Hardware, Reviews, VR World

BitFenix Prodigy M: High Quality In A Small Size

Packaging

 

Overall the packaging is great, the box is a very high quality corrugated cardboard box that has simple black only printing.  There are thankfully some included handle slots in the sides of the box so that it can be handled easier.  The case is in a plastic sleeve and braced by two pieces of styrofoam that run the full lengths of the sides of the box.  The case arrived in perfect condition and with the quality of the packing I am sure that it can stand up to quite a bit of abuse during transit from package carriers.

Exterior

The design is great, and the black finish looks just great on this computer case.  The composite handles and feet are made of what BitFenix calls FiberFlex.  The feel of it is soft to the touch and is strong enough to handle moving the case around with them after it is fully loaded and built.  The side panels are able to be used on whatever side of the case that the user chooses to have them.  There are two USB 3.0 ports, headphone port, microphone port, reset switch, and a power switch. The case does include an accessory that will convert the USB 3.0 adapter to a USB 2.0 adapter.  If using the optional side panel with the window the panel with the ports will need to be used on the left side of the case.  The windowed side panel is shown in the pictures of the accessories.  The finish on the parts is very high quality and looks great, although it does pick up hand prints fairly easily.  The material cleans easily with a microfiber cloth to remove these prints.  The top grill is removable and reveals mounting area for two 120mm fans underneath it.  The bottom of the case is open for airflow, and there is a 120mm fan installed on the bottom of the case.   There is an accessory that comes with the case that will allow the bottom of the case to be sealed up to customize the airflow.  The piece is just a flat plastic cover that can be screwed onto the case.  The case is very sturdy and the materials used feel real high quality and hefty, while not being overly heavy.

Interior

The interior of the Prodigy M is finished with the same high quality paint as the case, making sure it will look great for those who choose to use a windowed side panel.  The PSU is mounted up to the front of the case on the bottom, sitting vertically.  It was very easy to install since the bracket uses thumbscrew to secure the PSU mounting frame.  That frame secures to the back of the PSU with regular screws.  The front of the case can and bottom of the case has mounting available for up to 230mm fans.  The front 230mm fan mount doesn’t seem usable with normal sized PSUs installed.  Though it is very nice that it is there for those who choose to rearrange the layout of the case to suit their needs.  There was obviously a lot of thought put into the design of the case and accessories that BitFenix chose to include.  There are additional mounts included that allow users to reattach the ODD blank in case it was removed for a drive and the user wants to go drive free after that.  This will be essential to those who install a ODD with a GPU and then intend to put in another GPU for SLI or Crossfire.  The ODD cage is removable to make more room in the case, ideal for running SLI and Crossfire.The Hard Drive/SSD brace will be useful for those who choose to use the standard side panels and not the windowed case panel.  So ideally if a user does choose to use a SSD an on-board M.2 will be the most ideal option for those wanting a window case.

 Ease of Build

 

The Prodigy M case will fit both micro ATX and Mini-ITX motherboards , and users will be able to change CPU coolers without disassembling the build thanks to an open area to access the rear of the CPU area on the motherboard.  I tried to fit in a AMD R9 285 and I had clearance issues with the power supply and the ODD.  So with this in mind, I would recommend checking into small form factor PSUs to use with the case.  There are some other standard sized PSUs that would fit, but researching what others have used may save some headaches down the road.  I installed the heatsink on the CPU before installing the motherboard and found that it was difficult to plug in the 4 pin CPU power cord since it was such a tight fit.  I had to get a pair of really long nosed pliers and put it in very carefully.  With this case I found that on a personal level that I got frustrated with the build since there are so many options with how to lay it out.  I realized the next day that it was more of a problem of my own patience and failure to plan ahead.  The way to win with this case is to plan out ahead of time how everything should be installed and what you want to do with cable routing.  The planning will definitely save a lot of headaches down the line.  I think this is a must with all small form factor builds since users will have a very small space in which to work.  I tend to want to get things done quickly and this time that kind of mindset wasn’t in my favor.  This case will definitely be able to fit watercooling, whether it is a closed loop system or a very complicated custom loop.