BitFenix shows off prodigious Mini-ITX enclosure

Computex — TR readers seemed pretty enthusiastic when BitFenix announced its Prodigy enclosure a couple of weeks ago, so we stopped by the company’s Computex booth to check out the case in person. BitFenix said the response to the Prodigy has been incredible and the first shipment is already on a boat headed for North America. The Mini-ITX chassis should be available in early July.

Despite being designed for the diminutive Mini-ITX motherboard form factor, the Prodigy isn’t all that small. It measures 9.8" x 15.9" x 14.1", which is more along the lines of what one might expect from a Micro ATX mini tower. But the Prodigy looks small, in part because it’s, well, cute.

We poked around the case and picked up a few new details. Mounting holes for 2.5" drives appear on the internal panels, allowing SSDs to be installed when the main drive sleds are full or removed. The white version lacks a front grill because the ventilation holes make the panel look too gray, BitFenix says. The black model is recommended for high-end builds, although a fully vented white variant may be offered in the future. Those handles are really robust, too:

After that picture was taken, the handle bounced back to its original shape. I didn’t see any signs of cracking or damage, and BitFenix even dropped the case onto the show floor to showcase the durability of the bottom rails. Impressive.

The Prodigy’s shape looks good in all kinds of colors. BitFenix had a few prototype shades on display. The colors didn’t match exactly, and there are no plans to put any of those hues into production. However, BitFenix is willing to do different colors as long as customers order sufficient volumes. I can’t decide if I’d rather have lime green or hot pink.

One of the Prodigy cases on display sported BitFenix’s Recon fan controller. This 5.25" drive bay insert has a touchscreen interface and a USB header that plugs into the motherboard. The latter enables remote temperature monitoring and fan speed control via software, which includes a lightweight web server allowing the Recon to be accessed from smartphones, tablets, and any other device connected to the Internet. Five fan channels are supported, each with 10W of power and its own temperature probe. Not bad for a $30 accessory.

Comments closed
    • demani
    • 7 years ago

    These remind me of the old SGI cases with all the colors. And I happen to like handles- for whatever reason they just always seem to come in handy- I always seem to want to carry more than just the CPU when moving my crap around. Plus they also are handy for cable management.

    • kmieciu
    • 7 years ago

    I miss good old desktop cases, sturdy enough to put a heavy CRT on top. Nobody makes them anymore 🙁

      • UberGerbil
      • 7 years ago

      You’re right, almost nobody makes CRTs anymore.

    • DeadOfKnight
    • 7 years ago

    I find it amusing that you could put a GTX 590 in one of these and completely blow my system away.

    • Bensam123
    • 7 years ago

    I did give the enclosure a lot of crap and they still could trim quite a bit of fat off the thing simply by repositioning the PSU, but that maroon case is dead sexy.

    If I didn’t need two pci-e x16 slots I would jump to mini-itx for my next build. If they reorganized the internals for a micro-atx board I may be inclined… to taste…

    • pedro
    • 7 years ago

    This case is nothing if not a homerun straight outta the park. I only hope that other manufacturers have cottoned on that this case is hot.

    TR, please do a review when you have a spare moment. 😉

    • Duck
    • 7 years ago

    Lose the PSU and ODD and drop the height significantly. Then we’ll talk.

      • UberGerbil
      • 7 years ago

      A loose PSU doesn’t exactly make for a reliable machine, so I guess you’ll have plenty of downtime to talk.

        • Duck
        • 7 years ago

        Plenty of ITX cases don’t have an ATX PSU. You don’t need it.

          • UberGerbil
          • 7 years ago

          As you now realize, I was making fun of your typo. And I agree that some iTX systems don’t need more than a laptop-style power wart. But if you actually plan to stuff this thing with a decently powerful GPU and/or fill up the drive bays with HDs, that’s not going to cut it. And then what?

          Sure, they could just cut out a bunch of drive bays and scale the whole thing down, but then it’s a different product. If that’s what you want, then you shouldn’t be looking at this. There are already a lot of iTX enclosures like that. (Though if this is a success, maybe BitFenix will do a “mini” version with the same aesthetic)

            • Duck
            • 7 years ago

            Multiple power bricks? You can get ~450W with 2 power bricks. That’s enough for a 150W heavily overclocked CPU, a 7870, the rest of the system with a bit of capacity to spare.

            • UberGerbil
            • 7 years ago

            Can you provide an example of such a thing, with PCIe power outputs for a GPU and multiple power inputs on the iTX motherboard?

            As I said, instead of trying to turn this into something else, why not just move on to something that is already closer to what you want? Not everything in the world is going to be designed to your requirements, and despite that may find a receptive market.

            • Duck
            • 7 years ago

            Does this explain it better? [url<]http://www.silentpcreview.com/article947-page3.html[/url<] Power brick + Pico PSU or similar. Graphics cards power inputs run on 12V DC. You have to wire it yourself from the 12v power brick. CPU power input also is 12V and bypasses the Pico PSU so that's how you can run a 150W overclocked CPU with a Pico PSU. Consoles and high end gaming laptops have helped with the supply of available high capacity fanless power bricks. Something like a Dell DA-2 is cheap from ebay. Another example I like a lot... [url<]http://www.silentpcreview.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=50001[/url<] You can scale it up to high power levels if as long as you can supply that much by using 2 power bricks maybe.

