Casings Guide

BitFenix Prodigy (mini-ITX Case) review

BitFenix Prodigy - A Case of Exceptional Talents?

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Launch SRP S$125
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Overall rating 6.5/10
Aesthetics:
7.5
Functionality:
7
Usability:
6.5
Value:
6.5
THE GOOD
Well-spaced interior
Removable drive cages for modular config
Side mounting options for 2.5-inch drives
Good cooling options
THE BAD
Unable to fit ATX PSU with 160mm depth
Fyberflex handle cracks at mounting points
Casing is wobbly to the touch
Large and heavy
Could have been mATX compliant


Exterior Design

Exterior Design

The first thing we noticed about the BitFenix Prodigy Midnight Black is its pair of large handles. The company says that they are made from BitFenix FyberFlex Composite, which guarantees the handle's strength and flexibility. Hence, the top carrying handle allows the chassis to be moved with relative ease while the bottom handle acts as a stand that is able to absorb shock. Essentially, this mini-ITX chassis is a steel enclosure with two such handles attached to its top and bottom.

The handles appear to be removable but we were rather concerned about the quality of its build and durability. The handle is attached to the steel body of the Midnight Prodigy by six screws whose points are only visible after the removal of the side panels. We discovered some of these attachment points of the FyberFlex handles have visible cracks and we wondered if this was due to its poor make or to the over-tightening of the mounting screws at the assembly line.

With what we have witnessed, we truly question the ability of the handles to withstand the weight of the Midnight Prodigy, especially after it has housed all the PC components. Another trait of the chassis, as a result of the bottom handle, is the ease at which it will rock when it is pushed gently from either of its flanks. The sight of a PC chassis wobbling with a slight push is rather uncomforting for us even though it doesn't danger the components within nor would it topple over. It is also ironic that with all its heft, even before we have installed our test PC components, it couldn't offer stability.

At the top of the chassis, you can see a removable dust cover that has a fastening switch at one end. After removing the dust cover (which isn't as easy as its designers thought it would be), we saw that there are cut-outs for mounting a pair of 120mm cooling fans.

The facade of the Midnight Prodigy features a wire mesh covering for full ventilation. It is unbroken, save for a 5.25-inch bay cover and a polished silver insignia of BitFenix. The front panel is held in place by a total of four fastening tabs; its removable front mesh is held in place by twenty bent mesh tabs. Regular maintenance of the mesh is recommended as it is the front air-intake for the entire chassis; caution is advised as the mesh tabs may be broken with repeated prying.

On one of its side panels, there are power and reset buttons as well as the usual headphones and mic jacks above the two USB 3.0 ports. Oddly, there are no markings for the activity LEDs nor for the audio jacks. We had to remove this side panel to trace the PCB contacts of the LEDs to the ends of their connector wires to determine their functions; the top LED is for HDD activity and the bottom one is for power. The side panels themselves are held in place by four thumbscrews; a pair for each panel.

Focusing on the rear of the chassis revealed a bundled 120mm rear cooling fan. According to the manual, it accepts an optional 140mm fan in place of the 120mm fan. There are two expansion slots with a removable mesh cover; we are glad that it did not feature those punch-out slot covers. There is an expansion card securing plate that is held in place by two thumbscrews and a lone M3 screw; hence, installation of expansion cards is not a tool-free affair. Further down, there is a removable metal bracket for PSU installation, held in place by four thumbscrews. Besides the bundled rear 120mm cooling fan, there is also one mounted in the front of the chassis. We shall see them in greater detail as we uncover its internal design on the following page.