BitFenix Prodigy Mini ITX Case Review
In their short time producing cases, BitFenix has already released some classic designs which have gone on to define certain segments within the enclosure market. At first glance, their Prodigy lineup doesn’t really have much going for it: it is small, only supports Mini-ITX motherboards and doesn’t provide all that much interior space. But first impressions can be deceiving since the Prodigy has become one of the most popular cases on the market.
BitFenix promises their tiny case will appeal to enthusiasts who want high performance systems and while that may sound like the ultimate oxymoron, the Prodigy may actually be one of the few cases that is laser targeted at a given demographic. It is highly versatile, boasts great aesthetics and most importantly, retails for only $80.
While ITX motherboards may not seem to be an appropriate fit for upper echelon systems, several manufacturers have injected copious sums of money into small form factor motherboard development. ASUS, Gigabyte, EVGA and MSI all have overclocker-friendly Mini-ITX platforms what can fit today’s high end graphics cards. To some, these facts coupled with the Prodigy’s space saving mentality actually represents the future of enthusiast systems where enthusiasts and gamers won’t have to sacrifice a massive amount of desk space to get a high performance system.
The BidFenix Prodigy is one good looking yet understated chassis which is available in black, white orange or red. These colors are backstopped by a steel and plastic material combination that has been coated in BitFenix’s unique soft-touch finish.
It may be small by modern case standards but the Prodigy is actually quite a large chassis for the Mini-ITX markets due to its focus upon enthusiast buyers who want to pack in a crazy amount of equipment. Unfortunately, with the innards fully loaded, the upper handles and lower feet tend to flex quite a bit.
With such a small amount of space to work with, BitFenix had to make some drastic departures from conventional case design. The Prodigy’s front only incorporates a single drive bay (most people won’t need more than this anyways) which is surrounded by black mesh on either side of the front panel that could choke off airflow to the front intake fan. However, users do have the options to forego the included 120mm intake fan in the favor of mounting up to a massive 230mm fan. This should improve airflow but it will ultimately add to the cost of this budget-friendly case.
The connectors we typically see on a case’s front panel (which includes a pair of USB 3.0 connectors) have been pushed off to the side which may cause some issues if this case is used in tight confines. BifFenix has incorporated a perforated left side panel in order to vent any heat buildup from the graphics card. Meanwhile, the top has a dust filter which hides mounting holes for two 120mm fans or a 240mm radiator.
The Prodigy’s interior features a surprising amount of real estate with space for up to five hard drives or SSDs mounted in removable caddies. If necessary, one of these steel cages can be removed in order to fit 12” long graphics card which is actually quite an impressive achievement for a Mini-ATX case. Amazingly, there’s enough space here to mount a pair of 240mm water cooling radiators alongside a bottom mounted power supply
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