            • Bensam123
            • 7 years ago

            Yeah, he should’ve specified a small form factor PSU instead of a wall brick.

            There are some pretty well made small form factor PSUs. They really don’t need a full size one… let alone where it’s positioned.

            • UberGerbil
            • 7 years ago

            Yeah, an SFX PSU would be a much better match for that kind of component list — Silverstone has a 450W one. But you’re still taking up space inside the case, and a significant amount if you’re trying to achieve the smallest possible form factor (but then you should willing to give up on full-size graphics cards too, I guess.)

            • Bensam123
            • 7 years ago

            It’s entirely possible to fit both a small form factor PSU and a full length graphics card into something significantly smaller then this though.

            • Duck
            • 7 years ago

            1u Flex ATX PSU?

      • Washer
      • 7 years ago

      Loose PSU? I guess you meant lose the PSU but that doesn’t make sense either. Not exactly possible for a case designed to house a powerful mITX based system. The 5.25″ bay doesn’t add anything to the height, the 120mm rear fan with the horizontal motherboard layout occupies all that space.

        • Duck
        • 7 years ago

        Yeah, lose. You don’t need the ODD. Without it you get more room for SSDs and the like.

          • Washer
          • 7 years ago

          You’re right, you don’t need the drive itself but the bay isn’t preventing you from adding an additional SSD or [url=http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817997041<]four[/url<].

            • Duck
            • 7 years ago

            But it’s ugly and I don’t like it.

            • Washer
            • 7 years ago

            Then take off the front grill and double side tape the bay cover on it. Regardless, the 5.25″ stays because it makes way more sense than your awful point.

            • Duck
            • 7 years ago

            Tape the cover on? Oh that just screams quality finish. There’s already a million cases with 5.25″ drive bays. Not enough with an untarnished finish.

            • ludi
            • 7 years ago

            Now I’m curious: are you [i<]really[/i<] in the market for a case like this, or do you just like complaining about it? Any power-user case, even at this size, needs a 5.25" drive bay because that's where the BRD/DVD-RW combo drive goes.

            • internetsandman
            • 7 years ago

            So bitfenix should completely change their award winning case to something that better suits your personal preferences simply cause you don’t like this one?

            You do realize there are cases on the market that I’m sure fit your ideals much better than this, while this case fits the ideals of a lot of other people better than those cases ever will. To each their own, Duck, please learn this lesson

    • RichardLAnderson
    • 7 years ago

    [url<]http://goo.gl/GJaoH[/url<]

      • Duck
      • 7 years ago

      SPAM

    • Washer
    • 7 years ago

    Despite the size I still like the case… a lot. The layout makes near optimal use of the space and truly allows for a high powered system in the mITX motherboard world (already possible thanks to the SG07 from Silverstone but this looks even better). Integrating handles that don’t look silly is a major bonus factor for me. Also, I see screws in the top picture that seem to be where the handles attach. Does this suggest they could be removed?

    I need to find a in depth review, more than just the normal case reviews. Most case reviews suck as they miss out on a lot of the small details that come from owning and using a case over the long term. If there’s easy ways to modify or adjust the case from the standard layout those are important to me. For this case specifically the ability to remove the handles with greatly negate much of the height criticism as well.

      • moriz
      • 7 years ago

      anandtech did a pretty in depth review.

      i think this is probably one of the best cases for making lanparty builds. people complaining about the size are missing the point: this is THE case to get for making powerful mini-ITX builds, not for making itty bitty HTPCs.

      • internetsandman
      • 7 years ago

      Look up the video review from OC3D, Tom gets REALLY excited about this case (and even shows you how you might fit a dual radiator loop into the case)

    • l33t-g4m3r
    • 7 years ago

    Oh sweet, generic Power Mac cases for PC! Just what I always wanted.

    Edit: That would be perfect for my Windows 8 build.

      • ludi
      • 7 years ago

      Why do you hate progress?

        • Bensam123
        • 7 years ago

        Awww, I didn’t get to see this before the edit…

        Judging by his love for consoles, because anything you don’t have to spend money on is better for you. >>

    • kumori
    • 7 years ago

    Only problem with the colored cases is that you will never find a optical drive to match.

      • UberGerbil
      • 7 years ago

      Except providing double-sided tape for a provided matching drive-door cover is trivial.

      Assuming you need an optical drive at all, which increasing numbers of users don’t.

    • Shambles
    • 7 years ago

    Would have been so much more useful had they aligned things for mATX motherboards. If I wanted to go ITX i’d be going with a case a fraction of that size.

      • UberGerbil
      • 7 years ago

      While I can understand that sentiment, you need to look closer at the top picture: a [i<]usable[/i<] mATX version would have to be larger (either much wider, or with everything redistributed for a vertical mobo orientation, significantly taller, especially if you wanted full use of the additional PCIe slots). These days, with highly-integrated mobos and affordable 8GB DIMMs and powerful compact GPUs, and everything else connectable via USB 3 or ethernet, ITX is hardly the constraint it used to be.

