BitFenix Portal compact case is no puzzler

Almost six years have passed since the last entry in the series, but Valve's Portal games still have a substantial group of fervent fans, myself included. Surely there's some overlap between the aforementioned group and PC builders looking to build an HTPC or compact gaming rig. BitFenix's Portal mini-ITX-sized enclosure is small, stylish, and should satisfy buyers in the intersection of the Venn diagram we just described.

The Portal appears to crib its aesthetic from the sentry turrets in Valve's first-person puzzler series. The aluminum exterior panels come in satin black or gloss white, with a skeletal black frame elevating the whole chassis off its supporting surface. The front-mounted power button echoes the sensor on the front of the turrets in the game. The PC components mount to a removable motherboard tray that slides in and out of the chassis easily, thanks to ball-bearing runners.

Gamers will enjoy the Portal's ability to swallow graphics cards up to a 11.8" (30 cm) long, and HTPC builders will be happy with the ability to harbor two 2.5" storage devices and two 3.5" drives. Other specifications may limit component selection a bit more. CPU cooler height tops out at 4.9" (12.5 cm), and only SFX power supplies are supported, though that's less of an issue as attractive SFX options proliferate and graphics cards become more power-efficient

The Portal has air intakes at all four corners of the chassis and along to bottom. The intakes on the top were designed to allow lighting from the graphics card to bleed to the exterior, and the optional acrylic top window really lets oglers take a good look at it. A 120-mm fan is mounted in the front panel, and a second 120-mm fan or a radiator can be mounted to the case's rear panel. Audio jacks and a pair of USB 3.0 ports are integrated into the side panel, keeping them out of sight in an HTPC scenario.

The Portal measures 9.7" x 15.6" x 16.2" (25 cm x 40 cm x 41 cm) with the included stand, and weighs in at 12.8 lbs (or 5.8 kg). The case is available now in four different styles for $140. Buyers can get it with or without a transparent acrylic window in the top panel, and in black or white exterior finishes.

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