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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  • Zoomer - Saturday, June 9, 2012 - link

    They got IPOed
  • Norseman4 - Saturday, June 2, 2012 - link

    Currently it's nowhere, even as listing the case as "not yet available", but you can pre-order. (Shipping mid June. 79.99 w/ free shipping)

    Additionally, NewEgg looks like they will carry it, since they have placeholders (out-of-stock, Image coming soon, that sort of thing) for both the blank and the white case. (Currently showing 79.99 w/ 15.88 shipping)

    Other retailers may also carry it since the BitFenix site shows 9 resellers, but does not include the 'Egg
  • JarredWalton - Sunday, June 3, 2012 - link

    While Newegg does a ton of enthusiast business, I'd say BitFenix would be happier to get their stuff on Amazon first. *Everyone* has heard of Amazon; Newegg is big, but not quite that big.
  • Zoomer - Saturday, June 9, 2012 - link

    They could just do that themselves right now by shipping a bunch to amazon under the fulfilled by amazon program.
  • oDii - Friday, June 1, 2012 - link

    As someone who regrets building a WHS box in an fully populated Lian Li PC-Q08, this looks like they were so close to getting it right! Just needed one more 3.5" drive bay. To be honest, it looks like there's a decent amount of room between the drive bays, so I'm surprised they didn't just reduce that and increase the available bays...
  • Dustin Sklavos - Friday, June 1, 2012 - link

    You need more than five? Theoretically you can pop another one in the 5.25" bay, or alternatively, switch to 2.5" drives depending on your capacity needs.
  • Streetwind - Friday, June 1, 2012 - link

    There's actually a ton more drive bays in there than it looks like. If you wanted to go all out, you could mount, all at the same time:

    - Five 3.5" drives in the HDD cages
    - One 2.5" drive in a mounting bracket below the bottom HDD cage
    - Two 2.5" drives in mounting brackets between the bottom HDD cage and the power supply bay
    - Two 2.5" drives in mounting brackets on the right side panel
    - Four 2.5" drives in a (third party) 5.25-to-2.5 adapter in place of the optical drive

    So yeah, while you can't do a RAID with six 3.5" drives, that's still a hell of a lot of storage for a mini-ITX case.
  • tjoynt - Friday, June 1, 2012 - link

    Just curious: why do you regret using the Lian Li PC-Q08? Or do you regret using WHS? ;)
  • oDii - Friday, June 1, 2012 - link

    WHS V1 is fine for slow, slightly protected storage.

    My problem with the PC-Q08 is that once you start loading it up - lots of disks, standard ATX sized PSU (maybe slightly longer due to modular cables) - there just isn't enough room for everything. At the moment after the last time I took everything out of it, I put the HDD activity cable around the wrong way - and still haven't corrected because of how much of a pain opening it and accessing even small things in it is.

    Perhaps to even slightly talk against my own argument of "needs more drive bays!"; the Q08 stacks the drives so close together that the cable between the SATA power connector leads becomes a major cable management problem - if it sticks out too much, you can't put the case back together. Similarly, you're pretty much forced to use 90 degrees rotated SATA data cables as standard cables would break the plastic supports of the drives they're attached to long before you managed to wrestle the side panel back on.

    The positive thing about the Prodigy is that it seems like they've really got that general accessibility down with the rotated motherboard tray, as Dustin mentions on page 3.

    I guess this case would be great for someone dabbling with ZFS - few disks, and a few locations for ZFS cache/ZIL.
  • sheltem - Friday, June 1, 2012 - link

    Too bad the Lian Li Q25 was released afterwards. It's a bit taller, but not as wide, because it ditches the dvd drives and has 5 hot swap hard drive bays. The side panels comes off easier.

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