Building the System Part I
It's very easy to build inside the Colossus Micro-ATX, beginning with motherboard installation. After removing the default rear 120mm fan (at least long enough to install the rear I/O shield for the motherboard) an mATX or mITX board installs without obstruction. And on the topic of form factor, though the case is marketed primarily for micro-ATX it didn't take long before I started wondering how a mini-ITX build might work in this enclosure. (Naturally I completed a build with both to check it out!) Here we see both form factors on the tray:
The motherboard tray is not removable, but this didn’t become an issue in building up the system as there is a very large cutout behind the CPU.
This feature is really a must for any enclosure, and the size of the cutout in this instance will allow for easier installation of any CPU cooling solution.
Next up is the power supply. The PSU caddy is attached to the case with a thumb screw, and once it is removed the power supply attaches to it with standard case screws.
To rout the PSU's power connector to the back of the case, an extension cable comes pre-installed. Note: you will need to attach the power extension cable to the power supply after the PSU is installed. Routing this power cord down below the PSU before installing it allowed for an easy connection of this right-angle plug on the underside.
The power supply fan faces the front of the case when installed, as previously mentioned. With this design the PSU exhaust should travel up the air channel in the front door panel, exiting the top of the case. It's a clever solution to power supply heat in a small enclosure. There are mounting points for a front intake fan here, but obviously that will not be possible with the PSU in the way.
Next up is the cooler. For the micro-ATX motherboard I went with the 120mm Corsair H75 liquid cooler on the rear mount, since I wanted to leave room above to try a dual-GPU setup.
Both included 120mm fans can still be used with an AIO liquid cooler on the rear mount, and to use them both with this setup I ended up placing the BitFenix fans in both upper and lower mounts in an effort to move hot air upwards, and promote airflow across the motherboard’s heatsinks. Not ideal, as I again would have preferred positive pressure given the inverted thermal design.
For micro-ATX builds dual-GPU setups are possible. The 5.25" optical drive bracket was not in the way of the second GTX 770 in this example, but of course no optical drive could be installed with the second GPU in place.
For expansion cards of any type, the mechanism to secure them to the case is very convenient, and completely toolless. It was nice to see another instance where BitFenix paid attention to small details, and little things like this will be appreciated when using the case over time.
As you can see the design uses a single thumbscrew, which is loosened until the locking bracket can freely slide out of the way. The bracket can then be secured in the open position, providing space for easy card installation. Nice touch!