Once the side panel comes off the case you can see just how well thought out the design is, and why Bitfenix says it can accommodate so many different cooling configurations. The motherboard sits on top of a shelf at the rear of the case, with room underneath for a proper ATX power supply. This mounts through a removable cover on the rear of the chassis, and the bay itself is 180mm deep. This means that while you won’t be putting a 1000W monster inside the Prodigy, you can happily use anything up to around a 750W model and still have space to hide cabling. We suspect you’ll want to go with a modular PSU however, if only so you don't have to deal with hiding away redundant cabling.
To this end Bitfenix is also making a few alterations to the prototype before it goes into production. The blank space you can see to the side of the motherboard will have some cable management holes added, designed to let you tuck away cabling as much as possible. There will also be holes on the far side of the motherboard, which will likely be more useful.
This is because the Prodigy will accommodate a full sized, two slot graphics card once you remove one of the the 3.25in hard drive cages. This is also the reason for another alteration being made to the prototype design, a grill being placed on the side panel in order to let such a card breathe, sucking in cool air from outside. Bitfenix is undecided about case windows because of this, however we did suggest that a window on the other side of the case could work well seeing as the motherboard is mounted in the middle.
Removing the drive cage will cut down storage options, but you’ll still have two 3.25in drive bays to play with when you have a graphics card mounted. Even if you remove both cages in order to install a radiator, for example, there are mounting holes for 2.5in drives to the front of the PSU cage. This will allow for the mounting of SSDs or laptop drives, which still allows for decent storage (laptop drives currently top out at 750GB for 7,200rpm and 1TB for 5,400rpm) if you find yourself needing to remove both hard drive cages.
You can also unscrew and remove the optical drive cage if you need the space, which will allow for some amazing flexibility with fans. You’ll be able to mount everything from dual 120mm ones up to a single 200mm one if you are so inclined.
As you can guess, we were incredibly impressed by what Bitfenix is doing with the Prodigy. It is a case for PC enthusiasts, allowing a huge amount of ways to customise a build. It will likely involve some deft cable management, and the use of the small form factor involves a few tradeoffs. But there is an astonishing amount of potential packed into a relatively small space.
The Prodigy should make for some pretty impressive builds, we could already see ideas forming in David Hollingworth’s head when we showed him the photos yesterday. The only downside is that the Prodigy is still several months from hitting shelves, with the design not even in production yet. If all goes well it should be turning up early in the second half of 2012, and we can’t wait to get building.