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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  • ggathagan - Saturday, June 02, 2012 - link

    If you don't care about overclocking, go with the H77 based board:
    http://www.asus.com/Motherboards/Intel_Socket_1155...
    It doesn't have the daughter card.

    For an ITX system that cannot do CF or SLI, the only thing you give up with H77 is overclocking support., and I'm not sure if that means no multiplier *and* no BCLK adjustments, or simply no multiplier adjustments.

    If you must have Z77, there's the ASRock Z77E-ITX LGA:
    http://www.asrock.com/mb/overview.asp?Model=Z77E-I...
    Reply
  • HardwareDufus - Saturday, June 02, 2012 - link

    Really would like to get the Asus P8Z77-I Deluxe.

    Mini-ITX cases are just either too small or too big.

    What would be ideal is simply the following:

    Height: 16cm (~6.25")
    Width: 24cm (~9.5")
    Depth: 24cm (~9.5")

    1 x slim CD/DVD (external)
    2 x 2.5" HD (internal)
    150W internal mini-powersupply w/ external brick.
    2 x slim120cm (each side) silent fans.
    Front mount the following: LEDs, Switch, USB2/3, mic & headphone jacks, smartcard reader (look how small something like the dynex dx-cr6n1 is..that could be mounted vertically above or below usb ports).
    very short/thin cables for slim miniSATA, SATA data/power, ATXpower.

    just need a mini-ITX board with 2 case fan headers and a cpu fan header. Asus has that.

    Honestly, can't see why Travala won't modify the C138 to be something like this!

    The added depth would give a little more space between the case powersupply and memory modules of the mainboard.

    The added height would allow for a little taller heatsink...and a bit more space around the 2.5" SSD drives which would mount below the slimBlueRayDVD.

    The added width would make the side mounted intake and exhaust fans (blow across the whole system...so that heat from power supply and system board never run into each other...rather it's a laminar air flow. And if you wanted a monster video card i lieu of one of the fans, you'd have space for that..
    Reply
  • randinspace - Saturday, June 02, 2012 - link

    Anybody else wondering what Anand would've chosen to stick in one of these for his home theater if it had been on the market? Personally, I've been extremely tempted to gut a cheap HP I bought last year and stick its innards into one of these babies ever since they launched. The only thing that's held me back is indecision regarding what mini-itx board to buy for it... Either way, great review, as usual.

    ... Ah looks like other people were indeed asking themselves "what would Anand do?" if Twitter is any indication.
    Reply
  • nashville - Saturday, June 02, 2012 - link

    im liking this very much! Reply
  • zlandar - Saturday, June 02, 2012 - link

    This case has a height of 16". I use a Silverstone GD6 which has a height of 6". Measuring my entertainment console (Z-line with two lower shelves below the TV) the clearance is 9-10".

    Too bad because the biggest drawbacks of the Silverstone are the poor height clearance for cpu coolers and pain in the ass assembly. All the desktop-style HTPC cases seem to suffer from the cpu cooler height limitation.
    Reply
  • HardwareDufus - Saturday, June 02, 2012 - link

    Mini-ITX cases are just either too small or too big.

    What would be ideal is simply the following:

    Height: 16cm (~6.25")
    Width: 24cm (~9.5")
    Depth: 24cm (~9.5")

    1 x slim CD/DVD (external)
    2 x 2.5" HD (internal)
    150W internal mini-powersupply w/ external brick.
    2 x slim120cm (each side) silent fans.
    Front mount the following: LEDs, Switch, USB2/3, mic & headphone jacks, smartcard reader (look how small something like the dynex dx-cr6n1 is..that could be mounted vertically above or below usb ports).
    very short/thin cables for slim miniSATA, SATA data/power, ATXpower.

    just need a mini-ITX board with 2 case fan headers and a cpu fan header. Asus has that.

    Honestly, can't see why Travala won't modify the C138 to be something like this!

    The added depth would give a little more space between the case powersupply and memory modules of the mainboard.

    The added height would allow for a little taller heatsink...and a bit more space around the 2.5" SSD drives which would mount below the slimBlueRayDVD.

    The added width would make the side mounted intake and exhaust fans (blow across the whole system...so that heat from power supply and system board never run into each other...rather it's a laminar air flow. And if you wanted a monster video card i lieu of one of the fans, you'd have space for that..

    Really would like to get the Asus P8Z77-I Deluxe. so a case with these parameters would help me accomodate the odd daughter board and not have fan clearance issue (I would have that with my present setup).
    Reply
  • HardwareDufus - Saturday, June 02, 2012 - link

    Actually, i wouldnt even mind a slight stretch of the height to 20cm... (~7.75") then you could fit a SilverStone SFX ST45SF 450 watt Power Supply Review in the bottom of the case below the motherboard and move the SSDs under the motherboard as well.

    This would remove some hot stuff from the front of the case and give you a more standard power supply.

    Thinking I need to do a drawing eventually...
    So, I'd take:
    Height: 20cm (~7.75")
    Width: 24cm (~9.5")
    Depth: 24cm (~9.5")

    Not allot of wasted space when you consider the cross airflow objectives. And in this design..surely there is room if someone wanted an additional couple of spaces for additonal 2.5" drives...but I think anyone wanting more than 2 harddrives is not the audience for this style/shape of mini-ITX anyway..
    Reply
  • Laststop311 - Sunday, June 03, 2012 - link

    Getting ready to build an awesome lan party mini itx box. Asus has a really special mini itx board out for Z77 chipset. Since there isn't enough room for a large phase cpu power supply a board for the power phases actually plugs into the itx board, giving you equal overclocking abilities as the large atx board. Asus basically eliminated the one negative plaguing every other itx board.

    I'll be removing the drive cage to fit a full size GTX 690 GPU. Have to go dual card gpu since only 2 expansion slots on the case and I need to run 2560x1440.

    2x4GB 1866Mhz Cas 9 Ram seems to be the sweet spot for price performance ratio. Ram above 1866Mhz is just a rip off price

    256GB Crucial m4's are just a steal now and will make a nice sized boot/app/game install drive installed on right side panel

    Won't have room for a soundcard, I hope the integrated sound is ok.

    14x Blu Ray RW combo drive

    3TB WD AV-GP on bottom

    Corsair H80 rad in push pull attatched to exhause area

    i7-3770k OC'd to 4.3Ghz

    Seasonic X650 Gold PSU hybrid fan

    upgraded 230mm front fan

    upgraded 140mm exhaust fan

    2x high static pressure noctua 120mm fans in push pull to replace default corsair fans

    psu installed upside down for fresh supply of cold air direct to psu

    indigo extreme thermal interface.

    What I love about this build is the fact it will be a nice tiny easy to carry light lan gaming box but the great part is it will totally smoke anything my friends got, even full atx towers it will leave in the dust. I think this is the dawning of new champion in the desktop space. Mini ITX is the future of most desktops. I guarantee the system will run faster than most peoples full size rigs here
    Reply
  • Guges - Monday, September 03, 2012 - link

    Any chance you could post a picture of your set up...curious to see how everything fits in there...considering building something similar...not sure if we really need the radiator...I think the 4 upgraded fans would be good. Reply
  • wiz329 - Wednesday, June 19, 2013 - link

    I'm new to computer building, and i'm thinking of building this case. Did you put the 2x nocturna fans on the ceiling of the case, or how do you have those configured? Reply

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