        • Bensam123
        • 7 years ago

        Usable is very subjective.

        If the fan takes up more space and planning then the board, something is wrong. They could simply flip the board on it’s side, put the PSU above the socket, and still have plenty of space for a full length graphics card, plus chop down the size of the case by about 6″ in height and 4″ in width.

        If I wanted a case this size I would go with a micro-atx case, which has more ‘usable’ room with very similar dimensions. Oh and it has three more expansion slots on the motherboard.

          • UberGerbil
          • 7 years ago

          What you’re describing is pretty much exactly what Silverstone did with its [url=http://www.silverstonetek.com/product.php?pid=65&area=en<]SG03[/url<]/[url=http://www.silverstonetek.com/product.php?pid=235&area=en<]SG04[/url<] designs -- which are really nice, and about as compact as "full-featured" mATX cases get, but you need a very low-profile cooler to fit under the PSU. And only four drive bays, which is probably enough for most people in the market for a compact system, but significantly fewer than what the BitFenix offers, if that matters.

            • Bensam123
            • 7 years ago

            The PSU is turned the wrong direction.

            Those are still really big cases as well though. There is a lot of deadspace above the motherboard where they could’ve simply mounted the PSU instead of putting it above the socket. It would’ve added maybe an inch onto the height, which is pretty tall already.

            • internetsandman
            • 7 years ago

            Mounting the PSU above the CPU requires a low profile cooler that simply destroys any hope of high performance unless you manage to also fit something like an H60/80 in there. This case, however, can support immense water cooling with its current layout (look up the review on YouTube from timetolivecustoms)

            • Bensam123
            • 7 years ago

            No? You can use a intel stock heastink in the lian-li cases that are situated like this. It’s tight, but it fits. I don’t know how it would ‘destroy performance’ unless it causes it to overheat too… If you’re talking about overclocking, I think the prospect of mini-itx is lost on you.

            A water cooling system would just make heat issues worse in this case unless the radiator is actually put outside of the case. Water cooling results in higher temps around components in the middle of the system. Since fans are removed from both the socket and the graphics card (if someone to choose to do that) it would result in a ridiculous heat death trap. Normally cases are big enough where the bit of airflow cools all the other circuitry such as VRMs/memory/smaller chips, but fans are crucial for moving the tiny bit of air around in a case this small.

            Putting a waterblock on the GPU would probably cause it to implode too due to the lack of airflow around it and it no longer pushing air outside of the case. I could honestly see it as a very bad idea for this case. People just assume water cooling makes everything better.

            • internetsandman
            • 7 years ago

            Considering the performance and overclocking oriented boards that are being released for it’d, I don’t think the idea of high performance in an ITX case is that far fetched. I’m aware the intel stock heatsink fits, but I wouldn’t feel comfortable putting anything more than a high end dual core or low powered quad core under something like that, and even then the ISH isn’t good for noise levels, even if it is keeping temperatures in check

            If you put a 180mm radiator at the front of this case and one or two good fans in the top and back, you’d have a fair bit of airflow moving over everything that isn’t already being cooled by water, and again, it would be much quieter because the fans wouldn’t have to spin as fast, and there isn’t an anemic low profile cooler struggling to cool the CPU. I’m aware of the fact that water cooling limits the airflow directly around the socket, but I’m also aware that given the size of fans you can put into the front of the case, that shouldn’t really be an issue.

            Personally, I love the idea of a high powered gaming rig in ITX form, and this case not only fits the bill, it looks great and is very practical with those handles. I know ITX has other uses such as very compact, low power systems and I certainly see the appeal of those, but this case is designed for the other end of the market and people love it for that. Changing it to mATX would eliminate a lot of things you can do with this case, unless you made it bigger which would simply destroy the point of the case to begin with. There are compromises when you move to ITX, no matter what type of system you’re trying to make, but this case probably makes the absolute best set of compromises (and fewest, really) that I’ve ever seen from a performance standpoint.

    • Ruiner
    • 7 years ago

    The logo reminds me of the Strogg logo from Quake 2.

      • Star Brood
      • 7 years ago

      The logo looks perfect for a StarCraft 2 gaming rig.

      The part about there being no mesh on the white model seems strange. I wonder how the front fan gets air in that case.

        • MadManOriginal
        • 7 years ago

        There are vent slots all around the perimeter of the white area in the black surround. Just can’t see it in Geoff’s picture: [url<]http://www.bitfenix.com/global/en/products/chassis/prodigy#gallery[/url<] Kind of a nice option for those looking for quiet over maximum cooling since it blocks the direct path for fan noise. They ought to make a black one like that.

    • Corrado
    • 7 years ago

    Looks like a midget …. err “little person” combination of the older PowerMacs G4 and the newer Mac Pro cases.

      • derFunkenstein
      • 7 years ago

      Yeah, kinda, I can see that comparison, but I like these better than the old graphite and gray G4s. They mirrored-drive-door G4s are still the nicest design though.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This