In and Around the BitFenix Raider

However I feel about the odd assembly (and we'll get there), I'm still convinced BitFenix makes some of the best looking affordable cases on the market. The soft-touch treatment to the surface plastic allows their designs to avoid feeling outright cheap, and as a whole there's a good fit and finish to these systems. These aren't boxes you'll be embarrassed to have visible, and the ridged/framed motif of the Raider is another winner as far as I'm concerned.

The front of the Raider is almost entirely ventilated, surrounded by strips of solid plastic. This ventilation is actually pretty opaque, but behind it lies two efficient 120mm Spectre fans. At the bottom is BitFenix's logo. Nothing super flashy, but nothing boring either. The curves keep the Raider from looking like a standard beige box. If you follow the strips up to the top of the case, you'll see the I/O nestled into the left strip and the buttons and fan controller nestled in the right. As a whole it's just a very classy looking design. The ventilation in the top of the case is only there for the 200mm fan mount beneath it, though; inexplicably there's no support for a pair of 120mm and/or 140mm fans.

BitFenix uses notched side panels on the Raider (see my last twelve reviews to get a good idea of how I feel about these), held in place with time-honored and trusted thumbscrews. Remove the side panels and you'll get a look at an oddly cramped interior. This is really where the problems start.

The fundamentals of the Raider's internal design are sound. There are toolless clamps for the 5.25" drive bays, two sets of three drive trays, an extruded cable channel around the motherboard tray, rubber-lined cable routing holes, and even the cabling itself is extremely neat and tidy out of the box. To remove the top drive cage, you actually just remove a single thumbscrew and the drive trays, and then the interior panel slides out. This creates additional clearance for long video cards, but we're still dealing with slightly obstructed front ventilation.

So if everything looks modern, where does the Raider go wrong? Even ignoring the case feet on the shell which are applied using adhesive (and thus invariably going to come off on their own at some point), there are in my estimation two major busts with the Raider's internal design.

The first is the cabling: the cables aren't just arranged neatly, they're straight up taut. That should be fine, except it precludes you from removing the top panel of the case without accidentally ripping out some of the cables from their daughterboards. They're also held in place with zip ties instead of twist ties, which is another minor nuisance. Also note that because of how taut the cables are and how they're routed through the interior of the case, they effectively block off the back of the top 5.25" drive bay. You'll essentially have to undo all of BitFenix's hard work to get real use out of the case.

That's all little league compared to the real cabling issue, though: the routing holes in the motherboard tray are too small. This became a fairly frustrating issue when I went to assemble the testbed in the Raider later; the primary power cable was just plain too fat to fit through the holes.

I think the second bust with the Raider has to do with the fan mounting in the top of the case. Simply put, why weren't more fan sizes supported up here? There's clearance and virtually no reason not to, and there's even a decent amount of space under the top panel. This should be a good place to fit a radiator, and BitFenix's engineers could've made it happen, they just didn't. Alternatively, it might've been a good idea for them to just fit the case with the two 200mm fans it supports in the first place and call it a day.

As far as basic design, the Raider isn't bad but it's marred tremendously by some really goofy design choices and odd frustrations. Taken on their own, none of these things is really a dealbreaker, but cumulatively become a much bigger problem than they need be. They're problems that should've been caught and rectified early on and just...weren't.

Introducing the BitFenix Raider Assembling the BitFenix Raider
Comments Locked


View All Comments

  • 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.

Log in

Don't have an account? Sign up now