Introducing the BitFenix Raider

BitFenix has historically been fairly reliable at producing reasonably priced cases that have their own aesthetic flair and solid performance. They've been exactly daring enough with designs like the extremely popular Prodigy, and been able to produce great value with less expensive builds like the Merc series. For the most part their midrange has been fairly well-covered by the Shinobi, but for users looking for something with a little more pep and a little different design, today we have on hand the Raider.

The Raider seems like a fairly basic ATX mid-tower, but there's some secret sauce at work here. BitFenix includes a pseudo-removable drive cage and, almost surprisingly, no side ventilation. No window, no side fan, nothing but two solid side panels. There's also a trio of BitFenix's silent Spectre fans, and that signature attractive soft-touch plastic finish. It sounds like the Raider has a lot going for it, but does it hold up?

If you've been keeping track of the case reviews here, the Raider will in many ways seem like it's keeping up with the state of the art of case design. BitFenix has a mostly removable drive cage (more on this later), a recessed cabling channel in the motherboard tray, four USB 3.0 ports, and healthy headroom for radiators in the top of the enclosure. There's even my much beloved fan controller standard, though I'll admit a fan controller is much less exciting when it's paired with low noise fans in the first place (as is also true of Nanoxia's Deep Silence cases.) The ideal circumstance for one is to fine tune high performance fans.

Despite being a very feature rich case, though, testing of the BitFenix Raider revealed a design that feels strangely half-baked. This is by no means a bad enclosure and it can almost justify itself entirely on its fairly attractive aesthetic (at least I think so), but as they say, the devil is in the details, and there are a lot of details that it seems like BitFenix's designers may have missed.

BitFenix Raider Specifications
Motherboard Form Factor Mini-ITX, Micro-ATX, ATX
Drive Bays External 4x 5.25"
Internal 6x 2.5"/3.5", 1x 2.5"
Cooling Front 2x 120mm intake fan (supports 1x 200mm)
Rear 1x 120mm exhaust fan
Top 1x 200mm fan mount
Side -
Bottom 1x 120mm fan mount
Expansion Slots 7
I/O Port 4x USB 3.0, 1x Headphone, 1x Mic
Power Supply Size ATX
Clearances HSF 160mm
PSU 160mm with bottom fan / 240mm without
GPU 280mm with drive cage / 370mm without
Dimensions 8.27" x 19.69" x 19.41"
210mm x 500mm x 493mm
Weight ~18 lbs. / ~8 kg
Special Features USB 3.0 via internal header (each header includes 2.0 header)
Fan controller
Removable drive cage panel
Price $99

My first experience with the Raider, just opening the box, was like a trip into bizarro world. I can't remember the last time I had to install feet on an enclosure, let alone a hundred dollar one, but the fact that adhesive feet weren't already on the case (despite the bottom fan filters) wound up being something of a red flag. It's not a huge deal in and of itself, but if BitFenix wasn't thinking to ship this case with the feel installed, what else might they have missed?

In and Around the BitFenix Raider
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  • c0d1f1ed - Thursday, February 28, 2013 - link

    I have this case and I quite like it. Indeed the feet aren't screwed on but use good quality sticky tape, which doesn't bother me one bit since it sits on the floor all day anyway. It might even help with the noise! Also indeed the cabling is tight, but I actually like that. It took some care to route things but I don't intend to change/add things often. The fans that are pre-installed are of high quality and the speed control is built in. Very silent even on high, and I consider myself sensitive to that.

    My only minor complaint is that the power LED is too bright. It's not matte but shines like a keyhole finder LED. Fixed that by cutting a corner out of a sticker and placing it over it. All-in-all a very minor thing to make it pretty close to my ideal case.
  • jminneman - Thursday, February 28, 2013 - link

    I mean seriously. Why, in this day and age, would I ever have a need for 4 5.25" bays? I can see the need for having 1 on any case, or 2 on larger cases (full height and bigger).

    My preference would be to lose all 5.25" bays. I never touch a CD/DVD/BluRay any more at all. If there is a way for me to download it or get in on USB that is what I prefer and it is only getting more common every day.

    Certainly I understand there are edge cases that require more than 1 or 2, but just imagine what you could do with that area freed up. Imagine how many 3.5 bays could fit in the space of 4 5.25" bays. That would be one slick storage case.
  • killerclick - Friday, March 1, 2013 - link

    Get a smaller case if 5.25" bays bother you. I use 2, one for the optical drive (all my backups are on DVDs), one for my 3.5" drive that I put in an elastic sling to stop it from spreading vibrations inside the case. Since the fan controller lever on the case started crapping out, I'm thinking of adding a PWM on one of the 5.25" drive bays, so then 3/4 will be in use.
  • rickon66 - Thursday, February 28, 2013 - link

    It looks like they got tired of putting the Antec 1100 on the charts, seeing as how it kicks all the other cases butts time after time.
  • Dustin Sklavos - Thursday, February 28, 2013 - link

    Actually, I have my results spreadsheet broken down into sub-$100, $100-$149, and then $150 and above. The 1100 hangs out between $100 and $149. ;)
  • bill4 - Thursday, February 28, 2013 - link

    Anyone noticed EVERY SINGLE review this guy does is negative?

    I mean, what a shocker, he didn't like this case!

    And he always uses the old line negative reviewers use at the end, some variation of "there are better options". Sometimes he names these, sometimes he doesnt.

    Well if there are better options, why dont you review them! And if there are good products, and presumably you've reviewed some of them, then why are all your reviews negative??!! If these better competing products exist, then where are your positive reviews?
  • Pbryanw - Thursday, February 28, 2013 - link

    Really? I can't tell if you're serious or trolling?

    For a positive review read his assessment of the Nanoxia 1 in which he positively purrs about the case. Ok, so he's critical of a lot of cases, but I'd rather have someone who errs on the side of negativity, than someone who thinks every case is great and so gets 8/10 or some kind of award.

    What I think it comes down to is Dustin is looking for that perfect case, and when a case falls short like this Betfenix, he quite rightly points out where they've gone wrong and I prefer this approach. I imagine it's also good feedback for the designers of these cases.
  • WeaselITB - Friday, March 1, 2013 - link

    Seriously? Are you new here?

    Just from the past couple of months --

    Fractal Design Define XL R2 -- generally positive

    Nanoxia Deep Silence 2 -- positive

    Corsair Carbide 200R -- positive except for drive cage

    Nanoxia Deep Silence 1 -- positive, Bronze Editor's Choice

    NZXT Phantom 820 -- positive, Bronze Editor's Choice

    And those are just the ones that I could remember the conclusion after having re-read the title of the review. If something's wrong with the case, he calls them out on it, which I like. I just wish he'd start using bigger than mATX (I kid, I kid! :-p)

  • tecknurd - Friday, March 1, 2013 - link

    ""Their breakout product has probably been the Prodigy (which got picked up by almost every boutique under the sun), but really, they've had great stuff for a while now.""

    Really, do tell. After getting the BitFenix Prodigy, it actually lost my expectations. It just sucks, it just sucks, it just sucks. I replace it with a lot better case such as the Lian Li PC-V354.

    There are so many reasons why it suck. I did review of the BitFenix Prodigy on newegg, so you can read it there. What BitFenix only has is they got style, but quality is their lowest priority or is not part of the engineering process.
  • lmcd - Friday, March 1, 2013 - link

    which color, what's your name, etc.

    Thanks for the worthless comment. You didn't even refer to your own review well.

    Bitfenix isn't bad; there are far worse and Bitfenix has many great ideas in all of their cases.

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