BitFenix Prodigy Review: The Affordable Performable Mini-ITXby Dustin Sklavos on June 1, 2012 1:55 AM EST
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|
|I/O Port||2x USB 3.0, 1x Headphone, 1x Mic|
|Power Supply Size||ATX|
|PSU||140mm or 160mm non-modular|
|GPU||7" with modular drive cage/12.5" without|
9.84" x 15.9" x 14.1"
250mm x 404mm x 359mm
USB 3.0 via internal header
Support for 240mm radiator
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?