Assembling the BitFenix Prodigy

Putting together a mini-ITX system is almost never easy, necessarily, but the BitFenix Prodigy seems to be designed to simplify the process as much as possible. Part of that is because the Prodigy is admittedly a bit larger than I'm used to seeing mini-ITX cases be, but not by much. Most of it has to do with a smart, modular design.

Being able to easily remove both the top vent and the main drive cage without having to remove any screws made it very easy to get started. The I/O shield for the testbed motherboard fit in snugly, and then the motherboard itself was surprisingly easy to mount into place. Ordinarily with a smaller build like this one I'd connect modular power cables to the motherboard and components first and then slot in the power supply, and it was at this juncture that I first encountered arguably the biggest problem with the Prodigy: power supply clearance.

Our testbed power supply is 160mm, but the modular connectors make it impossible to actually fit inside the power supply bay, and I suspect even a non-modular 160mm PSU would be a tight fit at best. As a result I wound up re-using the SFX power supply from the SilverStone FT03 Mini with an adapter plate, and the much smaller power supply made cabling worlds easier. I feel like if anything about the Prodigy is going to hang up end users, this will be it, so buyer beware: if you're planning a build in this case, get a 140mm power supply. Honestly even going the route I did and using an SFX power supply with an adaptor wouldn't be a bad idea.

For the drives, I wound up installing the 2.5" SSD in one of the bays built into the right side panel and the 3.5" Corsair Link in one of the trays in the bottom cage. Installing the optical drive involves removing the front panel (easy enough to do), twisting out the bay cover from the chassis, and then popping the shield out of the panel. From there, BitFenix includes thumbscrews for securing the 5.25" drive in place. I'd gripe about a lack of toolless installation here, but realistically this is a $79 case with an awful lot to offer. I'll take the hit, plus I don't know many mini-ITX builds that get opened up and tinkered with on a regular basis once they're in service.

Installing expansion cards is a little more fraught, though. Due to the height of the case, I couldn't use my comparatively short power screwdriver to loosen the thumbscrews in the expansion slots. You also have to loosen the screw above the slots, which locks a plate into place. It's involved to be sure, but could've been made a lot easier if the screw above the slots wasn't almost perfectly lined up with the screw for the second expansion slot. These are thumbscrews and they mean it; you're not fitting a screwdriver in there. This is something I think BitFenix could probably fix on the next iteration by moving that top screw between the two expansion slot screws. Still, I was able to swap graphics cards in and out of the Prodigy for testing without too much trouble.

Finally getting everything wired up wound up being a little more difficult, but that was due almost entirely to the drive and I/O being mounted to the right side panel. BitFenix made what allowances they could for routing cabling, but in a case this small you're still fundamentally going to have to just squeeze things in here and there. While I ran into a couple of hiccups putting the Prodigy together, ultimately it was still far easier than Mini-ITX cases typically are.

In and Around the BitFenix Prodigy Testing Methodology


View All Comments

  • B3an - Saturday, June 02, 2012 - link

    LOL! Thats exactly what i'm talking about. Thats one seriously ugly case, but SO many PC cases often look like that. Reply
  • piroroadkill - Friday, June 01, 2012 - link

    Very nice. I love the idea of a small machine being very powerful, yet fully DIY and standard. Lovely case.. Reply
  • EnzoFX - Friday, June 01, 2012 - link

    No pics with the card installed?

    This case's basic design is one I've been asking for a long time now. Glad someone finally did it. The great price just throws it over the top. Wish there was a silver version =P.
  • Dustin Sklavos - Friday, June 01, 2012 - link

    Unfortunately, only black and white versions. :| It really is an awesome case, though. Reply
  • Daller - Friday, June 01, 2012 - link

    I wish some of these "bigger" ITX cases would be tested with proper hardware.

    This case is obviously designed with bigger tower coolers in mind. Shove an i7-3770K in there at 4.5 GHz and a high-end GPU instead of this mainstream stuff.

    A SFX powersupply in a case designed for ATX PSU - who on earth would ever do that?

    'nuff said.
  • Daller - Friday, June 01, 2012 - link

    They got the idea:
  • Menty - Friday, June 01, 2012 - link

    "A SFX powersupply in a case designed for ATX PSU - who on earth would ever do that?"

    Someone who was unable to fit in an ATX PSU, as is the case here? :P
  • Daller - Friday, June 01, 2012 - link

    He tried with a modular PSU - they require more space. High quality non-modular PSU are readily available - and better than any SFX unit i know of. Reply
  • xbournex - Friday, June 01, 2012 - link

    160mm PSU's will fit. As with all PSU's, each company will use different thickness cables. Some will use thin black cables with no color, some will use sleeving bundled together to make huge inflexible cables. Reply
  • DragonMantis - Friday, June 01, 2012 - link

    Does installing the dedicated GPU require removal of the middle drive cage? How long a card can be accommodated? Reply

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