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Micro ATX or ITX case: Bitfenix Phenom vs Fractal Node 304

cardboardbox 2,108 168 November 19, 2013 at 07:44 PM More Newegg Deals
I'm indecisive and cant decide between these two cases:

1. Bitfenix Phenom M:

2. Fractal Design Node 304:

The first is micro ATX and the second is ITX. Obviously I cant order a mobo until I know which case I want.

In favor of the Phenom is the ability to use an mATX mobo and the extra ports, slots, features that comes with. I would have thought it could hold more hard drives and have more room to work but the reviews seem to suggest otherwise.

In favor of the Node 304 is the small size, about 5" shorter than the Phenom. In spite of the size, it can hold as many or more hard drives than the Phenom. Questionable quality of the drive mounting system though.

Currently I have a full size ATX mobo with 6 SATA ports and 6 rear USB. Going down to ITX will reduce the USB ports to 4 but maybe a hub would solve this issue? Would it need to be powered? I'd really like at least 3 rear USB 3.0 ports which the ITX boards dont have.

Anyone else struggle with this decision? mATX vs ITX?



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Quote from cardboardbox View Post :
ITX will reduce the USB ports to 4 which but maybe a hub would solve this issue? Would it need to be powered? I'd really like at least 3 rear USB 3.0 ports which the ITX boards dont have.
it depends what will be using the hub - if you want an external hard drive or cd/dvd drive, then yes the hub should be powered - if it's just a plain mouse/keyboard/etc. then unpowered is fine

personally I don't like small cases that much, so I can't comment on that..
Reply Helpful Comment? 0 0
There's more vents for cooling in the ITX case. I don't know what you're planning on using the computer for, but if cooling is a big factor, I'd go with that one.

If you're not intent on a small case, many Micro-ATX boards will fit into an ATX case, more vents and more options. And you can even get a media center case so you can lie it down horizontally instead of having it vertical. You have more options of where to put it, such as a media center cabinet shelf. Not to mention you'd also have more options of what to put inside of it, such as a Blu-ray optical drive or more hard drives. Some even come with card readers.

I have a micro-ITX case for my media center computer and it's always at least a little warm from lack of air. I'm planning on getting a different case for it next year and upgrading the cpu cooler since I'm stuck with a mediocre low profile one. I'm going with the Cooler Master Elite 361 myself.

One last thing: small cases are a bit of a pain to put together, even a barebones one. You'll have to be a bit creative with the wiring. I had to actually cut some wires to make everything breathable in mine.
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Last edited by charles052 November 20, 2013 at 12:02 AM.
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