Friday, October 10, 2014

MicroReview - BitFenix Prodigy Mini Tower

Disclaimer / warning: This review contains opinions. Also, if you're looking for a technical specification or unbiased information on how this piece of hardware actually fulfills it's duty, you won't likely find it here. But, if you are a system builder and would like a second opinion or hints on what to keep in mind when working with this specific component, look no further. :)

The BitFenix Prodigy is a case that comes in many colors. Including white, as was mine.

It is a mini-ITX case which looks a bit like a micro-ATX case with an eating disorder, but the real reason for its chubby look is that it actually houses the motherboard in a horizontal position. Which can be quite convenient in some situations. There are no usual rubbery legs on this one, but rather both the top and the bottom of the case have "handles" - soft plastic design elements. These make the case a bit wobbly and slidey on its legs, and probably don't function that well as lifting handles when the case is full of hardware. But from design perspective, the arches are "meh" enough to like the case.

From the back-side of the case you can see that the motherboard is positioned somewhere in the middle of the case vertically, with the power supply mounted below it. This leaves enough breathing space for the processor and the graphics card - and with a large back-mounted case fan, provides a reasonably good cooling solution. On the top of the case there's a removable grill for better cooling (and noise-making).

Besides the user guide, this is what you find in the package:

The case comes with a handful of screws and a USB 2.0 to USB 3.0 cable included. Just in case your motherboard does not have the modern USB 3.0 connector available. On the inside, there are several places where you can mount your HDDs and SSDs. Not only in the drive rack, but there are special mounting areas for 2.5'' drives on the "other" side panel.

When assembling (or finding suitable components for) the case, be aware that the power supply area might not suit that well for every PSU out there. Had some minor trouble fitting the cables of a Chieftec 450W power supply, for example. Luckily, there's enough room for bending and storing extra cabling, if needed.

Horizontal mounting of the motherboard can make it a bit easier to work with the case without having to turn it sideways, but with a case that small, getting access to the motherboard screw can be a bit difficult. So, either find a short screwdriver or one that can bend around corners.

Although the front panel for the case can be removed easily, be aware of the bezel for the optical drive. To remove it you HAVE to remove the whole front panel, as the bezel is attached with screws - rather than with pressure-fitted plastic pieces or any other non-breaky fixtures.
All in all, a cool and a bit unusual case to work with. Requires some fiddling and possibly some slightly fancier tools, but the end result looks really nice and clean.