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Maximum PC Staff Jan 10, 2011

BitFenix Survivor

Can you handle the newest mid-tower on the block?

With wraparound “SofTouch” coating, the Survivor is built to survive.

Cases with handles are nothing new. Cases billed as LAN-ready are nothing new, either. But BitFenix’s first mid-tower chassis, the Survivor, has a wraparound rubberized plastic bumper that’s kinda new. We love the so-called “SofTouch” coating on the case’s wraparound shell—many editors said it was the coolest case they’d ever felt. We won’t name names, but some Lab members wouldn’t stop touching it, which disturbed us a little. The shell protects every corner on the machine—you have to remove two rear bumpers in order to remove the side panels—a slight inconvenience when building, but another step between your components and a hard surface (or a grabby thief) at a LAN event.

The pop-out handle on top seems a little wobbly but never faltered, and BitFenix rates it for up to 88 pounds.

At 9 inches wide by 19.7 inches tall by 20.1 deep, the Survivor is around average size for a mid-tower. Its two three-slot hard drive bays have toolless trays for 3.5- and 2.5-inch drives, and the top one can be removed to accommodate the longest graphics cards. The mobo tray includes a large CPU backplate cutout and a few routing cutouts for power cables and its many front-panel connectors—two USB 3.0, two USB 2.0, eSATA, audio ports, and an on/off switch for the LEDs in the BitFenix logo and fans. There’s no cutout for the 8-pin ATX cable, alas, but plenty of tie-down points on the rear of the motherboard tray still allow you to keep those cables tidy.

The rubberized exterior extends to cradle the rear panel, and two pieces must be removed before the side panels can come off.

On the subject of fans: This is where the Survivor really falls short. Its two 20cm fans (front and top) just aren’t enough. BitFenix’s decision to ship the case with no side fans and no rear fan is mystifying, and the Survivor ran among the hottest of the cases we tested in this roundup. We’ve really seen the value of side intake fans during the course of this roundup, and the Survivor is absolutely begging for them.

This pinboard, behind the right-side panel, connects the front-panel LED switch with the LEDs in the Survivor’s case fans and front logo.

We like the rugged good looks of the Survivor, even though its LAN-specific accoutrements (besides the handle, it also includes a peripheral lock and graphics-card strap) are of questionable practicality. It could definitely use a few more fans and a little more room, and the side panels are a pain to remove and replace. But for a LAN-ready mid-tower that can take a few hits, the Survivor is pretty rad.

Benchmarks

BitFenix Survivor
CPU Temp @ 100% burn (C)52.5
CPU Temp @ idle (C) 35.25
GPU Temp (C) 59
System Temp (C) 36

For our case testing, we use an EV GA 680SLI motherboard, stock-clocked Q6700 with a Thermaltake Contac29 cooler, an Nvidia 8800 GTX (with a Radeon 5970 for size testing), and a Corsair AX850 power supply. We use the case’s stock complement of fans on their highest settings.

THE VERDICT

BitFenix Survivor

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