Assembling the BitFenix Ghost

In the process of examining the BitFenix Ghost, I gradually became more relieved. Oftentimes assembly can actually be the biggest bugbear of case reviews, especially when dealing with smaller cases. The only company I've ever consistently counted on to make life easy for me has been Corsair, but BitFenix really came through here. The Ghost is incredibly, almost comically easy to build in.

As I mentioned in the previous section, BitFenix includes a peg in the motherboard tray that makes lining up the motherboard incredibly easy, and the built-in extrusions in the tray itself almost entirely remove the hassle of installing standoffs. Not only that, but you're virtually guaranteed never to have to need a pair of pliers to help you remove a standoff that came out with the motherboard. Small conveniences can really go a long way.

Those conveniences essentially permeate the design of the Ghost. Toolless drive trays exist for both 2.5" and 3.5" drives and their respective cages, and the toolless locking mechanism for the optical drive bays is fairly secure. Even the shields for the expansion card slots snap in and out of place; you'll only need screws if you're installing an expansion card. Installing the power supply is just as easy, with standoffs in the bottom of the case that lift it up, although you'll need to screw it in, same as always.

Cabling is mostly easy, with routing holes included in the motherboard tray and rubber grommets included separately in the package if you'd prefer to use them to line those holes. BitFenix provides ample space behind the motherboard tray for routing cables, though I was disappointed to see they didn't include a 3-pin to molex adapter for either of the fans. Our testbed motherboard only includes one system fan header, which meant I had to dig up an adapter to connect the other fan. Most users won't run into this, but it's something to be aware of.

The only difficult part of assembling the Ghost was in replacing the side panel behind the motherboard tray. Due to the archaic mounting design of the side panels, I was forced back into the classic practice of using your full body to line up and lock in the panel. It's inexplicable that they could've made a mistake like that one, especially in light of how painless and uneventful the rest of the assembly was. My favorite part honestly remains the 2.5" drive cage with corresponding sleds, a design choice so convenient and so obvious that it's perplexing as to why it remains as rare as it is.

In and Around the BitFenix Ghost Testing Methodology
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  • rickon66 - Saturday, November 10, 2012 - link

    I too hate doors on cases. The Antec 1100 is still the overall cooling champ and it is almost as quiet while doing it with no door. Reply
  • IceClaec - Saturday, November 10, 2012 - link

    According to NewEgg, it should be 8.27" x 20.55" x 20.08" Reply
  • Apetn - Saturday, November 10, 2012 - link

    Last paragraph on 'noise and thermal testing, stock' you say addition of BitFenix fans when I'm pretty sure you added Be Quiet! fans. Reply
  • Grok42 - Saturday, November 10, 2012 - link

    It seems that cases are stuck in the past and I'm losing hope that they will ever move forward. I'm not claiming Dustin shares my concerns but he certainly shared some level of frustration when he commented that it seems unbelievable that this is the first case he has seen to provide obvious and reasonable support for 2.5" drives. My big beef is why do I have to put up with all those useless 5.25" drives?

    Drop the external bays and you do lose the option to put a legacy optical drive inside your computer. However, so much else would be gained that it would easily offset this lose even for those few that still need an optical drive and have to use an external one.

    Better cooling. 6-8 additional 3.5" or 2.5" bays. The case no longer needs a door improving cooling and cost. The width of the 5.25" drives to some degree define the width of the case which could now be narrower. Instead of adding additional 3.5" and 2.5" drives the entire case could get smaller.
    Reply
  • Death666Angel - Monday, November 12, 2012 - link

    Narrower case -> you lose the ability to use the biggest, baddest tower coolers and/or you lose area behind the mainboard to route cables
    And external 5.25" drive bays can be re purposed in tons of ways, I personally have a "ODD Slim Drive + 2.5" HDD + 2xUSB" adapter thing in one and a 6 x 2.5" HDD adapter in the other 5.25" bays of my TJ-08E. Since I don't use the internal 3.5" drive cage (wanted the space for my water cooling pump and reservoir), I now have easy access to all my hard drives and extra front USB ports. There are tons of adapters for multiple 3.5" HDDs in 5.25" bays with hot swap capabilities etc.
    Reply
  • Grok42 - Monday, November 12, 2012 - link

    Completely agree that narrowing the case has downsides like you mentioned. The question is to what degree these would be problems. Given that every case I've seen is basically designed to be as wide as a 5.25" bay plus the thickness of 4 pieces of sheet metal I would guess that the depth is driven by the 5.25" bay and not so much on cooling and cable routing needs. The funny thing is that the 5.25" format was setup back before any processor needed active cooling much less tower coolers. I would add to your list of negative effects that it will make it less stable, although how much depends a lot on other decisions like where the PSU is located.

    I'm glad you've overcome your cases disability. Imagine how much easier and cheaper if the case had simply come with additional 2.5" and 3.5" bays instead? Of course I also am a huge fan of the bays being removable so the case can be worked on easier or for better airflow. Typically 5.25" bays are not removable because they are the width of the case and simply made structurally part of it.
    Reply
  • Bonesdad - Saturday, November 10, 2012 - link

    Nice review...love seeing cases like these. Something well built and nice clean lines with a more grown up look. What was that last horrid case reviewed here - Cougar Challenger? Stay far away from anything like that. Need more cases like this... Reply
  • cjs150 - Monday, November 12, 2012 - link

    "While neither drive cage is removable"

    Give me 5 mins with a dremel and a drill and I promise you they will be!

    Very nice review, the case is not bad, just not good enough.

    My main compliant is that the case designers are playing safe. With the exception of Lian Li nobody is really experimenting - the interior is the same as 5 years ago. In fact over the last 10 years the only noticeable change is moving the PSU from the top to the bottom.
    Reply
  • Dustin Sklavos - Wednesday, November 14, 2012 - link

    Have you not been paying attention to SilverStone?

    And Lian Li are much tamer than you'd like to think. They keep experimenting but most of the time they never actually fix the problems that have dogged most of their enclosures in my reviews: poor build quality, awkward drive mounts, and needlessly complicated assembly.
    Reply
  • dingetje - Tuesday, November 13, 2012 - link

    Anyone have the Cooler Master HAF-XB ? Reply

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