that you’ll lose three 3.5’’ slots, but most users won’t mind. Namely, you still have four 3.5’’ bays left in the bottom cage.

The Survivor’s standard setup boasts seven 3.5’’ and nine 2.5’’ slots. Furthermore, each 3.5’’ slot will take a 2.5’’ drive as well. Mounting the drives is pretty simple and straightforward and the brackets are rigid enough when placed in the HDD cage.


HDD_Mount

The Survivor has three external 5.25’’ bays for optical drivers. There is also an additional 5.25’’ bay on the top of the case, but it’s pretty much useless as it acts like a passageway for I/O panel cables. One of the three external slots can house a floppy drive, for which BitFenix included a converter. As you can see, the drives are mounted with regular screws.


OpticDrive_Slots

The Survivor comes with two 200mm fan that run at 700rpm and are really quiet. One fan is on the front while the other is on the rear panel.

survivor-front-vent

inside_vent

The case will take only one additional (120mm) fan, a spot for which was left on the rear panel. It’s really a pity that the side panels have no additional spots for fans and low cooling performance may yet turn out to be the Survivor’s biggest downside.

The motherboard tray has a large CPU backplate cutout and a few holes for cable management.



Backplate_hole

On the back of the motherboard tray has an indented channel for cable management, which really came in handy afterwards. There is 25.5mm of space between the motherboard and the side panel, which means that there is plenty of room for whatever cabling you may use.



inside_-back

The Survivor is a mid-tower computer case for ATX motherboards. That didn’t stop us from trying to mount the Rampage II Extreme, but its 2.5cm of extra length over ATX boards meant we couldn’t.



Asusu_Rampage1

Asus_Rampage2

Although we had no trouble in mounting several standard ATX motherboards, mounting our gear made everything look a bit crowded. Perhaps it is because we used a large and passive CPU cooler that almost touched the top panel fan.



Cooler_On_Vent

The Survivor comes with some kind of a LED controller, which we unfortunately could not test properly seeing as how our LED logo took a nosedive during transport. Still, we could use the LED controller for the top panel fan’s LED. The controller will take up to seven LEDs, which can be controlled via the front I/O panel.

 

led_pict

survivor3

We did our testing using Intel’s Core 2 Extreme x6800 CPU, which we stressed to the max with Prime 95.

Testbed:
Motherboard: MSI P35 Platinum
Processor: Intel Core 2 Extreme x6800
CPU-Cooler: CoolerMaster Hyper Z600
Graphic Card: Gigabyte’s passively cooled Geforce 9800 GT card
PSU: CoolerMaster SilentPro 700W

 


survivor_test

BitFenix strapped the Survivor with two 200mm fans, which are pretty quiet. The two included fans meant that performance is quite similar to that of the HAF 912 Plus case, which sits in the same price range.

The Survivor’s side panels have no additional air outlets. The back of the case will take an additional 120mm fan, which we’d advise you to do if you want maximum performance.


 

Conclusion

BitFenix Survivor is a stylish mid-tower computer case that has an unusual design and is very practical for carrying around. Such features mean that frequent LAN party goers will find the case interesting, to say the least. BitFenix is a relatively fresh name on the market and their cases are definitely refreshing. We used the term unusual for the design because it may not cater to all users. We on the other hand loved the fact that BitFenix always strives for uniqueness.

The Survivor does have its downsides though. Namely, it’s the fact that you need to take off the front panel and its additions in the back in order to start removing the side panels. Furthermore, cooling the components inside the case is also a bit problematic, mostly due to the fact that the Survivor comes with only two fans. However, users can add another fan on the rear panel if they choose to. There are no air outlets/inlets on the side panels, and the same goes for additional fan spots.

The Survivor comes with two large 200mm fans that spin slowly but remain very quiet. However, if top notch cooling is what you’re looking for, this case will surely not be your cup of tea.

On the other hand, the case does comes with a design you don’t see every day, cable management notches, two USB 3.0 ports, LED controller and option for easy transport, thanks to the handle on the top of the case.

BitFenix Survivor goes for about €80, and you can find it here.

We received Armageddon from our friends in Caseking.de, where it’s currently priced at €79.90, here.

official

(Page 4 of 4)
Last modified on Monday, 03 October 2011 15:44
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Comments  

 
-1 #1 spigzone 2011-09-28 16:32
A triumph of form over function.

An 'enthusiast' case that makes it an ordeal to access the interior of the case. A carrying handle designed to ba all sharp edges AND severly resticts the flow from one of only two fans, so narrow accessing the satat ports will be insanely difficult.

How much crack does their designer smoke in a day? And their executives.

What a piece of shit.
 
 
0 #2 Jigar 2011-09-29 07:59
No Side panel cooling & Not big enough for Thermaltake Ultra 120 is let down for me.
 
 
0 #3 hoohoo 2011-09-29 15:35
It is just a bog standard metal case wrapped with a thick layer of plastic.
 

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