BitFenix Prodigy - A Case of Exceptional Talents?

Launch SRP: S$125

Interior Design (Part I)

Interior Design

After removing both side panels of the Midnight Prodigy, our first impression is that the chassis' interior is well-sorted into compartments. There is the PSU cage and its top, with four motherboard standoffs, is the place for the mini-ITX motherboard. BitFenix claims that the PSU cage can take a PS2 ATX PSU, with a depth of up to 160mm. Next to the PSU cage are the drive bays that comprise two removable 3.5-inch HDD cages and a single 5.25-inch drive bay that the manual states is removable as well. With regards to the two 3.5-inch drive cages, the top one is easier to remove. To do so entails a simple action of depressing its top and bottom clips before sliding out the entire cage. The bottom cage will require the use of a screwdriver to remove its mounting screw before its removal. As mentioned previously, there are also two bundled 120mm cooling fans at the front and rear of the case.

The facings of both 3.5-inch drive cages can be changed and its steps are detailed in the accompanying instruction manual. The cages can accommodate a total of five 3.5-inch drives.

We decided to remove both 3.5-inch HDD cages for a better look at the internal design of the chassis. The top cage is easy to remove while its bottom counterpart required us to upend the chassis to reach its mounting screws. After removing those screws, the bottom cage can be lifted off its position from the steel case.

We slid out the top 3.5-inch HDD cage after squeezing both of its quick-release clips.

The pair of M3 screws that secure the bottom 3.5-inch drive bays in place.

After the mounting screws were unscrewed, the bottom 3.5-inch HDD cage was easily removed.

With the drive bay enclosures out of the way, you can now clearly see the front cooling fan while the rear one is readily visible. Both cooling options can support 140mm fans if you would like to increase airflow. That's not all as the front panel can also support the 230mm BitFenix Spectre Pro cooling fan with LED illumination! To check the validity, we swopped out the bundled 120mm front cooling fan for the 230mm cooling option. The BitFenix Spectre Pro draws power from a 2-pin Molex power connector and its LED power connector will draw power from a system fan header on the motherboard. With this much flexibility in this compact case, we guess you won't mind that there's no bottom cooling option for this casing. 

The rear 120mm cooling fan has a simple silver BitFenix insignia in its center; while its front counterpart can only be seen clearly after the removal of both 3.5-inch HDD cages.

We understand the principle behind the design of its front panel; its full wire mesh fascia is meant to accommodate a fan as large as this 230mm one!

The BitFenix Spectre Pro 230mm fan draws power from the PSU and motherboard with its two different power connectors.

In the manual, it is stated that the facing of the 3.5-inch drive cages can be changed. There is a plastic retainer with rails for the first 3.5-inch HDD cage, attached to the bottom of the 5.25-inch drive bay that has be re-aligned before the two 3.5-inch HDD cages' facing can be changed. We do like the flexibility of this feature to change the orientation of the 3.5-inch drive cages but we wonder if rig builders will truly appreciate such leeway. The retainer's is made from hard plastic but its Achilles' heel is the the form of two tiny plastic stops that allows it to grip onto the bottom of the 5.25-inch drive bay. They are rather fragile and can be broken off easily if the retainer is removed with force (and it's unfortunately really easy to do so).

 The plastic retaining component (which is on the flimsy side) attaches to the top of the 3.5-inch drive cage with the quick release clips. After its removal, it has to be re-aligned before the facing of both 3.5-inch cages can be changed.

We proceeded to install our 3.5-inch HDD to determine the ease of this tool-free procedure. In total, the drive cages come with five hard disk trays. We had to bend and flex in order to get our 3.5-inch HDD into one of them.

This hard disk tray from the 3.5-inch HDD cage may look skeletal but it is rather unyielding and we had to bend it hard before we could put our HDD into place.

There are no additional means to secure the HDD to the 3.5-inch hard dish tray.

The cages can take a total of five 3.5-inch HDDs.

For 2.5-inch drives, we can fit a pair of them into their compartments on one of the side panels. One of the panels of the PSU cage is also able to accommodate up to two 2.5-inch drives; however, in order to fit these drives, both the 3.5-inch HDD cages have to be removed.

The side panel, with the buttons and I/O ports, has a lattice sleeve with two compartments for 2.5-inch drives.

We can see the screw holes for the mounting of the 2.5-inch HDDs. The cut-out on the left is for the power cables of the PSU.

Installing our mini-ITX motherboard was an easy affair, placing the board onto the standoffs and screwing the board into place. For this review of the BitFenix Prodigy, we made use of an AMD Brazos board, the Sapphire Pure Fusion Mini E350. After that, we proceeded to install our PSU.

We placed and secured the motherboard on top of the PSU cage where the standoffs were already present.

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