Here's the spec:
Motherboard Form Factor
180(W) x 429(H) x 470(L)mm
Mini-ITX, Micro ATX, ATX
1x USB 3.0, 1x USB 2.0, Audio Jacks
2x 120mm Front Intake (Optional)
1x 120mm Rear Exhaust (Included)
BitFenix have off the bat offered multiple variations in colour choices with the Neos. You can chooose from a black or a white case and then you get a vast array of colour options for the front grill, we have the white case with silver front. Taking what they know and what they have learnt from previous cases, the entire front fascia is a metal grill made with circular holes as opposed to hexagonal. The grill is complemented nicely with a black foam backing that adds to the softness in the aesthetic the circular design brings. Helping the simplistic look is the the lack of I/O on the front fascia with only two 5.25" drive bays populating the front along with BitFenix's Phoenix style logo. While it would be a huge ask to want them to perfectly line
Being founded in 2010 by people already experienced in the market, BitFenix have had it a little easier (and obviously a lot harder at the same time) in the branding department. A lot of the competition date back to the days of beige cases and lack of demand for a nice aesthetic. Because of this most well known brands logo's are quite positively naff when put on the front of a case, not BitFenix's though. They have proven time and time again, all they need to do is create a blank canvas, put the logo somewhere nice and it works. Personally I find the black logo on white case the nicest while the opposite being less attractive.
On the top we find a single USB 3.0 port coupled with a single USB 2.0 port. Come on BitFenix, you are giving us more cables for a worse product, not good. We also get the standard audio jacks and activity led's as well as your power and reset buttons. These buttons are 'clicky' and so have basically no travel which I like on some cases but I think maybe we could have seen a normal power
The window is extremely large for the size of the case and shows off all of the motherboard tray and the power supply area. It's cut off point is pretty much at the ends of the drive bays but thanks to how compact the case is and the layout they went with for the storage drive cages, you wont see many cables coming out of this area into the case, even when look at an angle the system looks clean and tidy.Reflection actually isn't that much of an issue either and because the window has no tinting or translucency to the window, everything inside is easy to see. I definitely prefer having the help of a white interior to take full advantage of the natural light coming into the case.
You may notice that there is three 5.25" bays internally but you can only use two of them. This is because the Neos shares the same skeletal chassis as the Comrade, a three bay case. As for the 5.25" toolless, I'm disappointed. It looks simple and easy to use which sometimes it can be, but it's very hit and miss. Sometimes it just completely jams and I worry I'll break the plastic just trying to remove it. for 5.25" bays I prefer an old fashioned set of screws anyway so I suppose there is always that. Below the 5.25" drive bays we get three 2.5" bays and below that another three 3.5" bays. What's special about this? Not only does it look awesome and all the drive bays have these lovely little cages but also it allows for extra expansion card room for the top four expansion slots.
A nice little addition I found was the holes drilled into the sides of the 3.5" cages so when you've mounted and installed the hard drive in the toolless bay, if you really want to you can secure them in with a single screw on the left side. It's attention to detail on the little things like this that really helps make cases stand out in such a competitive market like the one the Neos is in.
From the double layering of foam and dust filtering on the front to the overall aesthetic there is very little out of place with the Neos. On the exterior having the I/O on the top coupled together with the full front 'circular silver mesh' and foam, creates a styling that will fit into almost any environment which should be the main goal of any budget case that's also aiming for the lucrative oem/pre-built systems market. This coupled with a simple and easy to use interior that provides you with all the toolless storage locations that you need, no sharp corners and just the right amount of fan locations to keep the system cool AND quiet, makes for an extremely well balanced budget case.
I don't miss the complete lack of water cooling support or top mounted fans as this keeps overall case size down and if you were looking into AIO water cooling you should really be looking at more expensive cases anyway in my opinion, look more in the £50 bracket. The single thing about the Neos that I did feel let down by was the cable management. It's just so primitive and comes across very much as an after though as you can't really use it for routing the more important larger cables. To get a clean enough interior to use the window side panel on the Neos you will definitely have to get creative with your cable management, I would say using the rear of the 2.5" cage is a safe bet for hiding your mess.
In summary BitFenix have created a budget case that simply down to its unimpressive cable management, falls just shy of being the perfect case we need in the budget market today. Given that the budget market here in the UK has been practically run by Cooler Master ever since I can remember, it seems ironic that it's BitFenix releasing the Neos that makes me question where we will be 5 years from now. If you are on a budget and want to still get the high quality feel you get from a high end system, definitely short list this case. To put this into context, the Neos finally confirmed to us why we need a new VALUE award, it's everything you need in a cheap case and more (minus the cable management).
Features & Compatibility:
Aesthetics & Packaging:
Value For Money: