BitFenix is back again, this time with their lovely Nova chassis. The Nova is BitFenix’s latest effort from the budget-friendly end of the market, promising great features at a price that is sure to leave your wallet or your bank balance happy. If you’re not trying to cram huge amounts of hard drives, multiple radiators and more into your system, then it is unlikely that you need much more than what the Nova offers and we’re eager to see just how much you get for your money here.
“Bitfenix Nova delivers style, performance, and silence at an incredibly competitive price. Whether you plan to build a basic office, home or gaming system, Novas simplistic design, aluminum badge, color options and optional window side panel mean it will blend in perfectly. Long air vents running along the sides of its front, hidden behind sleek mesh strips, provide plenty of airflow to cool the system. And as a result allowed us to keep Novas Top and Front panel completely closed to block fan-noise from escaping the enclosure, and dust from building up inside.”
Equipped with room for mini-ITX to ATX motherboards, room for a good size CPU cooler, large graphics cards, an ATX PSU and a decent amount of hard drives, the Nova is certainly a capable chassis. There’s also room for a couple of 120mm fans in the front and a 120mm in the back, although on the rear 120mm fan comes pre-installed.
The side panel features a huge window that runs almost the full height of the chassis, giving you a perfect view to show off your new build. Don’t like windows on your chassis? There’s a solid panel version available too. The black paint job is pretty standard stuff, but blends well with the plastics of the front panel and if black isn’t your thing, there’s also a white version available.
The right side has a blank panel and just like the left, it’s held in place by two thumb screws. The sides of the front panel have a strip of ventilation, allowing for indirect airflow that should help reduce noise from the front fans.
The front panel is plastic but is very nicely finished. There’s a single 5.25″ drive bay cover at the top and a small BitFenix logo; overall it looks smart enough to be placed in a home or office.
At the top of the chassis, you’ll find all the usual power controls, as well as two LED indicators and a pair of USB ports; one USB 2.0 and one USB 3.0.
Around the back, there’s a single pre-installed 120mm fan, as well as seven expansion slots. As with many budget chassis, the expansion slot covers are a snap-off design, apart from the top one which is reusable.
Four sturdy feet with rubber grips give the chassis good ground clearance, and there’s also a small slide-out and washable dust filter for the power supply area.
The interior of the BitFenix Nova is pretty straight forward, but it has been treated to the same black paint as the exterior, giving it a nice and uniform appearance. There’s a rather large CPU cooler mounting cut-out behind the motherboard, and all the motherboard standoffs are pre-installed, so this should speed up the installation time.
There’s a little room above the motherboard, which should help improve compatibility while giving you the extra space needed to mount a 120mm AIO cooler on the rear fan mount if you wanted.
The 5.25″ drive bay comes fitted with a tool-free locking mechanism, as well as some extra space to mount an extra hard drive. This space should also come in handy for a little extra cable management.
Further down, we’ve got two dedicated 2.5″ drive bay mounts. They’re a little tricky to access, but they’ll easily get the job done.
There’s room for 3 x 3.5mm drives here, which simply screw into place on the fixed bracket. It’s a bit of an old-school design, but it’s perfectly functional.
Some small rubber pads on the PSU mount, which should help reduce any unwanted vibrations.
There’s a good amount of space in here for a multi-GPU configuration, just be sure to check that if you’re using longer cards, they’re not going to conflict with the storage bays, as they cannot be removed.
Behind the motherboard, you’ll find little or no space for routing more than a fan cable. However, there’s room behind the hard drive bays to deal with excess cables and a few cable tie loops to tidy up any of the more demanding cables.
It took around twenty minutes to put together our system, which is a decent enough build time for any budget chassis. There’s very little in the way of cable routing, so I deployed our BitFenix Fury power supply, as it has pre-braided cables that are more than acceptable to have out on show without ruining the look of the build. If you’ve got the side panel window, you’re going to want all-black cables (at least) to save the build from looking undesirable.
There’s loads of room here for the 3.5″ drives, but should you only need the 2.5″ drive bays, this space is great for storing excess cables, especially if your PSU is not modular like ours.
Large graphics cards proved no issue for the chassis, although if we had a second one installed, it would limit the number of 3.5″ drives we could install, something you should consider while picking your parts.
We did manage to keep the cable management pretty tidy, so airflow to all major fans in unobstructed and there’s easily room here for a 120mm AIO. Just keep in mind that there are no front panel fans included, so if you’re running a lot of hardware, you’re going to want to invest in at least one extra fan for better airflow.
Overall, a surprisingly great looking build. I wasn’t expecting it to be bad, but it’s certainly nice and tidy for something in this price range.
The shape of the side panel window works really well too, as it hides the hard drive bays and any “cable management” you’ve done towards the front of the chassis.
The BitFenix Nova is available from Overclockers UK for a very reasonable £26.99 for the windowed model in black or white, while the non-windowed model is just £23.99 and is also available in black or white. This is exceptional value for money and will no doubt be hard to beat for anyone looking for a mid-tower chassis.
The BitFenix Nova is exceptional value for money, offering a perfectly capable mid-tower that is going to appeal to a lot of system builders who don’t want to spend a huge amount of money. Of course, it is cheap for a reason and does come with a few small drawbacks that should be considered before purchase. The panels are quite thin, so if you’re running noisy hardware, it’s possible the case could suffer from vibrations, noise leakage, or even prove easy to dent if you’re likely to kick it, by accident or on purpose. Then we’ve got the lack of pre-installed fans, sure it does help keep cost down, but if you’re putting a graphics card in here, you’ll want at least one extra fan for air intake. If you’re fitting a 120mm AIO in the back, you could easily move the rear 120mm pre-installed fan to the front to save costs. Finally, the rear expansion slots are a snap-off design, not a deal breaker, but something worth keeping in mind when you upgrade your system at a later date.
All those issues aside, and they’re fairly minor issues and nothing I wouldn’t have expected at this price range, you do get a lot of great features from this chassis. Firstly and most importantly, it can house a fairly decent system as you’ve seen in our test build today. There’s a reasonable amount of storage bays and there’s reasonable connectivity on the front panel. It looks nice too, with a clean front panel and a huge side panel window that is perfect for showing off your build. Cable routing is very limited, but the space behind the hard drive bays is more than adequate for even first-time system builders to achieve something neat and tidy.
At just £23.99 – £26.99 there’s a lot of chassis here for a very small investment. If you’ve blown all your budget on fancy hardware such as a more powerful graphics card, the Nova is going to put a smile on your face.
- Nice overall design
- Large side panel window
- Reasonable cable management room
- Long GPU support
- Dust filter on PSU air intake
- Supports a 120mm AIO in rear
- Very affordable price
- Black/white window/non-window models available
- Thin panels
- Only one pre-installed fan
- Snap-off expansion slot covers
“The BitFenix Nova Mid-Tower is a great little chassis that’s perfect from a mid-range system build. If money is tight and you want a great looking system build, you’ll find a lot to love with the Nova.”
Thank you OCUK for providing us with this sample.