BitFenix unveils $39 Merc Alpha and Beta cases

By on August 10, 2011, 8:06 PM

BitFenix has unveiled a new budget desktop chassis series comprised of two enclosures: Alpha and Beta. Both are constructed out of steel and plastic -- the de facto materials among budget cases. While the company clearly cut corners where possible, the Merc series doesn't look cheap by any means, and that's partially thanks its sleek all-black paint job.

Although it's increasingly common for cases to have a painted internals, such treatment is usually reserved for pricy cases like the HAF X. Both mid-towers measure 439mm (H) x 190mm (W) x 490mm (D), support Mini-ITX, mATX or ATX motherboards, seven expansion cards, as well as three 5.25-inch bays, seven 3.5-inch bays, and one 2.5-inch bay.

Front panel I/O includes four USB 2.0 ports alongside audio jacks. Unfortunately, there doesn't appear to be any USB 3.0 ports, which could certainly be a deal breaker for some folks. To be fair, we're not aware of any sub-$40 cases that come equipped with USB 3.0 ports. NZXT's Source 210 Elite is the only case that comes to mind, but it costs $10 more.

The core difference between each case is evident in the image above. The Alpha has extended cooling functionality via two top-mounted 120mm grills. Both cases support dual 120mm fans on the front and side, along with one 120mm fan in the bottom and back. However, they only ship with the single rear exhaust, which probably isn't adequate for a gaming rig.

Other noteworthy features include two water-cooling holes on the back (sans rubber grommets), thumbscrews for the side panel and drive bays, a CPU cutout in the motherboard tray, and a seemingly solid cable management system including space for excess wires behind the motherboard tray. Pricing is set at $39 for both the Merc Alpha and Beta.




User Comments: 8

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Win7Dev said:

Not too shabby for $40. Of course you could always just get and $80 case and save yourself the money of a pci usb3 card, but that's another story entirely.

Kibaruk Kibaruk, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Pretty solid for a $40 case... very interesting

chaboi390 said:

Wow, $40 for a mid-tower, there's got to be some catch behind this..

gwailo247, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

chaboi390 said:

Wow, $40 for a mid-tower, there's got to be some catch behind this..

I don't think so neccessarily. As in all things, your entry level product now is going to have a lot more features than an entry level product had a while ago. I bought a CM Centurion about 6-7 years ago, for some amount between $50-$100 (can't 'member) but it had a lot less features than this case.

I'm guessing that the fans are not going to be top of the line though.

But if I was building a new rig for mom or dad, this would be a perfect case.

fpsgamerJR62 said:

Pretty decent cases for $39. The painted interiors is a nice touch and the front panel I/O even has more USB ports than the Thermaltake tower that I bought 6 years ago.

Trillionsin Trillionsin said:

The problem I seem to be having with these case reviews... there is no date when this is available. As in previous reviews I've liked the cases but they werent available when Techspot released the article... so then I forget about these products since I cannot buy them.

I had recently posted a thread about cases, where a few Techspot members, and some staff helped me and pointed out some of the past reviews.

Here is my thread for anyone interested. http://www.techspot.com/vb/topic168136.html

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

I don't think so neccessarily. As in all things, your entry level product now is going to have a lot more features than an entry level product had a while ago. I bought a CM Centurion about 6-7 years ago, for some amount between $50-$100 (can't 'member) but it had a lot less features than this case.

I'm guessing that the fans are not going to be top of the line though.

I'm gonna wonder out loud here and ask, do you think they're giving you the fans in the higher priced model, or just the fan holes?.

However, they only ship with the single rear exhaust, which probably isn't adequate for a gaming rig.

Yup, ten dollar holes.

But if I was building a new rig for mom or dad, this would be a perfect case.
These would be nice for a lot of people, not just moms and dads. However, there are more established companies competing at this price point. And don't forget Newegg's "Rosewill" line, which is extensive.

One thing I do like about these two cases, the styling is almost ripoff Lian Li (*), which gives them a "journeyman" look and appeal.

((*) Albeit with a touch of curvature in the faceplate).

SNGX1275 SNGX1275, TS Forces Special, said:

I don't think so neccessarily. As in all things, your entry level product now is going to have a lot more features than an entry level product had a while ago. I bought a CM Centurion about 6-7 years ago, for some amount between $50-$100 (can't 'member) but it had a lot less features than this case.

I'm guessing that the fans are not going to be top of the line though.

But if I was building a new rig for mom or dad, this would be a perfect case.

I have a Centurion 5 (actually a couple of them). I think they are really solid cases for the money. Plus they look nice, I'm not a big fan of overly flashy designs or swingout front panels to get access to drives.

I do like the look of these cases and they are a couple bucks cheaper than the Cent 5.

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