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A Decent Attempt
Has BitFenix successfully challenged the commonly held notion that entry-level equals barebones and that compromises or cost-cutting measures must be made? Well, yes and no.
The one thing the BitFenix has going for it is that it is pretty feature-packed for a casing costing less than US$50. The inverted motherboard tray design is unique and makes sense considering most users have multiple hard drives rather than optical drives. Forget about the super power users who might stuff 3.5-inch drive bays with business-class storage RAID racks because this case was aimed at the mainstream DIY folks. We also like that the BitFenix has provisions to accommodate many more cooling fans, although, sadly, only a single exhaust fan was provided. Lastly, the overall feel of the casing is solid and sturdy; and the use of SofTouch treatment on the front panel is nice touch as it gives the chassis a more premium look and feel.
Having said that, there’s some aspect of the BitFenix Outlaw that didn’t quite convince us that cost-cutting measures weren’t involved. For one, we weren’t fans of the number of thumbscrews required to install the storage drives. Clearly, the decision to exclude easier-to-use mounting racks is one to keep costs down. Having said that, we were sort of thankful that thumbscrews were provided and not the even more basic screws that would have surely irritated any modern DIY builder. Also, we are not fans of the expansion slot covers that need to bashed out and are irreplaceable because they make the casing unsightly. In terms of functionality, we would have really liked to see at least a single USB 3.0 front panel port in this day and age, but the Outlaw stuck to four normal USB 2.0 ports.
Therefore, based on our findings, the BitFenix Outlaw is a bit of a mixed bag. We liked that it has a spacious interior for accommodating large graphics cards, however, we were a bit disappointed at some of the cost-cutting measures they employed. However, considering its sub-US$50 price tag, the Outlaw does represent very good value for money for its good implementation and it's certainly a chassis we would recommend checking out if you are on a tight budget.
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