Introducing the BitFenix Prodigy

The mini-ITX form factor is starting to pick up steam these days, and with good reason. Micro-ATX boards are already capable of essentially hitting feature parity with full ATX boards, including multi-GPU support, while many mini-ITX boards include almost all the bells and whistles an end user could need. With the right board it's just not that hard to build a powerful gaming system in a fraction of the space it used to require.

There's also been a slow trickle of new mini-ITX enclosures designed to support that kind of hardware, but even these enclosures have had their limits unless you were willing to spend through the nose on a Lian Li case. That changes today with the BitFenix Prodigy, a $79, full-frills mini-ITX enclosure designed for maximum performance in minimum space. If you're looking to build a powerful mini-ITX system with a single graphics card, this may very well be the case you've been waiting for.

I had a reader e-mail me asking why we even bother with lower profile releases from less well known brands, and I argued that just because a brand isn't as big as, say, Antec, SilverStone, or Lian Li doesn't mean they aren't worth investigating. On the contrary, sometimes you have the privilege of bringing to light a fantastic product that people simply wouldn't have known about. WIth the Prodigy, BitFenix has an enclosure that absolutely merits your attention. It isn't perfect, but for a first effort priced at just $79, it doesn't have to be. Here's the quick overview:

BitFenix Prodigy Specifications
Motherboard Form Factor Mini-ITX
Drive Bays External 1x 5.25"
Internal 2x 3.5"/2.5", 3x 3.5"/2.5" in modular cage, 4x 2.5"
Cooling Front 1x 120mm intake fan (supports up to 230mm)
Rear 1x 120mm exhaust fan (supports up to 140mm)
Top 2x 120mm fan mount
Side -
Bottom -
Expansion Slots 2
I/O Port 2x USB 3.0, 1x Headphone, 1x Mic
Power Supply Size ATX
Clearances HSF 170mm
PSU 140mm or 160mm non-modular
GPU 7" with modular drive cage/12.5" without
Dimensions 9.84" x 15.9" x 14.1"
250mm x 404mm x 359mm
Special Features USB 3.0 via internal header
Support for 240mm radiator
Price MSRP $79

Ordinarily in the spec sheet I wouldn't mention support for a 240mm radiator as a special feature, but on the BitFenix Prodigy things are a bit different. Take a moment to really let all that expandability sink in; even with just a 230mm intake fan and a 140mm exhaust, you could turn this case into an incredibly efficient and incredibly quiet enclosure.

It's remarkably flexible for its size, essentially allowing the end user to make a series of tradeoffs to suit the needs of their build. If you're willing to give up the 5.25" bay, you can easily fit a 240mm radiator in the top. If you want to install a full-sized graphics card, you can remove the middle modular drive cage. You're down three 3.5" drive bays, but there are still two left over in the bottom of the case. These are all compromises but they're your compromises to make depending on your needs. Let's find out just how it all fits together, shall we?

In and Around the BitFenix Prodigy
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  • xbournex - Friday, June 01, 2012 - link

    Yes. It can fit 330mm cards. Reply
  • 7amood - Friday, June 01, 2012 - link

    I would love to see anandtech review of silverstone SG08 Reply
  • Termie - Friday, June 01, 2012 - link

    My problem right off the bat with this case is that its dimensions (9.84" x 15.9" x 14.1") are almost identical to the Temjin: 15.16" x 8.27" x 14.72". Sure, the handles make it taller than it really is, but ultimately, the case is just too big. It is both wider and deeper than the Temjin. I just can't see a reason for going with this case if you're trying to be compact. Reply
  • Termie - Friday, June 01, 2012 - link

    Sorry - upon looking at the pictures again, it seems it's not deeper than the Temjin, but actually taller (hard to match up those dimensions). Either way, it sure is wide! Reply
  • Olaf van der Spek - Friday, June 01, 2012 - link

    How well is the Prodigy doing with the 560 Ti vs a regular mATX case?
    You just say: "Thermals for the Prodigy are still quite good, but the 560 Ti does push it a little." but some more words wouldn't hurt. The cooling in the Prodigy shouldn't be worse than in a mATX case IMO.
    Reply
  • Taft12 - Friday, June 01, 2012 - link

    On the contrary, I think the short depth with front/back 120mm fans and "tunnel" for air to travel through front-to-back will provide BETTER cooling than most mATX cases.

    A terrific design worthy of the Editor's Choice award!
    Reply
  • MichaelD - Friday, June 01, 2012 - link

    Case is great except for the feet. They let the designer people overrule the engineering people, which is usually not a good idea. Yes; the top handles are symmetrical with the bottom feet. And the case will tip over if you try to set it down on carpet. The "feet" have rounded edges which will just encourage the case to fall on it's side should you accidentally bump it. I can work around every other "negative" or shortcoming this nice case has, except the feet. That makes it a failure in my book. Side note: All that mesh ventilation looks nice on paper. Two weeks after building your system you'll be vacuuming dust out of that mesh on a weekly basis if you want the thing to run cool. Reply
  • snajk138 - Sunday, June 03, 2012 - link

    It looks like you can take them off.

    http://i46.tinypic.com/2h8b9lv.jpg
    Reply
  • zcat - Friday, June 01, 2012 - link

    This BitFenix is a nice case that certainly would've been on my shortlist a few weeks ago, but I think I still would have gone with the slightly more expensive ($99) Lian Li PC-Q11A case that I did choose, as it's much prettier (all alluminum) and more minimal-looking.

    CPU: i7-3770S (65W)
    MB: Asus P8H77-I
    PSU: SeaSonic SS-300ET 300W 80+
    RAM: 16GB DDR3 1600
    SSD: 256GB Samsung 830
    HDDs: 2x 2TB 5900rpm in RAID1
    HSF: Xigmatek CAC-D9HH4-U02 PRAETON (one of the few that would fit, and quieter than stock)

    It went together quite easily, except for a few minor problems:
    1) Lian-li still uses a 3-pin connector for the power-led, so you have to re-pin it for 2.
    2) Had to order the rarer "left-angle" sata cables in order to connect the HDD sitting directly above the SSD on the drive cage.
    3) The side panel is attached with 8 tiny screws instead of 2 quick thumb screws like my previous full-ATX and micro-ATX LianLi's, but mini-itx cases are rarely opened anyway.

    Without the 2 HDDs, the system idles at just ~29W, and with at ~41W. Under full load it sucks ~118W so there's still headroom for me to add a 75W PCIe-powered card down the road (waiting on nvidia's more efficient mid/low-end kepler cards).

    If I had no plans to upgrade from intel's integrated HD4000 to a full-length/full-height/double-width card, I probably would've chosen the MUCH SMALLER Antec ISK110 case instead (same case used in pugetsystems 'overpriced' builds).

    Anyway... I guess this turned into a mini-itx mini-review of my own. Thanks Anandtech - looking forward to more mini & micro-ATX reviews as full-ATX fades to the fringes.
    Reply
  • mars2k - Friday, June 01, 2012 - link

    Enter the poster child for Chinese plagiarism. All the positives aside, I would never buy a product that was a cheap copy of an iconic industrial design like a Mac Pro…and it’s blue.

    Take all the careful design in the world and wrap it in a blatant counterfeit skin..voila…worthless.
    Reply

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